“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, December 21, 2012

A meteorite likely formed about 4.5 billion years ago. It was knocked off its parent body, which may have been an asteroid or a Jupiter-family comet, roughly 50,000 years ago. The meteorite’s journey came to a halt in late April, when scientists descended on Sutter’s Mill, California

Mysterious California fireball resulted in one of the ‘rarest’ meteorites in history

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It’s being called one of the rarest meteorites in history.
Just eight months after a  fireball was spotted lighting up California and Nevada skies, a team of researchers say the cause was one of the rarest bits of cosmic material ever discovered on Earth.
Researchers responsible for recovering the small pieces of the meteor that hit northern California say it is was largely a carbonaceous chondrite — one of the rarest types to strike Earth. It is composed of cosmic dust and presolar materials that helped form the planets of the solar system, possibly presenting scientists with an extremely valubale resource for studying the early solar system.
Lead author and meteor astronomer Peter Jenniskens of the SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, noted that the age of the meteor made the specimen extremely rare, saying its age could yield some surprising data.
“[O]nly between 50,000 and 90,000 years ago, while most meteorites originate millions and millions of years ago,” he said.
Astronomers say the meteorite likely formed about 4.5 billion years ago. It was knocked off its parent body, which may have been an asteroid or a Jupiter-family comet, roughly 50,000 years ago. The meteorite’s journey came to a halt in late April, when scientists descended on  Sutter’s Mill, California — the gold discovery site that sparked the California Gold Rush — in an effort to recover fragments of the meteorite.
Jenniskens, who led the scientific search, described the search for the few fragments, explaining that they instigated a search of weather radar data to pinpoint the exact landing site. He also worked to collect photographs and video from a few bystanders in the High Sierra, some of whom captured stills of the fireball. The team of scientists also employed the use of seismic equipment at international nuclear weapons detection sites in an effort to better pinpoint the size of the meteorite when it struck Earth.
Thursday’s study represents the conclusion of the eight-month ordeal. According to the published report, Jenniskens and his team estimate that the energy of the exploding fireball was equal to a 4-kiloton blast of an atom bomb. Jenniskens and his colleagues report that the asteroid that hit the atmosphere probably had a mass of some 40,000 kilograms, corresponding to a diameter of 2.5 to four meters. It streaked in from the east before detonating at an altitude of about 48 kilometers, the team of researchers said.
Most notably, Jenniskens says the meteorite hit the Earth’s atmosphere at a blistering speed of nearly 18 miles per second, making it one of the fastest recorded object to strike Earth. Jenniskens noted that the object’s speed likely created enough pressure to break it apart, leaving researchers with just small chunks of rock scattered across a wide area.
“The small three meter-sized asteroid that impacted over California’s Sierra Nevada came in at twice the speed of typical meteorite falls,” said Jenniskens.  ”Clocked at 64,000 miles per hour, it hit with the energy of a quarter of a Hiroshima bomb. It was the biggest impact over land since the impact of the four meter-sized asteroid 2008 TC3, four years ago over Sudan.”
Of the estimated 100,000 pound asteroid, less than two pounds was recovered on the ground in the form of 77 meteorites. The biggest was 205 grams, according to NASA.
According to Jenniskens’ team, their focus will now shift to further examining the meteorite pieces. The team says the first step will revolve around studying the chemistry and mineralogy of the collected samples, possibly in an attempt to better understand the early solar system and universe.
“It exhibits considerable diversity of mineralogy, petrography, and isotope and organic chemistry, resulting from a complex formation history of the parent body surface. That diversity is quickly masked by alteration once in the terrestrial environment but will need to be considered when samples returned by missions to C-class asteroids are interpreted,” researchers wrote.
Meanwhile, astronomers around the world are using the event as a cautionary tale. The combined speed and size of the meteorite could have been disastrous, according to researchers involved in the study.
“If this were a much bigger object, it could have been a disaster,” said co-author and UC Davis geology professor Qing-zhu Yin. “This is a happy story in this case. “



  1. Astronomers say the meteorite likely formed about 4.5 billion years ago.

    But the now mostly frozen energy of which it was formed is as old as the Big Bang.

