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31 August 2008

strangers on a bus / adventures in the Canadian intercity transportation infrastructure / RCMP provides helpful information to the media

Clicking might make it bigger.

Well, okay, maybe you took the Zeta Beam and were holidaying in Ciudad Vleeptron four weeks ago, but for everyone else stuck on Earth, this was, briefly and momentarily, bigger than the Beijing 2008 Olympics and noisier than the Russian military invasion of Georgia. In the middle of the night, one guy on a bus in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, Canada decapitated the passenger sitting next to him. There followed anecdotal reports of cannibalism from other passengers. The decapitator and the decapitated had not previously known one another.

This is why I don't like long intercity bus rides. This is why I rode trains through Canada and the US anywhere they were still running. I did everything humanly possible to stay off of busses, and entirely succeeded. (One very pleasant long van schlep, along the seacoast from Halifax to Yarmouth NS.)

This kind of crap doesn't happen on trains and ferries. (There is the odd Unexplained Overboard Incident on ferries and cruise liners, but I think that's a much softer, kinder, gentler way to Perish while travelling.)

The American expatriate sociopath Tom Ripley murders a few people on a train in Western Europe, but just to help out a pal in a big jam. cf. "The American Friend" by Wim Wenders, starring Dennis Hopper, and the re-make "Ripley's Game," this time John Malkovich as Tom Ripley. The author Patricia Highsmith wrote "Strangers on a Train," you can rent the DVD.

Back to the bus: You can Google the lurid newspaper and wire service accounts and watch the CBC videos.

Agence-Vleeptron Presse, however, is pleased to provide the press releases from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, complete with law-enforcement advice on restraint and standards of basic decency for the media covering this unfortunate incident.

Take a long intercity bus ride, get decapitated and partially eaten by the stranger sitting next to you. C'est la vie. You buys your one-way ticket out of Winnipeg, you picks your seat, you takes your chances.


Homicide on Greyhound Bus near Portage La Prairie, Manitoba

Statement by S/Sgt Steve Colwell, D Division

July 31, 2008
14:00 hrs
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Re: Homicide on Greyhound Bus near Portage La Prairie, Manitoba


• First, let me express on behalf of the entire RCMP my deepest condolences to the family of the victim of the homicide that occurred late last night on a Greyhound bus near Portage La Prairie Manitoba.

• I also want to acknowledge the driver and the other passengers on the bus. What you saw and what you experienced, would shake the most seasoned police officer. Yet I am told that each of you reacted swiftly, calmly and with bravery. We commend you for your level-headedness and strength in the face of truly extreme circumstances.

• We also want to thank you for your cooperation with our investigation into this incident. I know that conducting interviews with our officers was very difficult for many of you. If we could do our job without asking you to relive this terrible experience, believe me, we would. However the information that you have provided will be essential to the success of our investigation. Thank you, our thoughts are with you.

• Now, here are the details about this event that I can provide at this time.

• On the evening of July 30, 2008, at approximately 8:30 p.m. (local time), Portage La Prairie RCMP were advised that a male subject had been stabbed on a Greyhound bus traveling eastbound on Highway #1 (Trans Canada Highway) approximately 20 kms West of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.

• RCMP officers immediately attended the scene and secured the bus, which was parked on the side of the highway. At this time victim and the suspect were still inside the bus. The driver and the remainder of the passengers had safely exited the bus prior to police arrival.

• Attending RCMP officers observed the suspect walking around the inside of the bus. When attempts to have the suspect exit the bus and surrender to police proved to be unsuccessful, additional resources, including the RCMP “D” Division Emergency Response Team (ERT) and a Negotiator Team were called in to assist.

• The highway was closed in both directions to ensure the safety of first responders, the other bus passengers and driver.

• At 1:28 a.m., the suspect, a 40 year old male, believed to be from out of province, broke a window and jumped out of the bus. He was immediately subdued and arrested without incident. He is currently in RCMP custody. His identity will not being released at this time.

• The victim was pronounced deceased at the scene. His identity will also not be released at this time, pending notification of next of kin.

• The other passengers and the bus driver (35 people in total) were transported to Brandon, Manitoba where they were interviewed by police. They were also provided with food and lodging and crisis support services. They have now all been transported to their original destinations, or alternate destinations of their choice, by Greyhound.

• I would like to emphasize for everyone that the investigation into this incident is ongoing and will remain a priority for us.

• The investigation is being led by the Winnipeg RCMP Serious Crime Unit, with assistance from the Winnipeg, Brandon and Dauphin Major Crime Units, the Portage La Prairie Detachment and Winnipeg Forensic Identification Services.

• We have also received assistance in managing this event from the “D” Division Emergency Response Team (ERT), the MacGregor Volunteer Fire Department, the Winnipeg Medical Examiner’s Office, Westman Crisis Services, and Greyhound Canada. We are grateful for their professionalism and their support.

• This is all the information that we can provide at this time. Further updates will be provided as information becomes available.

- 30 -

For more information contact:

* Greyhound Media Hotline: 972-789-7204
* RCMP Media Relations: 613-993-2999

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Content created: 2008-07-31
Content revised:
Page updated: 2008-08-01 Return to Top


Homicide on Greyhound Bus near Portage La Prairie, Manitoba - Update

August 1, 2008 (Portage La Prairie, MB)—The RCMP are aware that portions of radio transmissions by police officers responding to the scene of the incident near Portage la Prairie on July 30, 2008 have been posted to the Internet.

The radio transmissions in question are operational police communications and as such are not meant for public consumption.

The RCMP has not given any media outlet, nor any other person(s) or agencies, permission to broadcast or repeat these transmissions in any form.

The RCMP wishes to remind the media that this was an extraordinary and terrible event for everyone involved - including the police officers, first responders from other emergency services and support workers who have been involved in this incident. While we appreciate the media's desire to provide as much information to their audiences as possible, we also ask for your patience, understanding and respect for the various investigative and legal processes involved in such a complex investigation and allow them to take their due course.

Once again we express our deepest condolences to the family of the deceased. Our thoughts are with them and with all the other persons affected by this tragedy.

The investigation is ongoing and no further details are being released at
this time. Further details will be released as they become available.

- 30 -

'D' Division Media Liaison
(204) 983-8497

RCMP National Media Relations
(613) 993-2999


Homicide on Greyhound Bus near Portage La Prairie, Manitoba - Update

August 1, 2008 (Portage La Prairie, MB)—The accused Vince Weiguang LI, 40 years of age, appeared in Provincial Court of Manitoba in Portage la Prairie this morning and has been remanded into custody until August 5th, 2008.

The RCMP investigation to date indicates that Mr. LI has no known criminal record.

The investigation is ongoing and no further details are being released at this time.

- 30 -

'D' Division Media Liaison
(204) 983-8497

RCMP National Media Relations
(613) 993-2999


Homicide on Greyhound Bus near Portage La Prairie, Manitoba - Update

August 1, 2008 (Portage La Prairie, MB)—The RCMP have positively identified the victim of the homicide which occurred on July 30, 2008, near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, as 22 year old, Timothy Richard McLean, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

The investigation is ongoing and no further details are available at this time.

