Canada’s northern communities not ready for meltdown

Canada’s northern communities are unprepared to cope with the threat that climate change poses to their roads, buildings and other infrastructure, a new report from the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy says.

Climate change is moving fastest in Arctic areas, requiring Canada to be a world leader in adaptation practices, more than we had even contemplated,” the group’s chairperson said in a news release.

The independent federal government agency made 16 recommendations, saying a comprehensive effort will be needed to help deal with climate change effects such as degrading permafrost, melting ice roads, storms surges and coastal erosion…

Some of the group’s suggestions include:

updating construction and engineering codes
providing better weather information
insurance system changes
new infrastructure built to withstand climate change

Way too logical.

The report says some of climate-change effects on the North include winter roads melting early, forcing communities to airlift supplies; melting permafrost destabilizing buildings and airport runways; increased snowfall adding additional stress to buildings; and, storm surges putting communities at risk.

Of course, you could turn over advisement to Sarah Palin and her peers in Alaska – who think real freedom lies in having no building codes whatsoever.

Mumbai — one year later


Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Mumbai held tearful memorials and police staged a show of strength on Thursday as India’s financial hub marked the first anniversary of militant raids that killed 166 people and ratcheted up tensions with Pakistan.

While emotionals onlookers waved Indian flags and banners with slogans such as “End The Violence,” police commandoes with new weapons and armored cars tracked the route the 10 gunmen took for an attack that stunned the country.

Other residents lit candles outside a Jewish center, one of several sites from luxury hotels to the city’s biggest railway station, that were targeted by the Pakistan-based militants in a rampage lasting three days.

At the Trident hotel, one of the targets, chefs and laundry boys gathered to remember the attacks. Outside, a black granite column read: “In memory of our guests and our staff.” A wreath of white lilies lay in front next to a glass case with burning candles.

“We just wanted to show our support and show that we care,” said Subir Kumar Singh, who was leaving a written message on a banner outside the Leopold cafe, a popular tourist spot that still has bullet marks from the attacks.

Someday, religions will no longer honor murder. Or nationalism rooted in religion.

Legal again to lie – “Of course, I want to get married” – for sex!

A South Korean court Thursday overturned a 1953 law punishing men for making false promises of marriage to have sex with women.

The Constitutional Court ruled 6-3 the law discriminated against men and infringed on women’s competence. The law treated women like “infants” and violated the government’s “constitutional obligation” to treat men and women equally under the law, the court ruled.

The law had punished men convicted of coercing women to have sex after promising marriage with prison sentences up to two years or fines up to $4,300.

The ruling followed a petition by a South Korean man, identified only as “Lim,” who was indicted for having sex with a female coworker on four occasions under the fraudulent promise of marriage.

Lim argued the criminal law was outdated and violated his female partner’s sexual rights as well as his own right to pursue happiness…

The Ministry of Gender Equality submitted a written opinion to the court saying it considered the law discriminatory against men and infringed on women’s sexual rights.

The Ministry of Gender Equality?

Whoo-Hoo! What if we had one of those in the good old USA?

It will never happen, of course. It’s against God’s will. Another opportunist lie.

CIA Manual of magic tricks from the Cold War era

A CIA manual instructing US agents on the use of magic tricks during the Cold War has gone on sale.

It was written in 1953 by magician John Mulholland for a fee of $3,000 – considerable at the time. It includes deceptions such as spiking drinks, pocketing small objects and tying shoelaces to communicate in code.

The CIA ordered copies destroyed in the 1970s, but one survived. It has been republished as The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception…

In the foreword, deputy CIA director John McLaughlin writes that “magic and espionage are kindred spirits“.

So are the politics of religion and the absurd power of patriotism.

Hong Kong police trying to trace Facebook suicide group

Police in Hong Kong are trying to trace members of a group on the social networking site Facebook which appeared to call for a mass suicide.

Nearly 190 people joined group, which allegedly urged them to kill themselves on 21 December, said Chinese media.

Attention was first drawn to the site by a student who told social workers about it after attempting suicide.

The South China Morning Post said the person who started the group had written that it was “meant to be an inside joke”, where people talked humorously about ways to take their lives.
But some of the 188 people who joined it had reportedly written posts in which they shared possible suicide methods and asked for people to join them in dying.

The group has been since taken down but police said they were trying to contact all members and its creator…

Chinese state media reported that photographs had been posted on the site of a female member of the group attempting to kill herself at school.

If we were to make jokes about a topic like this – and I guess pretty much anything is always a potential topic for a joke – I guess I’d try to set up a site for TeaBaggers to commit mass suicide at a Sarah Palin rally.

Nah. Too bad that suicide is still an acceptable solution to emotional and sociological quandaries for religious cultures. Sad.

Autistic man jailed with coerced confession gets $340K


Ozem Goldwire forced to confess to murdering his sister, Sherika

The city will pay $340,000 to an autistic Brooklyn man railroaded by NYPD detectives into falsely confessing to murdering his sister.

Ozem Goldwire spent more than a year in prison for the January 2006 slaying of his sister, Sherika, before he was exonerated by prosecutors in the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.

“This was a terrible, terrible injustice,” said lawyer Gerald Allen, who filed a lawsuit on behalf of Goldwire in Brooklyn Federal Court.

Goldwire was subjected to 21 hours of interrogation at the 73rd Precinct by detectives who screamed, cursed and shoved him. They also accused him of having sex with his sister, according to the suit.

Warned that he wouldn’t be released if he did not confess, Goldwire wrote a statement claiming he strangled his sister because she refused to lower the volume on the TV…

Supreme Court Justice Gustin Reichbach threw out the charges against Goldwire, describing the circumstances as “the perfect storm for false confession.”

At least one of the corrupt coppers involved in this suit – cost the city on another one a few years back. Still around. Still a detective.

Doesn’t have to be, you know. I’ve known many more good cops, caring folks who became cops to make a difference. I had an uncle on the NYPD who fit that mold.

I’ve known a couple of sleazy gits who shouldn’t have been allowed to take the test to get into cadet training. But, that’s part of the political process, sometimes. Maybe – in addition to separation of church from state – we should have separation of politicians from police?

‘Copenhagen Diagnosis’ offers a grim update on climate science

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—the world’s foremost body for weighing and assessing climate science—received a kick in the pants today from members who say the climate situation is much worse than the IPCC has so far reported.

Twenty-six climatologists—including 14 IPCC members—have released a startling update to the panel’s work, reporting that sea levels could rise and methane-laden arctic permafrost could melt much sooner than the panel had anticipated.

“The Copenhagen Diagnosis: Updating the World on the Latest Climate Science” is not an official IPCC report; it’s a summary of the hundreds of peer-reviewed research papers that have been published since the IPCC’s last assessment. It was released now to fill the long gap in between official IPCC reports—the last was released in 2007, but the drafting text is more than three years old, and the next isn’t scheduled until 2013. It was also timed to the Copenhagen climate talks, of course.

The essence of the new report is that things are grimmer than the IPCC has reported. And it’s not like the panel has been painting a rosy picture—its 2007 report concluded that the warming-induced melting of the Greenland ice sheet could create significant sea-level rise in this century. IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri said at the time, “If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.”

RTFA. Conspiracy bloggers and let’s pretend-skeptics all avoid any reading matter that contains the results of peer-reviewed science. They will not have gotten more than 2 paragraphs into this news article, much less the report at root-level.

The full report is available over here.