  2. Fighting May Have Shaped Evolution Of The Human Hand

  3. Drone the bastards, for the sake of the children -

    Polio, which once ravaged the world, now only routinely occurs in only three countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. The UN has launched a campaign to vaccinate children in these areas to wipe the disease out once and for all. However, the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan has decided that this effort is an American conspiracy to “make men less manly and make women more excited and less bashful” — and have begun assassinating aid workers who only hoped to save children from the ravages of what should be an extinct disease: video

    Video: Taliban kills 9 aid workers vaccinating children against polio

  4. E-Tracking Saudi Women
    By Deborah Weiss
    What’s next, doggie shock collars for wives?

    Saudi men are now receiving automatic text messages from the government whenever their wives exit the country. It is part of a new program to electronically track women and ensure that they don’t leave the country without permission from their male “guardians”. The response from liberal feminists in the West? Silence.

    Silence, as usual. Ain't that the truth. It irritates me no end the women of the USA can't put together just one march to Washington D.C. to show solidarity with women in muslin lands.

    E-tracking for long range, dog shock collars around the home.

    I bet the Taliban, those innocents, those brave freedom fighters, would have zero problem with dog shock collars for the women.


  5. Charles Krauthammer
    Opinion Writer

    The roots of mass murder

    As a psychiatrist in Massachusetts in the 1970s, I committed people — often right out of the emergency room — as a danger to themselves or to others. I never did so lightly, but I labored under none of the crushing bureaucratic and legal constraints that make involuntary commitment infinitely more difficult today.

    Why do you think we have so many homeless? Destitution? Poverty has declined since the 1950s. The majority of those sleeping on grates are mentally ill. In the name of civil liberties, we let them die with their rights on.

    A tiny percentage of the mentally ill become mass killers. Just about everyone around Tucson shooter Jared Loughner sensed he was mentally ill and dangerous. But in effect, he had to kill before he could be put away — and (forcibly) treated.

    Random mass killings were three times more common in the 2000s than in the 1980s, when gun laws were actually weaker. Yet a 2011 University of California at Berkeley study found that states with strong civil commitment laws have about a one-third lower homicide rate.......

    ......The irony is that over the last 30 years, the U.S. homicide rate has declined by 50 percent. Gun murders as well. We’re living not through an epidemic of gun violence but through a historic decline.....

    ....But there’s a cost. Gun control impinges upon the Second Amendment; involuntary commitment impinges upon the liberty clause of the Fifth Amendment; curbing “entertainment” violence impinges upon First Amendment free speech.

    The ACLU was a major force in emptying the lock ups for the mentally ill, back in the day. Most of these people ended up sleeping on the streets, and still do. Much of the violence comes from them. The mother was trying to do the complicated work of committing her son, who had a clean rap sheet.

    There are no easy answers. How many actually want to lock someone up before they have actually done something? Not me and probably not you.

    1. The majority of those sleeping on grates are mentally ill. In the name of civil liberties, we let them die with their rights on.

    2. I have a friend who’s sister went from crack house to crack house and a sordid death because the law prevented her being involuntarily housed in one of the few remaining open mental hospitals. All closed so that the patients could be free and helped with community outreach.

    3. The state institutions were shuttered because they were too underfunded to hire qualified staff which led to degenerate hellholes of patient abuse, a condition that exists today, in varying degrees in too many of the disabled and elderly care facilities. Don't kid yourself. You don't want to be cared for by anyone but your family, unless you have the portfolio for one of the upscale places, in which case, you will more likely hire home care.

  6. Happy winter solstice my friends. Peace.

    Cold and dark, this time of year,
    the earth lies dormant, awaiting the return
    of the sun, and with it, life.
    Far beneath the frozen surface,
    a heartbeat waits,
    until the moment is right,
    to spring.

  7. Ludicrous, irresponsible spending is why we're in trouble. As columnist Ron Hart points out, Bill Clinton's balanced budget spent $1.7 trillion. "Adjusted for inflation," he writes, "our federal government would (have) a $200 billion surplus. But instead of increasing government spending in line with normal inflation, under Bush and Obama we are spending $3.8 trillion today.

  8. Democrats, who believe we have a 'revenue' problem instead of a 'spending' problem, must also think they have a bartender problem, not a drinking problem."

    1. What's it called when you are your own bartender?

  9. The media obsess about tax rates, but spending is more important. As Milton Friedman taught us, spending is a far more accurate gauge of the government burden. If government spends a dollar, that dollar is taxed away from someone. If it's borrowed, it's removed from productive use, setting the stage for higher taxes later. If the government prints more dollars to fund spending, our purchasing power falls. Transferring purchasing power from the people to the government via inflation is a form of taxation.