- 30 -

'D' Division Media Liaison
(204) 983-8497

RCMP National Media Relations
(613) 993-2999


Homicide on Greyhound Bus near Portage La Prairie, Manitoba - Name of Deceased Person

August 1, 2008 (Portage La Prairie, MB)—The RCMP are aware of media reports that the victim of this tragic incident has been identified. The Winnipeg Major Crime Services Unit has been in touch with the family of the deceased.

Out of respect for his family we will not be confirming the name of the deceased until after the post-mortem has been completed. The RCMP will then confer with the family as to how they would like to proceed in respect to the release of his name.

A post-mortem is scheduled for today (August 1, 2008) at the Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre.

In the meantime, the RCMP are mindful of the range of emotions being experienced by the family of the deceased over the loss of their loved one in such a horrific incident. Our thoughts are with them.

- 30 -

'D' Division Media Liaison
(204) 983-8497

RCMP National Media Relations
(613) 993-2999

29 August 2008

Home Again Home Again Jiggety Jog / Bob's Backpack Train, Ferry & Friends' & S.W.M.B.O.'s Cars Adventure

Certainly, click image.

Sluice the humpback whale trapped in the tidal electric dam / Australian humpback calf mistakes sailboat for its mother

Vleeptron advises clicking.

Nova Scotia Power press release

Sluice Update

Sep 02, 2004

Annapolis Royal, NS - The humpback whale that entered the Annapolis River via the sluice gates of the Annapolis Tidal Power Plant on Aug. 23 remains in the river and its activity level continues to suggest the whale is in good condition, is under no undue stress and has ample access to food such as herring and mackerel, which enter the river at high tide.

On Aug. 30-31, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in collaboration with Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) broadcast the sound of feeding humpback whale vocalizations in waters on both sides of the sluice gates in hopes this would coax the whale into returning to the Annapolis Basin and its natural habitat in the Bay of Fundy. Although the whale took interest in these sounds, even circling one of the transmitters, it did not exit the river. Nova Scotia Power has decided not to run the Tidal Plant this weekend. Our hydro dispatchers will be keeping the sluice gates open as much as possible to provide opportunity for the whale to leave. DFO has decided to take no further proactive measures for a few days to give the whale additional time to exit the river on its own at slack tide. If this has not occurred by Tuesday, Sept. 7, a resumption of proactive measures to encourage it to leave will be considered.

It is of the utmost importance that the whale not be impeded or stressed while in the river. The public must refrain from approaching the whale, particularly by vessel. A close approach could be dangerous to both the whale and any water craft and its occupants, as a humpback whale is very heavy (in this case an estimated 30 tonnes) and very active. The public should note that disturbing a marine mammal is illegal under Section 7 of the Marine Mammal Regulations.


The Telegraph (UK daily)
Tuesday 19 August 2008

Humpack whale calf
mistakes boat for its mum

Rescuers in Australia are trying to save a baby humpback whale which has taken a shine to a moored yacht, possibly mistaking the vessel for its lost mother.

# Stumpy, whale with no tail, survives epic swim
# 'Batman' the humpback whale takes to the sky
# Quarter of world's whales and dolphins face extinction

The whale calf was found at Pittwater, north of Sydney, after apparently being abandoned by its mother off the Australian east coast.

"The calf has spent the last day or so in Pittwater and we believe it has been nuzzling up to a moored vessel in an attempt to find milk," said Chris McIntosh, local manager for the New South Wales state national parks service.

A team of workers towed the private yacht out to sea to try to lure the calf into deeper water in the hope that it would find its mother, but it was spotted close to the beach at Pittwater again on Tuesday.

Experts said the baby whale cannot survive more than a few days without milk.

Mr McIntosh said while it was distressing, it was natural for some animals to abandon their young.

"The best thing we can do is to shepherd the animal and hope it remains in the ocean," he said.

Female whales give birth to a single calf, and a nursing period of more than one year for many species creates a strong bond between a mother and its young.

- 30 -

27 August 2008


Okie Dokie, it turns out that every time somebody builds a new super-powerful partical accellerator / atom smasher, like CERN's Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, some guy screams that The Sky Is Falling & The Planet is DOOMED!!! Flee for your lives!!!

This was the reply in 1999 when Brookhaven National Laboratory (in Long Island, New York USA, I think) cranked up a whomp-ass accellator.


Statement on Committee Review of Speculative "Disaster Scenarios" at Brookhaven Lab's RHIC

October 6, 1999

Brookhaven National Laboratory has posted on its Web site a report by expert physicists who recently reviewed speculative disaster scenarios at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.

The report summarizes technical discussions that conclude there is no danger of a "disaster" at RHIC.

In July 1999, Brookhaven Lab Director John Marburger convened a committee of distinguished physicists to write a comprehensive report on the arguments that address the safety of each of the speculative disaster scenarios at RHIC. The scenarios are:

- Creation of a black hole that would "eat" ordinary matter.

- Initiation of a transition to a new, more stable universe.

- Formation of a "strangelet" that would convert ordinary matter to a new form.

"We conclude that there are no credible mechanisms for catastrophic scenarios at RHIC," said committee chair Robert Jaffe, Professor of Physics and Director, Center for Theoretical Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Accordingly, we see no reason to delay RHIC operation."

Added Brookhaven Director Marburger, "Nature has been creating collisions of energies comparable to those at RHIC for billions of years, and there is no evidence of any kind of disaster related to those collisions. RHIC does not take us beyond the limits of natural phenomena. It brings a rare phenomenon into the view of our instruments so we can puzzle out its inner workings."

On October 4, Brookhaven Lab celebrated the commissioning of RHIC, the world's newest and biggest particle accelerator for nuclear physics research. All together, close to 1,000 scientists from 90 research institutions representing 19 countries will be working on RHIC experiments.

The committee report can be viewed at

NOTE: This is a PDF file. You must have the Adobe Acrobat reader installed in order to open it. The Acrobat reader is available here for free. If you have trouble opening the file, please see this page for a list of common solutions.


Mona S. Rowe
Media and Communications Office
Brookhaven National Laboratory

26 August 2008

ut-oh ... bad news for bats. (btw, bats are mammals, so are we)

Click bat for larger bat.

Jim Olson wrote:

Some claim that wind turbines are bad for migratory birds, and for raptors. The noise and vibrations of the blades in the wind distract or disorient the birds, and they sometimes get hit by the blades.

Tuesday, 26 August, 2008


OKAY! YOU WIN THE PIZZA! The Down Side of wind turbines is Eagle Sausage = Adlerwurst!

BUT ........ check out this story in today's Toronto Globe & Mail!!!


Toronto Globe & Mail
Toronto Canada
Tuesday 26 August 2008

What is killing
the bats
of Pincher Creek?

by Katherine O'Neill

A mystery surrounding the large number of dead animals on a wind farm in Alberta
prompted a groundbreaking study at the University of Calgary that found the drop in air pressure around some turbines resulted in fatal respiratory injuries

EDMONTON — Alberta proudly leads the country when it comes to producing wind energy, but in 2005, a troubling mystery began to emerge at a newly opened wind farm near Pincher Creek.

A large number of migratory bats were being found dead at the bottom of wind turbines, and many didn't show signs of actually coming into contact with the turbine blades.

