Bachmann is wrong about earthquakes.

Fact-checking Republican presidential candidates is like shooting fish in a barrel, but quibbling is what the Internet is for. The other day, Rep. Michele Bachmann joked that the recent East Coast earthquake and Hurricane Irene were manifestations of God trying to get some kind of deficit-reducing message across to Washington politicians. Considering that Irene has freshly left 30 people dead and over a million people without power, and caused untold amounts of property damage, this was probably a pretty ill-advised, or at least somewhat insensitive, joke to make. (On the other hand, Bachmann’s constituency is probably firmly in the Midwest, so who gives an eff about the troubles of the East Coast?) Anyways, as The Caucus reports, Bachmann almost immediately went into damage control mode after the words came out of her mouth, saying that her remarks were not meant to be taken seriously.

What I have to quibble with is the following:

What I was saying in a humorous vein is there are things happening that politicians need to pay attention to. It isn’t every day we have an earthquake in the United States.

In fact, it pretty much is every day that we have an earthquake in the United States. According to the USGS, well over 2,000 earthquakes occur in the United States annually. In 2010, the USGS located 8,493 earthquakes – that’s an average of 23 earthquakes per day. At any given time, the real-time map of earthquakes in the United States will show a couple dozen earthquakes that have happened in the past day:

Granted, most of these earthquakes are minor, if not imperceptible. But I think Bachmann’s mistake is still significant in that it demonstrates her careless disregard for the facts/telling the truth. Of course, it’s not really a surprise that Bachmann would have this attitude, considering she’s a champion of the anti-science party.

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An inefficiency in the mission to kill OBL.

I’ve had this tab open for weeks, it seems, meaning to point this out to the Internet. Here goes!

In its August 8, 2011 issue, the New Yorker ran a fascinating article on Operation Neptune’s Spear – the mission that resulted in Osama bin Laden’s death in Abbottabad. It is a great and interesting read. For example, did you know that the translator, a Pakistani-American, was pulled from a “desk job” and had to learn how to “fast rope” for the operation?

More interesting still is this account of how the SEALs disposed of the damaged Black Hawk helicopter (the one that Pakistan might have let China check out):

Next, the SEALs needed to destroy the damaged Black Hawk. The pilot, armed with a hammer that he kept for such situations, smashed the instrument panel, the radio, and the other classified fixtures inside the cockpit. Then the demolition unit took over.

(Emphasis mine.) The pilot brought a hammer on this mission for the sole purpose of smashing up the instrument panel and radio, etc.? I don’t claim to be an expert in [para]military operations, but this struck me as odd. Is there a reason that other tools, like ones that could serve other uses for other contingencies, couldn’t be used for this purpose? Is there a reason that other things carried by the SEALs (like assault rifles) couldn’t be used? I’d like to know, because I don’t want our courageous special ops soldiers burdened with unnecessary hammers.


A coincidental dog print.

I spend far too much of my time browsing blogs for eye candy: design, fashion, interiors, etc. You read enough of these blogs and the style trends become repetitive, and the popularity of certain products becomes cliche (as happened with the Keep Calm and Carry On print last year-ish). Anyways, today I spied the same print in two different decor blog posts:

Granted, two different colorways, but looks like the same image to me. Its popping up like this in two disparate corners of the Internet make me curious. Anyone know who makes it? The Glitter Guide says of the first one that it was once a floor display at Anthropologie.