    If Republicans and Democrats reach a deal, the tax increases will be real—but spending "cuts" probably illusions. If they actually happen, they will only be reductions in already planned increases. The Wall Street Journal notes that when the two parties talk about cutting spending by $4 trillion over a decade, "those numbers have no real meaning because they are conjured in the wilderness of mirrors that is the federal budget process. Since 1974, Capitol Hill's 'baseline' has automatically increased spending every year according to Congressional Budget Office projections.... Tax and spending changes are then measured off that inflated baseline."

    Given our growing debt, can't they even slow the growth of government to the rate of inflation? Or inflation plus 1 percent? Or even inflation plus 2 percent? That might balance the budget within a decade.

    But the spenders won't even give me that. They want more. Always more.

    Jonathan Bydlak, founder of the Coalition to Reduce Spending, has a good idea. "It's important to do for spending what Norquist has done for taxes: create a means for voters to hold elected officials accountable when they break campaign promises of fiscal responsibility."

    Bydlak has no time for any politician who pledges not to raise taxes without pledging to cut spending. He praises Doug Collins, representative-elect from Georgia, and Ted Cruz, senator-elect from Texas, for signing the Reject the Debt pledge and thereby promising voters they would:

    "ONE, not vote for any budget that is not balanced nor for any appropriations bill that increases total spending;

    "and TWO, consider all spending open for reduction, and not vote to authorize or fund new programs without offsetting cuts in other programs."

    Well, sure. Good luck to him.

  10. But people are reluctant to give up their favorite programs. Or any programs.

    Grover Norquist on Fiscal Cliff, Tax Pledges, & Being the GOP's "Rasputin"
    Nick Gillespie| 12.19.12
    Romanticizing Taxation
    Sheldon Richman| 12.09.12
    No One is Serious About Debt
    David Harsanyi| 12.06.12
    MORE ARTICLES BY John Stossel
    Government Gone Bad
    12.12.12 12:00 pm
    Food Bunk
    12.05.12 12:00 pm
    Legalize Insider Trading
    11.28.12 12:00 pm
    Let's not fool ourselves about how dependent politicians have made people on government.

    To succeed, the crusade to cut spending needs an ideological understanding of how unsustainable our current course is, not just a narrow appeal to short-term self-interest. People will have to see the wisdom of giving up government benefits now—in exchange for something more abstract: a future free society in which our children won’t be burdened by debt and taxes.

    It's the Spending, Stupid!
    Ludicrous, irresponsible spending is why we're in trouble
    John Stossel | December 19, 2012

    1. Spending and, as I've said before, Revenue. The gap between the two is problematic and is unsustainable. Will we see rational governance? We haven't to date.

  11. Uncle Miltie was wrong as often as he was right. Keynes was the Nobel Prize Winner, not Miltie.

    Bill Clinton's revenues X 1.6 inflation factor would have revenues today at about $2.96 Trillion, not $2.5 Trillion. And, his Defense Budget would have Defense at $450 Billion not $650 Billion.

    It was two idiotic nation-building exercises, and a world-wide super recession brought on by the banksters, plus Bain and Co. shipping half our manufacturing jobs to China that have us in the trouble we're in, now - not a little social program spending.

    And, btw, as I've shown before, Gov. spending actually decreased, even before inflation, in the last year.

    1. And, the fact that Median Family Income started falling the minute Bushco took office, and have been falling ever since.

    2. Durable Goods Orders and Shipments, and Personal Income and Outlays were up nicely last month. GDP for the 3rd qtr was revised up to 3.1%.

      Too bad the dumb-ass Republicans are getting ready to knock our dicks in the dirt one more time.

      Bloomberg Report

  12. What Could Fall Off The Fiscal Cliff:

    $2B to $20B - Food stamps
    $4B - Flood Assistance
    $10B - Higher Education
    $11B - Military Retirement
    $16B - Military Health Care
    $30B - Ag Subsidies
    $33B - Federal Employee Retirement Program
    $50B - Home Health Care
    $180B Subtotal (6%)

    $110B - Medicaid
    $112B - SS
    $180B - Tax Loopholes & deductions
    $250B - Medicare
    $650B Subtotal (21%)

    $950B - Bush Tax Cuts
    $800B to 1600B - Tax Reform (say $1200B)
    $2200B Subtotal (73%)

    $3030B Total

    Slide Show

  13. Boehner put up a ridiculous piece of nonsense that Gutted Social Spending, and only let the tax cuts expire for a few people earning over a Million/yr,

    and the crazy-assed tea partiers Killed that bill.

    The republican party has gone completely, totally looney-tunes.

    1. But, not one of the crazy son of a bitches has suggested we save an extra $65 Billion by getting our troops out of Afghanistan a year early.