TransAlta Corp., a Calgary-based energy firm that owns the wind farm, quickly approached bat experts at the University of Calgary in search of answers.

Sean Whittaker, vice-president of policy with the Canadian Wind Energy Association, said the fact that large numbers of dead bats have been found at only a few wind farms around North America at a time when hundreds are in operation made the deaths more perplexing.

After a two-year study, University of Calgary researchers have found that most of the bats suffered severe injuries to their respiratory systems consistent with a sudden drop in air pressure - called barotrauma - that occurs near the turbine blades.

The study will be released today in the online edition of the journal Current Biology.

Erin Baerwald, the research's project leader and a University of Calgary graduate student, said that bats rarely run into manmade structures because the flying mammals can detect objects with echolocation, the location of objects by reflected sound.

"An atmospheric pressure drop at wind turbine blades is an undetectable - and potentially unforeseeable - hazard for bats, thus partially explaining the large number of bat fatalities at these specific structures," she said.

Bats, unlike birds, do not have a respiratory system that can withstand sudden pressure changes in the air.

Ms. Baerwald said that one way in which energy companies could reduce or prevent bat fatalities is to increase the wind speed at which turbine blades begin to rotate during the bats' migration period, which runs annually from mid-July to mid-September in Alberta. This strategy would work, she added, because bats are more active when wind speeds are low.

While the University of Calgary is well known for its bat research, Ms. Baerwald said there is still a dearth of knowledge about these animals, and conducting this study was difficult but ground-breaking for the field. The researchers examined the carcasses of nearly 190 bats killed at turbines in southern Alberta.

"They aren't seen as sexy animals," she said. "People love to sit in their backyards and watch birds. It's much harder to watch bats because they are nocturnal."

She said the animals - nine species of bats are found in Alberta - are important because they play a major role in pest control. An average bat can gobble up its body weight in insects every night.

Ms. Baerwald plans to expand on the latest study, which was funded by government, industry and conservation groups, by researching bat migration.

Jason Edworthy, director of stakeholder relations at TransAlta Corp.'s wind arm in Calgary, said the company welcomes the study's findings. "It was important for us to determine as much as we could about this issue," he said.

Mr. Edworthy said even before the research was finished, the company began experimenting with ways to reduce bat fatalities, and that they've already seen results.

He said lack of information about bats was initially a barrier. "We had to be quite patient, mainly because we were started from a knowledge base that wasn't quite zero but very, very low."

There are 473 commercial wind turbines operating in Alberta, the vast majority in the southern portion of the province.

Deadly whirl

Bats are dying as they fly into low-pressure zones around wind turbines. The sudden low pressure causes the air in their lungs to expand and cause tissue damage, called barotrauma.

Low-pressure area: most severe immediately out from the blades and decreases as it gets closer to the centre of the turbine.

There is also a low-pressure area down the shaft.


Bats have large, pliable lungs and hearts that expand, causing tissue damage when exposed to a sudden drop in pressure.

Birds have compact, rigid lungs that do not expand in the same conditions.

- 30 -



Fran Manns from Toronto, Ontario, Canada writes: This is an untended consequence of religious environmentalism - the faith based approach. How many bats, birds and insects have been killed world wide? Environmental impact asessment must be required so that the alternative sources be held up to the light to see their negative effect on the environment. The effect of CO2 is de minimis, except to raise temperatiure, increase humidity and allow clouds, rain and snow to cool things off again. The unintended left has been pushing 1/2 of the story because of their limited scientific vocabulary.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 8:12 AM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Jeff Kelly from Kitchener, Canada writes: Religious environmentalism?

Wind turbines are another way to generate electricity... And wind-power in one form or another has been in use for centuries (think Holland's windmills).

Windmills do indeed have negative consequences (There is no such thing as a free lunch). They OUGHT to be studied more. More concern OUGHT to be used when choosing placement, etc. But to pretend that 'traditional' fossil-fuel burning (ie Carbon producing) sources are benign is both dishonest and naive, Fran. The CO2 is slowly cooking us.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 8:41 AM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
CHP My vote from Whoville, Canada writes: Fran, I'm not an environmentalist, but I'm in favour of wind energy. They've found the problem, so now they need to address it and the bats are okay. Increase the speed requirements for turbine activation from July to September, and Bob's your uncle!
* Posted 26/08/08 at 8:42 AM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
William J Gillies from Canada writes: Fran Manns from Toronto, Ontario, Canada writes: 'This is an untended consequence of religious environmentalism - the faith based approach.'

How libertarian of you to say that.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 8:44 AM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Roop Misir from Toronto, Canada writes: Always a trade-off, never a gift or a free-bee!
* Posted 26/08/08 at 8:48 AM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Luke Ellis from Sudbury, Canada writes: Alright Fran Mans you can cut that religious based environmentalism crap right now. it's all BS anyways.

Study it more? what do you think is happening.

You can sit in a lab and look at a model windmill and run numbers all day but no one is going to think of pressure drops killing bats. There are always going to be unforeseen consequences of enacting any technology. All that can be done is to address the problems as quickly as possible to limit the effects, which is exactly what they did.

Seriously if people were as careful as Jeff Kelly would like to be with new developments analyzing them to death because they are terrified something bad might happen. We would still probably not have used fire because it's too dangerous.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 9:32 AM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Tilman Kluge from Bad Soden (GER), Germany writes: Jeff Kelly is right, when he says, that there is no such thing as a free lunch (26/08/08 at 8:41). But as well, there is no electricity, which could be cheap, because instead of higher costs too many birds fall victim to wind energy use. That is why at all sites, which are estimated suitable for wind energy use, the compatibility with birdlife must be tested. It is no religious environmentalism, to choose the most harmless sites and reject those exceeding the average level of danger for birds.

Not bird mortality in general but negligence in avoiding avoidable bird mortality is a great problem. Some investors oppose strictly to the test with fear, their favourite sites could not be classified as preferable. The permission for wind energy projects at such sites must be refused until there has been given evidence confirming an avifaunistical sufficient quality.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 9:34 AM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Tilman Kluge from Bad Soden (GER), Germany writes: I have to complete my posting from 26/08/08 at 9:34 AM with the remark, that it also applies to bats. Without the remark, people could imagine, I counted bats to the bird family. I never should do that although in the bible bats belong to the bord family.....
* Posted 26/08/08 at 9:42 AM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Arnet Sheppard from Ottawa, Canada writes: I just wonder whether this is the whole story. Perhaps there is something about the sound frequencies of these turbines that is attracting the bats? Maybe in the bat soundscape they are the mother of all insect swarms.

Sad story, and further proof that when it comes to energy there is no free lunch.

* Posted 26/08/08 at 9:47 AM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Joseph Bloggins from Canada writes: Where are the lunatics from Greenpeace with their stupid placards chanting they are 'outraged' by the deaths of these bats? I mean, the idiots virtually called for a state funeral for the 500 ducks in the oilsands (who may well have been baited).
* Posted 26/08/08 at 10:12 AM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Arec Bardwin from Upper Canada, Canada writes: Bats aren't very cute. The environmentalists don't care about animals that aren't cute. Polar bears and seal pups on the other hand....
* Posted 26/08/08 at 10:12 AM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Bat Fink from Bat Cave, Canada writes: Your turbines cannot harm me. My wings are like a shield of steel. Oh, wait...gasp...arrrrggghhh!
* Posted 26/08/08 at 10:18 AM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
max from edmonton from Canada writes: I think the Wind turbines need to be stopped.

