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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch – 23 February

by Fran Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 12:28:17 AM EST

On this date in history:

1898 - Writer Emile Zola is imprisoned in France for his letter J'accuse in which he accuses the French government of anti-semitism and the wrongful imprisonment of army captain Alfred Dreyfus.

More here and here

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by Fran on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 12:29:09 AM EST
Deutsche Welle: Germany to Back Ban on Cluster Bombs at Conference

The Norwegian government is hosting a meeting Thursday on cluster munitions. Oslo considers UN talks on the issue last year a failure and hopes to launch efforts for an international ban backed by Germany.

Representatives from over 40 countries and international organizations are gathering in Oslo on Thursday and Friday to discuss ways to outlaw cluster bombs. Norway and other nations in favor of a ban are being hampered by nations that oppose one.

The Scandinavian country hopes the two-day meeting, which will be attended by senior ministry officials from around the world, will be the start of a process that will ultimately lead to the adoption of an international ban -- even without the support of some key countries, such as opponents Britain and the United States.

"It is better that the like-minded (pro-ban) nations work in the same direction," said Raymond Johansen, Norway's state secretary of foreign affairs. He said that an international accord would put pressure on anti-ban nations to eventually comply.

The pro-ban countries expected to be represented include Norway, Sweden, Germany, Mozambique and Angola. On the other side, Britain, Canada, France, China, India and Russia belong to those opposed. The United States, which is also opposed, will not be in attendance.

Several UN organizations will also attend, as well as the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC), the umbrella organization grouping non-governmental organizations campaigning for a ban.

by Fran on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 12:33:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Kremlin set to veto $3bn jet order with Boeing

Boeing is poised to lose a $3.2bn (£1.6bn) order from Russia's state-controlled Aeroflot, after the Kremlin intervened to demand that it buy 22 new planes from its European rival Airbus instead.

Aeroflot had already paid to reserve slots on the Boeing production line in Seattle, but the Russian government refused to ratify the order as relations with the US deteriorated.

President Vladimir Putin is also trying to increase his influence over Airbus, in which the Russian state has an indirect stake.

Aeroflot's plans to replenish its fleet with Boeing's new in-demand 787 Dreamliner appeared close to being signed last summer, representing another coup for the US company as it gained the upper hand in the rivalry with its troubled European rival. But reports in Russia suggest that the Aeroflot board split, with managers keen to press ahead and the Kremlin representatives withholding their support.

Relations between Moscow and Washington have sunk to their lowest level for years, with Mr Putin accusing America of "overstepping its borders in every way". US plans to place parts of its missile defence system in former Soviet satellite states Poland and the Czech Republic have enraged the Kremlin, as has sporadic American criticism of Mr Putin's democratic credentials. Last August, the US State Department imposed sanctions on Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport and fighter-jet maker Sukhoi for their dealings with Iran.

by Fran on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 12:40:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. Invasions can have consequences. And if this happens a few more times you can wager that the American economic powers-that-be will soon have Bush-Cheney packing their bags. It would be nothing personal; just, as we say in America, "business is business"

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 03:45:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Deutsche Welle: Italy's Political Future Uncertain as Talks Continue

olitical experts have said a snap general election was unlikely in Italy, as crisis talks began on the government's future following Prime Minister Romano Prodi's decision to step down on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano began holding talks with an array of political leaders, in an effort to form a new government.

Napolitano's flurry of meetings Thursday were to continue Friday, consulting with the speakers of the two houses of parliament, the heads of parliamentary groups and the presidents who preceded him.

Prodi, head of Italy's 61st government since World War II, was also prime minister for two years and five months in 1996-98, falling when communists withdrew their support.

by Fran on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 12:43:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For the most recent news see Prodi resigning?

It appears the crisis should be resolved within the evening with a probable return to parliament of the present government, enlarged to include Marco Follini.

A vote of confidence to reconfirm the executive would be given in the next days.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 02:09:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IHT: Sarkozy tones down his image as reformer

STRASBOURG: Nicolas Sarkozy appears to be toning down his image as an economic reformer Thursday with a condemnation of "colossal rents" and "gigantic profits" and a declaration that while he believed in free trade it should be "managed, regulated free trade."

Outlining his vision for the European Union at a campaign rally, the Gaullist candidate in the French presidential election insisted to cheers from thousands of conservative supporters that Europe needed to protect itself from "speculators and predators" and from "Asian dumping."

"If I am elected president," Sarkozy said at the convention center, "I will propose to our partners to assign as missions to the euro zone the moralization of financial capitalism and the promotion of an economy of production against an economy of speculation and rent."

"I don't accept that capitalism works in favor of some funds who buy up companies and start by firing 25 percent of the staff," he added.

by Fran on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 01:03:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Being a "reformer" means supporting and favoring "colossal rents" and "gigantic profits" and being against "regulated free trade".

And supporting companies that fire 25% of their staff for a quick buck.

We can now move on without hitch to the "France is doomed" stories as none of the candidates, not even neodreamboy Sarkozy, is a "reformer".

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 01:54:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
come on jerome admit it, sarky has hired you as consigliere!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 05:17:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Beppe Grillo is probably completely unknown outside of Italy but he would fit in very well with this crowd. Here is what he says about the current government of Italy.

