Teen burglar confesses. Bureaucrats refuse to let Sheriff arrest him!

A 14-year-old alleged serial burglar — whose friends even placed orders for specific items — told Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputies he “needs to be in jail” because he “feels a rush when he enters a home,” according to a police report…

So far, the boy has admitted to about 80 residential burglaries in the city and county of Santa Fe during the last year, as well as others in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho, Sheriff Greg Solano said. Preliminarily, it appears the boy — in conjunction with up to four other juveniles — stole approximately 40 flat-screen televisions, 30 guns, seven ounces of cocaine and $10,000 in cash, as well as an unspecified number of iPods and laptop computers, he said.

“It will easily be in the tens of thousands of dollars,” Solano said.

But despite the boy’s admissions of guilt, he has not been arrested and, thus, was not identified by the Sheriff’s Department. The Juvenile Probation Office declined to authorize the boy’s arrest because he didn’t score highly enough on the office’s point scale, which is used to determine if a juvenile should be incarcerated, Solano said.

“The point system is geared toward violent crime,” he said. “And they don’t consider burglary a violent crime.”

Solano, however, said he does consider burglary a violent crime because it can turn violent if a resident is home at the time of the intrusion. Also, burglary victims often feel violated, he said.

Asked if he thinks the boy will continue to break into houses, Solano said, “Yeah, I do.”

RTFA. Reflect on the loonies in charge of criminal justice for juveniles. Because apparently nothing will be done unless the little shit in question kills someone or is injured in the course of committing a crime.

Driving lesson on runway, pilot manages to avert crash

And he even missed the volcano on the way down…

A Philippine plane with 80 passengers aboard was seconds away from a crash when a man teaching his girlfriend to drive sped across the runway as the aircraft landed.

The Cebu Pacific plane briefly touched down at Legazpi airport in the central Philippines Saturday but took off again as the van being driven by the couple crossed the runway, the Philippine Star newspaper said.

The man is the son of a local aviation official, who has been ordered suspended from duty.

“It could have been a disaster if not for the presence of mind of a veteran pilot,” Legazpi Mayor Noel Rosal told the newspaper.


Red tape cut on offshore renewable energy

Personally, I don’t mind this view at all

With the aim of ending a regulatory turf war, U.S. government agencies have said they would work together to cut redtape and spur development of offshore renewable energy projects.

Under the agreement, the Interior Department will have jurisdiction over offshore wind and solar energy projects, while the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will oversee offshore projects that generate electricity from wave and tidal currents.

This agreement will help sweep aside red tape…our renewable energy is too important for bureaucratic turf battles to slow down our progress,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

President Barrack Obama has made developing alternative energy sources a centerpiece of his new administration but needs cooperation among a host of agencies to spur development and reach the goal of doubling renewable energy production over the next three years…

Staff at both agencies have been directed to develop a memorandum of understanding that formally spells out the process for issuing permits and licenses for offshore renewable energy projects.

Now, the fun can begin – dealing with vested interests that have neither understanding of modern priorities nor any willingness to step ahead of parochial boundaries.

Consuming just a wee bit less salt could mean fewer deaths

You all know this; but, it’s worth being reminded.


For every gram of salt that Americans reduce in their diets daily, a quarter of a million fewer new heart disease cases and over 200,000 fewer deaths would occur over a decade, researchers said… These results were derived from a validated computer-simulation of heart disease among U.S. adults.

“A very modest decrease in the amount of salt — hardly detectable in the taste of food — can have dramatic health benefits for the U.S.,” said Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, Ph.D., M.D., M.A.S., lead author of the study and an assistant professor of Medicine and of Epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco. “It was a surprise to see the magnitude of the impact on the population, given the very small reductions in salt that we were modeling.”

A 3-gram–a-day reduction in salt intake (about 1200 mg of sodium) would result in 6 percent fewer cases of new heart disease, 8 percent fewer heart attacks, and 3 percent fewer deaths. Even larger health benefits are projected for African Americans, who are more likely to have high blood pressure and whose blood pressure may be more sensitive to salt. Among African Americans, new heart disease cases would be reduced by 10 percent, heart attacks by 13 percent and deaths by 6 percent.

