Rich pickings on my Google Reader this morning

1. Nostalgic

Sydney’s Trams their Rise, Decline, Demise and Rebirth by Maximos62.


George St, Sydney looking south from Goulburn St 1960. From State Records NSW

2. Provocative

Why Are the United States and Israel at the Top of Human Rights Hit Lists? This is from Foreign Policy November 2009, but was picked up this morning by 3 Quarks Daily.

Human Rights Watch and its rights-watching peers have heard it all. They’re quasi-terrorists with an anti-U.S. ax to grind or perhaps stealth fighters for global capitalists. They’ve been accused of being anti-Semitic, anti-Asian, and anti-African at one time or another. Since the human rights movement began in the early 1970s, the criticism has grown as fast as the stacks of reports, op-eds, and analysis that the organizations’ analysts produce.

Six years ago, we decided it was time to systematically examine the accusations flying from all directions. After subjecting human rights organizations’ work to a barrage of statistical tests, we found that everyone was right. Yes, the watchdogs have biases. But they might make those groups more effective at pushing the human rights cause. Whichever side of the fence you fall on, there’s no denying it: There’s a politics to human rights…

3. Not new news

Afghanistan sitting on a motherlode.

Nothing like the revelation of precious metals in a far off land to get the hyperbole flowing — and stir up the cynics. And so it goes in the wake of James Risen’s New York Times report that the U.S. has identified nearly a trillion dollars in mineral deposits throughout Afghanistan:

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…

And that’s so 1985: Not everyone is titillated. Marc Ambinder, writing for The Atlantic, points out that Afghanistan being pockmarked with mineral deposits is old news — the Soviets knew as far back as 1985 –and suspects that the Pentagon’s revelation has more to do with trying to shed a little sunshine on a country where things aren’t going so well at the moment. Writes Ambinder:

What better way to remind people about the country’s potential bright future — and by people I mean the Chinese, the Russians, the Pakistanis, and the Americans — than by publicizing or re-publicizing valid (but already public) information about the region’s potential wealth?…

4. Climatic

Hottest May On Record- NOAA and NASA


13 thoughts on “Rich pickings on my Google Reader this morning

  1. Three beefs. First – Human Rights Watch is trying to distract you by saying they’ve ‘heard it all’. In fact, they’ve mainly only heard that they’re anti-American and anti-Semitic. Because they are. They’ve also probably heard that they tend to support dictatorial countries over free ones, because they do. Lastly, they might receive complaints that they give misogynistic islam a pass in most of their reports. Again, because they do. It’s almost a completely useless organization, except for the fact that it gives hippies jobs, keeping them out of the rest of our way for the most part.

    Second – Do you believe that heat map you posted? I was in Portugal, New Jersey USA and Louisiana USA in the past two weeks. ALL were experiencing unexpectedly cool weather (-5C from normal in Portugal, -16F in NJ, -5F in LA). Louisiana has almost returned to the muggy hotness you’d expect here in June, but the other two are still unseasonably cold. Yet your map shows them in the red! At what point do you stop believing a politically motivated image and start believing your own lying skin? Or eyes, if you have a thermometer.

    Third: I see the creepy mostly nude gay guy is still in your sidebar. It’s difficult to take a website seriously when it has scantily clad women pictured on it. When there’s scantily clad men, it’s completely impossible.

  2. The guy is Ian Thorpe, Aussie swimmer — stacks of gold medals in the 2000 Olympics, who went on to develop a range of underwear.

  3. Oh, the map. Check the data that comes on the links. I guess thermometers gave those figures. I certainly believe the Sydney area part — so did my skin.

  4. Oh, I forgot to mention that we went to Amish country in Pennsylvania and met a Mennonite farmer (Mennonites are like Amish people who like tractors and square beards… and hats with buckles on them). He explained to us that the frigid winter and cool summer was actually helping his brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower crops, but has set his cucumber and tomato crops back about one month.

    Cold Pennsylvania also has giant red ‘overheating’ dots on it, according to your clearly inaccurate map.

