Qaddafi Dead

Well, they got him. I’m surprised, really. I thought he would have fled the country. Drudge has the story along with a link to some graphic video that I really don’t need to see. The details are still a bit hazy but here is an account from the BBC.

Libya’s ex-leader Col Muammar Gaddafi has been killed after an assault on his birthplace of Sirte, officials say.

The circumstances of his death are not yet clear. Video has emerged purporting to show Col Gaddafi being captured alive and bundled on to a truck.

Fighters loyal to the National Transitional Council (NTC) said they found him hiding in a hole, and shot him when he tried to escape.

Col Gaddafi was toppled in August after 42 years in power.

Western leaders welcomed the news.

US President Barack Obama said this was a “momentous day” for Libya, now that tyranny had fallen. He said Libya had a “long and winding road towards full democracy”, but the US and other countries would stand behind it.

The colonel was fighting in Sirte alongside his two sons, Mutassim and Saif al-Islam, according to reports.

An NTC fighter told the BBC he found Col Gaddafi hiding in a hole in Sirte, and the former leader begged him not to shoot.

The fighter showed reporters a golden pistol he said he had taken from Col Gaddafi.

Arabic TV channels showed images of troops surrounding two large drainage pipes where the reporters said Col Gaddafi was found.

Later, another video emerged of the colonel being bundled on to the back of a pick-up truck after being captured alive.

NTC fighters said he was shot when he tried to escape.

None of the video footage has been independently verified.

Later, the NTC’s acting Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril confirmed Col Gaddafi’s death: “We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Gaddafi has been killed.”

Mr Jibril promised that NTC chief Mustafa Abdul Jalil would give more details of how Col Gaddafi was killed.

His last words were reported to be “What have I ever done to you?”

There is no doubt the world is a better place without Qaddafi in it but Libya is in for a very rough time. They don’t really have any institutions that hold the whole country together. Before Qaddafi’s rule they were still largely a tribal society and he didn’t go out of his way to develop the sort of institutions that might have integrated Libya better, and challenged his government. I think the most likely scenario now is something like Somalia on the Mediterranean.

 

Malaria Vaccine

This is simply wonderful news from Reuters. The world’s first vaccine against malaria has been proven to be effective in clinical trials.

An experimental vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline halved the risk of African children getting malaria in a major clinical trial, making it likely to become the world’s first shot against the deadly disease.

Final-stage trial data released on Tuesday showed it gave protection against clinical and severe malaria in five- to 17-month-olds in Africa, where the mosquito-borne disease kills hundreds of thousands of children a year.

“These data bring us to the cusp of having the world’s first malaria vaccine,” said Andrew Witty, chief executive of the British drugmaker that developed the vaccine along with the nonprofit PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI).

While hailing an unprecedented achievement, Witty, malaria scientists and global health experts stressed that the vaccine, known as RTS,S or Mosquirix, was no quick fix for eradicating malaria. The new shot is less effective against the disease than other vaccines are against common infections such as polio and measles.

“We would have wished that we could wipe it out, but I think this is going to contribute to the control of malaria rather than wiping it out,” Tsiri Agbenyega, a principal investigator in the RTS,S trials in Ghana, told Reuters at a Seattle, Washington, conference about the disease.

Malaria is endemic in around 100 countries worldwide and killed some 781,000 people in 2009, according to the World Health Organization.

Control measures such as insecticide-treated bednets, indoor spraying and use of combination anti-malaria drugs have helped significantly cut the numbers of malaria cases and deaths in recent years, but experts have said that an effective vaccine is vital to complete the fight against the disease.

Allowing DDT to be used in Africa would also save a lot of lives. At any rate let’s hope that GlaxoSmithKline can get this vaccine to where it is needed most as fast as possible.

And, thanks to Instapundit for picking up this story.

Man Killed Trying to Steal Power Lines

Maybe you remember safety classes in school in which they told you to never, ever touch a downed power line. Apparently this man didn’t pay attention.

Authorities near Alton in southwestern Illinois are investigating the electrocution of a man whose body was found near snipped electrical power lines investigators believe he was trying to steal.

Madison County Coroner Stephen Nonn says 34-year-old Mark Becker of Granite City was found dead early Friday. Investigators believe he died Thursday night.

Nonn says evidence at the scene suggests that Becker made contact with charged overhead power lines after they had been cut from the utility pole.

The coroner says an investigation by Madison County sheriff’s deputies and interviews with witnesses “failed to reveal any legitimate or lawful activity in which (Becker) would be engaged involving the utility infrastructure.”

Nonn says an autopsy Friday confirmed that Becker was electrocuted.

This sounds like a successful applicant for the coveted Darwin Award.

 

 

Scientists Try to Explain the Fast-than-light Nutrinos

Since the apparent discovery of neutrinos that are moving at superluminal speeds, scientists have been trying to come up with explanations for these findings. The most obvious and likely explanation is measurement error.