I have invented a machine that will hurl baby seals (the cutest ones) up into the air so they can be chopped up by the fan blades.

once the raging environmentalists see how many cute baby seal pups are killed in Alberta each year, due to windmills. They will join the fight to shut down these machines of spinning death!

Big Wind can not be trusted!
* Posted 26/08/08 at 10:27 AM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Mike Fraser from Montreal, Canada writes: All bats fear ultrasonic sounds.To install ultrasonic generator near the wind turbines and birds and bats never come in this dangerouse places.
If you don't belive me, ask biologists and carry out experiments.
I know it because russian system education in the school much better then canadian.We learn how invent and think, not rewrite a lot of books.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 10:30 AM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Michael Sharp from Victoria, Canada writes:

The Dark Knight is not amused.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 10:45 AM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Michael Sharp from Victoria, Canada writes:

And seriously?

In our headlong rush to alleviate GHG emissions we are going to replace hydrocarbon cunsumption presumably with windmills and solar panels.

Anybody give any thought what environmental damage a mass conversion to these would entail?
Nobody foresaw the automobile causing any damage.

Consider just hydroelectricity for example.
It absolutely wipes out every living thing in any valleys that are flooded.
GHG friendly if you don't count drowning.

There is no free lunch.

We'll probably end up changing the jet stream with wind turbines or something stupid and throw the earth off it's axis creating an even bigger problem than GHGs ever could.

I mean, does anybody ever consider this stuff?
* Posted 26/08/08 at 10:51 AM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Dr Demento from Canada writes: Michael Sharp from Victoria, Canada writes:

'Consider just hydroelectricity for example.
It absolutely wipes out every living thing in any valleys that are flooded.
GHG friendly if you don't count drowning.'

Duh - no. Animals do not drown when a hydroelectric reservoir is filled. They simply move to adjacent dry land . . .
* Posted 26/08/08 at 11:08 AM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Jack Sprat from Calgary, Canada writes: A few dead bats .. tsk tsk. What maybe .0000001% of the area Bats get killed. Please people move on with life
* Posted 26/08/08 at 11:18 AM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Green Canada from Canada writes: Arec Bardwin from Upper Canada, Canada writes: Bats aren't very cute. The environmentalists don't care about animals that aren't cute. Polar bears and seal pups on the other hand

actually I love bats, I would say they are very cute (and most people who have seen them up close would likely agree) and I would call my self an environmentalist...environmental groups are pursuing protection of many 'not cute' things, from rodents to lichens.

it's the public at large that only gets riled up about the cute and cuddly things.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 11:36 AM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Snowed in in Barrie from Canada writes: Okay, wind turbines cause some problems too. However, it's a lot easier to count the dead bats lying at the bottom of the wind turbine than to count how many bats and other creatures are suffering as a result of pollution from coal-fired generators and also as a result of disruption in their habitats as a result of global warning. My guess is, that for every bat killed by a wind turbine there are thousands that are better off because of the lack of pollution caused by the turbine.

Michael Sharp, do you really think we're going to throw the Earth off it's axis due to some wind turbines? That's just silly.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 11:36 AM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
max from edmonton from Canada writes: We must break big wind!
* Posted 26/08/08 at 11:51 AM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Bill Palmer from Paisley, Canada writes: Somehow, when mankind was given dominion over every living creature in the Bible, we seem to have interpreted it as our right to do to them what we want, and as it suits our purpose, whether to kill them for our pleasure as a challenge, or to suffer them to die as we 'developed' the world to suit our desires. Sadly we lost sight of the next sentences in the Bible which warns, 'Then God saw everything that He had made, and it was indeed good.'

Even worse, we often loose sight of the commandment to love our neighbour as we rush to 'develop' the world to suit our purposes, or to maximize our profit as developers.

When our developments, whether wind turbines, or any other 'improvement' to our world, are installed without adequately considering their impact on the rest of the world (our neighbours, or the flora and fauna that God saw was 'indeed good') so as to maximixe profit for the developer, we put our desires above those of God.

Oh heck, it's just a few fuzzy bats, who cares? (except possibly those who depend on bats to eat insects that spread disease). And heck, it's only complainers who don't want wind turbines in their backyard that protest the noise and the risk of injury - it's for the good of society isn't it? If a few suffer the noise impacts from wind turbines, then they can move, cannot they? After all, the fact that they have lived there perhaps for years, cannot be of any consequence, can it?

Isn't it true that money makes the world go around? Maybe, but when our love of our neighbour is replaced by love of money, and when we neglect our job to 'tend and keep' the creation of God as we put our desires to 'improve' the creation first, then maybe it's time we stop and think what we are doing. Let's not dismiss the harm we do to creation or our neighbour as trivial, please. I believe that God had a better plan for us.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 12:08 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Julie Gelfand from Ottawa, Canada writes: What we really need to think about is how to conserve as much energy as possible so that we do not have to produce as much. As many have noted previously, all forms of energy production has some type of impact. The less we need to use, the less impacts we will create.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 12:12 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Michael Sharp from Victoria, Canada writes:

No, I do NOT think wind turbines will throw the earth off it's axis.
Sarcasm being elusive.

Point being...
Not so long ago, nobody gave it second thought as to cars and GHGs.
Nobody is giving second thought to wind turbines and solar panels.
What will the world look like covered in solar panels and wind turbines?

We got Binky up here saying animals don't drown in hydroelectric projects.
They just move away.
Presumably all the flora grow legs.
And the fauna what got legs can't move 'em fast enough.
Hydroelectricity is Super-Green.

Nuclear power is the way to go.
We'll just take the nuclear waste and sent it to the moon.
Nuclear power is Super-Green.

Is it that the dying bats are the canaries in the coal mine vis-a-vis wind power?
* Posted 26/08/08 at 12:14 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Dennis sinneD from Calgary, Canada writes: Dr Demento from Canada writes: 'Michael Sharp from Victoria, Canada writes:

'Consider just hydroelectricity for example.
It absolutely wipes out every living thing in any valleys that are flooded.
GHG friendly if you don't count drowning.'

Duh - no. Animals do not drown when a hydroelectric reservoir is filled. They simply move to adjacent dry land . . . '

How fast can caterpillars crawl? Slugs? Furry spiders?
* Posted 26/08/08 at 12:20 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Laura Dover from Calgary, Canada writes: Bats aren't sexy??!!? Oh I beg to differ.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 12:23 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: Jeff Kelly from Kitchener, Canada writes:'The CO2 is slowly cooking us.'

You haven't been keeping track of the temperatures. There has been no signifigant warming since 2001, and the current average for 2008 so far is comparable to those of the mid 1990s.

It is becoming more and more obvious that solar realted phenomena are of much greater importance than GHGs when it comes to affecting the global average temperatures.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 12:38 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: Hmmm; that should have read 'related', and not 'realted'.

