Thursday’s headlines, and why is there a hole in Mars?
Another day, another blog. Sometimes I think I blog just so I can put off going to work in the morning. So the more I blog, the poorer I get. Sigh. The alternative is to run out in the streets and grab people and scream “wake up” at them. So in the greater scheme of things I guess I shouldn’t complain. Speaking of blogs, my quizzes continue to get lots of traffic so more are definitely on the way. My World War Two quiz is already my number two post ever, go figure. My most popular post ever is The Bible and Global Warming. Yes, I’m mystified too. I’m planning a Gulf War I quiz, that should be interesting. I think the ignorance level regarding the origins and outcome of that nasty little business is at stratospheric levels. It’s been called “The biggest drive by shooting in history” by some. And there is more than just one villain involved. Brace yourself.
Moving right along, today’s headlines. Well, Spain is suing a salvage company about a disputed shipwreck where $500 million in gold coins were recovered. The salvage company isn’t saying where they found the booty, so Spain is suing on the suspicion that it is from a Spanish ship. As an aside, anyone ever wonder how Spain went from being the richest country the world had ever seen to one of Europe’s poorest countries in just a few short centuries? For over a hundred years galleons laden with gold, silver, and jewels hauled unimaginable wealth back to Spain, what happened to it all? The answer is easy, while the Dutch and British and other colonial powers reinvested their colonial profits in infrastructure and corporations to further their colonial exploits, the Spanish nobility blew their money on consumer goods and cathedrals. Ah, but it was fun while it lasted no doubt.
The Taliban shot down a NATO helicopter, killing seven people. Being the closest thing that Afghanistan has had to a popular national government in decades, they’ll be back in power soon enough. NATO keeps responding to Taliban attacks with air raids, which kill civilians, which drives more people into supporting the Taliban. Imagine if the police responded to crime in your neighbourhood by bombing a few houses more or less at random, and you will pretty much understand why the “missions” in both Iraq and Afghanistan are doomed to failure.
Russia has fired a test missile as a warning to the US about the US installation of a “missile defence” system in Eastern Europe. They aren’t really worried, the USA has been spending hundreds of billions of dollars on “defence systems” since the forties that purport to defend against trivial or nonexistent threats. The new missile defence is more of the same, it won’t actually work but it does make tons of money for the defence industry. (In that sense it works like a charm.) The Russians no doubt are trying to encourage us to spend even more money on this junk and further bankrupt ourselves in the process. George Bush has never seen a weapons system he didn’t like, so were making great progress on that front.
It’s not really a headline, but there’s an interesting article detailing just what an expensive joke the Department of “Homeland Security” is. Some of us have known that from the start. The day after 911 the head of the FBI, CIA, and Air Force should have been fired. Hell, in some countries they would have been put up against a wall and shot, if we’d done that their replacements might have actually started doing their jobs, which was to defend America. Instead we pretended that a known enemy attacking a known target with a method of attack that had been discussed since at least 1970 was a “surprise attack.” And then we responded by adding yet another layer of bureaucracy to what was already the world’s most bloated government. Anyhow, do read the article, it’s not reassuring. I especially like how easy it is to smuggle nuclear material across the border, yeesh. I was joking when I said that Iran would have to Fedex a nuclear bomb to the US, apparently I wasn’t far off the mark.
And finally, holes have been discovered in Mars. The hole pictured about is about the width of a football field. No one knows how deep it is, it’s deep enough so that no sunlight reaches the bottom. It’s speculated that they may be the entrances to caves, which is certainly possible. (Caves can be formed by water or volcanic activity, Mars has both.) Yet another target for future investigation and the search for possible life on Mars. Tomorrow, legless lizards and dieting cats!
(The above NASA/JPL image is used within the legal guidelines for such images, as long as one doesn’t use a NASA image to say that NASA endorses a product or service…they may be used freely.)