Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6765 on: May 31st, 2012, 08:16am »
May 30, 2012 at 10:48 AM
Judge rules two-thirds vote requirement to raise taxes is unconstitutional
Posted by Andrew Garber Updated at 12:15 p.m.
King County Superior Court Judge Bruce Heller has ruled the voter-approved requirement that two-thirds of the Legislature approve tax increases is unconstitutional.
The judge's order issued Wednesday morning says the "supermajority vote requirement violates the simple majority provision" of the state Constitution.
The lawsuit was filed last year by two statewide education groups and a dozen Democratic state lawmakers seeking to overturn the two-thirds requirement.
"We won on pretty much every issue," said Rep. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, a plaintiff in the case who is also an attorney. "All of the procedural things that have been the death of previous challenges, we won on every point. On the merits of the case itself, he agreed with all of our arguments."
State Attorney General Rob McKenna sent out a statement saying "we will appeal this decision because we believe these voter-enacted laws are constitutional, and we are determined to defend the will of the voters, just as we defend laws passed by the Legislature."
McKenna is the Republican candidate for governor, running against Democratic challenger Jay Inslee.
The lawsuit argued the supermajority requirement unconstitutionally prevents lawmakers from adequately funding schools and other essential public services.
Targeted by the lawsuit is Initiative 1053, the latest of four voter-approved measures since 1993 that have limited the Legislature's ability to raise taxes. I-1053 requires a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate. Sponsored by Tim Eyman, I-1053 was approved by 64 percent of voters in 2010.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6766 on: May 31st, 2012, 08:24am »
NYC proposes ban on sale of oversized sodas and other sweetened drinks in anti-obesity effort
By Associated Press 31 May 2012
NEW YORK — New York City plans to ban the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks in an effort to combat obesity.
The proposed first-in-the-nation ban would impose a 16-ounce limit on the size of sweetened drinks sold at restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts. It would apply to bottled drinks as well as fountain sodas.
The ban, which could take effect as soon as March, would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks or alcoholic beverages. Nor would it include drinks sold in grocery or convenience stores. Food establishments that don’t downsize would face fines of $200.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday that he “thinks it’s what the public wants the mayor to do.”
A spokesman for the New York City Beverage Association, Stefan Friedman, criticized the proposal as “zealous.” He said officials should seek solutions that are actually going to curb obesity.
The proposal requires the approval of the city’s Board of Health, which is considered likely because its members are all appointed by Bloomberg.
Under the three-term mayor, the city has campaigned aggressively against obesity, including outlawing trans-fats in restaurant food and forcing chain restaurants to post calorie counts on menus.
The Bloomberg administration has tried other ways to make soda consumption less appealing. The mayor supported a state tax on sodas, but the measure died in Albany, and he tried to restrict the use of food stamps to buy sodas, an idea federal regulars rejected.
City Hall’s latest proposal does not require outside approval, according to The New York Times, although public hearings will be held.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6767 on: May 31st, 2012, 08:40am »
New Stealth Sub Is Fully Networked, But Cut Off From the Outside World By Spencer Ackerman May 31, 2012 | 6:30 am Categories: Navy, Spies, Secrecy and Surveillance
UNDERWAY ON THE U.S.S. MISSISSIPPI — Practically every system aboard the Navy’s newest fast attack submarine is state of the art. Unlike earlier subs, the U.S.S. Mississippi’s control room, a hive of classified software and hardware, places sonar technicians and weapons specialists barely five feet apart. The periscope is mostly virtual: fiber optics allow the control room to see the surface world, rather than a physical tube running down from the bridge. But for all the advancements aboard the Mississippi, there’s one persistent challenge — staying connected to the outside world.
Bandwidth on subs is practically a throwback to the era of Magic cards, Discmans, and the best Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episodes. To send and receive messages, the U.S. submarine fleet needs to rise to a depth shallow enough to raise periscopes and antennas; aboard the Mississippi, periscope depth is 60 feet. While there are exceptions to that rule, it sets up a basic tradeoff. To remain undetected and ready to complete their missions, submarine commanders have to be prepared for long periods of silence.
“There are some missions or taskings where you don’t go to periscope depth frequently and put antennas out of the water,” says Cmdr. Aaron Thieme, the deputy commander of Submarine Squadron 4, which includes the Mississippi. “There are some missions or taskings where you spend all your time at periscope depth with your antennas out of the water. There are some that require us not to transmit at all.”
The subs receive their internet access from bandwidth provided by satellites, same as the Navy’s surface ships. But unlike aircraft carriers, destroyers and frigates, submarines can’t augment their connectivity with 4G networks. And once the subs go below periscope depth, they’re effectively cut off from the outside world.
All this makes bandwidth on the subs an even scarcer resource than it is aboard the surface fleet. On the Mississippi, red Ethernet cables dangle from the ceilings of the officer’s wardroom. Only when the sub rises to periscope depth do officers plug the cables into their laptops, allowing them to access the Navy’s classified networks. That doesn’t happen often. The Mississippi has the capability to stay submerged — and silent — for up to 90 days.
