The Bankruptcy of Detroit

I’ve been following that sad state of affairs with great interest. Why? Because it’s the ultimate fate of our country due to the debt we have-but that’s neither here nor there. What bothered me were statements made on the radio today.

This afternoon I had nothing to do so I was on my way home and for the first time in a while, I turned the radio on. A nationally syndicated blow hard was on and he spoke about the Detroit deal. The reasons for the bankruptcy in his mind were ‘the unions’ and ‘liberalism.’ While I do think making people dependent on the system, and then taking money from others to pay to the dependent ones, is morally wrong, that’s not the only reason for the destruction of Mo-town.

Nor were the unions totally to blame either. Big Management wants to make sure they get every damn dime they can and that’s how it is. And if we didn’t have unions, then we’d all be slaves to the company. The 40 hr work week, vacations, labor laws and benefits all came about in the USA due to the unions, so they’ve done many things to help out the worker.

With that said, here’s the rub. Both parties helped cripple the auto industry. Do you really think it costs 50k to build a 4×4 F-150? Seriously, that’s so overpriced it isn’t funny. Why? Because the company is going to make sure management (specifically the upper echelon) gets their outrageous pay and then uses the ‘good old boy’ network to make sure their buddies do too. All these CEO’s are on other company’s Board of Directors so it becomes ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.’ “You give me thirty million here and I’ll vote to give it to you at your company.” What a fucking racket. However, do Union workers need $40 per hour to build cars? No, but despite all that is said on the right, the figures that the CEO’s, and the other members of upper management, are getting is causing far more harm than the unions. So, look at the figures of their pay and think about whenever they say the ‘unions are killing us on labor cost.’ I’ll bet you 20 bucks they’re mad because it’d cut into their big ass paychecks, which is why they’re angry.

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2012/ceo-pay-ratios/

Now look at those figures and tell me it’s the unions fault! I’m sorry, talk radio, but the 1%, both in business and politics/government, are getting richer off our backs and we’re not seeing a damn dime of it really. Looks like it’s time for a union renaissance.

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Train Physics and Video

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In this video we have a Canadian Pacific (CP) container train leaving the yard after a crew change. Note how he gradually increases the power. You can tell when he grabs each ‘notch’ (which means the slot on the control stand) as they get up to speed. I can hear the question: “Why didn’t he just give it full power and take off?” Well, here’s why:

The standard drawbar on a car is rated for 350-390k pounds of force, so if the engineer took off too hard, then he could exceed that and pull the train apart. That’s not good. If it’s a broken knuckle, that can be replaced fairly easily. If a drawbar is pulled, then that can require the car department to come fix it-and they could be in that yard or at another one several hours away. Either way, it’ll tie of the RR, get the Trainsmaster’s upset an truly anger the Dispatchers because it ruins the flow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_k_T1BDLBNM

Seismic ‘scream’ portends violent volcanic eruption

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By Monte MorinJuly 15, 2013, 5:04 p.m.

It began as series of small shuddering earthquakes beneath Alaska’s Mt. Redoubt that gradually coalesced into a high-frequency “scream,” according to seismologists.

While scientists could only guess as to what triggered the vibrations, there was no question about what happened next: The seismic scream was followed by 30 seconds of silence, and then a series of volcanic eruptions — 20 over a two-week period — that launched an enormous plume of ash resembling a mushroom cloud.

In a study published recently in Nature Geoscience, researchers examined data from the 2009 eruption and concluded that the sustained vibrations were caused by numerous so-called stick-slip movements on faults more than a mile beneath the volcano.

While researchers said it was beyond the scope of their study to determine the cause of the quake, they theorized that it was the result of pressure building in blocked magma conduits underground.

“Blockage of conduit flow increases magma pressure, driving increasingly rapid deformation until the obstruction is breached and an explosion commences,” wrote lead study author Ksenia Dmitrieva, a graduate student in the department of geophysics at Stanford University, and colleagues.

High-frequency harmonic tremors have been recorded before other volcanic eruptions, as well as in the collision of icebergs. Usually, these tremors cannot be heard by people. In the case of the Redoubt eruption, however, the shaking was just barely audible as a hum, according to study authors.