For years, ample evidence has linked salt intake to high blood pressure and heart disease. Yet, salt consumption among Americans has risen by 50 percent and blood pressure has risen by nearly the same amount since the 1970s.

It’s clear that we need to lower salt intake, but individuals find it hard to make substantial cuts because most salt comes from processed foods, not from the salt shaker,” Bibbins-Domingo said. “Our study suggests that the food industry and those who regulate it could contribute substantially to the health of the nation by achieving even small reductions in the amount of salt in these processed foods.”

I’m just being extra smug. My New Year’s Resolution was to dramatically cut back on salt. Not that I used an excessive amount – and I skip crap processed foods altogether; but, I love Maldon Sea Salt and there were a couple of favorite snacks where I did use it. And didn’t need to. Like putting a slice of ripe tomato on a thick slice of Mozzarella, drizzling it with a little extra virgin olive oil – and a pinch [sort of] of Maldon Sea Salt. Yum.

So, now I leave off the salt. Most of the time. 🙂

Economic downturn a gift for polka fans

The beer is flowing, the polka band is playing, and dancers are twirling across the dance floor. Blob’s Park lives again.

The popular Bavarian beer hall and weekend nightspot had closed its doors in 2007, the victim of an unlikely foe: progress. Developers, eager to build on the 400 acres of prime real estate in the bustling Baltimore/Washington, D.C., corridor, had purchased the 400 acres upon which the dance hall sat.

It was the end of an era for the farmland first owned by Max Blob, a German immigrant, who, among other things, helped found America’s first “Oktoberfest” 70 years ago…

Private developers are expected to build townhomes, condominiums and retail storefronts on the rolling hills of farmland where Blob’s Park stands. But that’s somewhere in the future. For now, the economic crisis gripping the country has played a role in the revival of Blob’s Park.

Eggrel spent five months renovating the hall, and in January 2009 he and his employees reopened the doors to the public. The customers who keep coming back to the hall week after week have as much fondness for the hall as the owner himself.

“Every week someone else comes up to me and thanks me for opening it back up,” Eggrel says.

Sounds like the kind of place I grew up next-door to. We went square dancing, polka dancing, round dancing every Saturday night.

The exercise didn’t do us any harm either.

Cisco Unified Computing – the hardware for Cloud Computing 2.0

This may stretch the geek attention span for my regular readers. I go all the way back to discussions of the semantics of programming languages in the early 1960’s. I’ve been online since 1983. I’m married to a banking IT maven. You get the idea…

Cisco Systems has announced its new blade server, first reported by us in March 2008, along with a Unified Computing strategy that converges storage, compute and networking into a single layer (thanks to virtualization technologies) that is managed by a specialized piece of software. Stacey has captured the intricate details of the news, while I have already posted about the imperative behind these moves.

This new comm-puting approach adopted by Cisco is unique, in that it is the first time a company is selling a single packaged offering so to speak. People have sold either storage related equipment, or network layer gear or just servers. So, what does Cisco’s announcement mean for existing vendors?

Prior to Cisco’s announcement, Sun Microsystems and eGenera, a Marlboro, Mass.-based early stage company have often talked about such a unified, network centric future. Even IBM takes a holistic view of the data center.

Cisco, by virtue of being a late comer to the market, has managed not only to lap them, but has also posed a serious challenge to two major blade server makers – Hewlett-Packard and Dell. You can put Rackable in this category as well, but it’s a small player compared to these behemoths. One of the main reasons these companies are at risk is because they have typically innovated on cost and performance metrics, not a whole 360-degree view of the changing data center infrastructure. Google, as a company, has reinvented data centers by building its own gear, and taking a holistic approach to the data centers.

RTFA. Click all the links. Knock yourself out.

