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Surfing's not a hobby, it's a way of life. It's about looking at those waves and saying 'Hey Bud, Let's Party!' - Jeff Spicoli

RE: Boing Boing: Red Mars: a very belated appreciation
Topic: Arts 3:23 pm EST, Dec 20, 2004

k wrote:
] ] Because now I've finally read Red Mars, and I am agog at
] ] what may be the finest sf novel I've ever read. Red Mars
] ] has all the hard-sf window-dressing that many of us
] ] imagine when we think of sf: great and accessible tours
] ] through speculative cog sci, geology, astronomy,
] ] rocketry, physics, biology, genetics, and so on, until
] ] the head swims with the sheer scope of the research task
] ] Robinson set himself in this book.
] [ I read this some time ago, and recall liking it very much...
] i didn't read the sequels however, for no clear reason...
] -k]

Red Mars was fantastic. Blue Mars almost as good. Green Mars wasnt worth the time investment. I have also read Robinson's book titled "Antarctica". It was also an interesting read, but nothing can compare to Red and Blue Mars for sheer reading enjoyment.

RE: Boing Boing: Red Mars: a very belated appreciation

RE: Yahoo! News - Dollar Hits New Low, Gold at 16-Yr High
Topic: Business 6:09 am EST, Nov  9, 2004

] ] I think the reason that our currency is falling is for two
] ] very important reasons, and THEY'RE the reasons to get
] ] concerned and worried about. One is our national debt, which
] ] is skyrocketing faster than anyone can fathom. That is
] putting
] ] pressure on currency because it's a direct effect of loading
] ] up on too much debt. Dollars are losing value because they
] ] will be less liquid in the future. Two is obviously our
] ] foreign policy.

The national debt is certainly a major driver, but foreign policy is much less of a factor. The primary driver, and the reason the dollar began to fall in the first place, is low interest rates. As you know, the Fed lowered interest rates to stimulate a weakening economy. The paradox is that this action also weakens the dollar as well. If interest rates remain low and the economy doesnÂ’t respond, then I believe we will begin to see signs of stagflation as early as 6 months from now.

In terms of OPEC moving to the Euro, this would indeed be disastrous for the US economy. The fact that such a move would be so disastrous is the very reason why the US would not allow that to occur IMHO.

Someone mentioned earlier that the reason for going into Iraq was based on keeping them using dollars rather than Euros. I actually read a really good report on this that made a pretty strong case for this hypothesis. You can find it here

RE: Yahoo! News - Dollar Hits New Low, Gold at 16-Yr High

US intelligence fears Iran duped hawks into Iraq war
Topic: Miscellaneous 2:17 am EDT, May 27, 2004

Julian Borger in Washington
Tuesday May 25, 2004
The Guardian

An urgent investigation has been launched in Washington into whether Iran played a role in manipulating the US into the Iraq war by passing on bogus intelligence through Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress, it emerged yesterday.

Some intelligence officials now believe that Iran used the hawks in the Pentagon and the White House to get rid of a hostile neighbour, and pave the way for a Shia-ruled Iraq.

According to a US intelligence official, the CIA has hard evidence that Mr Chalabi and his intelligence chief, Aras Karim Habib, passed US secrets to Tehran, and that Mr Habib has been a paid Iranian agent for several years, involved in passing intelligence in both directions.

The CIA has asked the FBI to investigate Mr Chalabi's contacts in the Pentagon to discover how the INC acquired sensitive information that ended up in Iranian hands.

The implications are far-reaching. Mr Chalabi and Mr Habib were the channels for much of the intelligence on Iraqi weapons on which Washington built its case for war.

"It's pretty clear that Iranians had us for breakfast, lunch and dinner," said an intelligence source in Washington yesterday. "Iranian intelligence has been manipulating the US for several years through Chalabi."

Larry Johnson, a former senior counter-terrorist official at the state department, said: "When the story ultimately comes out we'll see that Iran has run one of the most masterful intelligence operations in history. They persuaded the US and Britain to dispose of its greatest enemy."

Mr Chalabi has vehemently rejected the allegations as "a lie, a fib and silly". He accused the CIA director, George Tenet, of a smear campaign against himself and Mr Habib.