I catch 80% of my typos before whacking 'submit', but a few escape from time to time.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 12:40 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: Joseph Bloggins from Canada writes: 'Where are the lunatics from Greenpeace with their stupid placards chanting they are 'outraged' by the deaths of these bats?'

Seals are apparently cuter than bats, and thus more money can be made off donations trumpeting their big, sad-looking, tearyeyes.

In contrast, bats have scrunched faces and beady little eyes, so their cuteness factor isn't strong enough to generate much in the way of donations to the organization.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 12:44 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Jack Sprat from Calgary, Canada writes: Now we have theology lessons on this blog all from a few dead bats. Man has been killing animals long before there was a bible Bill ....... get over it.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 12:46 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Michael Sharp from Victoria, Canada writes:

The part about global warming that has always alarmed me is the hysteria.

Hysteria is not rational thought.
It is doom-saying.
It is the guy on the corner with the placard claiming the world is going to end.

Before we get carried away with our own importance and rush head-long into some new 'Save The World' technologies should we not at least consider what THEIR long term impact might be.

We ONCE thought autos were benign.
We now think wind turbines and solar panels are benign.

At the risk of contradicting myself could it be that the cure might be worse than the disease?
* Posted 26/08/08 at 12:46 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Steve Church from Canada writes: Michael Sharp: 'Not so long ago, nobody gave it second thought as to cars and GHGs' . That's another one of your crony-claims, isn't it? Fact is, the GHG pollution problem has been on the table for a century. It's been measured for half a century. It's been warned about for a quarter of a century. ................................................. And the alternate energy downsides have been debated from the concept stage. You only score points against straw-man stuff. And you fall on your face when you try to crab-walk your way back from an orbit-dislocation joke. Get it straight - the longer the delay, the more likely the eventually responses will cause backlashes that makes the bat problem look like a flock of ducks on a tar sand pond.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 12:49 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: Michael Sharp from Victoria, Canada writes: 'We ONCE thought autos were benign.'

Compared with horses, they certainly are. At the end of the 19th century the city of London had to deal with thousands of tons of horse manure per day.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 12:51 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Michael Sharp from Victoria, Canada writes:
Steve Church admonishes me, 'Get it straight - the longer the delay, the more likely the eventually responses will cause backlashes that makes...'

'The end of the world more likely.'
If I may finish your sentence.

You might frighten the children, Steve, but not me.
40 years ago billions were to be dying now from mass starvation.
That was the end of the world scenario in the 70s.

It didn't happen.

It's such an EASY argument.

If they got it wrong 40 years ago, why couldn't they get it wrong now?

For the very simple reason that predicting the future is notoriously hard to do.

The future has it's own agenda.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 12:56 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Steve Church from Canada writes: GlynnMhor again repeats the abject nonsense of a non-existant cooling trend. The temperatures are not consistent with the mid-90s - temperatures so far for 2008 rank 9th highest. July ranked 5th globally. That's consistent with the La Nina system that resulted in the severest down spike in 20 years. Your Sun-worship chant fails both the observational and data test; it is still popular with the pro-pollutionists. It is pitiful that you, again, throw your one-trick phony into a discussion about something else. Why don't you have a nice cuppa carbon for lunch?
* Posted 26/08/08 at 12:58 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Paul C from Toronto, Canada writes: Shut down the wind farms and burn more coal. Nothing bad happens when we burn coal.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 12:59 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Antonio San from Canada writes: Wind farms will do well with all the hot air moved from steve church's ar... mouth.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 1:04 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Antonio San from Canada writes: 'Alan Burke from Canada writes: Antonio San, I have read about those effects. They do not refute the fact that melting is happening in the Arctic at historically-unprecedented rates.

Measurements, not just models, show it. '

The problem A.Burke is that you do not see the forest from the tree because of your ignorance in atmospheric circulation.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 1:07 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: Steve Church from Canada writes: 'GlynnMhor again repeats the abject nonsense of a non-existant cooling trend. The temperatures are not consistent with the mid-90s - temperatures so far for 2008 rank 9th highest.'

If the temperature average for 2008 is '9th highest', that means it's COOLER than 8 preceding years, so the cooling trend cannot by that alone be 'non-existant'. BTW, according to the dataset used by the IPCC, the HadCRUT3, 2008 is 11th warmest, not 9th.

And the temperature anomaly so far for 2008 is 0.278, quite comparable to the 0.275 of 1995.

And signifigant warming stopped after 2001, and we have had consistent cooling since 2005, with temperature anomalies of 0.482, 0.422, 0.405, and now 0.278.

The recent 'nina' finished this past spring, and yet temperatures just aren't climbing back. The 'nina' excuse just doesn't pass muster, Steve.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 1:10 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Toxic Planet from dead zone USA, Canada writes: shut down the wind turbines, solar panels dont kill bats.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 1:42 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Toxic Planet from dead zone USA, Canada writes: "Bill Palmer from Paisley, Canada writes: Let's not dismiss the harm we do to creation or our neighbour as trivial, please. I believe that God had a better plan for us. "

God must be out to lunch or maybe God doesnt really give a flying fart because that "better plan" seems to be lacking any significance right about now.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 1:48 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Curious G from Canada writes: Im curious - how many posters/readers here actually believe the currents (el nino, la nina) impact on our weather can be accurately predicted?

Moreover - I remember the 70s - and a curious phenomenon that it gave birth to: global cooling and the new ice age. A series of years where the scientific community screamed bloody murder that the world was experiencing a massive cooling trend that could trigger the next ice age.

Until we can predict global weather patterns, beyond 6 months, to within say a 1% tolerable error rate, you should all relax about these "models" that show our doom and "inevitable" destruction.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 2:00 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
martha stewart from Canada writes: Dr Demento writes: "Duh - no. Animals do not drown when a hydroelectric reservoir is filled. They simply move to adjacent dry land . . . "

Duh. That habitat is permanently lost. If it fills up a valley as it does in BC the adjacent higher habitat is not the same and may not be suitable at all. If the habitat is similar then it is likely already occupied by the same species, leaving no space for the displaced individuals.

Reservoirs also block migration routes.

And though I don't have the exact stats, I can guarantee you that exponentially more animals have drowned in hydro reservoirs than polar bears have drowned allegedly due to The Warming.

Everything has a cost. Given the vast number of planned windfarms, this cost will be high. When all things are considered, THE most benign way to produce electricity is nuclear power.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 2:00 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: If there are any gods, it seems doubtful any of them would care much one way or another.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 2:00 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Steve Church from Canada writes: Mike Sharpe - Your strawman response was useless. If you need an argument about the end of the world, I suggest your starting point is to buy a mirror.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 2:17 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Steve Church from Canada writes: Glynn Mhor - 9th highest does not mean cooler than 8 preceeding years. It means any other 8 years over the full data set. ....................... Don't even try to tongue your way to that's what you said. ......................................... Glynn Mhor - NOAA issued the paper, and your mix n match to make a claim is more phony-ism from the Carbon Man Can. You tried to score by comparing the 1995 El Nino peak with the La Nina half of 2008 - and still came up shy. What a piece of straw-grasping .................................................................. And yes, temps are rebounding (but the year will show cool). July ranked 5th after June ranked 8th. The spring showed monthly ranks of 2 - 8. It remains typical for you to talk about the La Nina 'finished' like it was a switch. Stand back, and it'll disappear altogether so you can go back to your sun-worshipping blemish-free religion. It's just more bunk delay - now the collateral damage is wind-farm bats.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 2:38 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: Steve Church from Canada writes: "Glynn Mhor - 9th highest does not mean cooler than 8 preceeding years. It means any other 8 years over the full data set."

