Two Koreas: What Communism Looks Like From Space


Darkness: It looks like the whole nation of North Korea is running on a couple of AA batteries.


Blast from the Sun Reaches Earth

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.


Image of the sun on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, from the Solar X-Ray Imager on NOAA’s GOES satellite, taken just after the maximum emission of a solar flare. The eruption came from the middle of the sun and is directed toward Earth. This is the largest solar flare so far this year.

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.


Download here. (Credit: NOAA)

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OUCH! Poll: Obama Rates Lower than Bush After Katrina

4831728106_obama_snob_xlargeAccording 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twenty percent of Democrats now oppose Obamacare, and over one in six want to see President Obama’s signature program repealed completely.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.

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Global Warming’s Glorious Ship of Fools

The view from the trapped ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy

The view from the trapped ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy

The always entertaining, perpetually ill-tempered    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.

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Profile: Author Helen Smith’s ‘Men On Strike’

Men Are ‘On Strike’ Throughout The U.S.: What Are The Causes?

psychologist and blogger Helen Smith

Psychologist and blogger Helen Smith

Editor’s note: I am currently reading this book, and hope to post a review soon. In the meantime, check out this Forbes Magazine item by Jerry Bowyer,  featuring author Helen Smith

Jerry Bowyer writes: I haven’t seen my copy of Men On Strike for several weeks. I kept careful watch on the book until I finished interviewing her, but after that it disappeared into the Bowyer-Family-Book-Sharing Vortex from which it has not yet emerged. That’s because it is an easy read about a topic which is interesting in both a social science theory way, and in a figuring out how to get by in the current world kind of way.

Men on Strike is pretty much what the title says it is, a book about how many men have decided not to participate in certain areas of life, most notably in school, family, and increasingly in work. What separates the work of Helen Smith, a psychologist who deals with men like the ones she writes about in her book, is the lack of scoldiness that you might find in the similar work of say Kay Hymowitz’ Manning Up. For Smith, the men are in large part acting rationally. They’re more John Galt than they are Peter Pan. The book could as well have been titled Andros Shrugged, if ancient Greek titles sold books.

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Vintage Comic Cover Art of the Day

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?


[PHOTOS] Top 10 Handguns in the U.S.

Actor Tommy Lee Jones was a Glock devotee in "The Fugitive." The wildly popular make just cracked the top 10 in U.S. production at it's Georgia facility.

Actor Tommy Lee Jones was a Glock devotee in “The Fugitive.” The wildly popular make just cracked the top 10 in U.S. production at it’s Georgia facility.

Kel Tec. The Florida-based manufacturer produced 90,177 pistols in 2011.

Kel Tec. The Florida-based manufacturer produced 90,177 pistols in 2011.

Glock. The Austria-based company made 23,752 handguns at its Georgia plant in 2011.

Glock. The Austria-based company made 23,752 handguns at its Georgia plant in 2011.

Actor Mel Gibson in his role as Beretta-toting LAPD Detective Martin Riggs in the "Lethal Weapon" series.

Actor Mel Gibson in his role as Beretta-toting LAPD Detective Martin Riggs in the “Lethal Weapon” series.

More – Photo Gallery – Washington Times

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Iraqi ambassador Slams Obama, Praises Bush

Speaking out: Lukman Faily, Iraqi ambassador to the United States, says the Obama administration is not as engaged in his country's future as was the Bush administration, but adds that sectarian divisions are not about to erupt into civil war. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Speaking out: Lukman Faily, Iraqi ambassador to the United States, says the Obama administration is not as engaged in his country's future as was the Bush administration, but adds that sectarian divisions are not about to erupt into civil war. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Speaking out: Lukman Faily, Iraqi ambassador to the United States, says the Obama administration is not as engaged in his country’s future as was the Bush administration. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Ambassador praises Bush’s ‘ownership’ of relationship

bush460Guy 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 IraqMr. 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 IraqMr. Faily urged U.S. leaders in both parties to stop Obama Massachusetts Senateallowing 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.