“Although this is a rare and extreme example, if you ever happen to be near an active volcano and feel the ground humming, you might want to take cover,” wrote study co-author Alicia Hotovec-Ellis, a graduate student in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington, in Seattle.

Click here to read more and listen to a recording of the scream.

Villagers flee as Indonesian volcano spews ash

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A resident of Cangkringan district in Indonesia's Central Java province wears mask to protect himself against volcanic ash from Mount Merapi (background) after spewing volcanic ash.Photo / AFP

A resident of Cangkringan district in Indonesia’s Central Java province wears mask to protect himself against volcanic ash from Mount Merapi (background) after spewing volcanic ash.Photo / AFP

Indonesia’s most volatile volcano spewed smoke and ash Monday, forcing hundreds of people to flee their villages along its slopes, a disaster official said.

Mount Merapi on the main island of Java rumbled as heavy rain fell around its cloud-covered crater, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, disaster mitigation agency spokesman.

The volcano unleashed a column of dark red volcanic material 1,000 meters into the air, and the ash made the rain thick and muddy in several villages as terrified residents fled to safety, he said.

The sound was heard 30 kilometers away, but an eruption did not occur and the volcano’s alert level was not raised, Nugroho said.

The 2,968-meter mountain is the most active of 500 Indonesian volcanoes. Its last major eruption in 2010 killed 347 people.

Indonesia, an archipelago of 240 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity because it sits along the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a horseshoe-shaped series of fault lines.

– AP

 

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10901602

Ender’s Game Producer Bob Orci Talks Casting Harrison Ford and Believing In UFOs at Comic-Con 2013

from the Huffington post:

 

Shira Lazar

Co-founder, WhatsTrending.com

 

Ender’s Game producer Bob Orci chats with What’s Trending at Nerd HQ at San Diego Comic-Con 2013 about the buzz surrounding his upcoming sci-fi film, based on Orson Scott Card’s classic novel.

“Audiences have seen a lot of everything,” Orci says. “They’re pretty savvy. They’re pretty smart and this book was around for a long time, trying to get made into a movie. I think some studios were afraid that it was this young protagonist but it’s adult themes. It’s complicated. It’s challenging. It’s not the usual structure.” But he says that Comic-Con is the perfect place to market the film because Comic-Con celebrates fandom.

In terms of translating the novel for a modern audience, Orci says that the work was done for him in the book. “Interestingly enough, the book itself was very prescient in ’84,” he says. “It predicted war at a distance. It predicted blogging and elements of the Internet, devices you can touch. So we didn’t have to do a lot of updating.”

Orci reveals that while a lot of the cast emerged from just being fans of the book, choosing Harrison Ford was an exciting process. “Well, you think you’re deciding on him, but really he’s deciding on you,” Orci says. “What he said when he read the script actually was that he’s offered a lot of sci-fi. He’s read a lot of sci-fi. And that this was one of the rare ones where he felt that actually not only was it a spectacle but it also had something to say and had a lot of emotion and that’s why he did it.”

He also shares a funny moment in which he asked Ford if he would ever like to direct, and he quoted Bob Hoskins by replaying, “No. Directing is like getting pecked to death by a thousand penguins.”

Orci also shares some information about filming the movie with the young and talented lead, Asa Butterfield. “We shot it in sequence, funnily enough. So you actually do see Asa grow. He grew two inches during the filming of this movie.” He adds, “His experience in the movie sort of mirrors the character’s experience of […] eventually becoming this competent leader and simultanously in front of the camera becoming a more confident actor.”

For more exclusives from San Diego Comic-Con 2013, subscribe to What’s Trending!

Royal baby: Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to a boy – live coverage

Per the UK Daily Guardian:

• Baby born at 4.24pm at St Mary’s hospital in London
• Announcement made just over four hours later
• Duke of Cambridge was present for healthy birth
• Kensington Palace says baby weighs 8lb 6oz
• Do you know your royal baby names?
• Is your baby being born today?
• Tracing the royal baby’s lineage

 

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk-news/blog/2013/jul/22/royal-baby-kate-admitted-to-hospital-for-birth-live-coverage