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Libya declares ceasefire after UN resolution
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-Lurid Crime Tales-
Malaysia police recover $1.9m of stolen condoms
[Straits Times] MALAYSIAN police said on Thursday they had recovered more than 700,000 ultrathin condoms that went missing while being exported to Japan, and placed in durance vile six people over the incident.

Northern Perak police chief Shukri Dahalan told AFP that '99.0 per cent' of the condoms stolen had been recovered and would be returned to manufacturers Sagami Rubber Industries.
That's nice. Would you trust that they remained pure and untampered with?
The company said last month that about 726,000 polyurethane condoms, with a retail value of around US$1.5 million (S$1.9 million), were loaded into a container at a factory in Malaysia, but the shipment was empty when it arrived in Tokyo.

'We placed in durance vile six persons including the lorry driver involved in the shipment, and following information from the suspects, we were able to locate 258 boxes filled with condoms at a house outside Kuala Lumpur and in a warehouse near Port Klang in Selangor state,' he said.

'The boxes appeared intact as they were being stored in different locations while the men were looking for buyers,' Mr Shukri added.

'With the arrest of the men and the recovery of the condoms, the case is now closed.' He said four of the men have been released on police bail, while two are still being held on remand, with all six expected to face charges.
Posted by: Fred || 03/18/2011 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6464 views] Top|| File under:

'Englishman' dupes divorcee of $155,750
[Straits Times] A 58-YEAR-OLD divorcee's romance with a 'young and handsome Englishman' over the Internet turned out to be a nightmare after she was duped of RM370,000 (S$155,750) in life savings.

The 'Englishman' turned out to be a picture of a good-looking man posted by a group of African con artists on a matchmaking website and later posted to the woman.

Malacca police chief Senior Assistant Commissioner 1 Datuk Chua Ghee Lye said the woman had banked in the money after she was made to believe that the 'Englishman' was in love with her. SAC Chua said that the woman had been chatting and exchanging photographs with the man via the Internet since last month.

He said it was then that the man told the divorcee that he had managed to secure a roadwork project in Kuching worth millions of ringgit but that he needed money to procure equipment. 'The victim, who trusted the man, deposited her life savings into a local bank account,' he said.

The punctuational However...
a relative of the woman, suspecting something was amiss, decided to conduct a check on the 'Englishman' and found that she had been conned, added SAC Chua. The woman subsequently lodged a police report.

SAC Chua said police managed to track down the domain address the matchmaking website was operating from and tossed in the calaboose the con artists - an Ugandan, two Nigerians and a local man - at various locations in Selangor, Seremban and Kuala Lumpur.The men were aged between 20 and 30 years.
Posted by: Fred || 03/18/2011 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6466 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I was told by a local bank teller that Wells Fargo has a "sucker formula", in which they automatically notify the police fraud unit if a person fitting certain profiles wants to withdraw more than a given amount of cash at once or in a short time. This is helped by the federal cash reporting rules of transactions over $12k, I think.

Typically, an older, unmarried or widowed person, who is evasive about what they plan to do with the money. About four out of five times it will be a scam in which they are being conned.

The teller said that if the police nail the con, they make it a point to tell Wells Fargo, which gives them the warm and fuzzies, oddly enough, for having done a customer a good deed.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/18/2011 10:30 Comments || Top||

#2  IIRC, the limit in the USA for cash transactions is $10,000. Some banks apply drastically lower limits, though.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 03/18/2011 15:17 Comments || Top||

#3  It's not really a limit for a cash transaction, just a reporting requirement above certain amounts. Which like everything else, is overly complex.

It is basically $10k, not $12k, though. $12k is the maximum gift amount that can be given tax free per year.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/18/2011 16:40 Comments || Top||

#4  This is just sad. Everyone knows you should never give a man money until after you meet and make hot wild monkey love. Gotta know he's good for something. Especially Englishmen.