    The TAV is going ahead. Base 2 at Vicenza is going ahead. We're in the Lebanon. We're staying in Kabul. The conflict of interests is of no interest. The election law is just fine as it is. The "ad personam" laws are even useful to the Left and they are not eliminated. The pardon has even been of use to the Left and that is why it got voted in. The government listens. It's always listening. It's a good government. It does things that don't even please its Ministers. Who aren't pleasing to the Italians. But they are very pleasing to the Americans, to the bankers, to the pretend industrialists, to the pretend journalists, to the local house of liberty. Prodi Marquis of Grillo doesn't know what to say. He's often silent. Sometimes he raises his voice but just with his wife. The message that goes out to the Nation, loud and clear, is always the same: "I'm very sorry, but we are who we are and you are nothing!" To get elected as a mayor in Italy you have to be a former Trades Unionist or a millionaire. The result doesn't change. The arrogance of mayors and of local cabinet members as witnessed daily in this blog is without measure. The Broni-Mortara costs 900,000,000,000 Euro, the companies in the area are against it, as are the residents. But it is going ahead. The people of Milan don't want the Zona Fiera to be disastrously entombed in tons of cement. But it is going ahead. The people of Serre don't want a mega tip to destroy a wildlife reserve. But it is going ahead. The TAV in Val di Susa will cost 13,000,000,000 Euro. It's of no use. The experts say so. University professors. The Valley is in revolt. But it is going ahead. My tour has started recently and even before I arrive in a town, the mayor and cabinet members declare that they don't want to meet me. Even though I haven't asked to meet them. The local administrators and politicians should be representing the citizens. There are a few thousand of them compared to 58 million Italians who count for nothing whatever they do. Does this seem normal to you? How long can it last?

Posted by: dan of steele | Feb 22, 2007 8:33:06 AM | 3

Anybody there where you live to clearly tell it as it is?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 01:11:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]

That's his blog! Looks great!

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 01:17:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
gesu, giuseppe e maria!

ouch, worse than i feared even...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 04:47:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Pressure mounts on Blair for inquiry into mistakes in Iraq

The Government is under mounting pressure to hold an early inquiry into the mistakes made in Iraq as Tony Blair refused to apologise for the chaos engulfing the country.

Heavyweight demands for a wide-ranging investigation came in a five-hour debate in the House of Lords led by the former foreign secretary Lord Hurd of Westwell, who won the backing of several other former cabinet ministers.

Allies of Gordon Brown admit there will be growing pressure on him to announce an immediate inquiry if, as expected, he succeeds Tony Blair as Prime Minister this summer. He faces an agonising dilemma over whether to call one. On the one hand, the move might help him to draw a line under an affair in which Mr Blair was undoubtedly the leading player. On the other, Mr Brown, whatever his private reservations, backed Mr Blair and said during the 2005 general election he would not have acted differently. An inquiry would also keep Iraq in the spotlight, and risk overshadowing Mr Brown's attempt to unveil a fresh domestic agenda.

The Government has hinted that there will be an eventual inquiry - but not while British troops are still in Iraq. Some 5,550 will remain in the Basra area after 1,600 return home in the next few months.

Jack Straw, the Leader of the House, who was foreign secretary, at the time of the 2003 invasion, said an investigation would be held "at the appropriate moment". He told Westminster journalists: "That goes for the whole of the Government, including the Prime Minister as he has made clear, but there is an issue of timing."

by Fran on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 01:16:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why the delay? Is Lord Hutton unavailable at the moment?
by det on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 02:36:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Algerian accused of training 9/11 pilots refused compensation for a shattered life

Lotfi Raissi had modest aspirations for a life in Britain - to work as an airline pilot, watch Premiership football and visit the theatre occasionally. Then British security services pulled him from his bed in a Berkshire flat at 3am on the morning of 21 September 2001.

It was the beginning of a six-year ordeal in which he would be named as a flight instructor of the 9/11 hijackers, locked up in Belmarsh jail for five months to await extradition to the US and, ultimately, be released when no evidence of his involvement materialised.

With his reputation irrevocably sullied - more than 500 news reports worldwide named him as the first person accused of participating in the New York attacks - the best Mr Raissi had hoped for was the right to seek compensation. But this was denied him yesterday by two High Court judges, who ruled that the Home Secretary was entitled to exclude the 32-year-old Algerian from a Home Office ex-gratia compensation scheme for victims of miscarriages of justice.

Lord Justice Auld and Mr Justice Wilkie, sitting at the High Court in London, ruled that the scheme, designed to compensate those who have been detained in the UK for the loss they have suffered as the result of a formal and wrongful accusation of crime, did not cover those held pending extradition. Mr Raissi's case was not in "the domestic criminal process", they said.

Mr Raissi's solicitors, Tuckers, have lodged an appeal. They argue that those involved in his arrest - the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service, which advises the police from the outset of investigations - were "domestic" agencies. Mr Raissi said he was prepared to take his case to the House of Lords. "The actions of the police have ruined me," he said. "I've applied for hundreds of jobs but I don't even get replies. Who - if not the British police - was responsible for my arrest?"

by Fran on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 01:19:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: Germany plans new EU-wide history book

Europe is more likely to be agonising about its future, but now it is the past that is proving contentious. Yesterday it emerged that Germany was hoping to exploit its EU presidency to promote a new school history book for the European Union.

At a meeting in Heidelberg next week of EU education ministers, Berlin is to push for the publication of the book on the history of the EU to be used as a standard text in all 27 member countries.

While the plan is likely to prove contentious, charges that Germany is bent on whitewashing its troubled history were abruptly dismissed in Berlin yesterday. Germany has spent decades exploring its Nazi past, using its education system, the media and public debate.

"It is not the idea at all to rewrite history," said a government spokesman, Rainer Rudolph, yesterday. "There would be no suggestion of leaving out anything which might be unpleasant or difficult for the Germans, or for anyone else. That would be ridiculous."

While Chancellor Angela Merkel is said to back the idea, the common EU history book is the brainchild of Annette Schavan, the education minister. European commission officials dealing with education issues in Brussels also support the plan for the book, which would be drawn up by international experts.

by Fran on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 01:30:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When I did history at school (early 1970s), we barely reached the First World War before the school year ended. A lot of time was spent on the industrial revolution and nineteenth century politics.

I understand modern British school history is fixated on the Nazis (the only historical topic which interests the average schoolboy at all).