For all the Navy’s formidable technological advancements, many of which are visible aboard the Mississippi, connectivity lags behind. The Navy has yet to overcome some basic physical limitations. The deeper the sub dives, the harder it is for it to access a satellite. Thieme confirms that there is a depth beyond which the submarine fleet is totally disconnected, but understandably declines to disclose what that depth is. And like surface ships, the further the fleet disperses on or under the open water, the harder it is to keep the subs in contact.
And there’s an additional communications challenge for subs. Allowing sailors to e-mail their families risks compromising the stealth that’s central to the subs’ missions.
“Any time you transmit energy, whether it be electromagnetic or acoustic, fundamentally, it could be detected,” Thieme explains. “At some point, there could be a technology developed that can identify that energy source. Just as we go to great efforts to minimize the acoustic energy we put into the water, we go to efforts to minimize the counter-detectability of the electromagnetic energy that we transmit when we communicate.”
But don’t let that conjure up visions of rogue sub commanders, à la The Hunt for Red October. The chain of command informs the submarine how frequently and even when it needs to reach periscope depth to check in or receive orders. And the command has technical mechanisms — which the crew of the Mississippi will not discuss — for augmenting the bandwidth available to submarines in an emergency. More regularly, a text-only e-mail program called SailorMail allows sub crews to send and receive e-mails over an unclassified network — provided those e-mails are free of attachments, and sailors don’t mind waiting for transmissions at speeds slower than dial-up. For morale, the sub can stream news programs and sports when it’s at periscope depth.
Still, the Navy’s lack of consistent bandwidth for submarines could complicate some its broader plans. Its new super-concept for working seamlessly with the Air Force might founder if fighter jets can’t talk to Navy subs.
But underway on the Mississippi, officers are convinced bandwidth deserts are a manageable problem — and one that feeds into the culture of submarine warfare.
“It’s in our DNA to be able to go out and do a mission by ourselves without somebody looking over our shoulder,” says Thieme. “If the capability gets developed so that, regardless of whatever speed or depth we are we can maintain a communications tether or connectivity path, I [still] don’t see submariners becoming less autonomous.”
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6768 on: May 31st, 2012, 08:45am »
Published on May 30, 2012 by RaleighUFO
LONG VERSION -
For those skeptics, I will be glad to provide anyone a copy of the data file for analysis and review. Just email me a request. I'm actually wanting your help and experience with video editing so this object can be identified - or not.
Best viewed in 1080p..
This enhanced picture is from this video that was paused and zoomed. The contrast, hue and brightness were altered. No way this is a plane that we are aware exists.
Please excuse my comment in middle of this video, I was really excited.
This video was taken in Lebanon, MO on 5/26/12 at 4:49am using generation 3 pvs-7 night vision goggles with a 3x zoom recording onto a Sony Cybershot camera through the second eyepiece.
This craft (UFO) appeared in the sky over Lebanon, MO approximately 3-4 miles in the sky at 146 deg SE, traveling NW at 320 deg unknown rate of speed.
I immediately discounted this as a aircraft because of the strobe lights. However, once it got closer I realized that it had 4 very bright lights and 3 of the strobes were flashing in a pattern. I have never seen an aircraft lights look like this so I stayed with the object.
Around 1:53 - I turned to get a better view of the craft. The craft did not turn I did.
Appears to be some sort of aircraft (not sure if man made or not) that may be mimicking an airplane since it has strobe lights. Normal behavior would be to ignore a flashing light in the sky as a plane but if you saw a moving object with no flashing lights then that would certainly draw attention.
You can clearly see 4 very bright lights 3 of them pulsing. Once you blow this video up you can see that the object is connected by some sort of dense frame structure connecting to the 4 light corners. It also appears to connect through the middle of the craft from the front light to the back light.
After adjusting the contrast etc I was able to determine from the video that the tail light flashes, then the left light flashes, followed by the front forward light. It does not appear that the right light flashes at all for some reason.
Once it passed over me I turned towards the right with the goggles looking straight up. Once I did that the goggles became saturated with the bright lights and washed out the object prevented me from getting a sharp image and focus.
I honestly cannot remember hearing any noise from the object but I do know that I was standing about 20 feet from the ac condensing unit and that may have come on a few times...
The craft continued Northwest towards Eldridge and then I lost it behind the trees as you can see in the video.
Category: Science & Technology
Tags: UFO Lebanon Missouri Strobe space alien lights
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6770 on: Jun 1st, 2012, 08:41am »
Exclusive: China arrests security official on suspicion of spying for U.S.
Fri Jun 1, 2012 7:28am EDT
HONG KONG (Reuters) - A Chinese state security official has been arrested on suspicion of spying for the United States, sources said, a case both countries have kept quiet for several months as they strive to prevent a fresh crisis in relations.
The official, an aide to a vice minister in China's security ministry, was arrested and detained early this year on allegations that he had passed information to the United States for several years on China's overseas espionage activities, said three sources, who all have direct knowledge of the matter.