Heh heh heh heh... and since this is the last year in the dataset, all of those 8 other years must necessarily precede this one, eh?
* Posted 26/08/08 at 2:44 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: Steve Church from Canada writes: "GlynnMhor ...temps are rebounding (but the year will show cool). July ranked 5th after June ranked 8th."

No month this year has come up to the average of any of the years since 2001, though March (not June or july) came the closest.

And as you just confessed, above, those months you mention are COOLER than many others, meaning that there is no warming going on at all, much less at the rate seen from 1910-1940, or 1970-2000.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 2:49 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Steve Church from Canada writes: GlynnMhor - Your response is exactly the cloth-eared tongue dump I expected. You're wrong again ... as usual ... a one-trick phony selling pro-pollution.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 2:51 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: Steve Church from Canada writes: "GlynnMhor NOAA issued the paper, and your mix n match to make a claim is more phony-ism from the Carbon Man Can."

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. NOAA has published many papers, some of which have been used by the IPCC.

If you are making a reference to the use of the Hadley dataset as opposed to the NOAA one, they differ only trivially, and as you can see for example on page 684 of the IPCC's Fourth Report

it is indeed the HadCRUT3 dataset that the IPCC uses.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 2:55 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
Steve Church from Canada writes: Glylnn - "No month this year" - Yea, the La Nina trough that you've tried to use without acknowledging. No points, you're wrong ... again. And wronge, technically as well - Jan, Feb, April, June 7th (low), May 5h, March tied 4th, July 2nd. .... Your CO2-loving spew doesn't stand up ... again.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 3:00 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: Steve Church from Canada writes: "GlynnMhor... You're wrong again"

This post of yours reminds me of the sketch from Monty Python:

- An argument is a collected series of statements intended to establish a proposition. It's not just saying "No it isn't"

- Yes it is.

- No it isn't!

Now if you can come up with a set of statements that tend to establish your proposition you might become a bit more credible.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 3:00 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
r b from Calgary, Canada writes: Those bats would be alive today if we had adopted Kyoto.
* Posted 26/08/08 at 3:14 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: r b from Calgary, Canada writes: "Those bats would be alive today if we had adopted Kyoto."

Adopted Dion's dog?
* Posted 26/08/08 at 3:16 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment
martha stewart from Canada writes: Steve Church writes: "now the collateral damage is wind-farm bats."

This doesn't even make any sense at all. Wind farms are a response to CO2 concerns. If it was up to your "pro-pollutionist" demons, they wouldn't be there. Thus, following your absurdly simplistic level of thinking, these bats were killed by the "anti-CO2" movement of which you are obviously a zealous supporter.

Steve, why do you and the anti-CO2-ists hate bats? Too many vampire movies as a child?

* Posted 26/08/08 at 4:08 PM EDT | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment

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25 August 2008

get ready for The Big One (I think 10 September)


Durer: Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Subject: [GeigerCounterEnthusiasts] CERN LHC final documentation available
Date: Aug 24, 2008 10:53 AM


Cari saluti,

| Captain's Universe |
| Muon Detector |
| Artemia Homepage |
| Fairy Shrimps |
| JupiterRadio Astro |
| Earth Magnetometer |
| Mars Base dot Net |
| Bryophyllum Plants |
| Fossils in Austria |

driveby on today's cruise along the southwest coast of Nova Scotia / PIZZAQ: What's the Down Side of wind turbines?

Click, que sera, sera

I'd heard rumors this Thing existed;
it was right off the highway I cruised from Halifax to Yarmouth today. Next trip to Nova Scotia, I'll make a point of seeing it. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick claim to have the world's biggest tide differentials (water height difference between High and Low), and near the coast, some narrow rivers have a phenomenon called the Tidal Bore -- once a day the river reverses direction, and rowboats/canoes/kayaks can get a free ride several miles Upstream. Neat trick.

Some claim the tides at Inchon, in Korea (site of a famous military landing invasion during the Korean War), rival the tides of the Bay of Fundy.

Well, if ever North America is going to get its ass in gear to use Tidal Power to generate electricity, this is the time and the Bay of Fundy is the place. There's no such thing as a Free Lunch, and environmentalists don't like the disruption in coastal ecologies they believe damming tides causes.

Alternative Options include Oil, Coal, and Plutonium (half-life on the order of 100,000 years). Where's the fun in getting electric power without superpower wars and ionizng radiation catastrophes? Where's the fun in that? Do you want to live forever while watching the Beijing Olympics on your new hi-def giant screen?

If you are a regular reader of Vleeptron, you will have already suspected that Little Bobby has a very unhealthy lust for Weird Machines.

PizzaQ: There's a naughty little secret associated with the promise of electricity generated by Wind Power. For 3 slices, what's the Down Side of electric wind turbines?


The Annapolis Royal Generating Station
is an 18-MegaWatt tidal power plant located on the Annapolis River immediately upstream from the town of Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, Canada. It is the only tidal generating station in North America.

{There's one other I know about at the mouth of a river in France.]

The generating station harnesses the tidal difference created by the large tides in the Annapolis Basin, a sub-basin of the Bay of Fundy. Opened in 1984, the Annapolis Royal Generating Station was constructed by Nova Scotia Power Corporation, which was at the time a provincial government Crown corporation that was frequently used to socially benefit various areas in the province.

Tidal harnesses to generate electricity had been under discussion for the Bay of Fundy and its various sub-basins for several decades. The decision to build the Annapolis Royal facility was partly prompted by the promise of federal funding for this alternative energy project, as well as the provincial Department of Transportation's requirement to replace an aging steel truss bridge over the river between Annapolis Royal and Granville Ferry.

The resulting rock-filled dam carries Trunk 1 across the river, as well as housing the power house and sluice gates.

The project has had mixed results. While effectively generating electricity, the dam across the river restricting water flow (to allow the tidal difference to accumulate every 6 hours) has resulted in increased river bank erosion on both the upstream and downstream sides.

The dam has also trapped marine life, including a case in August, 2004 when a mature Humpback whale swam through the open sluice gate at slack tide, ending up trapped for several days in the upper part of the river before eventually finding its way out to the Annapolis Basin (it was nicknamed "Sluice").

The body of an immature Humpback whale was discovered in spring 2007 near the head of tide in the river at Bridgetown. A post-mortem was inconclusive but suggested the whale had become trapped in the river after following fish through the sluice gates.

A new Fundy tidal energy project is underway, using submerged tidal stream generators. Using a variety of different technologies, the project is expected to be operational in 2010.

