Darkness: It looks like the whole nation of North Korea is running on a couple of AA batteries.
Forecasters at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center said a coronal mass ejection (CME) arrived near Earth at 2:32 p.m. EST, Jan. 9, 2014, which initiated the start of a geomagnetic storm. Effects from the storm are expected to continue through January 10, with minor disruptions to communications and GPS.
Download here. (Credit: NOAA)
The sunspot in Region 1944 produced the eruption at 1:32 p.m. EST Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, and remains active and is well positioned to deliver more storm activity in the next several days. NOAA’s SWPC will continue to monitor the region for activity.
How space weather affects real-time technology
Economies around the world have become increasingly vulnerable to the ever-changing nature of the sun. Solar flares can disrupt power grids, interfere with high-frequency airline and military communications, disrupt Global Positioning System (GPS) signals, interrupt civilian communications, and blanket the Earth’s upper atmosphere with hazardous radiation.
Monitoring and forecasting solar outbursts in time to reduce their effect on space-based technologies have become new national priorities. And NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), part of NOAA’s National Weather Service, is the nation’s official source of space weather forecasts, alerts, and warnings.
According to a poll released Thursday from Investors Business Daily and TIPP, twenty percent of Democrats now oppose Obamacare, and over one in six want to see President Obama’s signature program repealed completely. A whopping 55 percent of Americans are against the law, the highest
number charted by IBD/TIPP since the inception of the poll question. Obamacare earns only 37 percent support. Support for repeal of the law has increased four points among Democrats over the last month alone.
Obama’s ratings in the IBD/TIPP Presidential Leadership Index now stand below George W. Bush’s
in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. That’s driven largely by fear about Obamacare, given that almost four in ten Americans believe they will lose their doctors thanks to the law.
The always entertaining, perpetually ill-tempered Mark Steyn writes: Yes, yes, just to get the obligatory ‘of courses’ out of the way up front: of course ‘weather’ is not the same as ‘climate’; and of course the thickest iciest ice on record could well be evidence of ‘global warming’, just as 40-and-sunny and a 35-below blizzard and 12 degrees and partly cloudy with occasional showers are all apparently manifestations of ‘climate change’; and of course the global warm-mongers are entirely sincere in their belief that the massive carbon footprint of their rescue operation can be offset by the planting of wall-to-wall trees the length and breadth of Australia, Britain, America and continental Europe.
But still: you’d have to have a heart as cold and unmovable as Commonwealth Bay ice not to be howling with laughter at the exquisite symbolic perfection of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition ‘stuck in our own experiment’, as they put it. I confess I was hoping it might all drag on a bit longer and the cultists of the ecopalypse would find themselves drawing straws as to which of their number would be first on the roasting spit. On Douglas Mawson’s original voyage, he and his surviving comrade wound up having to eat their dogs. I’m not sure there were any on this expedition, so they’d probably have to make do with the Guardianreporters. Forced to wait a year to be rescued, Sir Douglas later recalled, ‘Several of my toes commenced to blacken and fester near the tips.’ Now there’s a man who’s serious about reducing his footprint.
But alas, eating one’s shipmates and watching one’s extremities drop off one by one is not a part of today’s high-end eco-doom tourism. Instead, the ice-locked warmists uploaded chipper selfies to YouTube, as well as a self-composed New Year singalong of such hearty un-self-awareness that it enraged even such party-line climate alarmists as Andrew Revkin, the plonkingly earnest enviro-blogger of the New York Times. A mere six weeks ago, pumping out the usual boosterism, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that, had Captain Scott picked his team as carefully as Professor Chris Turney, he would have survived. Sadly, we’ll never know — although I’ll bet Captain Oates would have been doing his ‘I am going out. I may be some time’ line about eight bars into that New Year number.
This one is not so rare that you can’t find it in circulation from time to time, but it’s old enough to qualify as classic and vintage. Robert Crumb, what’s not to like?
Ambassador praises Bush’s ‘ownership’ of relationship
Guy Taylor writes: Iraq’s ambassador to Washington says the Obama administration doesn’t fully grasp the consequences of failing to more aggressively combat a surging al Qaedathreat inside his country, pointedly suggesting that President Obama has been less engaged with Baghdad than his predecessor.
“The administration has to have a better understanding of any adverse impact of any delay in provision of support to Iraq,” Ambassador Lukman Faily told The Washington Times in an interview Wednesday. “It cannot afford a whole town or province of Iraq falling to al Qaeda and becoming a safe haven. It’s against the U.S. strategic interest. It’s against the U.S. national security to do that.”
Asked whether the White House could do more to facilitate a tighter relationship with Iraq, Mr. Faily said, “to a certain extent they can. But we are no longer in a period in which we had President Bush, who took ownership of that relationship.”
With al Qaeda-linked violence surging in Iraq, Mr. Faily urged U.S. leaders in both parties to stop allowing military and nation-building resources for his country to become embroiled in domestic U.S. politics even as he dismissed suggestions thatIraq is in danger of falling into a full-fledged civil war between its Shiite and Sunni populations.
“I personally think that it’s tragic that the issue of the whole American project inIraq is now becoming a ball in relations to the party politics within D.C.,” the ambassador said. “I don’t think it’s beneficial for the United States. It’s definitely not beneficial for Iraq to become a tool in Republican versus Democrat or whomever.
