Seoul (AFP) – South Korean lawmakers on Friday passed an impeachment motion against President Park stripping away her sweeping executive powers over a corruption scandal that paralysed her administration and triggered massive street protests.
The National Assembly motion — passed by 234 votes to 56 — transfers Park’s authority to the prime minister, pending a decision by the Constitutional Court on whether to ratify the decision and permanently remove the president from office.
Update: South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment Friday means she has been stripped of power — but not the perks.
Even as her prime minister governs in her stead, Park gets to keep living at the presidential Blue House, using her official car and plane, collecting the same monthly salary (about $15,000 reportedly) and receiving round-the-clock security.
She also holds onto the title “President.”
But with nothing officially to do, it’s uncertain how she’ll spend her days during the up-to-six months the country’s Constitutional Court has to decide whether to accept the impeachment and formally end her presidency. Read the rest of this entry »
The first wave of virtual reality cinemas, heralding what their creators claim will be an entertainment revolution, rolls out across the world this month.
“Film as we know it will be dead in the next five to 10 years.”
— founder of the world’s first VR cinema in Amsterdam.
The first screening room in France opened Wednesday and several others are promised for Beijing, Shanghai and Los Angeles in the next few weeks.
Like the early days of cinema, virtual reality — or VR — is still something of a novelty sideshow.
But not for long, its supporters claim.
“Film as we know it will be dead in the next five to 10 years,” said the founder of the world’s first VR cinema in Amsterdam.
“The VR revolution is already happening. 2016 is year zero of this revolution.”
— Jip Samhoud
“It’s a whole different way of telling the story. I think it is really what we are moving towards in the entertainment world,” Jip Samhoud said.
Elisha Karmitz, who is behind the MK2 screening room in Paris, insisted “that the VR revolution is already happening.
“2016 is year zero of this revolution,” he added.
For €12 ($13) you can feel what it is like to fly like a bird for 20 minutes through a forest of New York skyscrapers in the film “Birdly.”
Lying flat on your stomach suspended from the ceiling, you change direction with electronic “wings” placed on your arms, and speed up by flapping them faster.
MK2, which has signed a deal with the acclaimed Chinese film director Jia Zhangke to produce more content, predicts that with the cost of producing VR film falling, its time is coming fast.
Keen not to be left behind, Hollywood is also investing in the technology, with a few minutes of the new “Assassin’s Creed” film already available in VR. There is also a “Star Wars”-inspired game in which the viewer becomes an X-wing fighter pilot like Luke Skywalker. Read the rest of this entry »
— T. Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) December 9, 2016
Gingerbread season has begun on an awesomely posh note with this beautiful gingerbread model of Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, England. Measuring 13 feet long, this edible replica of the lavish mansion took 500 hours to make using 66 lbs of butter, 240 eggs, and 476 lbs of icing.
Watch this video for a behind-the-scenes look at how the gingerbread mansion was made:
The multiple-axis space test inertia facility, fondly called “the gimbal rig,” simulated tumble-type maneuvers that might be encountered in space flight. From February 15 through March 4, 1960, the gimbal rig provided valuable training for all seven Project Mercury astronauts. John Glenn explains how it worked and what the experience was like. Credits: NASA
On February 20, 1962, NASA astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth in his Mercury capsule Friendship 7. In 4 hours and 56 minutes, John Glenn circled the globe three times, reaching speeds of more than 17,000 miles per hour. The successful mission concluded with a splashdown and recovery in the Atlantic Ocean, 800 miles southeast of Bermuda.
In this video, Glenn discusses the Multiple Axis Space Test Inertia Facility, informally known as the “gimbal rig,” used to train the “Original Seven” Mercury astronauts for America’s first human spaceflights.
The rig, which simulated an out of control spacecraft and required the astronauts to bring it back under control, was located at what was then NASA’s Lewis Research Center near Cleveland, Ohio. That center now bears Glenn’s name. Read the rest of this entry »
The Japanese city of Beppu is known for its countless hot springs and spas that pop up around them. So much so, that the city’s mayor, Yasuhiro Nagano, pledged to build an entire spa-themed amusement park—although it might not be quite as awesome as the one featured in this promotional video.