Among the most recent ideas is a paper invoking Einstein’s supposedly challenged theory of relativity. The OPERA team used GPS satellites to accurately measure the 730-km distance between their detector and the CERN beam where the neutrinos were produced. Yet, according to special relativity, calculations will be slightly different when two observers are moving relative to one another.

Since the satellites were zipping around the Earth, the positions of the neutrino source and the detector changed. According to the paper, the movement would account for a 64 nanoseconds discrepancy, nearly exactly what the OPERA team observes.

A less likely explanation is that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is wrong. In fact, both the theories of Special and General Relativity have been amply proved by experiments and observations. There is at least one good reason to suspect that neutrinos do not regularly travel faster than light.

One of the earliest objections to the faster-than-light interpretation came from an astrophysical observation. In 1987, a powerful supernova showered Earth with light and neutrinos. While neutrino detectors observed neutrinos arriving about three hours before the light, this was due to the lightweight particles getting a head start. Neutrinos, which hardly interact with matter, escaped the exploding stellar core with relative ease while photons, absorbed and re-emitted by the various elements, took longer to flee. If the effect from OPERA were as large as observed, scientists have calculated that the neutrinos should have arrived more than four years in advance of the light.

And we know that electrons do not travel faster than light.

Theoretical physicist Matt Strassler also noted on his blog that the Standard Model’s properties suggest that making neutrinos go faster than light requires electrons to do the same. But if electron neutrinos moved at the speed suggested by the OPERA experiment, then electrons should also travel faster than the speed of light by at least one part in 1,000,000,000, or one billionth. Experiments have established theoretical limits that electrons remain subluminal at a precision down to more than 5 part in a thousand trillion, effectively ruling this scenario out.

So, what is going on? We don’t know, yet. My opinion, which really isn’t worth much, is that if the observations are verified, than superluminal travel will be due to some unique property of the nutrinos, which are odd little particles anyway.

I suppose the consensus is measurement error. Too bad. No warp drive yet.

Everthing You Always Wanted to Know About Quantum Physics

But were afraid you wouldn’t understand the answers if you asked.

If you have questions about quantum physics but have been looking for a book that will actually explain the subject, than look  no farther. Kenneth W. Ford answers 101 questions about questions about the strange world of the very small. As a former director of the American Institute of Physics and one who has worked with many of the giants of twentieth and twenty-first physics, Ford has the knowledge and ability to explain the often difficult to understand and even seemingly nonsensical aspects of quantum physics.

The only fault with this book is that in the kindle edition, several of the illustrations are missing. These are largely photographs of scientists and for the most part, illustrations necessary for explanations. Other than this lack, 101 Quantum Questions is worth reading.

Saudi Arabia Arrests Colombian Soccer Player

I read this story in Jihad Watch and Colombia Reports.

A Colombian soccer player was arrested in Saudi Arabia Monday for displaying religious tattoos.

Colombian-born Juan Pablo Pino was arrested by the Saudi moral police after customers in a Riyadh shopping mall expressed outrage over the sports player’s religious tattoos, which included the face of Jesus of Nazareth on his arm.

Saudi Arabia is one of the most conservative countries in the Muslim world, and according to one of the country’s most respected clerics, Nayimi Sheik Mohammed, Saudi law prohibits tattoos, no matter what their form, and every player has to abide with these rules.

The cleric went on to stress the importance of respecting the status of “Sharia” (Islamic law) and that the tattoos must be covered at all times.

Pino, who plays in the Saudi league, has expressed “deep sorrow” for his actions and said he respects the laws of the country. He was released from custody when a team delegate arrived and discussed the matter with the police.

A similar event occurred in Saudi Arabia last year when a Romanian player kissed the tattoo of a cross he had on his arm after scoring a goal, which also caused public outrage.

Now, you see what happens when you are a raging islamophobe. If only people would show the proper tolerance and respect for Islam by never showing the symbols of any other religion in public. We really need to start acting like proper dhimmis. Then, they would have no reason to fear us and there would be no need for the practitioners of the Religion of Peace to resort to terrorism.

More Mail from the Democrats

I was feeling a little neglected after President Obama and the rest of the Democrats stopped sending me e-mails. It appears that the fundraiser was over and they didn’t need to ask for any more from me. I have to say I felt a bit used. At least I would, if I had ever sent them any money.

Well, I am glad to see that the Democrats don’t just love me for my money. They also need me to sign petitions.

We told you last week about Republican efforts to suppress the vote nationwide that could prevent 5 MILLION Americans from voting. According to the New York Times, the voter fraud Republicans say they’re preventing simply isn’t an issue. “The only reason Republicans are passing these laws is to give themselves a political edge by suppressing Democratic votes.”

The scary thing is, it just might work. Enough votes could be lost to states like Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Nevada and Virginia to hand the Senate – and the White House – to the GOP.