      But, all of their bills have less spending for the VA.

      You "republicans" don't understand. This isn't Your Republican Party any longer. This is a crazy bunch of whackos that are to politics as the Wahhabis are to religion.

    2. Clinton was collecting 22.5% of GDP in revenue to the government.

      We are, now, collecting 15.5% of GDP in revenues (the lowest in history, I believe.)

    3. Eisenhower's top tax rate was 90%.

      Mitt Romney is paying somewhere south of 14%.

      And, you people are worried about some social payments to the people whose jobs Romney sent to China? You're fucking crazy.

    4. It seems to me there is a lot of money that can be not spent on the Military.

      Then there is Federal subsidies, like Flood insurance that can be pared back in my view.

    5. WHAT?!?

      You think we could get by with only 10 Carrier Groups; or, Gasp, God Forbid, NINE?

      Another whacko, pinkie surrender-monkey.

      Next thing, you'll be saying we could bring some of those troops home from Europe. Then, who'd protect us from the Soviet Union (in case they were to ever "re-form.")


    6. We just barely spend as much on the military as all the rest of the world combined, as it is.

    7. I just can't win here at the bar, I just can't. Hatred everywhere!


  14. This is a crazy bunch of whackos that are to politics as the Wahhabis are to religion.

    Very good Rufus. And the democrats these days are what, Maoists, Stalinists, Leninists, Trotskyists, or Alinskiites?

    1. In the old days they would have been considered moderate republicans.

    2. Or, at the worst, Centrist Democrats.

    3. You are out of your mind. And this proves it, as also your use of 'statistics', which as the old adage says 'should be kept away from kids and hillbillies'.

      You're so far up the hollow you never did hear that, didja? huh?

  15. Replies
    1. And charts too should be kept away from the kids and the billies.

  16. MOMBASA, Kenya (Reuters) - Raiders armed with guns, machetes and spears killed 30 people, including several children, and torched their houses in Kenya's coastal region on Friday, police said, heightening security concerns ahead of next year's election.

    Nine of the raiders were also killed in what appeared to have been a revenge attack by settled Pokomo farmers against the semi-nomadic Orma pastoralists after a series of clashes in August in which more than 100 people were killed.

    "About 150 Pokomo raiders attacked Kipao village which is inhabited by the Ormas early on Friday. The Ormas appeared to have been aware and were prepared," Robert Kitur, Coast Region deputy police chief, told reporters.

    One survivor said the attackers stuck at dawn.

    "There were too many gunshots. They used also spears and machetes. I ran out of my house and left behind my wife and two children, and told them not to leave ... but the enemies reached my house, killed my family and burnt my house as I watched from where I was hiding," said Osman Amran, 63, of the Orma tribe, who lay on a hospital bed with deep cut wounds on both thighs.


    Police said six women and 13 children were among the dead and nine of the attackers were killed. Many bled to death from wounds inflicted with machetes. The village was deserted as the survivors fled for fear of further attacks.

    Kenya Red Cross, which has a team on the ground treating the wounded, put the death toll at 32, including several children, with about 45 houses set on fire. Red Cross photographs posted on Twitter showed the injured being treated for serious cuts to the arms and head. One person had lost an arm.

    "We have been administering first aid services to many with cuts, some very deep on various body parts especially the head and back. Others have burns and bullet wounds," said Mwanaisha Hamisi, the Coast regional Red Cross coordinator.

    Are these dead less important than those killed in Newtown? Do you think we will hear endless stories about candle light vigils and be hypnotized for days by the likes of Scott Pelley, Diane Sawyer, and Brian Whats His Name, with their cameo close ups, watery eyes, and edit cuts? No, we will not.

  17. Should we outlaw machetes, BIC lighters, and spears?

    1. Only to Texans, and hillbillies. :)

    2. settled Pokomo farmers against the semi-nomadic Orma pastoralists

      If this isn't an old old story, I don't know one. Often the other way round, the pastoralists attacking the farmers.

    3. Outlaw automobiles, they do the most damage of all. Assault vehicles. SUV's. Pickup trucks.

  18. I've always been, and continue to be, a strong supporter of a powerful military; because without the safety that comes from an absolutely secure nation you can't have the multitude of Great Colleges, and Universities producing Pure Research such as this.

    And, if we are to survive, it will be such pursuits that ultimately save us.