The “spamusement” park’s development hinged on this promo video hitting a million views, which it did just a few days after hitting YouTube. The city’s mayor has since announced plans to begin planning and development of the park, and we’re really hoping that bathtub roller coaster makes the cut…(more)
[VIDEO] Rep. Schiff Said Carlson Holds Water for Putin, Then Tells Him Not to Resort to Personal InsultsPosted: December 7, 2016
Leftist politicians supposed that ordinary voters with modest incomes facing hard times would believe that regulation and redistribution would help them. Evidently most don’t.
Michael Barone writes: It’s been a tough decade for the political left. Eight years ago a Time magazine cover portrayed Barack Obama as Franklin Roosevelt, complete with cigarette and holder and a cover line proclaiming “The New New Deal.” A Newsweek cover announced “We Are All Socialists Now.”
Now the cover story is different. Time has just announced, inevitably though a bit begrudgingly, that its Person of the Year for 2016 is Donald Trump. No mention of New Deals or socialism.
It’s not surprising that newsmagazine editors expected a move to the left. The history they’d been taught by New Deal admirers, influenced by the doctrines of Karl Marx, was that economic distress moves voters to demand a larger and more active government.
There was some empirical evidence in that direction as well. The recession triggered by the financial crisis of 2007-08 was the deepest experienced by anyone not old enough to remember the 1930s. Barack Obama waselected with 53 percent of the popular vote—more than any candidate since the 1980s—and Democrats had won congressional elections with similar majorities in 2006 and 2008.
“The United States Constitution was designed to provide a framework in which rights are guaranteed and voters in states can choose policies in line with their different backgrounds and beliefs.”
Things look different now, and not just because Donald Trump was elected president. It has been clear that most voters have been rejecting big government policies, and not just in the United States but in most democratic nations around the world.
Leftist politicians supposed that ordinary voters with mdest incomes facing hard times would believe that regulation and redistribution would help them. Evidently most don’t.
The rejection was apparent in the 2010 and subsequent House elections; Republicans have now won House majorities in ten of the last 12 elections, leaving 2006 and 2008 as temporary aberrations.
“The nation-state remains the focus of most peoples’ loyalties, and in a time of economic and cultural diffusion, as Yuval Levin argues in his recent book ‘The Fractured Republic’, big government policies designed for an age of centralization have become increasingly dysfunctional.”
You didn’t hear Hillary Clinton campaign on the glories of Obamacare or the Iran nuclear deal, and her attack on “Trumped-up, trickle-down economics” didn’t strike any chords in the modest-income Midwest.
Republican success has been even greater in governor and state legislature elections, to the point that Democrats hold governorships and legislative control only in California, Hawaii, Delaware and Rhode Island. After eight years of the Obama presidency, Democrats hold fewer elective offices than at any time since the 1920s. Read the rest of this entry »
Quin Hillyer writes: As Donald Trump builds his Cabinet, too little public attention has focused on the quasi-Cabinet-level position of Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
It’s an agency needing significant attention – and in Trump-supporting Alabama, home to Huntsville‘s Marshall Space Flight Center, we should be pushing for NASA to be revamped, re-energized, and perhaps re-imagined.
NASA traditionally has been one federal agency that gets good “bang for the buck,” in terms of benefits to human life. Because of experiments that can be conducted only in the weightlessness of space, NASA has contributed mightily to human medicine in ways too numerous to count (heart-transplant-related devices, artificial limbs, and pain reduction during cancer treatments among them). NASA also has contributed in many ways to highway safety, mapping, weather tracking (especially valuable for those of us who deal with hurricanes), oil-spill cleanup, and better computer software, not to mention the plethora of ordinary (non-life-saving) consumer products made possible or made better by NASA discoveries.
Meanwhile, NASA can boast a string of successes in its highest-profile role, that of exploration of both near- and deep-space. Sometimes we take for granted the astonishing feats of technology that NASA has produced – but recent robotic and orbiting analyses of Mars, and our amazing studies of distant semi-planet Pluto after a nine-year space flight, have added immeasurably to our knowledge of the solar system and its capacity for life. The orbiting Hubble Telescope, meanwhile, has opened new vistas into far-off galaxies we never knew existed.
Knowledgeable observers, it is true, will say that no need exists for only government to do everything space-related. They are correct:
Commercial/private space projects show signal successes and great potential for more. Nonetheless, the sheer scale and cost of rocketry makes space the one frontier in which the national government can rationally engage in public/private partnerships of the sort usually more suited to state and local governments. Read the rest of this entry »