Somehow I doubt the UK will be ready for an EU school history book before about 2025 at the earliest.

by Gary J on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 08:56:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Advanced British (=English) history.

  1. The Romans invade Britain. Driven off by plucky Brits in woad.
  2. Romans come back (gloss over the conquest). The Iceni revolt (gloss over they lost and the subsequent history of Roman Britain - unless there is a field trip to Hadrians Wall).
  3. The Dark Ages - nothing happened except for the legends of King Arthur and Pope Gregory to Great sending St Augustine to convert the Anglo Saxons to Christianity. (Really advanced scholars may note the Anglo Saxons had arrived and taken over from the celts (now renamed the Welsh, but that is all right because they founded England).
  4. The Heptarchy. Nice map of seven Anglo Saxon Kingdoms. Ignore the non English bits round the edges.
  5. Vikings all over the place. King Alfred the Great sends them packing, with only half of England and an annual tribute to compensate the invaders for their trouble (another bit to gloss over).
  6. King Canute gets his feet wet (gloss over the Danes had taken over all of England by this point).
  7. Norman invasion (1066 and all that). This invasion has to be given a bit of attention.
  8. Richard the Lionheart is brave, King John is nasty (see foundation of English liberty - Magna Carta), the hundred years war, the black death. Is it time for the Wars of the Roses yet?
  9. Wars of the Roses. Early modern England invented by Henry Tudor.
  10. Henry VIII had lots of wives. Oh and he dissolved the monastries.
  11. Queen Mary I of England burnt lots of protestant heretics.
  12. Queen Elizabeth I of England hung, drew and quartered lots of catholic traitors. Defeat of the Spanish Armada (yay us - ignore it was the weather not Sir Francis Drake). World exploration (downplay the piracy) (did I mention Drake).

That is enough for one years syllabus. We will let the Scots join in with part 2 (British history in the age of revolution and empire).
by Gary J on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 09:21:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oops - the point in British (=English) history point three was that the Anglo Saxons were not really invaders because they founded England. The culture of the previous inhabitants only survived in the western lands of Wales and Cornwall.

I should perhaps make it clear that I am trying to parody the traditional simplified narrative of English history, as a way of demonstrating how difficult it would be to add a bland EU history textbook on top of it. At some point in the past two thousand years the inhabitants of the British Isles have been in conflict with just about all their European friends and neighbours (amongst others).

No doubt other nations have a similar narrative  version of history, emphasising the best bits and downplaying the bad.

by Gary J on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 09:49:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Advanced Spanish history
  1. Tartessos was a great civilisation
  2. Then came the Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians (gloss over the fact that these were ex-Phoenicians)
  3. Then came the Romans. The Iberians were hard to subdue (yay us!). Mention Numantia.
  4. Seneca was from Sevilla
  5. Then came the Suebi, Vandals, Alans and finally the Visigoths.
  6. The Visigoths were Christian after Recaredus
  7. Don Rodrigo lost Spain to the Moors. The Virgin Mary wins the battle of Covadonga for Pelayo. The Reconquista starts
  8. Kingdoms of Asturias, Galicia, Leon, Castilla, Navarra and Aragon
  9. Alfonso VI and the war among his children
  10. El Cid (gloss over the fact that he was a meecenary for the moors, too)
  11. Las Navas de Tolosa
  12. The Catholic Monarchs, Columbus, the end of the reconquista
  13. Charles I (say how nasty that English Henry was, that divorced a Spanish princess, say how nasty those protestant princes were, gloss over the revolt of the Communards in Castilla)
  14. Phillip the II (say how nasty the weather was)
  15. Say how crappy the 17th century was under Phillip III, IV and Charles II (mention that Charles II was impotent and retarded - those inbred Habsburgs)
  16. The war of succession - Spain becomes a French client (gloss over the suppression of the Catalans)
  17. Say how enlightened our despots were in the 18th century, especially Charles III ("the best mayor of Madrid")
  18. Gloss over the French Revolution but talk about Napoleon and how we kicked his ass (just like we did the Romans! yay us!)
  19. Hail our chains! (given the choice between modernity and the ancien regime, we embrace the ancien regime - justify this as best youo can)
  20. The king has an only daughter, this leads to three civil wars because his male cousin and his heirs wants to be kings instead.
  21. We have a ridiculous little republic for two years
  22. 50 years of corrupt "liberal democracy". Extol the crooks as great statesmen. Demonize the anarchists for making trouble. Gloss over WWI
  23. The Americans take away Cuba and the Phillippines, the bastards.
  24. The Moroccans kick our ass. Gloss over the question of why we own morocco in the first place.
  25. Dictatorship
  26. We kick out the dictator and the king (for colluding) and install a republic
  27. Civil war. Talk about dead nuns and Gernika. Gloss over WWII
  28. 40 years of Franco. talk about tourism, and dam building.
  29. Transition to democracy. Extol the king, he did it all himself
  30. 25 years of democracy, NATO, the EU, the olympics in Barcelona.

Allow about 3 years for this. Do the first half over again each time, never get past the war of independence with Napoleon.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 09:50:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I forgot:
  1. we had celts in Iberia, too!
  2. Extol the conquest, exploration and christianisation of America. Mention Bartolome de las Casa in passing.
  3. Polutics was crappy, but our literature and painting, oh man oh man!
20-21. Gloss over the loss of the American colonies. Bolivarianism is so 21st century.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 10:00:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and...
15. Constant wars with France in Italy, and mention those pesky Lower Countries.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 10:20:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru - your syllabus is so much more detailed than mine. But we do agree that the the first principle of school history is make sure you never actually reach the recent past which might be controversial.

OK part 2 of British (=English) history.

