Thursday, September 17, 2009

Scary News of the Day...

The White House will shelve Bush administration plans to build a missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, a move likely to cheer Moscow and roil the security debate in Europe.
The U.S. will base its decision on a determination that Iran's long-range missile program hasn't progressed as rapidly as previously estimated, reducing the threat to the continental U.S. and major European capitals, according to current and former U.S. officials.
The findings, expected to be completed as early as next week following a 60-day review ordered by President Barack Obama, would be a major reversal from the Bush administration, which pushed aggressively to begin construction of the Eastern European system before leaving office in January.
Not exactly what I wanted to read while drinking my morning tea.

By and large (and to my surprise), the Obama administration's foreign policy has been much like the previous administration's foreign policy – and I've been supportive of it.

This is a major departure.  With this move and other wimpy responses to Iran's belligerance, we've practically been begging them to make aggressive moves in both the Middle East and in Europe.  Once their nuclear capability is verified, I expect Iran to start experimenting with bullying tactics.  There's a long list of potential “first targets”: Turkey, Lebanon, Greece, Cyprus, and of course Israel.

But the really big question is this: how will Israel react to the U.S. visibly morphing into a laughable wimp in Iran's perception?  Will they unilaterally attack Iran?  My bet would be “yes”...

Biotech Violins – Better Than a Stradivarius?

The secret of the sweet sound of a Stradivarius violin is apparently the fungus in the wood:
Violins made by the Italian master Antonio Giacomo Stradivarius are regarded as being of unparalleled quality even today, with enthusiasts being prepared to pay millions for a single example. Stradivarius himself knew nothing of fungi which attack wood, but he received inadvertent help from the “Little Ice Age” which occurred from 1645 to 1715. During this period Central Europe suffered long winters and cool summers which caused trees to grow slowly and uniformly – ideal conditions in fact for producing wood with excellent acoustic qualities.

Horst Heger of the Osnabruck City Conservatory is convinced that the success of the “fungus violin” represents a revolution in the field of classical music. “In the future even talented young musicians will be able to afford a violin with the same tonal quality as an impossibly expensive Stradivarius,” he believes. In his opinion, the most important factor in determining the tone of a violin is the quality of the wood used in its manufacture. This has now been confirmed by the results of the blind test in Osnabruck. The fungal attack changes the cell structure of the wood, reducing its density and simultaneously increasing its homogeneity. “Compared to a conventional instrument, a violin made of wood treated with the fungus has a warmer, more rounded sound,” explains Francis Schwarze.

No, No, NO – Don't Break the Internet!

The Audacity of Hos...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Audacity of Hos
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Hurt myself laughing...