The aide had been recruited by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and provided "political, economic and strategic intelligence", one source said, though it was unclear what level of information he had access to, or whether overseas Chinese spies were compromised by the intelligence he handed over.
The case could represent China's worst known breach of state intelligence in two decades and its revelation follows two other major public embarrassments for Chinese security, both involving U.S. diplomatic missions at a tense time for bilateral ties.
The aide, detained sometime between January and March, worked in the office of a vice-minister in China's Ministry of State Security, the source said. The ministry is in charge of the nation's domestic and overseas intelligence operations.
He had been paid hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollars and spoke English, the source added.
"The destruction has been massive," another source said.
The sources all spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of punishment if identified.
China's foreign ministry did not respond immediately to a faxed request for comment sent on Friday.
The sources did not reveal the name of the suspected spy or the vice minister he worked for. The vice minister has been suspended and is being questioned, one of the sources said.
The Ministry of State Security rarely makes public the names of its officials and does not have a public web site.
The incident ranks as the most serious Sino-U.S. spying incident to be made public since 1985 when Yu Qiangsheng, an intelligence official, defected to the United States. Yu told the Americans that a retired CIA analyst had been spying for China. The analyst killed himself in 1986 in a U.S. prison cell, days before he was due to be sentenced to a lengthy jail term.
STRING OF SCANDALS
The vice minister's aide was arrested at around the same time that China's worst political scandal in a generation was unfolding, though the sources said the two cases were unrelated.
The political scandal erupted in February when the police chief of Chongqing municipality, in southwest China, took shelter for 24 hours in a U.S. consulate. Chongqing's ambitious Communist Party boss, Bo Xilai, was later suspended after it emerged the police chief had been investigating Bo's wife for murder.
Bo's wife is now being detained on suspicions that she poisoned a British businessman, Neil Heywood, in a dispute over money.
Washington kept an official silence on that incident, but in late April relations came under even more pressure when blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng escaped from house detention and sought refuge in the U.S. embassy in Beijing.
Chen spent six days in the embassy, sparking a diplomatic crisis that was only resolved when Beijing allowed him to leave the country last month to take up an academic fellowship in New York.
The exposure of the espionage case could put more pressure on the powerful Zhou Yongkang, who formally oversees the state security apparatus as a member of China's top decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee.
The Bo and Chen cases have already raised questions over the effectiveness of the security establishment which, under Zhou, has become more costly to maintain than the nation's military.
(Reporting by Reuters China; Editing by Don Durfee and Mark Bendeich)
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6771 on: Jun 1st, 2012, 08:46am »
New York Times
May 31, 2012 A New Front Line in the U.S. Drug War By DAMIEN CAVE, CHARLIE SAVAGE and THOM SHANKER
WASHINGTON — After several villagers were killed on a Honduran river last month during a raid on drug smugglers by Honduran and American agents, a local backlash raised concerns that the United States’ expanding counternarcotics efforts in Central America might be going too far. But United States officials in charge of that policy see it differently.
Throughout 2011, counternarcotics officials watched their radar screens almost helplessly as more than 100 small planes flew from South America to isolated landing strips in Honduras. But after establishing a new strategy emphasizing more cooperation across various United States departments and agencies, two smugglers’ flights were intercepted within a single week in May, a development that explains why American officials say they are determined to press forward with the approach.
“In the first four months of this year, I’d say we actually have gotten it together across the military, law enforcement and developmental communities,” said William R. Brownfield, the assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs. “My guess is narcotics traffickers are hitting the pause button. For the first time in a decade, air shipments are being intercepted immediately upon landing.”
With Washington’s attention swinging from Iraq and Afghanistan — and with budget dollars similarly flowing in new directions — the United States is expanding and unifying its antidrug efforts in Central America, where violence has skyrocketed as enforcement efforts in the Caribbean, Colombia and Mexico have pushed cocaine traffic to smaller countries with weaker security forces.
As part of those efforts, the United States is pressing governments across Central America to work together against their shared threat — sharing intelligence and even allowing security forces from one nation to operate on the sovereign soil of another — an approach that was on display in the disputed raid. But reviews from Central America include uncertainty and skepticism.
Government leaders in Honduras, who came to power in a controversial election a few months after a 2009 coup, have strongly supported assistance from the United States, but skeptics contend that enthusiasm is in part because the partnership bolsters their fragile hold on power.
More broadly, there is discontent in Latin America with United States efforts that some leaders and independent experts see as too focused on dramatic seizures of shipments bound for North America rather than local drug-related murders, corruption and chaos.
“Violence has grown a lot; crimes connected to trafficking keep increasing — that’s Central America’s big complaint,” President Otto Pérez Molina of Guatemala said in an interview. He added that the drug cartels were better organized than they were 20 years ago and that “if there are no innovations, if we don’t see something truly different than what we have been doing, then this war is on the road to defeat.”