/Seriously, who is this stupid?
Posted by: RandomJD || 03/18/2011 18:44 Comments || Top||

-Short Attention Span Theater-
Helen Thomas to be featured in April Playboy
Helen Thomas is Playboy's April Interview

A Candid Conversation with the Disgraced Dean of the White House Press Corps About her Rage against Israel, her Sympathy for Palestinians and Why she was Fired

CHICAGO, March 17, 2011 -- /PRNewswire/ -- "I knew exactly what I was doing -- I was going for broke. I had reached the point of no return. You finally get fed up...I finally wanted to speak the truth," explains former dean of the White House Press Corps Helen Thomas when asked about her now infamous May 27, 2010 comments on Israel in Playboy's April Interview (issue on newsstands and online at www.playboydigital.com Friday, March 18)....
Lest you be curious enough to peek at the photos accompanying this article, remember that once you see something, you can never un-see it.

Think before you look.tm

(This has been a public service message from the Rantburg Psychiatric Association, the Optometry Institute, and your local station.)
Posted by: Mike || 03/18/2011 16:20 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6493 views] Top|| File under:

#1  That's it. PlayWeird has officially jumped the shark.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 03/18/2011 17:08 Comments || Top||

#2  Well at least every decent male can now declare that he's only buying the Playboy to look at nude girls.
Posted by: European Conservative || 03/18/2011 17:55 Comments || Top||

#3  Why does the editor of Playboy think anyone would be interested in anything Ms Thomas might have to say? Once upon a time they were fresh and cutting edge... but that was well over a generation ago, as far as I can tell.
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/18/2011 19:19 Comments || Top||

#4  what's next - the burka bunny?
Posted by: linker || 03/18/2011 20:42 Comments || Top||

#5  Even a burqa won't help Helen - her ugliness will still shine through because it comes from deep, deep down inside.
Posted by: CrazyFool || 03/18/2011 20:57 Comments || Top||

#6  The excerpt here isn't so bad, really.

But I think I'm gonna lose my lunch when she starts talking about how she likes long walks in the rain.....soft, wet kisses that last for days....and her favorite sexual position. Bleah!
Posted by: Swamp Blondie || 03/18/2011 21:01 Comments || Top||

#7  sorry for the crap factor - but had to add the burka bunny

Posted by: linker || 03/18/2011 21:14 Comments || Top||

#8  they promised her silicone implants. No mention at what height
Posted by: Frank G || 03/18/2011 21:51 Comments || Top||

#9  no no those were trinitrotoluene implants...
Posted by: linker || 03/18/2011 21:58 Comments || Top||

-Signs, Portents, and the Weather-
New info on Fukushima
Herschel Smith has up to date facts and figures on radiation levels at the nuclear plants in Fukushima. Recommended. Via Instapundit.
Posted by: || 03/18/2011 08:51 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6465 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The Japanese finally admitted the radiation is at levels that could be lethal.

I'm wondering if a ship with generators could have been deployed within 24 hours after the tsunami to provide the backup power needed. If such an operation is feasible, then it should be looked at for future operations.
Posted by: DarthVader || 03/18/2011 13:43 Comments || Top||

#2  There was/is a risk of aftershocks and more tsunamis that continues. Electric generation wasn't the only thing knocked out at Fukushima Daiichi, but also cables & transformers. Very tricky problem.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 03/18/2011 15:30 Comments || Top||

Africa North
Secularism stirs fresh debate in Tunisia
[Maghrebia] A forum on religion and politics in Tunis turned into fevered discussion Saturday (March 12th), as Tunisians explored the complex relationship between secularism, Islam and national identity.

"We in Tunisia now live in a conflict between those who call for a secular state and those who call for preserving the first article of the constitution," Islamic researcher Sami Brahem said at the event, held by non-governmental organisation El Jahedh.

In his lecture, Brahem said that the concept of secularism suffers from distortion, which prompted a debate between pro and anti-secularists.

A number of Islamic proponents expressed their fears that the re-writing of the constitution would lead to the abolition of its first article, which affirms the Arab and Islamic nature of Tunisia.

According to Brahem, their opponents want to enshrine secularism of the state in the constitution "out of fear of religion being engaged in the public matters, leading to the use of people's feelings, which affects the electoral parity".

"This debate among the various affiliates is important, but we have to accept all the trends, whether socialist, nationalist or Islamist, because they constitute the intellectual richness that drives us forward," student Afef El Hamrouni said, "especially since the Islamic religion is valid for every time and place".

