Long before we were building spacecraft, we were dreaming of them. And some of our earliest ideas about space vehicles were pretty fanciful, or even downright bizarre. Here are the most astonishing and baffling spaceship designs from before we had spaceships.
These are a lot of fun, from the always excellent io9.com.
concludes that the modest fall in unemployment is all about emigration. Actually, we can reach the same conclusion by going straight to employment data:
…But the repeated invocation of Ireland as a role model has gotten to be a sick joke.
Agree with Krugman here. Ireland is in no way an international economic success story. As well as employment levels staying static, as illustrated in Krugman’s chart, the middle classes are still very much living austere lifestyles. While people complain about the new property and water charges, the real killer over the last few years has been the Universal Social Charge. To be paid at rates of up to 7%, on top of income tax, it’s been painful.
Syria, and the increasing impact of foreign Islamist fighters, by Paul Rogers in his always excellent openDemocracy column:
All this means that the Syrian civil war has entered a new phase which essentially pitches the Alawi-dominated regime of Bashar al-Assad against Islamist paramilitaries, with the more secular elements of the rebellion becoming far less important. This in no way diminishes the proxy nature of the war but it is likely substantially to diminish support offered by western countries to the rebels, meaning that the role of Qatar and (especially) Saudi Arabia is becoming even more central to the war.
I don’t know how the civil war in Syria will play out in the end, though I don’t see al-Assad staying in power in the long term. However, I do fear a post war era dominated by Islamists.
Evidence that the security forces have once again used unwarranted live fire and other excessive force underlines the crucial need for police reform, said Amnesty International after a weekend of violence left 90 dead.
Security forces used live rounds and tear gas to disperse supporters of…
"On Monday, the US president, Barack Obama, indicated that Morsi had not yet lost his backing. "We don’t make those decisions just by counting the number of heads in a protest march but we do make decisions based on whether or not a government is listening to the opposition, maintaining a free press, maintaining freedom of assembly, not using violence or intimidation, conducting fair and free elections,” he said.”
Umm…if that’s the case, why did the US support Mubarack for so long?
Top Ten Differences Between White Terrorists and Others
1. White terrorists are called “gunmen.” What does that even mean? A person with a gun? Wouldn’t that be, like, everyone in the US? Other terrorists are called, like, “terrorists.”
2. White terrorists are “troubled loners.” Other terrorists are always suspected of being part of a global plot, even when they are obviously troubled loners.
3. Doing a study on the danger of white terrorists at the Department of Homeland Security will get you sidelined by angry white Congressmen. Doing studies on other kinds of terrorists is a guaranteed promotion.
4. The family of a white terrorist is interviewed, weeping as they wonder where he went wrong. The families of other terrorists are almost never interviewed.
5. White terrorists are part of a “fringe.” Other terrorists are apparently mainstream.
6. White terrorists are random events, like tornadoes. Other terrorists are long-running conspiracies.
7. White terrorists are never called “white.” But other terrorists are given ethnic affiliations.
8. Nobody thinks white terrorists are typical of white people. But other terrorists are considered paragons of their societies.
9. White terrorists are alcoholics, addicts or mentally ill. Other terrorists are apparently clean-living and perfectly sane.
10. There is nothing you can do about white terrorists. Gun control won’t stop them. No policy you could make, no government program, could possibly have an impact on them. But hundreds of billions of dollars must be spent on police and on the Department of Defense, and on TSA, which must virtually strip search 60 million people a year, to deal with other terrorists.
“Then they tortured. They tortured men at military bases and detention centers in Afghanistan and Iraq, in Guantánamo, and in U.S. Navy bases on American soil; they tortured men in secret CIA prisons set up across the globe specifically to terrorize and torture prisoners; they sent many more to countries with notoriously abusive regimes and asked them to do the torturing. At least twice, after the torturers themselves concluded there was no point to further abuse, Washington ordered that the prisoners be tortured some more.”—
Larry Siems, in Slate, details what he found as he read 140,000 declassified documents, which show how the US tortured prisoners in it’s captivity since 9/11.
The declassified documents came:
Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit—a lawsuit the New York Times has called“among the most successful in the history of public disclosure”—we now know much of what happened in those secret spaces the Bush administration created. Under that litigation, theAmerican Civil Liberties Union gathered nearly 140,000 formerly classified documents from the Department of Defense, the Justice Department, and the CIA that detail the abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody in the “War on Terror.”
Our highest government officials, up to and including President Bush, broke international and U.S. laws banning torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Worse, they made their subordinates in the military and civilian intelligence services break those laws for them.
When the men and women they asked to break those laws protested, knowing they could be prosecuted for torture, they pretended to rewrite the law. They commissioned legal opinions they said would shield those who carried out the abuses from being hauled into court, as the torture ban requires. “The law has been changed,” detainees around the world were told. “No rules apply.”