This news really struck a nerve with grassroots activists – we’re nearly halfway to our goal of 150,000 signatures. But we’re missing your name – will you click here and sign?

After you’ve signed, check out our brand new 2012 Election Protection Project website, where you can view maps of affected states, learn facts about the new laws, share information on Twitter and, most importantly, register to vote.

We’re starting to put together our voter outreach plans based on these new GOP laws, and I sure could use your help. Thanks in advance for signing and sharing. We’ll keep you posted on our progress.

Crystal King
DSCC Political Director

I am just outraged that the Republicans are trying to suppress the necro-American vote. Sure the living can show IDs easily enough, but does anyone care about how hard it is for the dead to get identification. They don’t normally drive so they can’t get driver’s licenses. Illegal immigrants also have considerable difficulty in acquiring valid. I will be glad to sign this petition identification. Just because a person is not a US citizen or even alive is no reason to deny them the vote.

Then I got this.


We have to act fast.

House Republicans are set to vote today on a bill that would go even farther than Republicans’ previous efforts to restrict women’s access to reproductive health care.

This GOP bill would allow emergency rooms to refuse women life-saving healthcare. Pundits are calling it the “Let Women Die” act.

We must act immediately to call out the right-wing Republicans behind this assault on women. We’ve set a goal of raising $100,000 for the DCCC Women’s Health Rapid Response Fund so we can hold these Republicans accountable.

Please make an urgent contribution of $3 or more to the DCCC Women’s Health Rapid Response Fund. Your generous support will send a powerful show of grassroots strength against the Republicans’ extreme agenda.

Instead of focusing on jobs or the economy, today’s vote will mark the seventh time this year House Republicans have chosen to undermine women’s access to health care.

First, it was Republicans redefining rape to deny health care coverage. Now, they want to allow hospitals to turn away women in life-or-death situations. Plus, for the first time ever, this bill would restrict how women with private insurance can spend their own private dollars in purchasing health care. It has to stop.

Help us send a message to Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, and the rest of the House Republicans that their repeated insistence on restricting women’s access to health care has consequences.

Thank you standing with us.

Taryn

Taryn Rosenkranz
Dept. of Grassroots Activism

The fiends!!. They want to deny women needed healthcare, just because the Republicans hate women. I wonder though. This wouldn’t have anything to do with making sure the tax payers are not paying for abortions, would it? No matter. Nancy Pelosi has said the Republicans want women to die on the emergency room floors and I am sure she wouldn’t lie or exaggerate. I’ll send that $3 right away.

Occupy Wall Street Anti-Semitism

Remember how the Main Stream Media insisted that the TEA party movement was racist, despite all evidence to the contrary. They even imagined that anti-Obamacare protesters shouted racial slurs at members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Amazingly no one managed to capture these comments on video, in an age when everybody has a camera in their cell phone.

Well, Zombie has some pictures of the good people at Occupy Los Angeles over at Pajamas Media. Apparently some of the people at the Occupy protests are just a little well anti-Semitic.

I am not quite sure these people represent 99% of the American population. Maybe 99% of Egypt or Saudi Arabia.

There’s more, including videos at Pajamas Media.

 

 

 

The Fall of the Republic

Here is what started me on such gloomy reflections.

Illinois Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. told The Daily Caller on Wednesday that congressional opposition to the American Jobs Act is akin to the Confederate “states in rebellion.”

Jackson called for full government employment of the 15 million unemployed and said that Obama should “declare a national emergency” and take “extra-constitutional” action “administratively” — without the approval of Congress — to tackle unemployment.

“I hope the president continues to exercise extraordinary constitutional means, based on the history of Congresses that have been in rebellion in the past,” Jackson said. “He’s looking administratively for ways to advance the causes of the American people, because this Congress is completely dysfunctional.”

The Republic no longer functions. Hail Caesar Obama!!

Zeal

This is a funny part of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

You probably think that is just a joke. People wouldn’t really hit their heads to show their religious zeal, would they?

Well, actually yes. Take a look at this

The zebibah, Arabic for raisin, is a dark circle of callused skin, or in some cases a protruding bump, between the hairline and the eyebrows. It emerges on the spot where worshipers press their foreheads into the ground during their daily prayers.

I didn’t really want to know. I especially didn’t want to know that this injury caused by bashing one’s head into the floor is considered a signifcant accomplishment.

“The zebibah is a way to show how important religion is for us,” said Muhammad al-Bikali, a hairstylist in Cairo, in an interview last month. Mr. Bikali had a well-trimmed mustache and an ever-so-subtle brown spot just beneath his hairline. “It shows how religious we are. It is a mark from God.”

Yes, there really are Muslims who hit their heads on the floor during prayers to show how pious they are. This actually explains quite a lot about what is going on in the Middle East.

Of course in fairness, I don’t actually know how common this practice is and other religions have had their nutcases, but still, I have to wonder.