For her part, Leila Taouati called for building a state of institutions and conventions rather than a state of doctrines.

While the majority "could give you a win in the elections, it will never give you God's power", Sadek Saidi said.

Saidi called for establishing the concept of citizenship and promoting the culture of ideological difference.

...back at the bunker...
pro-secularism supporters on Saturday staged a rally in Sousse and were attacked by their foes.

"Who is practicing suppression here in this march?" Islamic researcher Rajae Ben Salama wondered on her Facebook page. "Certainly not the secularists, it is those who are holding Islamic slogans. They exercise suppression because they want to cancel the demonstration of secularists, rather than organise another demonstration in parallel."

In response to the questions of seminar participants, Brahem said, "Claiming that secularism is a condition for democracy threatens the deviation from the identity of the country and democracy."

"The fears of the two sides are legitimate," he admitted. "Secularists fear a return to doctrinal provisions and the abolition of the Personal Status Code, as well as the return of corporal punishment and change of the society's order."

"As for those who oppose secularism, they insist on retaining the first article of the Constitution, especially since Islam is not a religion of rituals, but it includes many areas related to public affairs," Brahem said.
Posted by: Fred || 03/18/2011 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6471 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "islam is not a religion of rituals"

except smacking your head on the ground x 5 daily, starving yourself 1 month out of 12, throwing stones at rocks that look like demons, ululating, rocking to and fro whilst memorising jumbled medieval ravings, kissing that black stone, bloody self goreing & flaggelation, killing black dogs / pigs / infidels, meat slaughter rituals, eye rolling, jumping up and down whilst hollering badly rhymed slogans real loud, blaming israel/jews/christians/infidels/gays for lack of achievements, gun sex, blowing up girls schools, buggery, acid throwing, bitching, whining, telling porkies, locking up wimins dressed in potato sacks, raping the rest & stoning them to death for the pleasure, abstaining from games, music, beer, sport and anything slightly fun. Did I miss anything?
Posted by: admiral allan ackbar || 03/18/2011 20:56 Comments || Top||

#2  Did I miss anything?

Honor killings and FGM.
Posted by: Beavis || 03/18/2011 21:07 Comments || Top||

#3  Honor killings and FGM

Where is the fun in that? Only sickos would find any.
Posted by: Fi || 03/18/2011 21:12 Comments || Top||

Back from the diversity brink in Britain
Controversial plans to ask state workers sensitive questions about their sexuality and religious beliefs are likely to be scrapped.

Just two months after setting out the requirement for 27,000 public sector bodies to carry out detailed "diversity audits" of their staff, the Government has signalled an about-turn.
Now they can afford that No Fly Zone over Libya.

Observe, President Obama: this is how a government makes budget decisions.
A "policy review paper" says the burden of red tape will be reduced and revised draft guidelines make no reference to private information about employees being collected or published.

The rules came about as a result of Labour's far-reaching Equality Act, which also allows employers to reject male job applicants in favour of women who are no better qualified, and bans questions about health at interviews.

Under the public sector Equality Duty, spelled out in official documents in January, state bodies with more than 150 members of staff were required to disclose how diverse their workforces are.

It was expected that accurate data would be obtained through "routine monitoring" on "the race, disability, gender and age distribution of your workforce; an indication of likely representation on sexual orientation and religion and belief,
"George looks gay, and Sarah is either Jewish or Muslim -- she sounds Geordie, which doesn't indicate... But Yusuf definitely needs that wheelchair, so we'll put him down for 'disabled'. We need at least one tick in that box."
provided that no-one can be identified as a result; an indication of any issues for transsexual staff, based on your engagement with transsexual staff or voluntary groups; gender pay gap information; grievance and dismissal".

