The Gulf of Mexico oil leak began on April 20 when an explosion on the oil rig Deepwater Horizon tragically claimed the lives of 11 BP America employees. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) determined that within a month, the volume of the leak surpassed 1989’s Exxon Valdez disaster of 11 million gallons spilled off the coast of Alaska. USGS estimated the leak rate to be as much as five times BP’s claim of 5,000 barrels per day.
In an effort to tackle emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), Belgium is considering a radical and controversial proposal to dissolve human bodies and dispose of them in sewage systems, according to international news reports. Undertakers hope to have approval in a few months.
The National Security Agency (NSA) initiated another cyber-snooping program it dubbed “Perfect Citizen” with a $100 million contract for the Raytheon Corporation, according to the Wall Street Journal for July 8. "Perfect Citizen is Big Brother," opined one internal Raytheon email, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Those of us who have watched the British comedy series Yes, Minister, and its sequel Yes, Prime Minister, understand the insidious relationship between the British Civil Service and the ministerial officials who theoretically govern the nation on behalf of the people. The “official investigation,” conducted by civil servants when uncomfortable facts come to light, is a device intended solely to find no proof of official wrongdoing.
This Independence Day weekend Americans have been reminded once again of the immortal words of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty ... and broadband?” Believe it or not, Finland has just declared broadband a legal right of all its citizens, with the government guaranteeing that every home has access at one-megabit speed.
Senator Joe Lieberman, alongside other lawmakers, has drafted a bill that, critics say, gives the President of the United States the power to shut down the Internet. The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act was unanimously approved June 25 by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and now awaits a vote on the Senate floor, though a date for such a vote has not been set.
Last month, Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) unveiled their “American Power Act,” custom-tailored to President Obama’s plans to set up quotas for industrial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with total allowable emissions reduced over time. Better known as cap and trade, the bill is an updated version of S. 1733, companion legislation to the House-passed Waxman-Markey bill, H.R. 2454. Kerry’s official home page brags that the new bill “puts America back in control of our own power generation, starts to clean up the carbon pollution that threatens our climate stability, and puts us on the path to a new, cleaner and more prosperous economy for the 21st Century.”
After a day's delay in liftoff due to a malfunctioning fire extinguishing system on the launchpad, on June 10 at 5:01 p.m. South Korean time, the Naro-1 satellite launcher lifted off from the Naro Space Center at Goheung on the south coast. It then exploded about two and a half minutes later. This was the second failure in as many tries for the multistage rocket. Controllers who were at first cheering, were dismayed 137 seconds later at seeing a bright flash on their screens transmitted from the camera mounted on the tip of the rocket. At that time, the Naro-1 would have been about 43 miles above the earth. Ahn Byong-man, the Minister of Education, Science and Technology, told reporters that officials assume the explosion took place at that point. It was during the first-stage ignition.
Last December, as even every cloistered monk and Third World inhabitant probably knows, there was an International Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen, attended by government functionaries from around the world. The pampered delegates, who evidently weren’t worried about their own carbon footprints, caused a Scandinavia-wide shortage of black stretch limousines.