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Analysis: The Complex Calculus of a North Korean Collapse

Image: U.S. Army Flickr.

Image: U.S. Army Flickr.

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.

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Novelist’s Ex In Bizarre Handgun Threat Arrest

Cormac McCarthy’s former wife pulled weapon from her vagina

jennifermccartyA 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.

To make matters more strange, the arrested woman is the most recent ex-wife of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Cormac McCarthy, author of “The Road” and No Country for Old Men.”

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.

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Raw Power: American Energy Booms On


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.

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Gates Memoir: Obama’s Insincere War

President Barack Obama, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Barack Obama, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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.

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Directors Guild Announces TV Nominations


 reports: Bryan Cranston has received two nominations in the Directors Guild of America’s TV nominations for “Breaking Bad” and for “Modern Family.” The winners will be announced Jan. 25.


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.

Phil Spector (HBO)

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.

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Democrat Senator Udall Asked State to Cook Books on Obamacare Numbers

Democratic dude

John Nolte reports: reports that emails show U.S. Senator Mark Udall‘s (D-CO) office pressured the Colorado Division of Insurance to downplay the number of insurance cancellations caused by the rollout of ObamaCare. A full 249,199 Colorado citizens were victimized by ObamaCare’s cancellations. According to the emails, Udall’s office hoped to change the definition of a “cancellation” as a way to lower the number. All of this occurred late last year as the storm around cancellations was engulfing Democrats and the president.

From an email inside the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), Director of External Affairs Jo Donlin bluntly stated to her colleagues:

Sen. Udall says our numbers were wrong. They are not wrong. Cancellation notices affected 249,199 people. They want to trash our numbers. I’m holding strong while we get more details. Many have already done early renewals. Regardless, they received cancellation notices.

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“Family name researcher” discovers the most common full name in Japan

Image: Wikipedia (edited by RocketNews24)

Image: Wikipedia (edited by RocketNews24)

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.

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Is That a Thermonuclear Device in Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

US To Spend Over $1 Trillion On Nuclear Arsenal Over Next 30 Years

The United States is estimated to spend over $1 trillion over the next thirty years on upgrades and maintenance of its nuclear arsenal. (Photo by US Navy via Getty Images)

The United States is estimated to spend over $1 trillion over the next thirty years on upgrades and maintenance of its nuclear arsenal. (Photo by US Navy via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – The United States is estimated to spend over $1 trillion over the next thirty years on upgrades and maintenance of its nuclear arsenal.

The report from the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) released Tuesday finds that the US will likely spend over $1 trillion during the next three decades to maintain its current nuclear arsenal and purchase new, replacement systems. The defense budget needed will peak to levels comparable to the Reagan-era build-up of nuclear forces, the report states.

Specific concern is given to the replacement of systems set to begin expiring in 2030. US plans from 2024-2029 include the construction of five strategic submarines, 72 strategic bombers, and 240 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

The planned amount of nuclear delivery vehicles is greater than that of China, the United Kingdom and France combined – although vast budget concerns remain.

“The strategic and financial challenges facing our country are enormous,” Jon Wolfsthal, CNS Deputy Director and former nuclear advisor to Vice President Joseph Biden, writes in the report. “Policy makers lack the basic information needed to make smart choices about our nuclear arsenal, putting both our deterrent and future reductions at risk.”

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[VIDEO] REWIND: Marylin Monroe and Dennis Rodman Team Up to Sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Kim Jong-Un

Pundit Planet Media – YouTube

[VIDEO] New Film ‘Bankrupt’ Examines The Downfall Of Detroit

Debra Heine reports:  On January 21, conservative filmmaker Ben Howe will be premiering his latest movie, “Bankrupt”

at the DC Auto Show. The subject he chose for his first full length documentary, is the cronyism that he believes brought down Detroit. In the documentary, he examines why Detroit failed and what rest of the country needs to do and avoid Detroit’s fate.

Here’s the trailer:

The website for Bankrupt is here. It will be freely available on YouTube after the premiere.

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