24 August 2008

on the road -- Bob & the half-naked woman -- Bob is deemed suspicious because he didn't plan his trip in advance

Okay I'm in Halifax at the Halliburton after the 22-hour Train Ride From Sitting Up Hell. Just had a lovely sushi dinner next door. Tomorrow somehow I get down the coast to Yarmouth Nova Scotia and I'll take the CAT high speed ferry to Portland, Maine on Wednesday -- a 5.5 hour crossing. So far this has been one very cool, thrilling Adventure. Perfect weather. Just spent 1 night in Montreal but had a dandy time, it's a spectacular city, and I got to practice my pathetic francais, which is worse than my sucky deutsches.

On the train I opened the lavatory door and there was a half-naked woman taking a whiz -- she hadn't mastered the door lock very well. I screamed JESUS! and she screamed something equally inchaote and closed the door more successfully than she had the first time.

I'm dragging along my new laptop, but I couldn't get its Wi-Fi connection to work, so I'm posting from the charming library/study/lounge of the Halliburton. This neighborhood used to be crawling with Ladies of the Night, but in the few years since I was here, they clearly have gentrified and boutiquefied Halifax. The sign on my restaurant said VOTED HALIFAX'S BEST SUSHI RESTAURANT 5 YEARS RUNNING.

I have an original illustration, but I won't be able to squirt it from my laptop to Vleeptron tonight. I might have better luck in Yarmouth.

At the US - Canadian Border, I was deemed Very Suspicious, because I'd taken the train trip without any advance notice, so my name wasn't on the computer list of the Canadian Border Guards. They held up the train for 15 minutes while they made phone calls to see if I was Osama bin Laden's chauffeur or his dentist or accountant. I wasn't. They gave me back my passport and sent me on my way to Quebec.

Here, you need an illustration, let me cook one up. This looks a lot liks the VIA locomotive that schlepped me from Montreal to Halifax. In 22 hours. Ask me if I'm a little exhausted.

I'll get somebody to take a photo of me in my backpack.

21 August 2008

no car / no plane / Quebec & Nova Scotia by train & ferry

Click, gets bigger.

Just got a laptop, it's supposed to have the wi-fi, so maybe (if I remember my password) I'll be able to post to Vleeptron, and maybe I'll be able to get my e-mail on this trip. Wish me luck. Otherwise you might not hear anything from me for about a week.

For some of this trip, either I try to speak francais, or else I have to resort to pantomime. Probably a little of both.

I really wanted to see Gaspe, but last week a flood washed out a railroad bridge, so no train to Gaspe.

But I love Halifax, staying at a really great old hotel (Halliburton), and this time I'm going to see the 10-ton anchor that flew 3 miles through the air when the munitions ship blew up in the harbor during World War One -- until the A-bomb, the biggest human-made explosion in history. ka-BOOM!

And I love the Yarmouth-Portland ferry, sometimes you see spouting whales, and if you ask discretely, they usually let me visit the bridge. And the high-speed CAT ferry has an itty-bitty casino.

See you next week, hope everyone's having a fine summer, unless you're in the Southern Hemisphere, and then I hope you're having a fine winter.

15 August 2008

a new American greeting, a new spirit of welcome and hope

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Emma Lazarus, 1883

* * *

The New York Times
Wednesday 13 August 2008

Ill and in Pain,
Detainee Dies in U.S. Hands

by Nina Bernstein

He was 17 when he came to New York from Hong Kong in 1992 with his parents and younger sister, eyeing the skyline like any newcomer. Fifteen years later, Hiu Lui Ng was a New Yorker: a computer engineer with a job in the Empire State Building, a house in Queens, a wife who is a United States citizen and two American-born sons.

But when Mr. Ng, who had overstayed a visa years earlier, went to immigration headquarters in Manhattan last summer for his final interview for a green card, he was swept into immigration detention and shuttled through jails and detention centers in three New England states.

In April, Mr. Ng began complaining of excruciating back pain. By mid-July, he could no longer walk or stand. And last Wednesday, two days after his 34th birthday, he died in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a Rhode Island hospital, his spine fractured and his body riddled with cancer that had gone undiagnosed and untreated for months.

On Tuesday, with an autopsy by the Rhode Island medical examiner under way, his lawyers demanded a criminal investigation in a letter to federal and state prosecutors in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, and the Department of Homeland Security, which runs the detention system.

Mr. Ng’s death follows a succession of cases that have drawn Congressional scrutiny to complaints of inadequate medical care, human rights violations and a lack of oversight in immigration detention, a rapidly growing network of publicly and privately run jails where the government held more than 300,000 people in the last year while deciding whether to deport them.

In federal court affidavits, Mr. Ng’s lawyers contend that when he complained of severe pain that did not respond to analgesics, and grew too weak to walk or even stand to call his family from a detention pay phone, officials accused him of faking his condition. They denied him a wheelchair and refused pleas for an independent medical evaluation.

Instead, the affidavits say, guards at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, R.I., dragged him from his bed on July 30, carried him in shackles to a car, bruising his arms and legs, and drove him two hours to a federal lockup in Hartford, where an immigration officer pressured him to withdraw all pending appeals of his case and accept deportation.

“For this desperately sick, vulnerable person, this was torture,” said Theodore N. Cox, one of Mr. Ng’s lawyers, adding that they want to see a videotape of the transport made by guards.

Immigration and detention officials would not discuss the case, saying the matter was under internal investigation. But in response to a relative of Mr. Ng’s who had begged that he be checked for a spinal injury or fractures, the Wyatt detention center’s director of nursing, Ben Candelaria, replied in a July 16 e-mail message that Mr. Ng was receiving appropriate care for “chronic back pain.” He added, “We treat each and every detainee in our custody with the same high level of quality, professional care possible.”

Officials have given no explanation why they took Mr. Ng to Hartford and back on the same day. But the lawyers say the grueling July 30 trip appeared to be an effort to prove that Mr. Ng was faking illness, and possibly to thwart the habeas corpus petition they had filed in Rhode Island the day before, seeking his release for medical treatment.

The federal judge who heard that petition on July 31 did not make a ruling, but in an unusual move insisted that Mr. Ng get the care he needed. On Aug. 1, Mr. Ng was taken to a hospital, where doctors found he had terminal cancer and a fractured spine. He died five days later.

The accounts of Mr. Ng’s treatment echo other cases that have prompted legislation, now before the House Judiciary Committee, to set mandatory standards for care in immigration detention.

In March, the federal government admitted medical negligence in the death of Francisco Castaneda, 36, a Salvadoran whose cancer went undiagnosed in a California detention center as he was repeatedly denied a biopsy on a painful penile lesion. In May, The New York Times chronicled the death of Boubacar Bah, 52, a Guinean tailor who suffered a skull fracture and brain hemorrhages in the Elizabeth Detention Center in New Jersey; records show he was left in an isolation cell without treatment for more than 13 hours.

When Mr. Ng died last week, he had spent half his life in the United States, his sister, Wendy Zhao, said in a tearful interview.

Born in China, he entered the United States legally on a tourist visa. Mr. Ng stayed on after it expired and applied for political asylum. He was granted a work permit while his application was pending, and though asylum was eventually denied, immigration authorities did not seek his deportation for many years.

Meanwhile, his sister said, Mr. Ng (pronounced Eng), who was known as Jason, graduated from high school in Long Island City, Queens, worked his way through community technical college, passed Microsoft training courses and won a contract to provide computer services to a company with offices in the Empire State Building.