The Government's own consultation documents admitted that equality officers at large public bodies would have to spend eight days a year working on the data, with the help of a statistician, and in total the equality requirements could cost up to £29.8million every year.
Posted by: lotp || 03/18/2011 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6478 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Could the UK be any more F%$*up???
Posted by: FrancisChalk || 03/18/2011 19:52 Comments || Top||

#2  We could get an affirmative action Prime Minister...?
Posted by: admiral allan ackbar || 03/18/2011 21:02 Comments || Top||

World's Largest Rocket Production Base Takes Shape In North China - 22 plants
Posted by: Water Modem || 03/18/2011 13:37 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6467 views] Top|| File under:

30ft Seawall fails to protect town from total destruction by Tsunami
Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 03/18/2011 11:20 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6465 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Great story. Mother Nature always bats last.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 03/18/2011 15:15 Comments || Top||

#2  Well, at least they built it right. It looks like the only thing left standing.
Gaia's a mean bitch...
Posted by: tu3031 || 03/18/2011 16:02 Comments || Top||

#3  This is going to make the Dutch very nervous. They have spent the big bucks on the Delta Works projects, which are oriented to storm surges, yet the region is also somewhat at risk from Tsunamis caused by various events.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/18/2011 16:36 Comments || Top||

#4  I really feel sorry for the people there, but I think the same thing about that town as I think about New Orleans.

If all that's keeping the sea from washing over me is a levee/wall, I think I'll live someplace else.

Mother Nature always wins.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 03/18/2011 16:58 Comments || Top||

#5  It's a mistake to think of tsunamis as waves. They are more like flash floods. (when they come ashore, I mean, not on the open ocean)
Posted by: Grunter || 03/18/2011 17:12 Comments || Top||

Dear news media
Remember back in '50s and early '60s, when we set off something like 900 atomic bombs in Nevada? And how we just let the fallout blow wherever and it landed all over the eastern US? And how it wiped out life as we know it and all that was left from Colorado to the Atlantic were six-legged rats battling two-headed cockroaches in the glowing ruins?

Yeah. Exactly. So shut up with the panic already.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 03/18/2011 09:42 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6466 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Exactly!
Posted by: JohnQC || 03/18/2011 10:08 Comments || Top||

#2  Some how I lived through it too. The one thing that does need to be checked is milk that is to be fed to the kiddies for any elevated levels. Of course that assumes we've been checking prior for a level we've already been living with, not something made up just now that is ridiculously perfectionist.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 03/18/2011 10:55 Comments || Top||

#3  And don't forget about the giant spiders. and the giant rabbits terrorizing the countryside from the fallout.
Posted by: Mr. Bill || 03/18/2011 12:52 Comments || Top||

#4  My dad was actually working as a research biologist at that time, on researching the fallout from the various nuclear tests. He and his fellow bio/zoologists were doing surveys of animal nests and burrows and the animals themselves, looking for evidence of dangerous levels of radiation. Didn't find all that much then, which people since have found rather surprising. No six-legged desert rats, or two-headed roaches. I know that one series of tests was called Operation Plumbbob; Dad used to have a framed certificate of his participation.
Posted by: Sgt.Mom || 03/18/2011 13:15 Comments || Top||

#5  I don't wanna spoil your fun and it's certainly too early to know the long term ramifications of the Fukushima accident. But there have been studies from Chernobyl indicating that while the risk is low there were thousands of cancer cases attributable to Chernobyl and that the risk increases over time. I suspect the low risk would be cold comfort if your were one of those cancer patients. Can't happen here? You're absolutely certain of that?

Here is an abstract of one study from the U.S. National Institutes of Health:

The Chernobyl accident, which occurred April 26, 1986, resulted in a large release of radionuclides, which were deposited over a very wide area, particularly in Europe. Although an increased risk of thyroid cancer in exposed children has been clearly demonstrated in the most contaminated regions, the impact of the accident on the risk of other cancers as well as elsewhere in Europe is less clear. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the human cancer burden in Europe as a whole from radioactive fallout from the accident. Average country- and region-specific whole-body and thyroid doses from Chernobyl were estimated using new dosimetric models and radiological data. Numbers of cancer cases and deaths possibly attributable to radiation from Chernobyl were estimated, applying state-of-the-art risk models derived from studies of other irradiated populations. Simultaneously, trends in cancer incidence and mortality were examined over time and by dose level. The risk projections suggest that by now Chernobyl may have caused about 1,000 cases of thyroid cancer and 4,000 cases of other cancers in Europe, representing about 0.01% of all incident cancers since the accident. Models predict that by 2065 about 16,000 (95% UI 3,400-72,000) cases of thyroid cancer and 25,000 (95% UI 11,000-59,000) cases of other cancers may be expected due to radiation from the accident, whereas several hundred million cancer cases are expected from other causes. Although these estimates are subject to considerable uncertainty, they provide an indication of the order of magnitude of the possible impact of the Chernobyl accident. It is unlikely that the cancer burden from the largest radiological accident to date could be detected by monitoring national cancer statistics. Indeed, results of analyses of time trends in cancer incidence and mortality in Europe do not, at present, indicate any increase in cancer rates -- other than of thyroid cancer in the most contaminated regions -- that can be clearly attributed to radiation from the Chernobyl accident.
Posted by: Ebbang Uluque6305 || 03/18/2011 13:19 Comments || Top||

