Destruction, followed by renewal

32 years ago Mount St. Helens , a volcano in Washington state, erupted in a cataclysmic explosion that devastated hundreds of square miles around it, killed 57 people and caused over a billion dollars worth of damage. Eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18th, 1980 (image courtesy of Wikipedia) A well-known idiom tells us that ‘Mother Nature abhors a vacuum’.  She’s certainly been working hard to repair the damage caused by the eruption.  Here’s a time-lapse video clip from NASA, showing Landsat images of the area over the 33-year period from shortly before the explosion until the present time. 

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Doofus Of The Day #603

Today’s award goes to a German fisher, father and fraud. A German dad who tried to impress his kids while on holiday by “catching” a couple of fish that he had actually bought at a supermarket – could face prison after being prosecuted for poaching. Alexander Donninger was on holiday in Austria with his family when he decided on the trick to make his kids think he was a top fisherman, newspaper Die Welt reported on Tuesday. He went to a supermarket in the Kufstein district and bought two frozen trout – already gutted and ready to cook – not

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Say, Bishops, about that plank in your collective eye . . .

I continue to be cynically annoyed by the antics of the US Catholic Bishops in response to the requirements imposed on them and the Catholic faithful by Obamacare (about which I’ve written before in some detail).  Here are the latest developments. Having organized 43 plaintiffs — including the archdioceses of New York and Washington and the University of Notre Dame — to file 12 different lawsuits against the Obama administration last Monday alleging the administration is violating the religious freedom of Catholics, the Catholic bishops of the United States are now preparing Catholics for what may be the most massive

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Politicians – undeleted?

I was amused to read about a new Internet service that’s sure to outrage politicians standing for election this year.  The Sunlight Foundation has started a new service.  Its press release announced today: Today we’re proud to unveil Politwoops, the only comprehensive collection of deleted tweets by U.S. politicians. From minor typos to major gaffes, Politwoops is now there to offer a searchable window into what they hoped you didn’t see. The project follows the official Twitter accounts of members of Congress, President Obama and the slew of presidential candidates to track whenever they delete a Tweet and record the

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Sex, politics and foreign policy

I’ve been reading (and find myself intrigued by) the latest edition of Foreign Policy magazine. When U.S. magazines devote special issues to sex, they are usually of the celebratory variety (see: Esquire, April 2012 edition; Cosmopolitan, every month). Suffice it to say that is not what we had in mind with Foreign Policy’s first-ever Sex Issue, which is dedicated instead to the consideration of how and why sex — in all the various meanings of the word — matters in shaping the world’s politics. Why? In Foreign Policy, the magazine and the subject, sex is too often the missing part

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The decay continues

News from around the world, both economic and military, continues to depress. 1.  China. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve frequently mentioned the growing concerns about China’s economy.  Now comes this news: Over the last two weeks, Chinese consumers of thermal coal and iron ore have been defaulting on their contracts, sending prices sharply down. The reason behind the cancellations is a hotly debated topic in the physical commodities market. Analysts and traders have put forward two radically different theories – with almost opposite implications to global commodities markets: either Chinese buyers do not need the raw materials because

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Sex and the single tortoise

I’m a tired puppy tonight.  I’ll put up some blog posts in the morning, when I’ve had enough sleep to bring one brain cell into approximate synchronization with another. Meanwhile, please amuse yourself with this very amusing video clip from the BBC.  On his eponymous TV show, Graham Norton asked David Attenborough to provide an impromptu commentary to the clip shown below.  The results were . . . ah . . . different.  That’s the word I was looking for – different. Peter

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It’s the Isle of Man two-wheel madness parade!

The Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) motorcycle races are held every year during the last week of May and the first week of June.  It’s one of the oldest – and also one of the most demanding and dangerous – motorcycle meets on the calendar.  Wikipedia notes: The future of the TT is always in doubt with regards to … safety, especially “Mad Sunday” when any member of the public can ride the mountain section of the course which is open one way from Ramsey to Douglas. The TT races are extremely dangerous because of the high speeds on

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That’s quite a pooch!

I was amazed to read of the endurance and loyalty displayed by a dog in China . . . but I’m sure I wasn’t nearly as amazed as those involved!  The Telegraph reports: When a team of Chinese cyclists on a 1,000 mile-long expedition from Chengdu to Tibet threw a stray dog a bone, they may not have thought they would attract a companion who would run with them for the entire length of their journey. The loyal stray, who has been named Xiao Sa, or Little Sa, followed the cyclists for 20 days, and has now become a sensation

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Doofus Of The Day #602

Today’s award goes to an unpopular driver in Poland. Disgruntled neighbours of joyrider Zbigniew Filo sought to put his driving days behind him when they somehow hoisted his souped-up vehicle atop a tree. Filo, 24, awoke to find his car missing, later locating it on top of a huge willow tree in Lubczyna, Poland. Locals have maintained a code of silence over who was responsible for the prank or how indeed the white Ford Escort ended up 20ft in the air, though one villager revealed that a crane had been borrowed for the night. Police spokesman Marta Pierko said: ‘We

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