Is Palin’s visit to Iraq another McCain campaign lie?

Sarah Palin in Iraq? Kuwait? O.K. – Alaska…

Aides to Gov. Sarah Palin are scrambling to explain details of her only trip outside North America — which, according to a new report, did not include Iraq, as the McCain-Palin campaign had initially claimed.

Palin made an official visit to see Alaskan troops in Kuwait in July of 2007. There, she made a stop at a border crossing with Iraq, but did not actually visit the country, according to a new report in the Boston Globe.

Earlier, McCain aides had said that Palin visited Iraq, and expressed indignation at questions about her slim foreign travel.

The campaign also said she had been to Ireland; that turned out to have been a refueling stop.

Of course, the average Bush supporter – which now means McCain supporter – doesn’t get their undies bunched over what goes on in furrin countries.

Don’t let facts spoil a good story about dissent and climate change


Captain Cook fulfilling his original job description

Here is a cautionary tale for anyone working in research. “Captain Cook and Lord Nelson seem unlikely figureheads in the fight against climate change alarmists,” said the Sun. “Lord Nelson and Captain Cook’s ship logs question climate change theories,” announced the Telegraph. Oh that’s handy. So perhaps we can just keep on burning oil regardless then? “The ships’ logs of great maritime figures such as Lord Nelson and Captain Cook have cast new light on climate change by suggesting that global warming may not be an entirely man-made phenomenon.”

I spoke to Dennis Wheeler, a geographer at Sunderland University and the man whose research triggered this coverage. Is he a leading figure in “the fight against climate change alarmists”?

No. “But now I’ve had emails from cranks around the world thinking I’m some kind of anti-global warming conspiracy theorist and a friend to them. I’m most certainly not. The newspapers grossly and crassly misrepresented everything we are doing.”
Continue reading

24 dead in the latest massacre in Mexico

Mexican police found 24 bodies dumped outside a small town near the capital in one of the most grisly discoveries yet in a rash of recent drug gang killings. The victims, left on grassy wasteland close to the town of San Pedro Atlapulco in the State of Mexico, had their hands tied and had been shot in the head, local police told Reuters. The method of execution is common among Mexico’s drug gangs.

Mexico has been blighted by a steady rise in brutal drug gang murders ever since President Felipe Calderon deployed the army to crush smuggling cartels in late 2006. A fresh spurt in violent killings has shaken the nation in recent weeks.

The latest victims were dumped a few paces from a road that runs through a rundown rural area about an hour’s drive from Mexico City. Mexican media said they were blindfolded and their bodies showed torture marks.

August, the bloodiest month of the drug war, saw around 450 people killed, mostly rival gang members or police officers, including 11 people believed to have been decapitated by Gulf cartel hitmen who left their headless corpses piled up near the southern city of Merida.

Mexico is the easiest foreign country for my family to visit – and don’t. It’s just down the road a piece from where we live. I think I’d probably travel halfway round the world before visiting Mexico…

Until – and unless – they bring an end to corruption and gang rule.

Integrated circuit is 50 years old

Texas Instruments commemorated the 50th anniversary of the integrated circuit with the opening of Kilby Labs, honoring Jack Kilby, the Nobel-prize-winning inventor of the seminal electronic device.

In 1958 as a new TI employee, Kilby was forced to work during the traditional company summer vacation and built the first integrated circuit.

Kilby won the inventor’s “Triple Crown“: the Nobel Prize in physics, the National Medal of Science, and the National Medal of Technology and held more than 60 patents including a patent for the portable electronic calculator, which TI invented in 1967.

The first IC was crude: a sliver of germanium with protruding wires glued to a glass slide (see image). When Kilby applied electricity to the circuit, “an unending sine wave undulated across his oscilloscope screen. In that instant…He had successfully integrated all of the parts of an electronic circuit onto a single device made from the same semiconductor material,” according to a description on TI’s Web site.

Always worth remembering a bit more of how we all arrived at this place in cyberhistory. Jack Kilby was one of the sharper geeks.

Pentagon scraps air-tanker bid process until after the election

The U.S. Defense Department has ended for now a $35 billion transatlantic aerial-refueling competition, handing a nagging seven-year headache to the next administration and boosting Boeing’s hopes to keep Airbus planes out of the Air Force fleet…

The Air Force in February awarded the $35 billion, 179-plane program to a team of Northrop and Europe’s EADS, parent of Boeing commercial archrival Airbus.

After Boeing protested its loss on procedural grounds, a congressional umpire found the Air Force made “significant errors” in evaluating the rival bids…

Boeing, sole supplier of tankers to the U.S. Air Force for 50 years, is seeking to curb EADS’ penetration of the rich U.S. military market. Also at stake are EADS plans to move production of A330 freighters from France to Alabama, partly to cash in on exchange rate fluctuations.

The Air Force calls acquiring new tankers its No. 1 acquisition priority. The new fleet would phase out Boeing-built KC-135 tankers, which have an average age of 47 years. Tankers are used to refuel other planes in mid-air, a critical component of projecting U.S. power around the globe.

Obviously, the politics are severe enough that even the hacks in the Pentagon are divided over spending taxpayer dollars. Divided, that is, over where to spend it. Not on the spending itself.

Perish the fracking thought that we should develop a standard – stick to it – and pick the bidding firm which best matches the standard for quality and price. That would be unAmerican.

Researchers build nano capsules to target and destroy tumors

Scientists have developed nanometer-sized ‘cargo ships’ that can sail throughout the body via the bloodstream without immediate detection from the body’s immune radar system and ferry their cargo of anti-cancer drugs and markers into tumors that might otherwise go untreated or undetected.

Scientists at UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara and MIT report that their nano-cargo-ship system integrates therapeutic and diagnostic functions into a single device that avoids rapid removal by the body’s natural immune system.
Continue reading

Lieberman saves YouTube from terrorist plots

“Remember to remind George – Iran is the one we invade after the election”

After breaking ranks with Democrats and endorsing John McCain for the presidency at the Republic National Convention, it seemed Senator Joseph Lieberman would be out of the news for a while. But now that he has hit the terrorists hard by making sure YouTube won’t host any terrorist training videos, Lieberman is back in the spotlight.

YouTube updated its ” Community Guidelines” yesterday with a notation telling terrorist cells that if any training videos are uploaded to the service, they’re at risk of violating the company’s Terms of Service and could face permanent expulsion from the site. That should put the fear of God into them.

In response, Lieberman circulated a press release saying that his four months of pressuring YouTube has finally paid off and because of his hard work, YouTube and US citizens are safer today.

Lieberman said in a statement, “I expect these stronger community guidelines to decrease the number of videos on YouTube produced by al-Qaeda and affiliated Islamist terrorist organizations.”

We can all sleep better tonight knowing that Fearless Joe is on the job.

Number of centenarians in Japan sets record

The number of Japanese people hitting the landmark age of 100 has reached record levels.

There are now 36,276 centenarians in the country – a rise of 4,000 on last year’s figure. Women make up the vast majority of those who are living past 100.

Japan has one of the world’s longest life expectancies, but there are concerns about the burden this is placing on society.

Only among people who consider the politics of money more important than anything else.

According to the latest figures, almost 20,000 people were set to turn 100 this year alone – receiving a congratulatory silver cup and letter from the prime minister.

The key to Japanese longevity has long been put down to a number of factors, including healthy diets, strong communities and excellent medical care.

Well, that should pretty much guarantee this is a non-event in the United States.