Wotka World Wide

Thursday, June 24, 2010

And now the Federal Government is halting dredging for sand berms along the Louisiana coast:
The federal government has shut down the dredging that was being done to create protective sand berms in the Gulf of Mexico.The berms are meant to protect the Louisiana coastline from oil. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department has concerns about where the dredging is being done. The department says one area where sand is being dredged is a sensitive section of the Chandeleur Islands, and the state failed to meet an extended deadline to install pipe that would draw sand from a less-endangered area.Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, who was one of the most vocal advocates of the dredging plan, has sent a letter to President Barack Obama, pleading for the work to continue.

It is almost like they want to make it worse...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A battle rages in Berlin over preserving the Stasi headquarters:

The row involves Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative-liberal government, city planners and the erstwhile opponents of East Germany's Communist regime.

The German government, which has been criticised for failing to adequately address the country's history prior to reunification in 1990, wants to take over the building and turn it into a national memorial.

The local Berlin borough, which is sick of its reputation for being the home of one of the nastiest secret police forces in history, would like to see the entire complex demolished.

Yet the former East German dissidents who have been running Berlin's Stasi museum for the past two decades fear both options so much that they have defied government orders to vacate the premises and are now squatting in the building and refusing to budge.

"Obviously, we don't want to see our museum demolished," said Jörg Drieselmann, a former East German dissident who is the museum's director. "Neither do we want to be taken over by the government. We are afraid that they will sanitise the place and destroy the authenticity that makes Berlin's Stasi museum unique," he told The Independent. "We were supposed to get out on 31 May, but nobody has come to evict us so far. Effectively, we are squatters," he added.

Count me in the camp that would preserve the place as it is. Future generations should always be made aware of the evils that men are capable of, especially when committed in the name of the people.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A little perspective on the oil spill:
The BP oil well leak into the Gulf of Mexico is indeed a horrible accident, but not the end of the world. The gulf is huge, covering 615,000 square miles and containing 660 quadrillion gallons of water. Assume the BP well is leaking 20,000 barrels per day and does so for 120 days (four months). That would be about 100.8 million divided by 660 quadrillion and would be one gallon of oil for every 6.6 billion gallons of water in the Gulf. That would be roughly equivalent to one-millionth of an ounce of oil in a typical bathtub of water.

The Mexican Pemex oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 1979 was far worse than the BP well: 140 million gallons poured out of the Mexican well. After four months, an oil slick had covered about half of Texas’ 370-mile gulf shoreline, devastating tourism.

During the first Gulf War in Kuwait (1990), 10 times as much oil spilled into the Persian Gulf, which is one-sixth the size of the Gulf of Mexico. What were the consequences? A 1993 UNESCO study reported “little” long-term damage was done to the environment. Half the oil evaporated, a million barrels were recovered and 2 million to 3 million barrels washed ashore, mainly in Saudi Arabia.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Finally some good news for Afghanistan:
The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

Considering Afghanistan's GDP is around $12 billion right now, if they can even get a few mines up and running, this could fundamentally transform the economy of the country. And provide jobs for a country with rampant poverty and unemployment. Keep your fingers crossed that they can get things moving, while still including the common man in the boom.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Australians are heatedly debating a proposed mining tax (of 40% on all profits) which could devastate one of the strongest sectors of Australia's economy. The row has made Kevin Rudd's reelection as Prime Minister at the end of the year an uncertainty, as the measure is very unpopular.

At some point you would think these politicians would look at the lessons of history when it comes to these taxes on profits, as they always result in companies cutting production and eliminating jobs, resulting in less revenue coming in from other sources like income tax. Hopefully this debate will demonstrate to Australians the futility of sticking with Kevin Rudd and Labour in the coming elections.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Climate change showdown in the Senate? More:
The president is threatening to veto a resolution from Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) that would ban the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating carbon emissions.

But if the president were forced to use his veto to prevent legislation emerging from a Congress in which his own party enjoys substantial majorities, it would be a humiliation for him and for Democrats on Capitol Hill.
It would be great if Senate Republicans could get this done, along with a few sensible Democrats.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Amidst the oil spill hysteria, a look back at the ten largest oil spills in history, from Popular Mechanics. Please note that the Exxon spill and the current spill are nowhere near the top ten.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Why are the White House and Gen. McCrystal trying to shut up Michael Yon by removing his embed status? This guy does more reporting on our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan than anyone, and the troops have no better friend in the media, but he tells the truth, so he gets banned. And he funds all his own work from reader donations. Unbelievable.