Mr. Pérez Molina, a former general, has been criticized by American officials for proposing a form of drug legalization, but he argues that his goal is to create discussion of new ideas: like compensating Central American countries for the drugs they confiscate, or creating a regional court for organized crime.
In the area of Honduras called the Mosquito Coast, where the two recent operations occurred, residents have simpler demands. “If you’re going to come to the Mosquito Coast, come to invest,” said Terry Martinez, the director of development programs for the area. “Help us get our legitimate goods to market. That will help secure the area.”
American officials say they know that interdiction alone is not enough. The number of United States officials assigned to programs that are designed to strengthen Central America’s weak criminal justice systems has quadrupled, to about 80 over the past five years.
And the United States Agency for International Development has, since 2009, helped open more than 70 outreach centers for young people, offering job training and places to go after school, officials report. “If your drug policy is an exclusively ‘hard side’ negative policy, it will not succeed,” said Mr. Brownfield, a former ambassador to Colombia. “There has to be a positive side: providing alternative economic livelihoods, clinics, roads — the sorts of things that actually give poor communities a stake in their future so they do not participate in narcotics trafficking.”
Despite the shift that officials described, federal budgets and performance measures outlined in government documents show that the priorities of the drug war have not significantly changed. Even as cocaine consumption in the United States has fallen, the government’s antidrug efforts abroad continue to be heavily weighted toward seizing cocaine.
Most financing for the Central American Regional Security Initiative has gone to security and interdiction work, according to a recent Congressional report.
“The problem is that the budget doesn’t match the rhetoric,” said John Carnevale, who served as the director of planning, budget and research for the Office of National Drug Control Policy from 1989 to 2000. “The budget that is currently being funded for drug control is still very much like the one we’ve had for 10 or 12 years, or really over the past couple of decades.”
American officials counter that interdiction efforts include programs to increase the professionalism of local police units. And increasingly, Central American governments are helping to train one another’s forces, using common equipment, and sharing counternarcotics intelligence. United States agencies are also combining their efforts in new ways. Officials say the May 11 raid near the town of Ahuas — and another one earlier in May in Honduras, during which there was also a firefight but no one is believed to have been killed — illustrated that joint effort.
The May 11 raid started with Colombian intelligence passing along a tip about the plane to a joint intelligence task force under the American military’s Southern Command, which has its headquarters in Miami.
A surveillance aircraft from the United States Customs and Border Protection agency then tracked the plane as it landed, leading to a raid that was carried out by four State Department helicopters. They flew out of one of three new forward operating bases built this year by the American military’s Joint Task Force-Bravo in Honduras.
Guatemalan pilots flew the aircraft — after overcoming some resistance from Honduran officials — because Honduras lacks qualified pilots. The helicopters carried a strike force of Honduran police officers who had been specially vetted and trained by United States Drug Enforcement Administration agents, several of whom are part of a special commando-style squad that was on board as advisers.
The helicopters struck around 2 a.m., after about 30 men had unloaded 17 bales of cocaine from the plane into a pickup truck, which had carried it to a boat in the nearby Patuca River. Men working on the boat scattered as the helicopters swooped down, and a ground force moved in.
What happened next remains under investigation in Honduras. Officials say a second boat approached and opened fire on the agents on the ground. They and a door gunner aboard the helicopter returned fire in a quick burst.
But rather than hitting drug traffickers, villagers contend, the government forces instead hit another boat that was returning from a long trip upriver — killing four unarmed people, including two pregnant women. While the D.E.A.’s rules of engagement allowed agents to fire back to protect themselves and their counterparts, both United States and Honduran officials insist that no Americans fired.
Broader questions remain. Even if the air route to Honduras is shut down, as long as the United States — and, increasingly, Africa and Europe — remains a lucrative market for cocaine, traffickers will continue to seek a way to move their product.
United States officials say they are already bolstering efforts in the Caribbean, anticipating another shift in direction for drugs.
Charlie Savage reported from Washington; Damien Cave from Ahuas, Honduras, and Mexico City; and Thom Shanker from Forward Operating Base Mocoron, Honduras, and Washington. William Neuman contributed reporting from Cartagena, Colombia.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6772 on: Jun 1st, 2012, 08:52am »
Space Cases: The Weirdest Legal Claims in Outer Space By Adam Mann June 1, 2012 | 6:30 am Categories: Space
In January, a Quebec man named Sylvio Langvein walked into a courthouse in Canada and filed a suit declaring himself owner of the planets in our solar system, four of Jupiter’s moons, and the interplanetary space between.
By way of explanation, Langvein said he wanted to collect planets the same way that others collect hockey cards, and also prevent China from establishing outposts above his head.
The judge overseeing the case, Alain Michaud, dismissed it in March, calling Langvein a “quarrelsome litigant” whose paranoid actions were an abuse of the Canadian legal system. (This was Langvein’s 45th lawsuit — including four motions to the Supreme Court of Canada — since 2001).
The case is bizarre, but not unprecedented.