    And yes, I get that you are all lathered up about the creepy mostly naked gay guy. That’s part of what makes it creepy :(. I’m just suggesting that you might consider removing the picture if you want your website to be taken seriously. But if you’re trying to turn this site into a gay softcore porn venue, by all means, leave it up! It’s your site, after all.

  5. Gay softcore porn? Really? If you click on him you will find the 2005 entry from which it comes and the context of it.

  6. So the mean temperature in May in Penn wasn’t one or two degrees celsius higher than the 1971-2001 base? That could have happened even with cool days — think of it as a degree or two less cool rather than more warm. Still cool though. Agree on that.

    The thirty year base is a valid climate span — shorter ones, like May 2010, are just weather. However, if most or all the months in 2010 are tending to be less cool it may be that there is a decreasing cool going on. Here in Australia we have indeed had a long run of generally less cool in the means for most months for quite a while now.

  7. I think you are going to continue to believe the modified temperature data despite what the climate is showing us all every day. It’s been getting slightly colder pretty much every year since 1998, yet the data is modified to make it appear that it is getting slightly warmer, or ridiculously warmer, depending upon where you live.

    I think you will continue to believe, but I still have to fight against your AGW beliefs. It costs every person on the planet for you to hold your beliefs. People will die because of your beliefs. People ARE dying because money is diverted to inefficient methods of producing energy instead of going to feeding, housing and teaching the starving in Africa how to survive. That’s just one example of the damage AGW believers wreak upon the world, but I’ve got dozens of others if you are interested.

    shorter ones, like May 2010, are just weather

    This is not just a ‘May’ thing. It’s been going on for about a decade. I know it’s getting colder primarily because I have to watch the weather quite closely to have a successful winter garden. Nights of frost have risen from around 4 a year to a record 32 last year in balmy southern Louisiana. The entirety of North America had the coldest winter since way back in 1978. Europe, China and Russia reported similar winters. Yet that evil NASA guy that you like so much is trying to say that this year was the warmest on record! How you can believe anything Hansen says is beyond me.

    He might as well go work for Human Rights Watch – his opinions are almost as worthless as theirs.

  8. Oh, and I’m giving up on your gay theme thing. You win. Gay it up! I have to say that I won’t be clicking on an image of a semi-nude guy to determine if the link is as super gay as I expect it to be. I’m just going to make the assumption that ‘gay guy’ equals ‘gay link’. Perhaps a 900 number or something that requires a credit card to continue. NTY.

    You’ve clearly decided that it’s an appropriate photo for this blog. I’ll say no more about it.

  9. Ooh, one last thing (apologies for spammin’ u). You didn’t comment on this video when I posted it as an example of powerful poetry in your poems post.

    Why didn’t you comment? I’m not being facetious. I’m just confused. I strongly dislike misogyny, and I believed that you strongly disliked murdering homosexuals for being homosexuals, so I assumed we would be in agreement about the horrors of islam in this one instance.

    Yet – not a peep from you. Why?

  10. Hence I ignored your video, but did not delete the comment.

    I guess I’m glad that you didn’t delete the comment, but I’m unsure why you would think of deleting it at all. It’s a brilliant piece of poetry from a woman who has suffered from sharia. It’s not even edgy. Just rhyming fact.

    I think it’s sad that you equivocate islam’s systematic murdering of homosexuals with some goofy family from Kansas who talk shit about gays and call themselves Christians, yet never actually harm anyone. It’s even worse that you imply that those non-killing scuzzballs are typical Christians. But it’s pretty much what I’ve come to expect from you. You don’t solve issues. Instead you say, “sure that’s bad, but what about this other guy!” It’s a weak-minded attitude that I find disgusting.

    I also find it alarming that you gloss over the way islam treats women. Don’t/didn’t you have a mother? Did you think those photos were photoshopped or something? They’re real, and it’s happening right now, while you’re worrying about a dozen parts per million of carbon dioxide in the air.

    Wake up, Neil.

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