  1. Union of crowns (hello Scotland - begin to build up the British narrative. Our next Prime Minister wants this emphasised).
  2. Do not mention that King James I sold honours with gay abandon (politically incorrect innuendo about the close friendship between His Majesty and his favourite the Duke of Buckingham will not be permitted, unless to distract attention from the sale of honours. This section may need further thought - probably better to go straight to the next section).
  3. King Charles I and the divine right of Kings. King tries to rule without Parliament. John Hampden and ship money (parliamentary troublemaker gets into trouble for not paying a tax unauthorised by Parliament). Religious problems lead to the Covenanters rebelling in Scotland, so Charles has to summon a Parliament to raise the money for an army, but all the ungrateful wretches want to do is complain about what the King has been doing since he abruptly dissolved the last Parliament. The Long Parliament. Impeachment of the Earl of Strafford and Archbishop Laud. The King attempts to arrest the six members, but the birds had flown. King raises his standard and let battle commence. (Too much detail I know - but we have the problem between the section of the establishment that would have backed the King and that for Parliament - this is a period for which it is difficult to find a consensus view - probably be better to gloss over the causes of the civil war and get on to the battles)*.
  4. This is the Roundheads were right but repulsive whilst the Royalists were (w)rong but romantic section (the definitive verdict of that great work '1066 and all that' but far too entertaining for school history). Edited highlights Edge Hill, Marston Moor (throw in any local skirmishes to briefly stir up apathy in the classroom). King gets captured, tried and executed. Second Civil War (Charles II promised the Scots that he would impose their version of christianity on England, of course he was lying so they would give him an army - no need to mention this detail). Battle of Worcester. Charles II roams the countryside with a price on his head but eventually escapes to France. Cromwell conquers Scotland then goes off to pacify Ireland (the Irish interpretation that he committed atrocities has no place in this kind of British history).
  5. Brief mention of the Commonwealth regime and the Protectorate, with special mention that the Puritans banned Christmas and all other fun. Then on to the restoration of the King and the return of fun with the Merry Monarch.
  6. Mention the founding of the Royal Society and restoration drama, then the Plague and the Great Fire of London (1666 version). Ignore the Rye House plot (think McCarthyism with the catholics playing the part of communists, with the added frison that the King really was meeting with catholic priests and was being bribed by the King of France - good job for Charles that his loyal subjects did not know those facts, so no need to stir up their descendants) and the King's deathbed conversion to catholicism.
  7. King James II and the Glorious Revolution (unlike his brother James was an open Catholic and his "loyal" subjects did not like it). When the King combined an attempt at royal absolutism (respectable reason for the revolution) and tolerance for catholics (the real reason but a bit more difficult for modern people to agree with, so ignore) the people rose up and summoned William of Orange to rescue them. (Do not mention he was actually a Dutch invader, who mounted a brilliant propaganda campaign that made his father in law King James look like the foreigner - this was regime change as it should be done; but it contradicts the narrative that the last successful invasion was in 1066). British liberty triumphant (except for catholics obviously).

At this point the curriculum advisory board ran out of booze and adjourned to the pub before tackling the age of empire and the industrial revolution.

* Unlike the Spanish Civil War, the English conflict is far enough in the past and its issues sufficiently remote from current concerns that we can make a meal of it.

by Gary J on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 03:06:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is a feature of Spanish education to have a very dense curriculum and lots of contact hours, which doesn't mean that the students actually learn the material but does guarantee the full syllabus is hardly ever covered.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 03:13:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of we go with the next section.

  1. Founding of American colonies (no need to mention the ones we stole from the other European powers, at least until we reach General Wolfe and the conquest of Quebec).
  2. East India Company begins the gradual conquest of India whilst pretending to be a trading company (a brilliant bit of subterfuge - only the Dutch in Indonesia did something similar). Emphasise they were only defending themselves against their French rivals and helping friendly local rulers who would grant favourable trade deals. No need to explain how the company ended up running the whole country and making fortunes for its employees.
  3. The Duke of Marlborough and the early stages of the struggle in which Britain and France contended for global dominance, which would not end until the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. (This may be a controversial reading of what happened between 1690 and 1815, but this version of history emphasises the upwards trajectory of the British Empire, so it needs a linking narrative provided by enmity with France).
  4. At this point we need a module concerned with the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It does not help the national story, but it seems to be expected nowadays and it is certainly a topic too important to be glossed over.
  5. Start of the Industrial Revolution. Coal and iron. Inventors of various steam engines and new industrial processes particularly in the cotton industry. Contrast with Turnip Townshend and the agricultural revolution. Inclosures of land encouraging the rural poor to quit their hovels and go and become the urban poor in slums. (My sister thinks this bit is very dreary and she would rather have heard more about the Kings and Queens, but economic history is important and the class will be required to come to grips with it, whether they want to or not).
  6. The Union of Parliaments (a coming together of hearts and minds; ignore Scottish complaints that their leaders were "bought and sold with English gold" - the Scots were really keen to become North Britons honest). Our next Prime Minister needs this part of the syllabus to be specially convincing.
  7. The Hanoverian succession. Parliamentary government. The Jacobite risings of 1715 and 1745 (I told you the Scots were happy in the Union).
  8. The Seven Years War. British power consolidated in India and North America (time for General Wolfe and Quebec). The war in Europe - not so much as who wants to know about alliances when we can talk about the latest round of empire building.
  9. The American War of Independence. Emphasise the British roots of the American colonists and how it was only mad King George, Lord North and the incompetent generals who lost the colonies. Besides the Americans hid behind trees instead of standing in the open to be shot. The insurgents did not fight fairly. Severely play down the French involvement.
  10. William Pitt the younger. Pitt begins reforms by abolishing sinecure offices and speculating that perhaps it was not fair for uninhabited hillsides to have two Members of Parliament when major manufacturing towns have none. Such strange notions rapidly disappear when the outbreak of the French Revolution proves that any change is dangerous.
  11. Outbreak of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. No need to mention all those coalitions much. Emphasise the war in India and that we stood alone against Napoleon and his threatened invasion, but he did not dare carry it out (another yay us moment). Battle of Trafalgar. Then on to the Peninsular War. Only mention the Spanish and Portuguese contribution to Wellington's victories in passing. Battle of Waterloo (Wellington won it, credit the Prussian contribution to the victory as being of minor importance).
  12. Almost forgot Union with Ireland 1801 (again no mention of all the bribes and titles which had to be given to the members of the Parliament of Ireland, this was a real union of hearts and minds I tell you - they really wanted to be West Britons, especially the catholics).
  13. Congress of Vienna etc. All the diplomacy of the congress system and the Drei Kaiser Bund and all that. Canning and Castlereagh. This can be cut if the end of term is approaching.
  14. Repression at home. The Peterloo Massacre. The growth of pressure for parliamentary reform. Luddite outrages (machine breaking by workers protesting about modern machinery taking traditional jobs).
  15. The Whigs come to power. The Great Reform Act (1832). The middle classes get the vote and the worst of the rotten boroughs disappear.
  16. The later stages of the industrial revolution. More spinning machines. Steam engines. The Right Honourable William Huskisson becomes the first fatality in a railway accident.
  17. Colonial developments - Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. Indian Mutiny and the imperial government takes over from the East India company.
  18. More foreign affairs. Palmerston and gunboat diplomacy. The Schleswig-Holstein question (Palmerston said he had known the answer, but had forgotten it). The Crimean War - Florence Nightingale.
  19. Domestic affairs. Chartism. The repeal of the Corn Laws. Peel falls out with his backbenchers. Disraeli becomes an important figure (as almost all the other Protectionists were dim witted Tory squires and aristocrats, incapable of delivering a major parliamentary speech). The rise of Gladstone and his budgets. The Second Reform Bill (1867) enfranchises the skilled working class and eliminates some more small boroughs.