“Every now and then, someone thinks no one has claimed the moon before, and then rushes to claim it,” wrote Virgiliu Pop, a space law researcher at the Romanian Space Agency, in an email to Wired. “Humankind has a short collective memory, so the claimant is able to create some buzz before the story dies out — to be followed by a similar story, years later.”
As we enter an era when people are seriously advocating that the U.S. establish property rights on the moon and scholars debate the legality of mining asteroids, it’s interesting (and relevant) to look back at the people who have tried to assert ownership of the moon, Mars, other planets, and stars throughout history.
In 2006, Pop literally wrote the book on this matter, titled Unreal Estate: The Men Who Sold The Moon, which he describes as “a serious analysis of a trivial subject.” The compendium offers plenty of outrageous stories, and here we look at some of the book’s most spurious and strange space cases.
Inherit the Moon
Alexander the Great is said to have wept when told by his friend, the philosopher Anaxarchus, that there are countless worlds in the universe.
“Do you not think it a matter worthy of lamentation that when there is such a vast multitude of worlds, we have not yet conquered one?” Alexander said.
Great as Alexander’s ambitions were, he never attempted to draw up documents declaring himself owner of anything in the sky. But one of the earliest modern cases where such claims are made comes from King Frederick the Great, who ruled Prussia in the mid-1700s.
The king was said to have sought help from a great healer named Aul Jurgens and, in exchange for the miraculous cures he received, bequeathed the moon to Jurgen’s family until the end of time. This story comes from one of Jurgen’s descendants, Martin, who in 1996 tried to claim lunar ownership through his illustrious ancestor.
The next year, scholars at the Institute for Air and Space Law in the Netherlands denied Jurgen’s claim on the grounds that the donation by a Prussian sovereign who didn’t actually own the moon in the first place wasn’t valid.
One night in 1936, A. Dean Lindsay looked up at the moon and thought to himself, “Nobody owns it!”
Seeking to rectify this situation, Lindsay marched into the Pittsburgh Notary Public office and presented a document declaring that he owned “[a]ll of the property known as planets, islands-of-space or other matter, henceforth to be known as ‘A.D. Lindsay’s archapellago.’”
Lindsay’s misspelled archipelago included every planet visible from any other planet or mass in space but omitted three bodies: the Earth, moon, and Saturn. The Earth, Lindsay reasoned, belonged to its inhabitants, but he drew up separate documents declaring himself owner of the moon and Saturn. (Why these two bodies in particular needed separate deeds, no one really knows.) He also registered the documents with the Irwin County Court House in Ocilla, Georgia.
Lindsay apparently planned to make a profit with his new properties (he had previously sold his two prior claims – the Pacific and Atlantic oceans) though little else came from the claims. Lindsay died in June of 1969, just a month shy of the Apollo 11 landing.
Celestial Space Nation
James Thomas Mangan was, according to his autobiography, “an internationally famous speaker, a world champion top spinner, and one of the best grass cutters in America.” He was also founder of the Nation of Celestial Space, which he created in Evergreen Park, Illinois in 1949.
The country (known by its nickname, Celestia) laid claim to everything in space. Mangan presented the Charter of Celestia to the Recorder of Deeds and Titles of Cook County, Illinois, an occasion recorded by numerous media, including Life magazine.
Mangan sent letters to 74 nations inviting them to give him official recognition and applied for membership with the UN in 1948. The international organization rejected his application.
Over the years, Mangan needed to defend his nation’s sovereignty over space from several other contestants, including a student from Tennessee who registered the “southern half of outer space” and an inmate in Alcatraz who claimed his grandfather had been charged rent for sunlight by Austrian Emperor Franz Josef.
Mangan also fought with the USSR, protesting that the launch of Sputnik in 1957 was trespassing on his territory, and was angered that the U.S. didn’t ask his permission to send Surveyor cameras to the moon in 1966. But he was also generous with his powers, issuing a license for banking on the moon to the president of Chicago’s Beverly Bank and presenting official moon passports to the Apollo astronauts.
Though Mangan died in 1970, he passed control of Celestia to his son, James, and his daughter, Ruth. His grandchildren currently oversee the nation.
The Head Cheese
On Nov. 22, 1980, Dennis Hope registered the moon. In the “Declaration of Ownership” he filed with the San Francisco County office, he claimed that he would forever be known as “the omnipitant [sic] ruler of the lighted lunar surface,” with “the exalted title of, ‘The Head Cheese.’”
Hope also registered a business, the Lunar Embassy, and sent copies of his declaration to the U.S., USSR, and UN, along with a $55,000 storage and littering bill. Then Hope did what any entrepreneur would: He started selling off his property, acre by acre.
In the first years, the company sold 3,500 properties on the moon. But with better word-of-mouth and the advent of the internet, Lunar Embassy’s business began to boom. Hope now claims to have 3.6 million property owners in 181 countries, including George Lucas, Ron Howard, Carrie Fisher, members of royal families in six countries, two former U.S. presidents, and several astronauts. You can get an acre for the low, low price of about $20!