In 2001, a notice ordering him to appear in immigration court was mistakenly sent to a nonexistent address, records show. When Mr. Ng did not show up at the hearing, the judge ordered him deported. By then, however, he was getting married, and on a separate track, his wife petitioned Citizenship and Immigration Services for a green card for him — a process that took more than five years. Heeding bad legal advice, the couple showed up for his green card interview on July 19, 2007, only to find enforcement agents waiting to arrest Mr. Ng on the old deportation order.

Over the next year, while his family struggled to pay for new lawyers to wage a complicated and expensive legal battle, Mr. Ng was held in jails under contract to the federal immigration authorities: Wyatt; the House of Correction in Greenfield, Mass.; and the Franklin County Jail in St. Albans, Vt.

Mr. Ng seemed healthy until April, his sister said, when he began to complain of severe back pain and skin so itchy he could not sleep. He was then in the Vermont jail, a 20-bed detention center with no medical staff run by the county sheriff’s office. Seeking care, he asked to be transferred back to Wyatt, a 700-bed center with its own medical staff, owned and operated by a municipal corporation.

In a letter to his sister, Mr. Ng recounted arriving there on July 3, spending the first three days in pain in a dark isolation cell. Later he was assigned an upper bunk and required to climb up and down at least three times a day for head counts, causing terrible pain. His brother-in-law B. Zhao appealed for help in e-mail messages to the warden, Wayne Salisbury, on July 11 and 16.

“I was really heartbroken when I first saw him,” Mr. Zhao wrote Mr. Salisbury after a visit. “After almost two weeks of suffering with unbearable back pain and unable to get any sleep, he was so weak and looked horrible.”

The nursing director replied that Mr. Ng had been granted a bottom bunk and was receiving painkillers and muscle relaxants prescribed by a detention center doctor.

But his condition continued to deteriorate. Once a robust man who stood nearly six feet and weighed 200 pounds, his relatives said, Mr. Ng looked like a shrunken and jaundiced 80-year-old.

“He said, ‘I told the nursing department, I’m in pain, but they don’t believe me,’ ” his sister recalled. “ ‘They tell me, stop faking.’ ”

Soon, according to court papers, he had to rely on other detainees to help him reach the toilet, bring him food and call his family; he no longer received painkillers, because he could not stand in line to collect them. On July 26, Andy Wong, a lawyer associated with Mr. Cox, came to see the detainee, but had to leave without talking to him, he said, because Mr. Ng was too weak to walk to the visiting area, and a wheelchair was denied.

On July 30, according to an affidavit by Mr. Wong, he was contacted by Larry Smith, a deportation officer in Hartford, who told him on a speakerphone, with Mr. Ng present, that he wanted to resolve the case, either by deporting Mr. Ng, or “releasing him to the streets.” Officer Smith said that no exam by an outside doctor would be allowed, and that Mr. Ng would not be given a wheelchair.

Mr. Ng told his lawyer he was ready to give up, the affidavit said, “because he could no longer withstand the suffering inside the facility,” but Officer Smith insisted that Mr. Ng would first have to withdraw all his appeals.

The account of his treatment clearly disturbed the federal judge, William E. Smith of United States District Court in Providence, who instructed the government’s lawyer the next day to have the warden get Mr. Ng to the hospital for an M.R.I.

The results were grim: cancer in his liver, lungs and bones, and a fractured spine. “ ‘I don’t have much time to live,’ ” his sister said he told her in a call from Rhode Island Hospital in Providence.

She said the doctor warned that if the family came to visit, immigration authorities might transfer her brother. Three days passed before the warden approved a family visit, she said, after demanding their Social Security numbers. Late in the afternoon of Aug. 5, as Mr. Ng lay on a gurney, hours away from death and still under guard, she and his wife held up his sons, 3 and 1.

“Brother, don’t worry, don’t be afraid,” Ms. Zhao said, repeating her last words to him. “They are not going to send you back to the facility again. Brother, you are free now.”

- 30 -

13 August 2008

me gusta los donuts / me gusta la cerveza / me gustas tu!

Click image for larger.

King Juan Carlos of Spain is on one of these 1-euro coins.

Reuters (UK newswire)
Friday 8 August 2008

Spanish shopkeeper
finds Homer Simpson euro

by Raquel Castillo

MADRID (Reuters) -- A one euro coin has turned up in Spain bearing the face of cartoon couch potato Homer Simpson instead of that of the country's king, a sweetshop owner told Reuters on Friday.

Jose Martinez was counting the cash in his till in the city of Aviles, northern Spain, when he came across the coin where Homer's bald head, big eyes and big nose had replaced the serious features of King Juan Carlos.

"The coin must have been done by a professional, the work is impressive," he told Reuters.

The comical carver had not taken his tools to the other side of the coin displaying the map of Europe. So far, no other coins of the hapless, beer-swilling oaf have been found in circulation.

"I've been offered 20 euros for it," said Martinez.

(Writing by Sarah Morris, edited by Richard Meares)

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12 August 2008

We hold these Truths to be self-evident

Sure, click, gets bigger.

Mike wins the first half of the Pizza!!! / more about the PizzaQ / bureaucrats never make anything easy / Honor System now extinct

Sure, click for bigger.

mike said ...

Wow, much harder when you don't know what the actual question is. I'd have to guess that you're asking if the two knots are the same knot, just different point of view. Of course, the answer is that they're not the same knot, but who knows if that's the actual question?

Tuesday, 12 August, 2008




Now about your Answer, and your phrase

"Of course ..."

In 1900 (A.D.), you would have won the other 3.5 slices!

And everybody on Earth (I guess that's mostly sailors and Boy Scouts) who cares about these things would have agreed with you!

But sorry, Knot Dude ... no more Pizza.

Now that does NOT mean the Ministry of Pizza will give the Pizza to the first Comment that says


Klaas van Rotterdam said ...

Of course, the answer is that they ARE the same knot. Send me the Pizza now.

Tuesday, 12 August, 2008
10 seconds after mike Comment


The Ministry is demanding more than that. We're Bureaucrats. Nothing is that easy for Bureaucrats.

We need either

(1.) Proof


(2.) a Citation.

So here is a Generous Hint from the Vleeptron Ministry of Pizza.

These knot things float around in the air, in 3-dimensional space, free to twist and turn any which-way.

Rule 1. You can't cut them with scissors and then re-tie them.

Rule 2. Oh, and you can't look at them through a mirror. The mirror image would screw up the knot and make it Not The Same.

(There's a Very Fancy Word for this, but I'm not talking.)

Your point of view -- where your eyeballs are when you look at a knot floating in the air -- is totally unimportant and makes absolutely no difference to the "sameness" question. So you can turn them upside-down or revolve them around backally and forthally all you want.

(If you're having trouble making your knots float around in the air, well, you could just wiggle them around on the floor, that's just as good.)

Okay, I'll wiggle them just a little to get you started.

Or you can start Googling like crazy. The heck with the Vleeptron PizzaQ Honor System. I think The Honor System for stuff like this went extinct in 1964 and it's never coming back.