#6  I don't wanna spoil your fun

You don't spoil my fun Ebbang Uluque6305. Cancer cause research always provides the expected answer---otherwise, no more grants.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 03/18/2011 13:35 Comments || Top||

#7  Ebbang, the Chernobyl incident threw portions of the actual fuel into the atmosphere. The radiation readings were much higher than anything projected for the Japanese plants and the prevailing winds carried that radiation over heavily populated areas and major food growing acreage.

There will be consequences from the tsunami- and quake-induced damage to the Japanese reactors but the conditions for Chernobyl-level results don't seem to obtain.
Posted by: lotp || 03/18/2011 13:51 Comments || Top||

#8  Cancer cause research always provides the expected answer---otherwise, no more grants.

Really? Always? You know that for a fact? How? You mean cigarettes don't cause cancer? Radiation doesn't cause cancer? Hey, smoke 'em if you got 'em!

And what do you tell that miniscule number of people who will get cancer from Fukushima? Tough luck, huh? Too bad but we need our neon lights.

The (Chernobyl) radiation readings were much higher than anything projected for the Japanese plants and the prevailing winds carried that radiation over heavily populated areas and major food growing acreage.

Gosh, I thought the Pacific Ocean was food producing acreage...er...that is if you like fish, which I do.

Anyway, calm down, I'm not in a panic but here's the bottom line: the average Joe (that'd be me) doesn't have the first frickin' clue how much radiation is too much but all the news reports I've seen say our exposure here will be very low. Cool. So I understand that I will most likely survive this incident. But I'm not in a real big hurry to make light of it either and I'm really, really glad I don't live near Fukushima. San Onofre is scary enough for poor, old, timid me.

Posted by: Ebbang Uluque6305 || 03/18/2011 14:30 Comments || Top||

#9  Really? Always? You know that for a fact?

Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 03/18/2011 15:06 Comments || Top||

#10  what do you tell that miniscule number of people who will get cancer from Fukushima? Tough luck, huh? Too bad but we need our neon lights.
Tell them the same thing we tell our victims of motor vehicle accidents, construction accidents, farm accidents, those who get cancer from therapeutic xrays and medications, those who get sick from vaccinations, those killed in plane crashes, those who die from radon percolating up from their basements, those who commit suicide from PTSD contracted in combat, etc., etc.
Tough luck indeed. For every benefit there is a cost. Life itself is risky and we all wind up dead eventually.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 03/18/2011 15:24 Comments || Top||

#11  ...and the tens of thousands who die annually from cancers induced by sun exposure. Nature's largest continuous operational nuclear reactor in the local neighborhood (2+ light years).
Posted by: Procopius2k || 03/18/2011 16:23 Comments || Top||

#12  Don't forget radioactive contamination by coal ash!
Posted by: Vortigern Chutch2620 || 03/18/2011 17:44 Comments || Top||

#13  Does sleeping on a nuke powered sub count? Oh wait, our Navy does that all the time, they seem to be okay.
Posted by: Fi || 03/18/2011 17:52 Comments || Top||

#14  The US Navy is, and always has been, very careful about radiation exposure on nuclear powered ships. The reactors are well shielded.