While Hope’s claim contradicts international space laws, Lunar Embassy is still in operation and is even selling .moon domain names as well as entire moons in the outer solar system.
The site MoonCertificate.com doesn’t rely on any silly Earth governments for its right to the moon. Claiming to be the “only lunar land deed site authorized by the true owners of the moon,” the site derives its authority from the Martian Council of Kings.
The site claims Martian “greys” established lunar property rights 7.2 million years ago and later contacted the website’s owner, allowing them to sell off certificates of ownership.
And, in case you’re wondering, you can also buy Uranus.
After NASA’s Pathfinder mission landed on Mars in 1997, the event drew legal ire from a group of Yemenites. According to Arabic news sources, three men — Adam Ismail, Mustafa Khalil, and Abdullah al-Umari — wanted to sue the agency for trespassing.
Filing a lawsuit with the Yemeni Prosecutor General, the trio argued that they inherited the planet from their ancestors 3,000 years prior, according to mythologies of the ancient Sabaean and Himyaritic civilizations.
The trio demanded the immediate suspension of NASA’s Martian operations and an information blackout on data collected about the Martian atmosphere, gravity, and surface. The Prosecutor General dismissed the case, calling the three plaintiffs “abnormal.”
After the claim failed, the three men went on to try and sell Martian property at $2 a square meter, though the effort never went very far.
When the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft touched down on asteroid 433 Eros in 2001, Gregory Nemitz was ready for it. Nemitz claimed the asteroid was under ownership of his company, Orbital Development, which aimed to mine the rocky body.
“As a Near-Earth Asteroid, Eros is a potential resource base for construction materials and propellants,” read the property claim, which Nemitz filed with the Archimedes Institute in 2000. It also stated that a recreational tourist facility would be built in the spaces cleared by mining.
Nemitz sent NASA an invoice for a parking fee, charging a reasonable $20 per Earth century, due within 21 days of landing. Because Orbital Development had no real legal standing, NASA respectfully declined to pay the fee.
NASA and Nemitz went back and forth for several months, with Nemitz claiming that he had legal ownership of Eros because of his property claim while NASA argued the filing had no foundation in law. An angry Nemitz sent a letter to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell with his grievances and, after being told that his claim violated the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, filed a federal court case in Reno, Nevada concerning the “Treaty vs. the Natural, Inherent Rights of Man” to acquire and own property.
When that court case was dismissed, Nemitz filed with other federal courts, and briefly considered whether or not to take case to the Supreme Court. He eventually dropped the plan in 2005.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6776 on: Jun 1st, 2012, 12:59pm »
1 in 10 Brits think David Cameron could be an alien Posted By Cara Parks Friday, June 1, 2012 - 1:30 PM
It's been a big week for Britain. Queen Elizabeth II is partying hard for her Diamond Jubilee, celebrating 60 years in power; the Olympic torch is making its way across the nation; and one out of 10 Britons suspect that this may all be happening under the leadership of an extraterrestrial.
At least, that's what a new survey shows. Of the 1,089 respondents to the poll, which was released to accompany the launch of the new Men in Black video game, 10 percent said that British Prime Minister David Cameron could be an alien. U.S. President Barack Obama also made the top five list of possible aliens among us.
Cameron has seen his political fortunes sink in recent months after his Conservative Party responded to Britain's economic woes with an unpopular austerity budget, and he found himself embroiled in a scandal over a tax on meat pies, known as pasties. These gaffes have fed into the popular perception that he is “an arrogant, out-of-touch posh boy,” in the words of an MP from his own party.
Wait, wait one second. Cameron is a highly intelligent, emotionally-detached being who pursues logical solutions without concern for the human toll they may take? That can only mean one thing. David Cameron is a Vulcan. Obama knows what we're talking about.
This may sound far-fetched, but after all, the Pentagon is seemingly gearing up for an intergalactic battle by stocking up on space-age weapons -- coincidence? We think not.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6777 on: Jun 2nd, 2012, 08:27am »
New York Times
June 1, 2012 Jobs Report Makes Federal Reserve More Likely to Act By BINYAMIN APPELBAUM
WASHINGTON — The odds surely increased Friday that the Federal Reserve will ride again to the rescue of the faltering economic recovery, making borrowing a little cheaper for a little longer, as it has done repeatedly over the last four years.
But the government’s announcement that employers added only 69,000 workers in May also highlights a less comfortable reality: The economy seems unable to wean itself from dependence on the Fed’s flow of aid. It keeps coming back for more.
What began as a one-time jolt in 2008, an unprecedented effort to revive economic activity, has become an uncomfortable status quo, an enduring reality in which savers are punished and borrowers rewarded by a permafrost of low interest rates.
And the Fed, acutely uneasy with this new role in the American economy, may now find itself unable to avoid doubling down.
Although Fed officials have said repeatedly that they were reluctant to expand what has already been a substantial campaign to stimulate growth, the slowing rate of job creation suggests that they have not done enough. And there’s little prospect that Congress will rise to the occasion.