    Research Project - University of Va


  19. Virtual weapons and cyber violence are poised for a massive upgrade into real-world weapons and violence, thanks to the combination of 3D printers and a group called Defense Distributed, which claims to have created downloadable plans anyone can use to "print" working gun parts, reports the AP. A University of Texas law student who is the leader of the group's "Wiki Weapons" project says group members were able to print key parts of a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle last month and test fire it six times before it broke. The goal is to make a fully downloadable weapon.

    There It Is

    1. But, then again, it really isn't about "protecting the kids," is it?

      The Dems want to outlaw ALL guns, and the NRA wants their manufacturers to be able to sell those worthless AR-15 pieces of shit with their ten thousand round magazines, or whatever.

      Pure shit from both sides.

    2. Flash for those "patriots" out there: If you're close enough to the evul gummint forces to use one of them little popgun pieces of shit, you're dead before you pull the trigger, anyway (and, your ass is pure, raw hamburger before you can pull it twice.)

      And, for the idiot, asshole dems: that Newtown shooter could have killed just as many of those kids with the two pistols he was carrying as he did with the rifle. And, done it well before any armed "cop" could have gotten from the front door to the back.

      All assholes, all the time.

    3. gettin' grouchy, nap time :)


  20. 446 school age children shot in Chicago so far this year with strongest gun laws in country – media silent

    The cesspool known as Chicago probably has the toughest gun laws in the country, yet despite all the shootings, murders, and bloodshed, you never hear a peep about this from the corrupt state run media. In Chicago, there have been 446 school age children shot in leftist utopia run by Rahm Emanuel and that produced Obama, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, etc. 62 school aged children have actually been killed by crazed nuts in Chicago so far this year with almost two weeks to go.

    from Chicago Sucks

    I'm telling you, it must be safer in Afghanistan than in Chicago.

    Add in Detroit and a couple other cesspools, no question.

    Why are the democrats talking about banning guns all of a sudden when something happens in laid back Newtown?

    Toughest laws in the nation in Chicago haven't worked. So there's no profit in talking about Chicago I guess.

    Big List of victims and perps included in this article -

    1. "with strongest gun laws in country"

      I guess even the "strongest" gun laws in the US are pretty darn weak then and heck it doesn't really make much difference at all if you can just pop over state lines to get the piece one desires.

    2. That's about it, Ash. When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns.

      By the way, I saw a nifty bumper sticker this morning. Kill a Wolf, it said, arched over the top. In the middle, pic of mean looking wolf, drooling. Arched at the bottom, Save 100 Elk.

      Pretty good, huh?

    3. Why is it that these cities that have been run by democrats for time out of mind now are the cities with the most crime?

    4. I'm not sure if it the relevant variable is cities run by democrats but rather just urban vs rural. Those in urban areas experience more gun crime and are more keen on gun control. In the rural areas gun crime seems pretty rare and resistance to gun control is high.

    5. As soon as I say that:

      "A prosecutor says four people are dead, including the suspected gunman, in a shooting along a rural road in central Pennsylvania.

      Blair County District Attorney Rich Consiglio says three people were shot Friday morning in Frankstown Township, about 110 kilometres west of Harrisburg.

      Mr. Consiglio says two men and a woman were shot and killed and the suspected gunman also died.

      State police say one trooper was struck by gunfire but escaped serious injury because the shot struck his bulletproof vest.

      Mr. Consiglio says a second trooper was hit by shattered glass and a third was in a crash involving the gunman. "

    6. The way you get the guns off the streets of Chicago is to close the "gun show" loophole.

      40% of all guns are bought at gun shows, and thus, are not registered.

    7. Non sense. An immediate underground market would spring up.

  21. The wind production tax credit still hangs in the fiscal-cliff balance
    posted at 12:11 pm on December 21, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

    Tax credit con men -

    With Congress and the White House currently concentrating their laser-like focus on averting (or not averting, as the case may be) the fiscal cliff, the fate of various tax extenders is still very much up in the air, including the wind industry’s precious production tax credit (which covers about 30 percent of wind power’s costs — no wonder they’re so keen on keeping it around). The wind lobby is working overtime to convince Congress to pass an extension before the clock runs out on December 31st, but most lawmakers’ concerns are about the bigger fish we still need to fry before the end of the year.

  22. You cannot lawfully buy a gun outside your resident state. In order to do that, the dealer has To sell the gun first n to a dealer in your state, all per-arranged by you with handling fees all around, complete with back ground Checks. Moot point, though, as someone who wants to buy a gun off the radar merely needs to know of someone who has one to sell or trade and it is done on a cash basis no questions asked.

  23. Replies
    1. If you're buying a trunkload of heaters for Chicago gang-bangers that might not be your greatest concern, I'd think.

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