Sunday, January 30, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
A "Black Widow" suicide bomber planned a terrorist attack in central Moscow on New Year's Eve but was killed when an unexpected text message set off her bomb too early, according to Russian security sources.
The unnamed woman, who is thought to be part of the same group that struck Moscow's Domodedovo airport on Monday, intended to detonate a suicide belt near Red Square on New Year's Eve in an attack that could have killed hundreds.
Security sources believe a message from her mobile phone operator wishing her a happy new year received just hours before the planned attack triggered her suicide belt, killing her at a safe house.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
The threat of the Greenland ice sheet slipping ever faster into the sea because of warmer summers has been ruled out by a scientific study.
Until now, it was thought that increased melting could lubricate the ice sheet, causing it to sink ever faster into the sea. The issue was a key unknown in the landmark 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which pinned the blame for climate change firmly on greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.
PICTURE OF THE DAY:
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Duh. You really needed a study to know that?
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
A group of Belgian doctors are harvesting “high quality” organs from patients who have been euthanased. This is not a secret project, but one which they described openly at a conference organised by the Belgian Royal Medical Academy in December.
In a PowerPoint presentation, Dirk Ysebaert, Dirk Van Raemdonck, Michel Meurisse, of the University Hospitals Of Antwerp, Leuven And Liège, showed that about 20% of the 705 people who died through euthanasia (officially) in 2008 were suffering from neuromuscular disorders whose organs are relatively high quality for transplanting to other patients. This represents a useful pool of organs which could help to remedy a shortage of organs in Belgium (as everywhere else).
Monday, January 24, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Women's bare flesh in winter is a bigger turn-on for men, says a new research.
To reach the conclusion, a group of male subjects were asked, at different times of the year, to rate photos of women. They gave their highest scores in the winter and autumn, and their lowest scores in the summer.
Researchers at University of Wroclaw in Poland who carried out the experiment believe the seasonal variation may have an impact on mate choice and on levels of adultery.
There is no clear explanation for the variation, but the researchers say one theory is that fewer female bodies are on display in the winter, so the rarity makes them more attractive.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
ANOTHER great picture of the Tunisian protests (click to enlarge; it's worth it):
Sunday, January 16, 2011
PICTURE OF THE DAY: this looks like a Tea Party rally in Tunisia, doesn't it?
UPDATE. Welcome, Instapundit readers, make yourselves at home. Feel free to visit the main page for more and, why not, subscribe to the RSS feed. Come back soon!
Saturday, January 15, 2011
CHYRON EPIC FAIL or accurate description? You be the judge!
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Yoshihiko Takano and other researchers at the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan were in the process of creating a certain kind of superconductor by putting a compound in hot water and soaking it for hours. They also soaked the compound in a mixture of water and ethanol. It appears the process was going well, because the scientists decided to have a little party. The party included sake, whisky, various wines, shochu, and beer. At a certain point, the researchers decided to try soaking the compound in the many, many liquors they had on hand and seeing how they compared to the more conventional soaking liquids.
When they tested the resulting materials for superconductivity, they found that the ones soaked in commercial booze came out ahead.Must have been a hell of a party...
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Police in Spain and France arrested two suspected members of ETA on Tuesday, suggesting the Madrid government will keep up pressure on the violent Basque separatist group despite the latter's declaration of a permanent ceasefire.I never thought I'd say this but: well done, Zapatero.
Monday, January 10, 2011
The Basque separatist group ETA declared a permanent and internationally verifiable cease-fire Monday, calling it a step toward ending its decades-old fight for an independent state straddling northern Spain and southwest France.First of all, ETA can be described just as a separatist group only if you call al-Qaeda a religious, Boeing-flying group. Being separatist is a perfectly legitimate political option that can be pursued by peaceful means. But those guys don't do that. They have killed, maimed and injuried hundreds of people. What defines ETA, or al-Qaeda, is not their goals, but the means they use to pursue them: terrorism, instead of civilized political debate.
ETA's statement in the pro-independence newspaper Gara, which often serves as an ETA mouthpiece, made no mention of ETA dissolving or giving up its weapons as demanded by the Spanish government.