A Morgan Stanley economist and former head of the Fed’s monetary policy division, Vincent Reinhart, said Friday that the odds had climbed to 80 percent that the Fed’s policy-making committee would announce new measures at its next meeting in three weeks.
The most likely option: buying several hundred billion dollars of Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities in a fourth round of purchases that could expand the Fed’s portfolio to $3 trillion, a once-inconceivable sum.
In a note published after the jobs report, Mr. Reinhart said the central bank was likely to act unless it was paralyzed by internal conflicts, “or the unlikely event that the situation in Europe is clarified in a positive way surprisingly soon.”
Other analysts doubt that the Fed will act so soon as June. Ben S. Bernanke, the Fed’s chairman, and other senior officials have made clear that the trajectory of economic growth must shift substantially before the Fed adjusted its current policies.
“As long as the U.S. economy continues to grow sufficiently fast to cut into the nation’s unused economic resources at a meaningful pace, I think benefits of further action are unlikely to exceed the costs,” William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said Wednesday. Mr. Dudley’s remarks received particular attention because he is the vice chairman of the Fed’s policy-making committee, and is generally careful to remain publicly consistent with Mr. Bernanke.
It seems unlikely that one month of jobs data will be sufficient to cause him to shift on such an explicit judgment, but the news on Friday was worse than one month of bad numbers. The government also significantly reduced its estimate of job creation over the last few months, creating an impression of a longer-term trend of slowing growth.
Moreover, the news from the rest of the world has been grim. Europe continues to flirt with crisis, and the growth of emerging economies like China and India is showing disconcerting signs of an inopportune slowdown.
The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Eric Rosengren, said Wednesday for the first time that the Fed should act. “I believe further monetary policy accommodation is both appropriate and necessary,” Mr. Rosengren said. “The U.S., like many other countries, needs to facilitate a more rapid recovery.”
While Mr. Rosengren does not hold one of the 12 votes on the policy-making committee this year, his remarks suggest that Fed officials who pressed for action last year, then fell silent earlier this year, are once again growing restive.
On the other hand, the American economy continues to add jobs, and a revised estimate of economic activity in the first quarter, which the government published Thursday, provided further evidence of consistent, if mediocre, growth.
Fed officials also are concerned that their policies cannot fix some of what is ailing the economy. Low interest rates make no difference to borrowers who cannot qualify to refinance or businesses that cannot persuade banks to take risks. Each successive round of Fed interventions has produced a diminishing return as interest rates are compressed toward zero. Inflation has remained at roughly 2 percent a year, the level the Fed regards as healthy.
Mr. Bernanke may provide greater clarity when he testifies Thursday before Congress’s Joint Economic Committee. In the meantime, some Fed watchers said that they thought the central bank would wait as long as possible before acting.
Paul Ashworth, chief United States economist at Capital Economics, said the prospect of action was not “the near-certainty that some commentators seem to believe.”
The Fed’s choices will be made against the backdrop of a presidential campaign whose outcome may be determined by the health of the economy. Already the Fed faces loud demands from liberals to act forcefully, and anger from conservatives over the measures that it has taken already. It seems likely that whatever choices it makes will draw fresh anger, which could actually provide its own peculiar kind of insulation.
There are limited options for additional action. The Fed generally guides the economy by adjusting short-term interest rates, but it has held rates near zero since December 2008, and has said that it planned to keep rates near zero until late 2014, at least. Even an extension of that promise would have little impact on interest rates.
That leaves bond purchases, the Fed’s major tool during the current crisis. In 2009 and 2010, the Fed bought more than $2 trillion of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities, forcing private money into investments that carried higher risks and driving down borrowing costs for businesses and consumers.
More recently, the Fed has sold short-term Treasuries to finance the purchase of $400 billion in long-term Treasuries, putting further downward pressure on long-term rates without expanding its portfolio. Those purchases end in June.
The forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers said that it would be difficult for the Fed to extend that strategy, nicknamed Operation Twist, because it is running out of short-term Treasuries and risks cornering the market for long-term Treasuries, which are used as grease and ballast in a wide range of transactions.
Instead, Macroeconomic Advisers said that the Fed would have to return to expanding its portfolio, a policy that most likely would include new purchases of mortgage-backed securities, in part to focus the impact on driving down the interest rates on mortgage loans.
“If they do anything, more likely it would be these outright purchases,” said Antulio Bomfim, a managing director at the firm and a former Fed economist.
He said the firm still was updating its forecast of what the Fed would do next, but added that the situation clearly was deteriorating. Looking out the window of his Washington office on a day of storm clouds and tornado warnings, he said, “The weather outside certainly seems consistent with the economic data.”
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6778 on: Jun 2nd, 2012, 08:30am »
Rajoy proposes set up of euro zone fiscal authority
Sat Jun 2, 2012 8:03am EDT
MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's Prime Minister on Saturday proposed the creation of a new fiscal authority in the euro zone which would control and harmonize national budgets and manage the European debts.