Curriculum committee wonders if it took a wrong turn when it substituted slabs of text for witty and cynical short comments. Time for another drink.
by Gary J on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 04:46:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
this was regime change as it should be done; but it contradicts the narrative that the last successful invasion was in 1066

I still wonder how that narrative holds where one of the most famous scene of Shakespeare - the end of Richard III - tells of the story of such an invasion.

The amount of falsification found in the "standard historical narrative" in any country is impressive...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 09:40:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
L'oubli, et je dirai même l'erreur historique, sont un facteur essentiel de la création d'une nation, et c'est ainsi que le progrès des études historiques est souvent pour la nationalité un danger. L'investigation historique, en effet, remet en lumière les faits de violence qui se sont passés à l'origine de toutes les formations politiques

Ernest Renan Qu'est-ce qu'une nation? 1882

by MarekNYC on Sat Feb 24th, 2007 at 01:22:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
French history



Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 10:06:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
oupss, sorry for the mispost

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 10:07:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd like to see diaries on almost all of those subjects you list... Same goes for Gary J...
by Nomad (Bjinse) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 10:17:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure Nonpartisan would, too.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 10:21:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey Gary, can't wait for the next installment, let's hear it how you kicked Napoleon's ass.
by balbuz on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 09:53:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Napoleon was betrayed before being poisoned on an island by the Brits. You know that.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 10:20:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For Napoleon see above. The great problem of the Napoleonic Wars in British history is how to tell the story, whilst giving as little credit as possible to our allies.

In an honest version of history, rather than a patriotic national narrative, it must be acknowledged that Britain has always needed allies to make any major military impact on the European mainland. However we are much happier thinking of the heroic defence of our islands at times when we had no allies left or our colonial adventures, rather than considering the whole conflict.

The same tendency affects the Second World War. The bits we tend to remember are those before America and the USSR came into the war. I suppose every nation is most interested in its part in a conflict rather than the (perhaps more important) actions of its allies.

by Gary J on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 05:07:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DutchNews:Minister aims for bar smoking ban in a year


Friday 23 February 2007

New Dutch health minister Ab Klink told NOS TV last night that he wanted to introduce a ban on smoking in bars, cafés and restaurants within a year. The new government's coalition accord simply says a ban should be introduced before 2011.

His predecessor Hans Hoogervorst had struck a deal with the catering sector to reduce smoke nuisance by 2009. An evaluation of that deal is due to be published in the spring.

I tried doing a diary on Hoogervorst's policy on smoking somewhere last year. I just got sickened and gave up. Typical that I'm now in SA...

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 01:59:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2007&mm=02&dd=22&nav_category=91&a mp;nav_id=39762
Blair: We did well in Kosovo ...

vbo:...Like in Iraq ...Afghanistan...

The scum is still talking even if no one even listens to him. Talk you chicken shit...what ever you say is totally contra productive for the side you are taking...
Don't even want to talk about Ashdown ...it's pretty hard to find word ugly enough to describe IT...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 02:07:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think the people of Novi Sad would agree with Blair, either.

While attacking him was really the only way to show Milosevic that the world wasn't going to watch from the sidelines-- I think he was counting on other people not wanting to get involved in actual fighting for fear of looking like the bad guy-- too many people who didn't support Milosevic were injured or killed, and I don't think they would have said Kosovo went well.

by lychee on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 02:31:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant that we would look like the bad guy for getting involved. What I wrote makes it sound like Milosevic feared being the bad guy....
by lychee on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 03:01:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no doubt about Milosevic being a "bad guy" ...all though that does not make others "good guys".
Never have heard anything more idiotic then "bad guys-good guys" theory...and when it is applied in politic it's a total disaster.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 07:32:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Fran on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 12:29:42 AM EST
Spiegel Online: GUNS AND STEEL ON THE SILK ROAD - High Noon in China's Far West

China is sending more troops to the mostly Muslim province of Xinjiang in the far west of the country. Concerns are rising in Beijing of ethnic unrest in the border region. Its plans for economic development there may be in trouble.