From the stories I've heard, the Soviets were not so careful. Soviet sailors called their sub pay "childlessness pay". And the prostitutes would have nothing to do with them because they thought the sailors had an STD (VD at the time.)
Posted by: Rambler in Virginia || 03/18/2011 18:30 Comments || Top||

#15  Geez, that is sad.
Posted by: Fi || 03/18/2011 18:50 Comments || Top||

#16  Can't we all just get along :-)EU, you seem to have the right idea to not jump to conclusions. While I can see both sides to the coin, proclaiming which side the coin lands on is anticipating the outcome. Drawing any conclusion seems wrong at this early juncture that is accurate is impossible.
Posted by: Fi || 03/18/2011 19:01 Comments || Top||

Gallup Finds U.S. Unemployment at 10.2% in Mid-March
PRINCETON, NJ -- Unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, was at 10.2% in mid-March -- essentially the same as the 10.3% at the end of February but higher than the 10.0% of mid-February and the 9.8% at the end of January. The U.S. unemployment rate is about the same today as the 10.3% rate Gallup found in mid-March a year ago.
Lots of nice graphs at link. I dare anyone to tell me with a straight face after looking at the data that our economy is recovering and out of the depression. Go ahead, make my day.
Posted by: DarthVader || 03/18/2011 11:36 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6471 views] Top|| File under:

Science & Technology
Nukes Threatened by Quakes Worse Than Before
What are the odds that a nuclear emergency like the one at Fukushima Dai-ichi could happen in the central or eastern United States? They'd have to be astronomical, right? As a commenter on [the internet] put it this weekend, "There's a power plant just like these in Omaha. If it gets hit by a tsunami...."

It turns out that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has calculated the odds of an earthquake causing catastrophic failure to a nuclear plant here. Each year, at the typical nuclear reactor in the U.S., there's a 1 in 74,176 chance that the core could be damaged by an earthquake, exposing the public to radiation. No tsunami required. That's 10 times more likely than you winning $10,000 by buying a ticket in the Powerball multistate lottery, where the chance is 1 in 723,145.
That's why I don't play the Lotto, except for fun.
The nuclear reactor in the United States with the highest risk of core damage from a quake is not the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, with its twin reactors tucked between the California coastline and the San Andreas Fault. It's not on the Pacific Coast at all. It's on the Hudson River.

The reactor with the highest risk rating is 24 miles north of New York City, in the village of Buchanan, N.Y., at the Indian Point Energy Center. There, on the east bank of the Hudson, Indian Point nuclear reactor No. 3 has the highest risk of earthquake damage in the country, according to new NRC risk estimates.
Tabulation of your nuke's risks at the link.
The odds take into consideration two main factors: the chance of a serious quake, and the strength of design of the plant. Nuclear power plants built in the areas usually thought of as earthquake zones, such as the California coastline, have a surprisingly low risk of damage from those earthquakes. Why? They built anticipating a major quake.

Other plants in the East, South and Midwest, where the design standards may have been lower because the earthquake risk was thought to be minimal, now find themselves at the top of the NRC's danger list.
Because the chance of quakes has been revised. One plant's risk was reduced, but most went up.
The chance of serious damage from a quake ranges from Indian Point's 1 chance in 10,000 each year, a relatively higher risk, to the Callaway nuclear plant in Fulton, Mo., where the NRC set the lowest risk, 1 chance in 500,000 each year.
I checked some drainage design for that plant, where I discovered the concept of PMP - Probable Maximum Precipitation. Culverts weren't designed for PMP, but we had to know where the water would go.
Posted by: Bobby || 03/18/2011 06:59 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6470 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The real risk to US nuclear power plants is age and over-regulation. Exposure to radiation over time tends to make a lot of the materials in the plants brittle, so they are supposed to have finite lifespans of about 30-50 years.

However, those lifespans are invariably extended many times over. And while the plants may still look good, appearances can be deceiving.

But a much worse problem is how plant construction and maintenance are hopelessly micromanaged by the DOE.

One horror story that came out of the Palo Verde plant was how after each individual pipe weld, a federal inspector would have to inspect it, which would take a few hours.

But the professional welders would be ordered to "look busy", so would weld, and re-weld, welded joints. This is a major no-no, as it significantly weakens the joint.

Even with sky high wages, a lot of these professional workmen would quit, because they couldn't stand their quality work being ruined by micromanagement.

