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2011 June 16 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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In Other News

Via CBS Alain Sherter shares some ‘conventional wisdom’ – Domino Theory: Greece’s Default Could Topple Global Economy

Look out, below: Greece is on the brink of defaulting on its debt. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is making what looks like a last-ditch effort to convince the country to accept another round of deep spending cuts in exchange for a bailout by the other eurozone nations. If he fails — a real possibility given the level of public anger over the latest austerity measures — all bets are off.

When panic is in the air, it’s important not to overstate the risks. Many investors remain sanguine that Greece will avoid a full-blown sovereign debt crisis, or at least contain the damage if the nation is forced into restructuring. For instance, U.S. money-market funds have been preparing for catastrophe in Europe in recent weeks by moving their money out of eurozone banks into Scandinavian institutions.

Greece owes about $485 billion [$65 billion immediately], so what’s the panic? Well, when the geniuses in the West bailed out the banks a couple of years ago, they left the same group of criminal incompetents in charge of the financial system, instead of throwing them in prison for fraud. Since nothing bad happened to them personally, they resumed their old over-leveraged patterns which will blow up over even small events, like the Greek default.

If they had thrown bankers in jail and told bondholders to stuff it, like Iceland did, they would be able to borrow money at 2%, like Iceland can. When they bail out the banks and implement austerity, like Ireland did, they have to pay over 6%.

The austerity in Greece is about bailing out French and German banks that are over-leveraged. The Greeks are being ordered to impoverish themselves to pay for the bad decisions of those banks. The biggest problem for the eurozone is that the Greeks have figured that out.

June 16, 2011   Comments Off on In Other News

Things Are Bigger In The Great White North

The CBC reports on Alberta’s largest wildfire on record, the Richardson Fire

The biggest wildfire Alberta firefighters have ever faced continues to rage out of control in the province’s northeast.

The Richardson backcountry fire, located about 60 kilometres [38 miles] north of Fort McMurray, started on May 15 — the same day as the Slave Lake wildfire that destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses.

The Richardson fire is now similar in size to Prince Edward Island, having scorched 570,000 hectares [1,409,000 acres 2201 miles²] of muskeg and bush.

Almost 700 firefighters battling the massive blaze were joined by 40 more, who arrived from Mexico Sunday night.

The Wallow Fire is 197,100 hectares.

Muskeg is a form of peat bog, so this will be a smoldering, slow growing fire that is hard to extinguish and extremely smokey.

June 16, 2011   Comments Off on Things Are Bigger In The Great White North

Wallow Fire – Waiting For The Wind

Wallow FireA big jump in containment to 29% yesterday, which will hopefully reduce the effect of the Red Flag conditions of today and tomorrow. They are speaking to two individuals whose campfire may have been the initial source of fire. While this fire is larger than the Rodeo-Chediski Fire, it has not destroyed the hundreds of houses that were lost in 2002.

Those whose homes were spared in the area need to buy flood insurance as soon as possible, because when the rains do come, flooding and landslides are almost guaranteed with the denuded hills. There is a waiting period before the insurance takes effect, and there is no way of knowing when the rains will arrive.

Information from the current Wallow Fire InciWeb Page

  • Date Started: 5/29/2011
  • Location: Apache, Navajo, Graham, and Greenlee Counties, San Carlos and White Mountain Apache Reservations, Arizona; Catron County, New Mexico
  • Cause: Human – under investigation
  • Size: 487,016 acres [761 miles² 1971 km²] based on infrared data
  • Percent Contained: 29%
  • Injuries to Date: 8
  • Residences: 2,714 threatened; 32 destroyed; 5 damaged
  • Commercial Property: 473 threatened; 4 destroyed
  • Outbuildings: 1,216 threatened; 36 destroyed; 1 damaged
  • Other: 1 truck destroyed
  • Number of Personnel: Approximately 4,571 including 20 hotshot crews and 72 hand crews
  • Equipment: 22 dozers, 312 engines, 75 watertenders
  • Aircraft: 15 helicopters, 5 air tankers, DC-10
  • Incident Commander: Jim Loach, Area Command Team 3

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June 16, 2011   Comments Off on Wallow Fire – Waiting For The Wind

In The Black Of Space

RCW 120

This object, labeled RCW 120, is one of the latest images from the Spitzer Space Telescope which operates in the infrared range, below the visible light range. All you would see through an optical telescope is black. This effect is caused by O-type stars, the most massive known type of star.

[Or, it might be the home of the Guardians of the Universe, and source of the Green Lantern’s power ring, if you are into that sort of thing.]

June 16, 2011   Comments Off on In The Black Of Space