Mao Tse Tung defies the icy wind blowing from the Pamir Mountains across the city of Kashgar. Beijing is worlds away from this spot on the historic Silk Road, not far from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Which is perhaps why the Chairman Mao needs such a tall base for his statue, perched 24 meters (79 feet) above the "Square of the People." But Mao is strikingly alone -- the square is practically devoid of people.

It is time for prayer. A few blocks away, locals are streaming into the Id-Kah Mosque, the largest Muslim house of worship in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, home to the Uighur minority in northwestern China.

The faithful wear their fur turbans pulled down over their faces. It's bitterly cold, but it is also to disguise their identities. Many are afraid of being recognized.

Muslims are the majority in Kashgar, giving this ancient city bordering the Tarim Basin the air of an Arabian oasis. Uighurs, Kyrgyz and Tajiks bring their dates, nuts and pomegranates to the market on donkey carts. Instead of Peking Duck, the air smells of roast lamb and flatbread.

by Fran on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 12:36:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: Suspicion of UN troops grows in south Lebanon

· International forces are favouring Israel, say locals
· Fears of fresh conflict as Hizbullah's forces regroup

Six months after a UN-brokered ceasefire ended Israel's war with Hizbullah, scepticism about the role of 10,000 UN troops is growing in south Lebanon amid signs that the militant Shia group is retraining and re-equipping its forces.

Many in the south suspect Israel is trying to create a buffer zone along the border on Lebanese land allegedly captured during the war and that the UN is assisting it, furthering the popular perception that the UN forces, Unifil, are in south Lebanon to protect Israel from Hizbullah. Hizbullah, Lebanon's largest political party, is still part of the social fabric and continues military activities along the border.The international force, deployed to keep the peace and support the expansion of the Lebanese army's authority over the previously Hizbullah-controlled south, is perceived by villagers to be favouring Israel. "They are not our guests any more," said Hajj Ali, a revered Hizbullah fighter from the large southern town of Bint Jbeil, who limps from an injury sustained during the summer war. "If they continue to help the Israelis we will have to take action against them."

by Fran on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 01:00:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: US intelligence on Iran does not stand up, say Vienna sources

· Tip-offs did not lead to signs of banned activity
· IAEA report raises pressure for new sanctions

Much of the intelligence on Iran's nuclear facilities provided to UN inspectors by American spy agencies has turned out to be unfounded, according to diplomatic sources in Vienna.

The claims, reminiscent of the intelligence fiasco surrounding the Iraq war, coincided with a sharp increase in international tension as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Iran was defying a UN security council ultimatum to freeze its nuclear programme.

That report, delivered to the security council by the IAEA director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, sets the stage for a fierce international debate on the imposition of stricter sanctions on Iran, and raises the possibility that the US might resort to military action against Iranian nuclear sites.

At the heart of the debate are accusations, spearheaded by the US, that Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons. However, most of the tip-offs about supposed secret weapons sites provided by the CIA and other US intelligence agencies have led to dead ends when investigated by IAEA inspectors, according to informed sources in Vienna.

by Fran on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 01:06:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Much of the intelligence on Iran's nuclear facilities provided to UN inspectors by American spy agencies has turned out to be unfounded, according to diplomatic sources in Vienna.

More like this, but ON THE RECORD please. Who has the spine to call shenanigans publicly?

by det on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 02:44:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: Occupied Gaza like apartheid South Africa, says UN report

UN human rights investigator has likened Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories to apartheid South Africa and says there should be "serious consideration" over bringing the occupation to the international court of justice.

The report by John Dugard, a South African law professor who is the UN's special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, represents some of the most forceful criticism yet of Israel's 40-year occupation.

Prof Dugard said although Israel and apartheid South Africa were different regimes, "Israel's laws and practices in the OPT [occupied Palestinian territories] certainly resemble aspects of apartheid." His comments are in an advance version of a report on the UN Human Rights Council's website ahead of its session next month.

After describing the situation for Palestinians in the West Bank, with closed zones, demolitions and preference given to settlers on roads, with building rights and by the army, he said: "Can it seriously be denied that the purpose of such action is to establish and maintain domination by one racial group (Jews) over another racial group (Palestinians) and systematically oppressing them? Israel denies that this is its intention or purpose. But such an intention or purpose may be inferred from the actions described in this report."

He dismissed Israel's argument that the sole purpose of the vast concrete and steel West Bank barrier is for security. "It has become abundantly clear that the wall and checkpoints are principally aimed at advancing the safety, convenience and comfort of settlers," he said.

by Fran on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 01:13:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can someone remind me which countries used to vote against resolutions condemning Apartheid in the 1980's?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 07:40:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Technology Review (via TRS): 216 Million Americans Are Scientifically Illiterate (Part I)

You'll have to admit that these figures explain an awful lot...

Let's repeat for emphasis:216 Million Americans Are Scientifically Illiterate

Let's start by focusing on the positive. In just 17 years, over 50 million people have been added to the rolls of Americans who can understand a newspaper story about science or technology, according to findings presented last weekend at the American Academy for the Advancement of Science's annual meeting in San Francisco.

Michigan State University political scientist Jon D. Miller, who conducted the study, attributed some of the increase in science literacy to colleges, many of which in recent years have required that students take at least one science course. Miller says people have also added to their understanding through informal learning: reading articles and watching science reports on television.

Okay, now let's talk (dare I say rant?) about the 200 million Americans out there who cannot read a simple story in, say, Technology Review or the New York Times science section and understand even the basics of DNA or microchips or global warming.

