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Apollo 1

Apollo One Patch

January 27, 1967

Virgil “Gus” Ivan Grissom, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF

Edward Higgins White, II, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF

Roger Bruce Chaffee, Lieutenant Commander, USN

January 27, 2015   No Comments

Market Reaction

Robert Preston, BBC economics editor and the man who coined the term “Septic Bank”, looks at the Greek election: Why aren’t markets panicking about Greece?

Here is the important point: outside of Germany it is almost impossible to find an economist or central banker who believed that the previous reconstruction of Greek debt was ever going to work.

So just maybe, after Greeks have made a colossal and some would say pointless economic sacrifice, Germany will allow a rescue that permits the country a fighting chance of crawling out from beneath its colossal debts.

Preston notes that rather than helping the Greeks reduce their debt as a percentage of GNP, it as made it worse because austerity has been shrinking the value of the economy, just as Keynes said it would. Even the stock markets knew this would happen, but the German and French banks didn’t want to lose anything for their reckless behavior.

The financial system caused the global meltdown that made it impossible for Greece to make its debt payments, but the banks that were responsible for the recession wouldn’t accept any ‘pain’ for the agony they inflicted on the world.

January 26, 2015   No Comments

Austerians Lose Greece

The BBC is reporting that Exit polls suggest big Syriza win:

Exit polls suggest a historic victory for the anti-austerity Syriza party in Greece’s closely fought general election.

One poll suggested Syriza took 35.5% of the votes, and the other suggested it took 39.5%, well ahead of the ruling New Democracy party on 23%-27%.

It is unclear whether Syriza has enough votes to govern the country alone.

Syriza’s Alexis Tsipras has pledged to renegotiate Greece’s debt arrangement with international creditors.

He has also vowed to reverse many of the austerity measures adopted by Greece since a series of bailouts began in 2010.

In its coverage of the Greek election the BBC includes background information – Main parties from Syriza to Golden Dawn explained.

The German and French banks that have been the main beneficiaries of the so-called ‘bail-out’ are having a fit over the possibility of the governments of the European Union may stop reimbursing them for the bad loans they made to Greece, loans they knew Greece couldn’t afford. The banks gambled and lost, and they want taxpayers to cover their losing bets.

The Greek results may encourage other countries to stop propping up the big banks, the real reason for the ‘bail-outs’.

January 25, 2015   2 Comments

Happy Australia Day

flag of Australia

The anniversary of the landing of the First Fleet under Captain Arthur Phillip at Port Jackson in New South Wales on January 26th, 1788.

Here’s the official site, and more information at Wikipedia.

January 25, 2015   No Comments

Burns Night

flag of Scotland

This is the anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns in Ayr, Scotland. The Burns Night celebrations conducted by Scots all over the world with haggis, whisky¹, and poetry.

Wikipedia has a description of the standard celebration, but easy on the malt or you may end up with a William McGonagall morning.

In honor of the occasion a bit of Robby Burns for the Democratic “leadership”:

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain
For promis’d joy!

To a Mouse

1. This is the correct spelling when referring to Scotland’s “water of life”.

January 25, 2015   3 Comments

Another Dull Weekend

The only thing that interested me at all was discovering that regular gas is just below $2/gallon at my local Citgo station. I only needed 2 gallons for the lawnmower, but it may be back up before I need gas for the car again in a month and a half.

The ‘world leaders’ are either at Davos or making nice in Saudi Arabia, because that’s where the money is, and they are sucking up to the 1% as usual.

People who live near fracking wells in Texas have begun to notice clusters of small earthquakes, as has happened in Ohio and Oklahoma. It makes them nervous, but you don’t want to criticize the oil industry in Texas.

I only have one thing left to do in the house next door – change out a tub/shower faucet. That job is not usually a problem, but it will probably be another annoying mess like everything else in the house.

January 24, 2015   No Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

She’s Back

Friday Cat Blogging

There had better be food…

[Editor: The always ‘cheerful’ Ms Underhouse comes out to check the food dishes.]

The Friday Ark for lots of animal pictures.

January 23, 2015   2 Comments

The Cost Of Being A Jerk

Continuing in the Mideast the BBC reports that Barack Obama will not meet Benjamin Netanyahu in March. John Boehner, the well-known chain-smoking golfer … oh, also the Speaker of the House, has invited Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress on Iran.