Second, it can't be denied this is good news, certainly better than if they hadn't made the statement (full text in Spanish, pdf). But I wouldn't bet too much on this declaration, as I haven't in the past. If they call for a "permanent and internationally verifiable cease-fire" without surrendering their weapons, the only verification would be counting the days until they change their minds and strike again (they are certainly weaker nowadays, but how you only need a gun or two to create mayhem, just ask Jared Loughner). Especially because in the next paragraph, ETA calls on Spain and France to stop repressing them. You have to consider that those bastards always call being sent to jail after murdering someone not a legitimate response from the rule of law to a crime, no. They call it "repression".
So considering this, and that they apparently don't have any intention to give up their weapons, they'll be reserving their right -- so to speak-- to strike again unless all prisoners are freed, which doesn't seem acceptable. Of course, freeing the prisoners needs to be considered at some point; it has been done before and it worked. Although not as a pre-condition, but the icing of the cake of a peace process that starts with the terrorists laying down their weapons first than anything else.
UPDATE. Minor edits for grammar.
Saturday, January 08, 2011
Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside.
From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for last night’s mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.
“We either live together, or we die together,” was the sloganeering genius of Mohamed El-Sawy, a Muslim arts tycoon whose cultural centre distributed flyers at churches in Cairo Thursday night, and who has been credited with first floating the “human shield” idea.
According to the piece, the material included chemical weapons precursors, as well as explosive used to detonate nuclear weapons (yes, they had been in store for years, but if they're deadly for al-Qaeda to have, wouldn't they be for Saddam too?)
So the Guardian doesn't note the irony that they're blaming Bush and the U.S. for the negligence of allowing al-Qaeda to steal... what wasn't supposed to be there in the first place. Haven't we been listening all these years that the was was "based on filthy lies"?
Less than a month after bailing out Ireland, and after a holiday lull in the markets that may have looked mistakenly like calming, the European Union is again struggling to persuade investors that it has the cash and the will to address the root cause of its travails: a growing debt burden that is strangling governments and their banks.Read the rest.
On Friday, the yield on Portuguese 10-year bonds hit a recent high of 7.1 percent, the cost of insuring the debt of banks in Italy and Spain rose sharply, and the euro hit a three-month low against the dollar.
Driving the recent market weakness was a report by the European Commission that proposed that holders of senior bank debt be required to take a loss when a bank fails.
European authorities took pains to say that the rules would not apply to the more than 1 trillion euros ($1.3 trillion) in current bank and sovereign debt in the 17-member euro zone.
But investors were not biting. They chose instead to interpret the report as a signal that they would be forced to take losses on their obligations.
It was hard to blame them.
Friday, January 07, 2011
Bacteria made quick work of the tons of methane that billowed into the Gulf of Mexico along with oil from the Deepwater Horizon blowout, clearing the natural gas from the waterway within months of its release, researchers reported Friday.
The federally funded field study, published online in the journal Science, offers peer-reviewed evidence that naturally occurring microbes in the Gulf devoured significant amounts of toxic chemicals in natural gas and oil spewing from the seafloor, which researchers had thought would persist in the region's water chemistry for years.
"Within a matter of months, the bacteria completely removed that methane,"said microbiologist David Valentine at the University of California at Santa Barbara. "The bacteria kicked on more effectively than we expected," he said.
The Monty Python team must have been thinking about the markets when they wrote their famous Spanish Inquisition skit.
Everything’s going swimmingly, no reason to suspect anything out of the ordinary and then, bam, in blows Torquemada and his malign torturers. Monty Python made it funny. But when investors get hit by their own version of the Inquisition, they’re unlikely to be left laughing.
Thursday, January 06, 2011
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Monday, January 03, 2011
OK, FOLKS: as we say in Spanish, "Año nuevo, vida nueva" (new year, new life). Well, no big changes actually, but I'm going to re-structure my workday considering my current commitments, and there are also some exciting possibilities I'm now negotiating which may mean bigger changes. This means that for the time being I'm going to put the daily overnight "While America Was Sleeping" in hiatus for a while until I sort everything out. I appreciate the interest that it's generated, but I don't have a clean chunk of time to prepare in the morning (EU time).
Does that mean that I'm not going to blog interesting news and developments? Of course, not. It's just that I'll be posting individual entries at leisure, as I find them during the day, instead of everything in one place as I did with the roundup. So if you liked what you saw, don't stop coming back. Keep checking the homepage, or even better, subscribe to the blog's RSS feed to read the new material