Teabagging – as practiced in India

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

A band of right-wing activists ransacked an Indian television station in the country’s financial hub of Mumbai in an assault their party said was an act of retaliation against the channel’s “bias” against their veteran leader…

“We are not denying it. They were angry,” said Sanjay Raut, a federal lawmaker from Shiv Sena. He accused the channel of insulting his party head, Bal Thackeray, a fiery Maharashtrian leader.

This brand of politics is flourishing in Mumbai for more than 40 years now. It’s a paradox in India’s democracy that these parties have always endorsed attacks at those who do not subscribe to their parochial, medieval thoughts. Targets have been Bollywood films, Valentine’s Day celebrations, non-Maharashtrians, and non-Hindus.”

Madeline Earp, Asia research associate for the Committee to Protect Journalists, said Hindu nationalists, and Shiv Sena in particular, have indeed been responsible for previous attacks, and such violence is part of a broader trend of impunity for attacks on journalists in India, including killings…

Earp said “it’s good to see local police are making arrests following this attack, because aggressive investigation and prosecution are desperately needed to protect Indian journalists from incidents like this one. ”

Of course, local and national TV stations in America needn’t have such fears.

Not that teabaggers aren’t loony enough to burn down a station. It’s just that our media wimps are too lame to ever do anything with enough backbone to provoke a lynch mob.

World’s ugliest buildings – Take 2

As many of you know, last year’s list of the “World’s Ugliest Buildings” not only made the front page of Yahoo.com, but caused quite the controversy in Boston where some took issue with our choice of Boston City Hall as the world’s ugliest building.

As comprehensive as the list was, there are still dozens of buildings out there that make us want to avert our eyes when we walk by, so with that in mind, we’ve compiled our 2nd Annual List of The World’s Ugliest Buildings! Enjoy!

From the merely unpleasant to the borderline criminal, ugly buildings somehow manage to pop up in even the prettiest cities. With this in mind, VirtualTourist.com has announced its 2nd Annual List of the “World’s Top 10 Ugly Buildings,” as decided by its members and editors. VirtualTourist.com general manager, Giampiero Ambrosi discusses the list’s significance: “Many of these buildings don’t have the warmth of an ice cube while others don’t even seem completed. Either way, they make for very interesting conversation.”

My personal best goes to #8, Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. I wish it would finish falling down.

Large Hadron Collider experiment back up and running

Physicists returned to their future on Friday. About 10 p.m. outside Geneva, scientists at CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research, succeeded in sending beams of protons clockwise around the 17-mile underground magnetic racetrack known as the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s biggest and most expensive physics experiment.

For physicists, the event was a milestone on the way back from disaster and the resumption of a 15-year, $9 billion quest to investigate laws and forces that prevailed when the universe was less than a trillionth of a second old…

The first time protons circled the collider, on Sept. 10, 2008, the event was celebrated with Champagne and midnight pajama parties around the world. But the festivities were cut short a few days later when an electrical connection between a pair of the collider’s giant superconducting electromagnets vaporized…

Physicists and engineers have spent the past year testing and making repairs. While they have not replaced all the faulty connections, they have patched things up enough to allow the collider to run at less than full speed…

CERN’s director, Rolf Heuer, said in a statement, “It’s great to see beam circulating in the LHC again,” but he and others cautioned that there was a long way to go before the collider started producing the physics it was designed for…

If all goes well, CERN says, the protons will start colliding at comparatively low energies in about a week.

Bravo! Have a much safer journey, this time, folks.

Poisonally, I’d initiate a chargeback against whoever did the faulty wiring. 🙂

The CRU hack, conspiracy theory and sophistry

As many of you will be aware, a large number of emails from the University of East Anglia webmail server were hacked recently (Despite some confusion generated by Anthony Watts, this has absolutely nothing to do with the Hadley Centre which is a completely separate institution). As people are also no doubt aware the breaking into of computers and releasing private information is illegal, and regardless of how they were obtained, posting private correspondence without permission is unethical. We therefore aren’t going to post any of the emails here. We were made aware of the existence of this archive last Tuesday morning when the hackers attempted to upload it to RealClimate, and we notified CRU of their possible security breach later that day…

Since emails are normally intended to be private, people writing them are, shall we say, somewhat freer in expressing themselves than they would in a public statement.

More interesting is what is not contained in the emails. There is no evidence of any worldwide conspiracy, no mention of George Soros nefariously funding climate research, no grand plan to ‘get rid of the MWP’, no admission that global warming is a hoax, no evidence of the falsifying of data, and no ‘marching orders’ from our socialist/communist/vegetarian overlords. The truly paranoid will put this down to the hackers also being in on the plot though.