“This is not helpful for U.S. security, it is not helpful for us, it is not helpful for the region.”
Given word of The Times’ interview with Mr. Faily, the White House responded Wednesday evening that there is a high level of engagement between U.S. and Iraqi officials and that the U.S. is providing extensive military support to Iraq through Washington’s Foreign Military Sales program, but that the Iraqi governmentneeded to take the lead on countering terrorists in the nation.
Doug Bandow writes: The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remains a sui generis communist monarchy wrapped in mystery, prone to sporadic brinkmanship and violent spasms. The young leader’s surprise execution of his uncle suggests regime instability, which might spark new international provocations for domestic political purposes.
The latest events have rekindled predictions of a possible North Korean collapse. The greatest danger is that the US would get drawn into the resulting chaos and conflict. Warned the Rand Corporation’s Bruce W. Bennett: “Inadequately prepared, the ROK and the United States could suffer many serious consequences, including a failed or aborted intervention, a destabilization of the region, and possibly broader warfare.”
The Korean peninsula became a U.S. security concern when the US and Soviet Union divided the former Japanese colony after Tokyo’s World War II surrender. Two competing and hostile states emerged, leading to the Korean War. The Truman administration intervened to prevent the DPRK from conquering the South; U.S. troops remained.
Today, however, the Republic of Korea possesses roughly 80 times the North’s GDP and more than twice the latter’s population. Seoul could do whatever it takes to defend itself. The DPRK retains sizeable armed forces but lacks advanced weaponry, combined arms training, adequate human capital, and quality industrial infrastructure. Neither the People’s Republic of China nor Russia would back a North Korean attack. Even Kim probably recognizes that the North would lose.
Cormac McCarthy’s former wife pulled weapon from her vagina
A domestic dispute over space aliens escalated Saturday morning when a lingerie-clad New Mexico woman allegedly pointed a silver handgun at her boyfriend, a weapon she retrieved from her vagina, where it had been placed while the accused was performing a sex act, police allege.
As detailed in a probable cause statement, Jennifer McCarthy, a 48-year-old artist, argued about space aliens with her 53-year-old beau, whose name was redacted from the document released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. When questioned by deputies, McCarthy reportedly acknowledged that she “did have a gun at the time” the couple was yelling at each other.
From The American Interest: America is sitting pretty when it comes to energy production, and a new report suggests things will be getting even better. In its January Short-Term Energy Outlook, the Energy Information Administration bumped up its forecasts for U.S. oil and gas production. Oil output is set to hit a 43-year high next year, while annual natural gas production is expected to rise to an all-time high for the fifth straight year in 2015.
Even better, burgeoning domestic production means less of a need to import oil and gas. Natural gas imports are forecast to drop to a near 30 year low next year, and as the WSJ reports, America’s oil trade balance is at its healthiest state in 20 years:
The trade deficit in petroleum products hit a 2013 low in November, falling to $15.2 billion, according to seasonally adjusted data released by the Commerce Department on Tuesday. Adjusted for inflation in 2009 dollars, the gap between petroleum imports and exports is the lowest since at least 1994.
Rich Lowry writes: Robert Gates has roiled the Beltway with perhaps the least surprising bombshells ever to appear in a tell-all Washington memoir.
Did anyone believe that President Barack Obama was passionately committed to the Afghanistan war that he escalated at the same time he announced a withdrawal date?
Is there anyone who thought that Hillary Clinton in 2008 calibrated her position on the Iraq War based on the state of play in Anbar province rather than the Iowa caucuses?
Does anyone consider Vice President Joe Biden a thoughtful policy maven with a long history getting stuff right?
Before going any further, let’s stipulate that there’s something a little unseemly about the Gates book project. Gates has always seemed among the most old-school and stand-up of our political elites, yet even he reverted to the all-too-typical play of keeping notes for his memoir, to be published as soon as possible upon leaving office.
MOVIES FOR TELEVISION AND MINI-SERIES
The nominees for the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Mini-Series for 2013 are (in alphabetical order):
Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight (HBO)
Mr. Frears’s Directorial Team:
• Unit Production Managers: Scott Ferguson, Erica Kay
• First Assistant Director: Michael Steele
• Second Assistant Director: Nancy Herrmann
• Second Second Assistant Director: Ellen Parnett
This is Mr. Frears’s third DGA Award nomination. He was previously nominated in this category for Fail Safe in 2000 and for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for The Queen in 2006.
Mr. Mamet’s Directorial Team:
• Unit Production Manager: Lee R. Mayes
• First Assistant Director: Michael Hausman
• Second Assistant Director: Erica Fishman
• Second Second Assistant Director: Catherine Feeny
• Additional Second Second Assistant Director: Eddie Griffith
This is Mr. Mamet’s first DGA Award nomination.
From RocketNews24: What’s in a name? In Japan, those with a strong understanding of kanji, those pesky Chinese characters that are always tripping up language learners, can immediately understand the significance of anyone’s appellation.
Although the most common surname in Japan is “Sato,” it turns out that there’s a far more popular name combination that doesn’t include our quirkiest reporter‘s last name. Let’s take a look at the most common given and family names in Japan and the meanings behind them.