This level of science illiteracy may explain why over 40 percent of Americans do not believe in evolution and about 20 percent, when asked if the earth orbits the sun or vice versa, say it's the sun that does the orbiting--placing these people in the same camp as the Inquisition that punished Galileo almost 400 years ago. It also explains the extraordinary disconnect between scientists and much of the public over issues the scientists think were settled long ago--never mind newer discoveries and research on topics such as the use of chimeras to study cancer, or pills that may extend life span by 30 or 40 percent.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 01:36:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I keep telling myself that I'm not part of that 40% or 20%, I can read scientific articles and understand them, and I know what a chimera is. But I still feel really, really stupid after reading that....
by lychee on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 01:48:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're here aren't you? ;-)

At ET, I mean.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 01:53:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It appears that the Israeli Defence Minister. Amir Peretz, is also scientifically and visually illiterate:


Apparently he 3 times looked through binoculars at a miltary display, nodding in agreement at the visual comments of a General seated next to him - all the while the binocs had their lens caps on!

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 02:44:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My mind just went blank when I got to the last paragraph. Oh, my.
by lychee on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 02:57:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Same goes for the Japanese:

One of Miller's findings that may surprise many Americans is that Europeans and Japanese actually rate slightly lower in science literacy. To be sure, these same populations also have a much higher percentage of people who accept evolution and other basic scientific theories. America's large population of conservative religious believers may be one reason for this discrepancy, although clearly there are hundreds of millions of people in the developed world who need education.

How exactly did Professor Miller measure "scientific literacy"?

Anyway, the second to last paragraph has a great idea:

Perhaps we should launch a scientific literacy campaign like the mid-20th-century drive that nearly tripled the rate of basic literacy worldwide.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 12:33:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Fran on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 12:30:31 AM EST
Independent: Consumers' revolt: Power to the people

Consumer militancy erupts as individuals join forces on the internet to fight back against the state and big business
by Fran on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 12:49:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Something that I've been predicting for  couple of years. I take it a lot further: the Withdrawal of Purchase is going to be a far more powerful tool than the Withdawal of Labour in persuading corporations to change their strategies.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 01:28:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Deutsche Welle: German Journalism Practice Raises Censorship Question

A heavily edited star interview in a German lifestyle magazine raised questions about the common practice of quote authorization, and the thinning line between journalism and PR.

When it comes to the fight for journalistic integrity, decisive battles are not often played out on the field of the celebrity interview.

But recent events led a German pop culture and lifestyle magazine to take a stand on what has become a standard practice in the German press: allowing a subject to a chance to "authorize" -- and often revise -- an interview before it appears in print.  

As a result of Herzsprung's changes, Sievert wrote, the interview was "almost grotesquely disfigured." The end result is "something that resembles a self-promotional text more than a lively, vital interview," he added.

Cozy relationship

U_mag's response? Print the interview in full -- heavily blacked-out sections included.

"We felt used," Sievert said. "We decided to print the interview with the crossed out sections, to give our readers a look into the modern media landscape."

The event caused a stir in the German media and awoke a sleeping discussion on what some say is an overly-cozy relationship between the German press and public figures.

by Fran on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 12:53:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IHT: Auto insurance set by when and where you drive

PARIS: Jonathan Hick, a 21-year-old student at the University of Nottingham, likes to think of himself as independent-minded.

Nonetheless, he recently let his insurance company install a system that uses satellites to track every movement his car makes.

"As soon as I heard the offer, I signed up," said Hick, who was one of the earliest to join a pilot program in Britain by Norwich Union, an insurance unit of Aviva that calculates insurance payments based on where and when cars were actually driven.

"I pay half as much for insurance and think twice about using the car during the expensive times that are considered high risk for accidents," Hick explained.

Hick said that he despised the idea of paying huge premiums for the grass- green 1997 Vauxhall Corsa, which he hardly uses.

The insurance, which has been sold by Norwich Union since October, uses the Global Positioning System of satellites to keep track of where, when and how far a car has been driven to determine rates each month.

It does not record speed, the company said.

Journey details are collected by a device the size of a compact disk case that is installed under the dashboard of the car. Each night, a mobile phone link automatically transmits an encrypted account of the car's exact movements -- road-by-road, mile-by-mile -- in order to produce an itemized monthly bill.

The system, made by Trafficmaster, a British company, is also used for navigation and fleet management.

by Fran on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 01:28:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I would rather give up my car. The financial rewards sound great, but the tracking device could be too easily used as a stalking device.
by lychee on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 01:51:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Under the old social order, authorities spied on people. Under the new one, people asks authorities: "Please spy on me!" It comes to him as his own idea. (with a hat tip to someone)

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 07:38:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Huff Wires: Microsoft Hit With $1.52B in Damages

SEATTLE -- Microsoft Corp. must pay $1.52 billion in damages to telecommunications equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent SA for violating two patents related to digital music, a federal jury ruled Thursday.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software company said the patents in question govern the conversion of audio into the digital MP3 file format on personal computers.

In 2003, Lucent Technologies Inc., which last year was acquired by Alcatel, filed 15 patent claims against Gateway Inc. and Dell Inc. for technology developed by Bell Labs, its research arm. In April 2003, Microsoft added itself to the list of defendants, saying the patents were closely tied to its Windows operating system. The PC makers are still defendants.

Microsoft said a judge threw out two of the 2003 patent claims and scheduled six separate trials to consider the remaining disputes. The case that was just decided went to trial in U.S. district court in San Diego on Jan. 29.

Microsoft disputed that Paris-based Alcatel-Lucent's patents govern its MP3 encoding and decoding tools, and said it licenses the MP3 software used by its Windows Media Player from Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, a German company.

"We believe that we properly licensed MP3 technology from its industry recognized licenser _ Fraunhofer. The damages award seems particularly outrageous when you consider we paid Fraunhofer only $16 million to license this technology," Burt said.

Microsoft said the damages were calculated by multiplying Windows sales volumes and PC sales prices worldwide since May 2003.

by Fran on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 01:47:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Prometheus: Newspaper scare headlines can be counter-productive

From the same person that brought Climate Catastrophe: Overrated

Nature 445, 818 (22 February 2007) | doi:10.1038/445818b; Published online 21 February 2007

Newspaper scare headlines can be counter-productive

Mike Hulme

Tyndall Centre, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK

. . .  Communicating science to wider, public audiences, however -- in this case on matters of important public policy -- is an art that requires careful message management and tone setting. It seems that confident and salient science, as presented by the IPCC, may be received by the public in non-productive ways, depending on the intervening media.