Instead, there is a peek into how scientists actually interact and the conflicts show that the community is a far cry from the monolith that is sometimes imagined. People working constructively to improve joint publications; scientists who are friendly and agree on many of the big picture issues, disagreeing at times about details and engaging in ‘robust’ discussions; Scientists expressing frustration at the misrepresentation of their work in politicized arenas and complaining when media reports get it wrong; Scientists resenting the time they have to take out of their research to deal with over-hyped nonsense. None of this should be shocking.

It’s obvious that the noise-generating components of the blogosphere will generate a lot of noise about this. but it’s important to remember that science doesn’t work because people are polite at all times. Gravity isn’t a useful theory because Newton was a nice person. QED isn’t powerful because Feynman was respectful of other people around him. Science works because different groups go about trying to find the best approximations of the truth, and are generally very competitive about that. That the same scientists can still all agree on the wording of an IPCC chapter for instance is thus even more remarkable.

RTFA – please understand that the tempest in a teacup generated by bloggers committed to skepticism regardless of real data and sound science – is nothing more than that.

The saddest part for me is blogs and bloggers who pretend a commitment to science – but rely on conspiracy theory to keep up traffic.

My personal understanding of the worth of science versus religious, political and other corrupt philosophic commitments to obscuring progress in knowledge – has been consistent for over a half-century. I’m not about to change, now, just to grub out a few more page views.

Dumb crook of the week

A teenager who had been going door to door trying to sell marijuana early Thursday was arrested after he went to the residence of a Brownsville police officer, police said.

Anthony Carrazco, 19, was arrested at the officer’s apartment at approximately 3:30 a.m. when he tried to sell the officer three ounces of marijuana, said police spokesman Jimmy Manrrique. He was later charged with one count of possession of marijuana and one count of possession of a prohibited weapon.

The officer at the apartment found a 9mm handgun in Carrazco’s possession, said Manrrique. Because the apartment was located near a school zone, the charges were upgraded to state jail felonies, he added…

An intoxicated Carrazco went door to door looking for a buyer and when a man opened the door, he made the offer, police said.

“(Carrazco) asked him if he wanted to buy marijuana,” Manrrique said. “This person he approached is a Brownsville police officer. The officer said he would be right back and went to go get his badge and handcuffs.”

Maybe they’ll handle this Texas-style and let him enlist in the Army?

India plans for enormous increase in solar powered electricity

India has approved plans for a huge increase in the amount of electricity it generates from solar power.

It aims to boost solar output 1,000-fold over 12 years from its current negligible level. Its 20 gigawatt target would power several big cities.

The government wants to reduce India’s dependence on coal and boost the export industry for solar power equipment…

The $19 billion three-phased plan aims to boost solar power output across the country from close to zero to 20 gigawatts by 2022.

It is hugely ambitious and has been welcomed by the country’s renewable energy suppliers, although some say it is unclear where the money will come from, says the BBC’s technology correspondent Mark Gregory…

India hopes to build a solar power industry that matches early leaders in the sector such as China, Germany and Japan.

The more the merrier. The economies of scale kick in faster with global production.

Insulin directly linked to core body temperature

A team led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have discovered a direct link between insulin — a hormone long associated with metabolism and metabolic disorders such as diabetes — and core body temperature. While much research has been conducted on insulin since its discovery in the 1920s, this is the first time the hormone has been connected to the fundamental process of temperature regulation…

The scientists found that when insulin was injected directly into a specific area of the brain in rodents, core body temperature rose, metabolism increased, and brown adipose (fat) tissue was activated to release heat. The research team also found that these effects were dose-dependent — up to a point, the more insulin, the more these metabolic measures rose.

“Scientists have known for many years that insulin is involved in glucose regulation in tissues outside the brain,” said neurobiologist Manuel Sanchez-Alavez… “The connection to temperature regulation in the brain is new.”

In addition to suggesting a fresh perspective on diseases such as diabetes that involve the disruption of insulin pathways, the study adds to our understanding of core body temperature — the temperature of those parts of the body containing vital organs, namely the trunk and the head. Normally, core body temperature stays within a narrow range so that key enzymatic reactions can occur. When core body temperature goes outside this range for prolonged periods — higher as in fever, or lower as in hypothermia — the result is harm to the body…

“Our paper highlights the possibility that differences in core temperature may play a role in obesity and may represent a therapeutic area in future drug design,” added Olivia Osborn.