As any geologist will tell you, it's a bad idea to put houses on the southeast side of the Big Island of Hawaii, where active lava flows have been moving since 1984, resulting in the destruction of one entire subdivision, the Royal Gardens.
"...her premiums are skyrocketing now even though her neighborhood hasn't seen new lava since 1790. 'I just keep looking and looking at these maps and (they don't) make any sense.'"
"What would happen if a freak solar event sterilized the people on the half of the earth that happened to be facing the sun?"
Historians note that the recent events in Iran are not the first time that social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook have played a part in major world revolutions.
GeorgeWashto69: Lol, their totally going 2 sign.
GeorgeWashto69: sign some Dec of Indentpence. 2 booring to 2 read
LexHam: @Jim, dude, ware R u? we're signnng the Declaration now. get yer ass in here.
FrankBen29: Yo dogz, were U all be at? were dun signing
JimMad14: lol, missd it
GeorgeWashto69: wutz it say?
LexHam: dude, we were so stoned when we wrote it
FrankBen29: total 4:20
St. Petersburg, 1917
VladLen: lol@JoseStalin! dat tsarina skank is a total ho
HotToTrotsky8: i'd tap dat ass
JoseStalin: i kno
VladLen: bitter cold Russian winter make nip hard
HotToTrotsky8: what is hedlight?
JoseStalin: lol@Trot. what R U, a peasant serf?
VladLen: lol@Trot, dude seriously, U need to get out more. Y dunt u come to Petrograd & hang wid us?
HotToTrotsky8: I dunno. I iz chillin were i iz at
JoseStalin: dude, totally come hang wid us.
HotToTrosky8: iz der anything 2 do thare?
VladLen: you know, fight the Tsar. foment demagoguery. seize means of production.
JoseStalin: totally easy to get the proletariat pissed off.
HotToTrotsky8: I dunno. Maybe I'll get a chance to come that way around November.
Twenty years ago today, in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre, one anonymous man stood in a street, alone and unarmed, before a column of approaching tanks. We don't know what he had witnessed in the previous day, when the student-led, pro-democracy revolution taking place in Tiananmen was put down by indiscriminate machine gun fire into crowds and the use of tanks as steamrollers to crush people. Almost certainly the man had seen tanks rolling full speed into the crowds of protestors.
According to the New York Times:
"President Obama said Wednesday that he was receptive to Congressional proposals that would require Americans to have health insurance and oblige employers to share in the cost. But he said there should be exemptions for people who cannot afford insurance and for small businesses in general.
Despite the panoply of problems facing the new president, he has rightly decreed that health care must, because of its tremendous costs to businesses and productivity, not be deferred while other, seemingly-more urgent problems are addressed. This is the correct, long-term thinking that we need.
However, as the quote above reveals, President Obama may be willing to settle for something less than a true fix for the health care crisis. Such a half-measure at this time would be a tragic decision.
Our health care system is deeply broken. The majority of Americans favor a nationalized, single-payer system. The benefits of such a system, to both individuals, families, and businesses, are manifest and undeniable. To enact something less than full, universal, simplified health care would squander this unique moment in American history where, for the first time since Truman, Americans seem ready to join the rest of the civilized world in terms of caring for its citizens.
"Requiring" individuals who are uninsured to purchase insurance is the wrong approach. This will be a crushing burden on the young, the unmarried, and those just starting out in life. Imagine barely scraping by, barely paying the bills, then suddenly being saddled with a new monthly premium bill in the range, depending on one's health, of $500-$700. Few uninsured individuals will be able to make an adjustment of that magnitude. Under this plan, however, those who cannot afford this new bill will be outlaws and subject to punishment. This is no way to reform health care.
Allowing exemptions for small businesses and those who cannot afford coverage is essentially no change from the present problem. Right now everyone is technically free to buy insurance; in reality, pre-existing conditions and high premiums are an insurmountable barrier for many.
The burden of premiums is particularly harsh on small businesses. The majority of jobs in America, and what will be the majority of new jobs if/when an economic recovery occurs, will be in small businesses. So rather than simply sweeping small businesses and individuals under the rug, these are the primary issues of health care reform.
If the president allows these groups to fall through the cracks of health care reform, if "reform" somehow bypasses the very groups it most needs to address, then this hollow health care fix will be a lasting shame to the Obama legacy.
America needs and wants not simply a larger bandaid, but radical surgery to extract the cancer that is rotting our economy.
Vega has posted a set of Richard Feynman lectures at http://www.vega.org.uk/video/subseries/8.
Feynman, one of the great scientific geniuses of all time, also had an remarkable talent for explaining the complex to layman. Well worth a view.
Elie Wiesel has known horrors none of us can imagine. Through his life's work and especially books such as Night, those of us born post-Holocaust can perhaps achieve some measure of understanding about that darkest moment in humankind's history. Wiesel, and his fellow survivor Primo Levi, bear un-silenceable witness to unspeakable crimes.
Another crime has just occured. Wiesel has lost his entire life's savings, and all the money of his Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, in the Bernie Madoff scandal. Instead of investing his client's money, Madoff spent it in a Ponzi scheme. The money is gone.
Surely many of Madoff's clients are equally hurt, but the great injustice here is the loss of funds for the Foundation for Humanity. Their important work in Darfur is a necessary reminder for the world that genocide is happening right now, this very day, far away from the world's attention. Everyone who feels outrage over the possibility of the Foundation for Humanity closing because of the greed of one man should donate now, in order to demonstrate that Madoff's malice cannot snuff out Wiesel's good work.
Last year a mentally-disturbed Holocaust denier--a redundancy if ever there were one--attacked Wiesel at a hotel in San Francisco.
Yet I suspect that despite being physically attacked at an advanced age, despite being left penniless in the wake of Madoff's obscene betrayal, Elie Wiesel--winner of the Nobel Prize and one of the most influential persons of the 20th century--has a sense of perspective about these hardships that few of us will ever have. He knows just how bad things can really become.
In my years of teaching, I've come across many students who were creationists. I've even come across one who outright refused to believe in plate tectonics. But this video shows someone even crazier:
It's hard to know where to start with such extreme anti-scientific craziness.