"The European Union needs to reinforce its architecture," Rajoy said at an event in Sitges, in the north-eastern province of Catalonia. "This entails moving towards more integration, transferring more sovereignty, especially in the fiscal field.
"And this means a compromise to create a new European fiscal authority which would guide the fiscal policy in the euro zone, harmonize the fiscal policy of member states and enable a centralized control of (public) finances," he added.
He also said the authority would be in charge of managing European debts.
(Reporting by Julien Toyer; Editing by Mike Nesbit)
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #6779 on: Jun 2nd, 2012, 08:42am »
Wicked Local, Plymouth MA
UFO sightings in Plymouth?
Plymouth residents witness orbs darting across sky. Felicia Femino and other residents saw strange lights traveling across the night sky Sunday evening.
By Emily Clark Wicked Local Plymouth Posted Jun 02, 2012 @ 10:00 AM
PLYMOUTH — Plymouth resident and journalism student Felicia Femino was stunned Sunday evening when she and her friends saw what she described as “unidentified orange orbs in the night sky” above her West Plymouth home. Femino shot a video of the orbs, which she said traveled in a loose formation and in clusters over a period of about a half hour.
“They looked a bit like bright orange fire balls,” Femino wrote in an email. “I called the Plymouth Municipal Airport around 9:30 and asked if they had seen the strange air traffic. The man that I spoke with confirmed that he had also seen the lights, but did not know what they were or their source. He actually said that the sight was the strangest thing he’s seen in the sky in many years.”
Femino obtained streams of Air Traffic Control, which confirm that pilots saw the orbs as well, but were equally unaware of what they might be.
There have been identical sightings in Kansas City, Missouri, New Mexico and Scotland in the last few days.
“The maneuvering of the orbs/crafts, whatever you want to call it, was like nothing I’ve seen before,” Femino wrote. “They were silent, at points they hovered, but glided smoothly. They changed in speed fairly quickly as well. We counted 14.”
So, what’s going on?
Feminio’s not sure. She’s heard theories the orbs were likely paper lanterns. But, she discounted this possibility since they followed close to one another for such a long time, while air currents would have dispersed lanterns. It’s more likely the orbs were connected somehow to a new surveillance tactic the military is employing, she added.
“I have heard explanations that they could have been government craft, since there is a military base not far from Plymouth,” Femino said. “I don’t think it’s ET making an appearance. I believe there is a logical explanation for these events and I have a hunch that it was military aircraft.”
FAA Public Affairs Representative Arlene Salac said her office has received no reports of UFO sightings and could not comment or theorize what the lights could be.
Plymouth Municipal Airport Manager Thomas Maher said an airport worker witnessed the strange lights and the airport received several calls Sunday night confirming sightings.
“The first thing that came to mind was that it was something Internet coordinated with helium balloons with flashing LED lights,” Maher said. “What’s interesting is that there was a similar story of the lights in Missouri.”
But can such balloons quickly change direction the way these orbs did? Maher didn’t seem to think so, which led him to wonder if theories that the lights were radio-controlled helicopters or government drones were more accurate.
“Theoretically, that could happen,” Maher added. “I know that electric radio-controlled helicopters are pretty quiet.”
Femino noted that her friend was visiting in Yarmouth when she spotted the lights, raising the question whether radio-controlled helicopters can travel 30 miles? And can they fly in formation and quickly change direction?
Regional experts in the field of radio controlled helicopters offered their opinions but asked not to be identified; they didn’t want to be linked with a story on UFOs.
“It’s not impossible that they were RC helicopters,” one said. “They could get up to 70 feet in the air and look much higher because they’re so small. Some can run an hour or more, and some of these new batteries are huge. They put lights on the blade.”
But another well-known expert in this hobby said the orbs were definitely not RC helicopters.
“The separation of the lights and flying in that type of formation, you would need several people to acquire that type of skill,” he said. “It’s definitely not a helicopter – you wouldn’t be able to do that.”
As Femino suggested, the government has begun deploying drones or radio-controlled aerial vehicles for various purposes. Most notably, drones have been shipped to war zones in Afghanistan, where they collect information and then are flown home via a “pilot” stationed in California, Maher said. Drones come in a variety of sizes as well, some as small as toys.
What is particularly interesting, in this case, is the prevalence of these sightings worldwide in the past two months. YouTube video posts from Russia, Scotland, Australia and several parts of the United States feature almost identical sightings – all within the last eight weeks. One reader suggested the lights could be a laser pointer on a cloud, but Femino’s video footage and several others show the lights in starry areas of the sky. In addition, Air Traffic Control streaming archives reveal that pilots saw the lights as well and didn’t know what they were.
One of the hobby experts suggested that technological wizards at MIT would likely be capable of performing such a prank. The question remains whether an Internet coordinated effort was involved in the light displays.
Whatever the lights or orbs actually were, Maher said he’s confident of one thing:
“The situation with lights in the sky – I’m inclined to think it’s someone having fun versus us being invaded,” he deadpanned. “Because if we’re being invaded, they’re not going to have lights.”