However, it is clear that the CIA - at loggerheads with Mr Chalabi for more than eight years - believes it has caught him red-handed, and is sticking to its allegations.

"The suggestion that Chalabi is a victim of a smear campaign is outrageous," a US intelligence official said. "It's utter nonsense. He passed very sensitive and classified information to the Iranians. We have rock solid information that he did that."

"As for Aras Karim [Habib] being a paid agent for Iranian intelligence, we have very good reason to believe that is the case," added the intelligence official, who did not want to be named. He said it was unclear how long this INC-Iranian collaboration had been going on, but pointed out that Mr Chalabi had had overt links with Tehran "for a long period of time".

An intelligence source in Washington said the CIA confirmed its long-held suspicions when it discovered that a piece of information from an electronic communications intercept by the National Security Agency had ended up in Iranian hands. The information was so sensitive that its circulation had been restricted to a handful of officials.

"This was 'sensitive compartm... [ Read More (0.3k in body) ]

RE: The Political Compass
Topic: Current Events 3:23 am EST, Mar 17, 2004

jessica wrote:
] ] After you've responded to the following propositions during
] the
] ] next 3-5 minutes, all will be explained. In each instance,
] ] you're asked to choose the response that best describes your
] ] feeling: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree or Strongly
] Agree.
] ] At the end of the test, you'll be given the compass, with
] your
] ] own special position on it.
] My sister was graphing out all of her circle of friends'
] results for this one... it was a very interesting graph, with
] interesting results. Maybe we could try that here... take the
] test, report our results, and plot it on the graph...

My coordinates were the following:
Economic Left/Right: 3.25
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.00

RE: The Political Compass

Photoblogging Chernobyl
Topic: Miscellaneous 4:48 am EST, Mar  9, 2004

] I travel a lot and one of my favorite destination lead
] through poisoned with radiation, so called Chernobyl
] "dead zone" It is 130kms from my home. Why favourite?
] because one can ride there for hours and not meet any
] single car and not to see any single soul. People left
] and nature is blooming, there are beautiful places,
] woods, lakes. There is no newly built roads, but those
] which left from 80th in fairly good condition

This is absolutely stunning, spellbinding.

Photoblogging Chernobyl

RE: Photoblogging Chernobyl
Topic: Recreation 3:44 am EST, Mar  9, 2004

I am an American that has been living in Ukraine for just over five years. A year ago two friends of mine that worked for the Kiev Post (local English language newspaper) told me that they were doing a story about tourist trips to Chernobyl and asked if I would like to join them. Of course, I wasnÂ’t about to pass up an opportunity like this.

To give you a little more background before I get to the details of this trip, I learned about the Chernobyl disaster from my uncle, a nuclear engineer, who was one of the first US officials to visit Chernobyl after the accident. The stories he told of how the accident actually occurred (testing emergency shut down systems) and how the Soviets extinguished the fire and put the sarcophagus over the reactor were truly amazing. To say that I was interested in Chernobyl when I arrived in Ukraine would be an understatement.

There are a number of travel agencies in Kiev that will book a tour to Chernobyl. The cost, if I remember correctly, is about $60 and includes transportation to the exclusion zone, a guide and a presentation at the visitor's facility adjacent to the reactor. The tour itself was well worth the $60. Our guide took us through small villages that had been evacuated, showed us where some villages had literally been buried due to the large amounts of radioactivity and then took us to the city of Pripyat.

In Pripyat, we climbed to the top of the tallest apartment building in the city and looked out over this abandoned city. Eerie would be the one word that describes the feeling one gets when looking at this city. It was like an episode from the original Star Trek.

Imagine that one day you are told that you were being evacuated from your city and that you would be limited to one suitcase per person and that you would be able to return in a week or so. The busses start showing up and off you go never to return. Anything that was left behind - pets, televisions, radios, etc. - you would never see again.

A lot of the pictures that were posted were from places that I saw on our tour. The trip was truly incredible. In fact, it has to be one of the highlights of my time in Ukraine. I noticed that some of you were interested in making this trip. If you are serious, please send me an email and I can help you arrange the trip and find you cheap accommodations in Kiev.



RE: Photoblogging Chernobyl

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