Pakistan government relents and reinstates Chief Justice

Dancing lawyers!
Daylife/AP Photo

The Pakistani government has agreed to reinstate the independent-minded former chief justice of the Supreme Court, a stunning concession to the opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, who had been heading toward the capital in a convoy threatening to stage a mass protest over the issue after he broke free from house arrest at his residence near here.

The concession, broadcast on national television by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, came after a tumultuous weekend in Pakistani politics in which a dispute between President Asif Ali Zardari and Mr. Sharif escalated into a crisis that was destabilizing a nuclear-armed nation already under pressure from a growing Islamic insurgency and severe economic troubles.

The decision to restore the chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, came after calls to Mr. Zardari and Mr. Sharif, including from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, asking them to ease their differences…

In reaction to Mr. Zardari’s concession, Mr. Sharif said he would call off his protest and the planned sit-in in the capital. He said the restoration of the chief justice was a victory for Pakistan and a due but belated move by the president. After making his remarks in Gujranawala, he returned to his home in Raiwind, outside of Lahore…

A lawyers’ movement has agitated for Mr. Chaudhry’s return, and Mr. Sharif made Mr. Chaudhry, as a symbol of an independent judiciary, the centerpiece of his platform since his return to Pakistani politics from his exile in late 2007.

RTFA. Regardless of where you fit into support for a faction of Pakistan’s politics, the restoration of a central aspect of institutional law must be welcomed.

As on outsider – one whose only commitment is to democracy and peace, economic justice – this looks like one step forward. I hope it isn’t answered by two steps backwards from the forces dedicated to medieval solutions.

India’s potential, seen from the inside by Nandan Nilekani

Daylife/AP Photo by Aijaz Rahi

There are scores of books by well-known businessmen who pontificate about social, political and economic issues affecting a broad swath of humanity. Unfortunately, far too many of these books are exercises in self-promotion or revisionist history, and with thinly veiled ideological agendas.

“Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation” by Nandan Nilekani (Penguin Press, $29.95) is one of those rare books in which a businessman proves himself to be a capable expository writer, a balanced social and political commentator, and an innovative economic thinker.

Mr. Nilekani is a co-founder of Infosys Technologies, a business-process outsourcing company based in Bangalore. In the introduction to “Imagining India,” Thomas L. Friedman, the New York Times columnist, credits Mr. Nilekani with inspiring his best-selling book “The World Is Flat.”

“There are not a lot of executives around the world who are known simply by their first names,” Mr. Friedman writes. “Silicon Valley has ‘Steve’ — as in Jobs, Seattle has ‘Bill’ — as in Gates. Omaha has ‘Warren’ — as in Buffett. And Bangalore has ‘Nandan’ — as in Nilekani.”

Like its subject, “Imagining India” is vast and complicated. Its more than 500 pages contain a laundry list of topics, ranging from the influences of the British Raj, Nehru and Mahatma, Indira and Rajiv Gandhi to the intricacies of caste, class, region, religion, family planning, sanitation, urbanization, education, health care and information technology (Mr. Nilekani’s area of expertise).

The unifying theme is what the author calls an “idea-based approach” to meeting the present and future challenges facing the world’s largest and fastest-growing democracy…He provides us with a vividly realistic portrait of his native India, a nation with potential that may forever defy the imagination.

RTFA. Read the book. I will.

Spider-smuggler stopped in Germany


German customs officials have detained a man who was trying to smuggle more than 160 large trapdoor spiders into the country from Switzerland.

The Swiss driver was also carrying 45 boxes of cockroaches as food for his eight-legged cargo, they said.

The spiders, most of which were “as big as a fist“, were found wriggling around in boxes and plastic bags in his car.

The same man was stopped at the same place two years ago trying to bring some 1,000 spiders for sale at a fair.

“Of course, the officers didn’t open anything. They knew immediately what was going on,” a spokesman for the customs office told the AFP news agency.

Gives me an excuse to use one of my own photos. That’s the front door to a critter something like these – living in my back meadow.