Back in '92, there was an infamous DOE memorandum (.pdf file) about the process required for changing an emergency light bulb at a decommissioned nuclear facility.

It was so ridiculous that even Al Gore thought it was stupid.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/18/2011 10:06 Comments || Top||

#2  The New Madrid quakes of 1811-1812 were strongly felt over 130,000 square kilometers (50,000 square miles), and moderately across nearly 3 million square kilometers (1 million square miles), spreading through midwestern bedrock while still a territory. The historic 1906 San Francisco earthquake, by comparison, was felt moderately 16,000 square kilometers (6,000 square miles). It actually caused the Mississippi to flow backwards, terrifying the Indians, and while concentrated in MO, it was felt all the way to Boston and Maine and westward into Nebraska. If a quake of this magnitude happened today, with the populated cities and nuclear power plants in this region, the destruction would truly be the US' Armageddon. That said, I still feel living in the midwest to be the safest region possible and only spend a couple of bucks on Powerball ;)

Posted by: Lumpy Elmoluck5091 || 03/18/2011 11:46 Comments || Top||

#3  Peter Bradford, former NRC member, states on this video that this study will have to be revised in light of the Japanese quake and tsunami. He says that study was written based on earthquakes only, with the greatest scores given to those near high population zones.


For those who don't know,California is on the ring of fire and its nuclear plants are on the beach of the Pacific Ocean. In addition, if San Onofre had a problem there would be over 7 million people from the local area trying to evacuate all at once. Good luck with that.

The biggest issue is that the CA nuclear plants have been designed for a magnitude seven earthquake, which is clearly not designed robustly enough for California.
Posted by: Black Charlie Chinemble5313 || 03/18/2011 12:48 Comments || Top||

#4  And the CA plants have not been designed at all for a quake and tsunami occurring as part of the same disaster.
Posted by: Black Charlie Chinemble5313 || 03/18/2011 12:51 Comments || Top||

#5  I wonder how a Yellowstone supervolcanic eruption would affect US nuke plants? As if it mattered.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 03/18/2011 15:36 Comments || Top||

#6  So what would you think of any engineer who designed an (extremely unforgiving) nuclear power facility for a 7.0 earthquake in CA (which includes the safety factor), when the list of great earthquakes in the US looks like this:


Personally, I'd call them nuts. It's not like a big earthquake is a fantasy occurrence.
Posted by: Black Charlie Chinemble5313 || 03/18/2011 16:08 Comments || Top||

#7  And take a look at the Cascadia Subduction Zone quake:

Cascadia Subduction Zone
1700 01 26
Magnitude ~9

This earthquake, the largest known to have occurred in the "lower 48" United States, rocked Cascadia, a region 600 miles long that includes northern California, Oregon, Washington, and southern British Columbia. The earthquake set off a tsunami that not only struck Cascadia's Pacific coast, but also crossed the Pacific Ocean to Japan, where it damaged coastal villages. Written records of the damage in Japan pinpoint the earthquake to the evening of January 26, 1700.

Posted by: Black Charlie Chinemble5313 || 03/18/2011 16:11 Comments || Top||

Southeast Asia
Laos communists to tussle over China-Vietnam role
[Straits Times] THE ruling communist party of Laos opened its five-yearly congress on Thursday, an event analysts say will see a power struggle between rival pro-Vietnam and China camps.

Red banners are on display throughout the capital Vientiane, where 576 delegates of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP) are gathered until March 21 to choose members of the ruling Politburo, according to state media.

Representing more than 191,700 party members, delegates are to decide who will take the key post of general secretary, currently occupied by 75-year-old Choummaly Sayasone, who is expected to stay in the job.

The congress - described by the Vientiane Times as 'the most significant event in the country's political life' - is the traditional venue for the redistribution of powers.

But in a surprise move in December, Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh quit to be replaced by National Assembly president Thongsing Thammavon.

Analysts say his appointment points to a realignment of power in favour of the party's pro-Vietnamese factions and those wary of major Chinese investments pouring into the country.
Posted by: Fred || 03/18/2011 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6463 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I can imagine that it is very easy to stir up distrust of the Chinese, as they are pushing outward in about every direction, and have long yearned to move South.

