Celebrate Valentine’s Day at a beachfront restaurant – your car floats away – wind picks up stones and smashes the windows!

The Army and emergency services have rescued 32 people trapped by surging flood water in a beachfront restaurant in Hampshire.

Windows at the Marine Restaurant were also smashed by shingle picked up by fierce winds in the town of Milford on Sea on Friday night.

Diner Cherry Waite said it “was a bit like the Titanic” as they had “all been enjoying themselves”…

Restaurant general manager Stephen Caunter said: “It was very scary, the windows were smashing one at a time on the ground floor and then started upstairs on the first floor.

“The whole restaurant upstairs is destroyed.

“Most of the cars in the car park are either gone or underwater or a write-off.

He said the restaurant would be closed for “a month or so” and that “the whole ground floor area was in water”.

“There was no panic, people were very good,” he said.

Some rescue vehicles were hit by debris but none of the diners were seriously injured…

Mrs Waite said she had been out for a Valentine’s meal when halfway through the dinner they were asked to vacate their seats “because the shingle was coming up and tides were knocking the downstairs windows“.

She said: “They suspected it would happen on the upper floor where we were, so we were moved further back into the restaurant.

“And then 10 minutes later we were all told ‘quick, we’ve all got to move to another room’.

That’s a heckuva wind. I’ve been through more than one hurricane with mature trees snapped like twigs. Never had to worry about shingle stones picked up off a beach and smashing in the windows.

Dubai solution to traffic problems? Ban poor from owning cars!

BugattiDubaiPolice

In many ways modern, Dubai seems like some sort of science-fiction utopia. It emerged from the Middle East’s desert seemingly overnight with some of the largest buildings in the world and it has police supercars patrolling the streets. It’s not all perfect, of course, and like many cities, it’s facing a mushrooming traffic issue. But officials may not deal with this growing congestion problem in a traditional way: the emirate is reportedly considering banning the poor from owning cars.

Hussain Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, reportedly suggested during a recent business forum in Germany that the emirate could impose motoring restrictions based on income. According to emirates-focused newspaper The National, “a salary limit scheme that would restrict car ownership to those earning above a certain monthly income” is among the options on the table. Lootah blames Dubai’s rapid rise in wealth for clogging the emirate’s roads with cars and dramatically increasing rush-hour traffic. “Everybody has their luxury life, but the capacity of our roads cannot take all of these cars without ownership laws,” he said in a speech…

…Dubai authorities are committed to reducing traffic congestion. They are also considering an increase on parking fees, fuel prices, toll road fees and insurance rates to further limit car ownership. As an alternative to driving, Dubai is attempting to improve its public transport system with a new tram system that began testing this week.

I hope no one passes this idea along to the Republican Party. They’ll be all over it like flies on dog poop. No doubt part of the platform in 2016 – endorsed by both Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.

Though the alternative offered to car ownership would probably be a discount on shoes.

Supreme Court Justice’ online game teaches students about civics

iCivics

Researchers at Baylor University studied the effectiveness of iCivics, a free online website founded by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor that teaches civics concepts using 19 educational games…

The study shows iCivics is an effective tool for teaching civics concepts to primary and middle school students, they wrote in The Journal of Social Studies Research.

More than 250 students in two school districts in Waco, Texas, played iCivics games for six weeks, twice a week for 30 minutes.

The students were tested before and after the study period, and completed journal entries on their experience.

Students’ scores on a test of civic knowledge significantly improved after playing iCivics for the sample as a whole,” Baylor curriculum and instruction Professor Karon LeCompte said.

While most of the students in the tested grade levels showed improvement in their civics education, younger students exhibited the biggest gains, the researchers said.

“Students in grades 5 and 8 showed improvement in test scores with eight-grade students scoring nearly five points higher on both,” co-researcher Brooke Blevins said. “Students in fourth grade showed a marked improvement of nearly 10 points, the highest out of all of the grades…”

“Teachers indicated that their students loved the games and learned without even realizing they were learning complex civics concepts,” Blevins said.

I’m not surprised in the least that young people appreciate participation and responsibility in government, building a society. That is still at the core of this noble experiment called the United States of America. Regardless of the lies perpetuated by Confederates and cowardly make-believe conservatives.

Rock on Judge O’Connor! Any chance you’ll come out with a special version 2.0 for meatheads like Justices Thomas and Scalia?

Pic of the Day

solar-google
Click to enlarge

Less than a hundred miles from the rim of the Hoover Dam, just outside of Las Vegas at the edge of dusty San Bernardino County, sits a symbol of how the sun will some day provide copious amounts of electricity for entire cities. This is Ivanpah, the world’s largest operating solar farm, which uses 347,000 mirrors (173,500 heliostats) and three huge 450-foot towers to harness the sun’s heat to generate electricity.

Katie Fehrenbacher dissects the founding and future of the Ivanpah solar farm in the Mojave. And Google as one of the investors gets a few moments of identification in the field of heliostats.