Obama used the diplomatic excuse that Presidents don’t meet with officials who are facing elections, but he is also annoyed with Netanyahu attempts to sabotage the Iran nuclear negotiations and multiple instances of Netanyahu insulting members of Obama’s administration.

Relations with the US has become a major issue in the Israeli election.

January 22, 2015   6 Comments

Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud 1924-2015

The BBC reports that Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah dies

“His Highness Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and all members of the family and the nation mourn the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who passed away at exactly 1am this morning,” the statement said.

Prince Salman is the new king as Saudi Arabia is still working it’s way through the sons of King Abdulaziz who had more than a dozen wives. After all of the brothers and half brothers are exhausted they will apparently start working through the grandsons.

January 22, 2015   No Comments

What A Shame … Not!

The BBC reports that the Paris Mayor to sue Fox News over Muslim claims

The mayor of Paris has said she will sue Fox News for its inaccurate reporting about the city following the attack on the magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The US network claimed there were “no-go areas” in the French capital where police and non-Muslims refused to go.

Anne Hidalgo said the people of Paris had been “insulted” and the city’s image had been “damaged”.

The network has since apologised for making “regrettable errors” on air regarding the Muslim population.

Fox has also apologised for comments by terror expert Steven Emerson, who claimed Birmingham was “totally Muslim” and ruled by Sharia law.

Fox News host Jeanine Pirro subsequently said Emerson had “made a serious factual error that we wrongly let stand unchallenged and uncorrected”.

Mr Emerson said he had made an “inexcusable error”.

Prime Minister David Cameron responded by calling him “a complete idiot”.

Someone needs to explain to Faux News that the slander and libel laws vary from country to country. Maybe Rupert should tell them about what happened to his former tabloid in the UK for playing fast and loose with the laws. Because the Republican Party gives them cover in the US, they assume that they can get away with maligning countries with impunity.

January 21, 2015   4 Comments

More Information On AirAsia

The ABC has the latest on AirAsia QZ8501: Plane climbed at ‘beyond normal’ speed then stalled, Indonesian transport minister says

“In the final minutes, the plane climbed at a speed which was beyond normal,” transport minister Ignasius Jonan told reporters, citing radar data.

“The plane suddenly went up at a speed above the normal limit that it was able to climb to. Then it stalled.”

Earlier at a parliamentary hearing, he said radar data showed the Airbus A320-200 appeared at one point to be climbing at a rate of 6,000 feet [1,800 metres] a minute before the crash.

“I think it is rare even for a fighter jet to be able to climb 6,000 feet per minute,” Mr Jonan said.

“For a commercial flight, climbing around 1,000 to 2,000 [feet] is maybe already considered extraordinary, because it is not meant to climb that fast.”

This is entirely consistent with encountering a supercell in bad weather – an extreme updraft and then an extreme downdraft. This condition will often damage an aircraft as it exceeds the design specifications of most airframes. These are the conditions faced by the Hurricane Hunter aircraft.

January 20, 2015   No Comments

But Pipelines Are Safe

How could this possibly have happened? </sarcasm>

The CBC reports: Drinking water trucked into Montana city after oil spill

Officials said Monday that they were bringing truckloads of drinking water to the eastern Montana city of Glendive after traces of nearly 190,000 litres of oil that spilled into the Yellowstone River were found in the city’s water supply.

State and federal officials said preliminary tests Monday indicated that at least some oil entered the supply for the city of 5,300 people. They stressed they are shipping drinking water as a precaution and do not know yet whether there is any public health threat to residents. They will perform further tests to determine that.

The pipeline is buried below the riverbed of the Yellowstone River and most of the river is frozen over.

This is just the latest reason not to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

January 19, 2015   No Comments

Status Report

I have located the tunnel. No light yet, but I’m confident that it is just around the next bend.

Someone else is dealing with the ‘door from hell’ so my frustration is with plumbing now. I’m hopeful that my next trip to the hardware store will be my last.

I actually got home at 9PM today, so that is definite progress compared with yesterday.

January 19, 2015   2 Comments


I wasn’t close to the computer today, and probably won’t be tomorrow because a ‘little adjustment to a door’ is becoming a major project.

[Old houses are so annoying.]

Sunday update: It’s almost midnight and I just got on-line for a few minutes. Maybe tomorrow.

January 17, 2015   18 Comments