It was a major bit of intel when a US POW in North Vietnam noted a purge of Chinese, because it indicated a strong shift towards Russia. He and his buddies went to lengths to bust him out so that he could deliver that news to our side.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/18/2011 10:16 Comments || Top||

Iran launchs a space capsule designed to carry a live monkey
Posted by: Water Modem || 03/18/2011 13:53 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6476 views] Top|| File under:

#1  designed to carry a live monkey

OK, raise your hands. When you read that, how many of you thought of Ahmadinejad?

(yeah, it is an ad hominid attack. sue me!)
Posted by: SteveS || 03/18/2011 14:10 Comments || Top||

#2  Send up the organ grinder too .. aka Kohmani
Posted by: Oscar || 03/18/2011 14:46 Comments || Top||

#3  What the hell? Are you trying to piss of the aliens?
Posted by: CrazyFool || 03/18/2011 16:03 Comments || Top||

#4  So now they're only, what, fifty years behind?
Posted by: tu3031 || 03/18/2011 16:03 Comments || Top||

#5  Maybe they're getting ready to fire nutjob.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/18/2011 16:29 Comments || Top||

#6  Or send him into space.
Posted by: JohnQC || 03/18/2011 16:58 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Culture Wars
PBS NewsHour: Clinton Announces State Department to Secede from Administration
Come on, we can dream, can't we....?
Posted by: Uncle Phester || 03/18/2011 21:04 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6473 views] Top|| File under:

Federal Judge Permits Use Of Taxpayer Money To Fund And Promote Sharia-Compliant Financing (SCF)
Last week, Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff, a federal district court judge in Michigan, dismissed a constitutional challenge to the U.S. Government’s bailout of AIG, which used over a hundred million dollars in federal tax money to support Islamic religious indoctrination through the funding and promotion of Sharia-compliant financing (SCF).

SCF is financing that follows the dictates of Islamic law. The challenge was brought by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and co-counsel David Yerushalmi, on behalf of Kevin Murray, a Marine Corps veteran of the Iraqi War.

TMLC filed a notice of appeal immediately after the ruling and will be seeking review of the decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of TMLC, commented: “Judge Zatkoff’s ruling allows for oil–rich Muslim countries to plant the flag of Islam on American soil.

"His ruling ignored the uncontested opinions of several Sharia experts and AIG’s own website, which trumpeted Sharia-compliant financing as promoting the law of the Prophet Mohammed and as an ‘ethical product,’ and a ‘new way of life.’

"His ruling ignored AIG’s use of a foreign Islamic advisory board to control investing in accordance with Islamic law."
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/18/2011 11:58 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6465 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Thank you black robed tyrants for furthering the loss of our freedoms.

Imagine the outcry and lawsuits if this was a Christian organization.

Separation of Church and State only applies to what the liberals want apparently.
Posted by: DarthVader || 03/18/2011 12:50 Comments || Top||

#2  You know, at some point we'll have to start removing these people from the bench. I don't care about how that gets done.

At what point do we chuck the pretense out and just say to hell with it. That's what the Left does. Time for them to be on the receiving end of their own crap for a change.
Posted by: Secret Asian Man || 03/18/2011 18:02 Comments || Top||

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Fri 2011-03-18
  Libya declares ceasefire after UN resolution
Thu 2011-03-17
  Bahrain forces launch crackdown on protesters
Wed 2011-03-16
  UNSC Introduces No-Fly Zone Draft Resolution
Tue 2011-03-15
  Gaddafi army penetrates rebel areas
Mon 2011-03-14
  Libya: the rebels ready to defend Ajdabiya
Sun 2011-03-13
  Libyan troops 'force rebels out of Brega'
Sat 2011-03-12
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Fri 2011-03-11
  Rebel forces retreat from Ras Lanuf
Thu 2011-03-10
  Libya no-fly zone a UN decision, "not US": Clinton
Wed 2011-03-09
  OIC rejects military action on Libya
Tue 2011-03-08
  Gaddafi sends negotiators to Benghazi
Mon 2011-03-07
  National Libyan Council to seek recognition
Sun 2011-03-06
  Gaddafi forces fight to seize Zawiyah, dozens killed
Sat 2011-03-05
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