With this in mind, I examined the coverage of the IPCC report in the ten main national UK newspapers for Saturday 3 February, the day after the report was released. Only one newspaper failed to run at least one story on the report (one newspaper ran seven stories), but what was most striking was the tone.

The four UK 'quality' newspapers all ran front-page headlines conveying a message of rising anxiety: "Final warning", "Worse than we thought", "New fears on climate raise heat on leaders" and "Only man can stop climate disaster". And all nine newspapers introduced one or more of the adjectives "catastrophic", "shocking", "terrifying" or "devastating" in their various qualifications of climate change. Yet none of these words exist in the report, nor were they used in the scientists' presentations in Paris. Added to the front-page vocabulary of "final", "fears", "worse" and "disaster", they offer an insight into the likely response of the 20 million Britons who read these newspapers.

In contrast, an online search of some leading newspapers in the United States suggests a different media discourse. Thus, on the same day, one finds these headlines: "UN climate panel says warming is man-made", "New tack on global warming", "Warming report builds support for action" and "The basics: ever firmer statements on global warming". This suggests a more neutral representation in the United States of the IPCC's key message, and a tone that facilitates a less loaded or frenzied debate about options for action.

Campaigners, media and some scientists seem to be appealing to fear in order to generate a sense of urgency. If they want to engage the public in responding to climate change, this is unreliable at best and counter-productive at worst. As Susanne Moser and Lisa Dilling point out in Creating a Climate for Change: Communicating Climate Change and Facilitating Social Change (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2007), such appeals often lead to denial, paralysis, apathy or even perverse reactive behaviour.

The journey from producing confident assessments of scientific knowledge to a destination of induced social change is a tortuous one, fraught with dangers and many blind alleys. The challenging policy choices that lie ahead will not be well served by the type of loaded reporting of science seen in the UK media described above.

Bold mine.

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 02:43:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Prometheus also showcases an intense debate in response to the above: A Defense of Alarmism
by Nomad (Bjinse) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 02:49:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
San Diego Union-Tribune: Proposed ordinance would provide harbor seals with more protection

LA JOLLA - An ordinance that would make it easier for authorities to ticket people who disturb the famous harbor seal colony at La Jolla's Children's Pool beach is on its way to the San Diego City Council.

The proposed law, which will undergo further wording changes, also is intended to provide the public with a more clear definition of what constitutes harassment of the marine mammals.

Councilwoman Donna Frye said the ordinance is necessary to deter those who ignore signs posted at the beach and repeatedly scatter the skittish harbor seals.

"This is legislation for knuckleheads," said Frye, chairwoman of the council's Natural Resources and Culture Committee, which yesterday unanimously endorsed forwarding the measure to the City Council.

I don't know how much of interest this is to people here, but a little background: Children's Pool is a small section of beach protected by, I guess you'd call it a sea wall. It used to be a great place for little kids to swim because that wall blocked the larger waves. In the '90s, seals moved in and decided to stay, effectively kicking humans off the beach.

I'm not going to comment on the lack of copyediting in the article. O_o

by lychee on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 03:32:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, thanks for the up-date - we linked to the story before. :-)

And there is nothing that is not of interest here!

by Fran on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 03:48:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, Fran. I haven't been on ET very long and didn't know you already knew about it :D
by lychee on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 03:51:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Scotsman: It may hit Earth ... but don't worry, we've got a plan (19 Feb 2007)
A £150 MILLION space mission should be launched to deflect an asteroid which is set to pass dangerously close to Earth, experts warned yesterday.

The call for action to protect the world from Apophis - named after the Egyptian god of destruction - came from a coalition of astronauts, engineers and scientists with close links to US space agency NASA.

Scientists have estimated the asteroid has a one-in-45,000 chance of striking Earth on 13 April, 2036. Travelling at 28,000mph it could release 80,000 times the energy of the Hiroshima bomb.

Is that 120 Megatons?

According to another source I've seen, the asteroid is predicted to pass within the distance of geostationary satellites. <snark>Maybe instead of deflecting it it could be captured and turned into a moon?</snark>

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 05:30:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the asteroid has a one-in-45,000 chance of striking Earth
the asteroid is predicted to pass within the distance of geostationary satellites

It would pass within one Earth circumference and still only have a one-in-45,000 chance of striking ? Doesn't seem right to me.

by balbuz on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 08:54:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apophis is only 250m across, so against the Earth's 12750km diameter, it's a point particle.

The orbital radius of a geostationary orbit is 45000km, against the Earth's 6400km, which gives an impact cross-section for the Earth in the geostationary circle of 1/50.

The "error bars" on the closest approach distance must be rather small to reduce the cross-section by a factor of 900.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 09:10:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's say that if it would hit it can easily result in a crater of almost 2.4 kilometers wide - depending on the density of this thing...

The sandbox is here. Enjoy!

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 10:28:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Fran on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 12:31:04 AM EST
Good morning and a nice day to you all. If the weather contiues as nice today, I hope to take care of my plants on the balcony. It really feels like spring.
by Fran on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 01:23:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've found the secret to waking up early easily: go to bed early!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 01:50:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I learned here as well...


by Nomad (Bjinse) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 02:11:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good morning! The second storm this week is currently rolling through here. We haven't received much rain this season, so I shouldn't complain. :)
by lychee on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 01:54:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no doubt about Milosevic being a "bad guy" ...all though that does not make others "good guys".
Never have heard anything more idiotic then "bad guys-good guys" theory...and when it is applied in politic it's a total disaster.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 07:30:08 AM EST

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