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Iraq has ‘more crude oil’ than Saudi Arabia March 11, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics.
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Iraq has ‘more crude oil’ than Saudi Arabia ->Emirates Business 24|7
This new 600 page book will feed all the “Iraq for Oil War” talk. With future religious unrest threatening established Oil Kingdoms, could the 2 ex-oilmen in the White House, have calculated that a friendly Iraq could help the world economy through the coming upheavals as modernization roils the Arab oil-producing regions? After all, Oil Men are gamblers at heart.  Chalabi, a former senior Iraqi oil ministry official, believes the country has huge undiscovered reserves on the grounds but no major development projects have been undertaken for more than two decades.

The proven reserves were officially put at 112 billion barrels in 2007 but Chalabi believes the final figure could exceed 300 billion barrels. “Iraq could have this figure, there is no exaggeration in this,” he said.

His view is supported by a Western oil analyst who goes even further by saying Iraq’s real oil potential could surpass that of Saudi Arabia, which controls nearly a quarter of the world’s proven oil deposits.

Colin Lothian, a senior analyst at United Kingdom-based energy consultants Wood Mackenzie, says Iraq has many giant oilfields that have remained undeveloped. Thanks to Carlton Palmer

Is Salvia the New Pot? March 11, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Lifestyle.
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Is salvia the next marijuana?
Salvia is being targeted by lawmakers concerned that the inexpensive and easy-to-obtain plant could become the next marijuana. Eight states have already placed restrictions on salvia, and 16 others, including Florida, are considering a ban or have previously. Some say legislators are overreacting to a minor problem, but no one disputes that the plant impairs judgment and the ability to drive.

Native to Mexico and still grown there, salvia divinorum is generally smoked but can also be chewed or made into a tea and drunk.

Called nicknames like Sally-D, Magic Mint and Diviner’s Sage, salvia is a hallucinogen that gives users an out-of-body sense of traveling through time and space or merging with inanimate objects. Unlike hallucinogens like LSD or PCP, however, salvia’s effects last for a shorter time, generally up to an hour.

All About Speed Traps March 10, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle.
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SpeedTrap Exchange
The SpeedTrap Exchange is a site where visitors can post what they believe are speedtraps and learn about them. Thanks to Jeff Ullian, who needs to know where they are hidden.

Solar Thermal Possiblities Abound March 9, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Science & Technology.
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Solar Company Says Its Tech Can Power 90 Percent of Grid and Cars | Wired Science from Wired.com
Solar-thermal power is gaining adherents, including Google.org, which cut a deal with another player, eSolar, as a way to cleanly generate cost-competitive, city-scale amounts of power. Unlike traditional photovoltaics, which use panels to convert sunlight into electricity, solar-thermal plants focus the sun’s rays on liquids to make steam that powers turbines. Solar-thermal is flat-out more efficient — at 20 to 40 percent — than photovoltaics, which in the field convert sunlight to electricity at about 15 to 22 percent. And solar-thermal fits into the industrial model of power production, meaning that it works in big plants, not distributed across a bunch of houses and buildings.

new research (.pdf) was presented at the IEA SolarPACES conference in Las Vegas, and is described as peer-reviewed. The paper says Ausra expects to commercialize its energy-storage technology within two years. A prototype of the system will go into a model plant the company plans to finish this summer in Bakersfield, California, the company’s founder, David Mills, told Wired.com.

Companies have been piling into the solar-concentrating space. Stirling Energy Systems, SkyFuel, Solel, BrightSource, Rocketdyne, Abengoa and the aforementioned eSolar are all working on using mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy in one way or another.

Learn About SpyWare March 9, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Science & Technology.
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Spyware Warrior: Rogue/Suspect Anti-Spyware Products & Web Sites

This is one of the best sources for protecting yourself on the Net. It’s not Viruses so much nowadays, but these more insidious forms of Malware. Some of it comes disguised as protection! Here is a list of bogus ones and further down the page a list of good ones. Many are free. There is also a list of removal tools, if it is already too late.

It is a good idea to run 2 of these catch the ones that get missed, as this is a constantly changing battlefield. Choose your weapons carefully. I use Spybot. The new version updates automatically and tries to defend you. But, I also run Super Anti Spyware. While you have to manually Update it, it finds more hidden bad guys and does a better job of removing them.

All you wanted to know about Sleep March 9, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle.
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Sleep Education.com

It seems appropriate with Daylights Savings Time coming three weeks earlier this year, to link to a very informative web-site on sleep, complete with tests you can take and research results, such as the effect on Presidential Candidates.

3 SuperRegions – The GeoPoltical Future? March 5, 2008

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Russia a key component of China – India Development | 2point6billion.com
Russia is now showing off its Asian face rather than it’s European one, for the first time in 150 years, with the strategic development of Asia now residing partially within the Kremlin as Moscow looks East to it’s long term allies, with the riches of energy yet without the burden of massive populations to carry, and ready made markets in China and India. The era of Superpowers is over. The era of “Superregions” has just begun, and Russia, China and India just booked the last place at a table with dining partners the U.S. and the EU.

The average growth rate of trade between the three nations has increased at a consistent level of 35% each year over the past five years; and all concerned view this as ‘just the start.’

Moses was high on drugs: Israeli researcher March 5, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Religion.
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Moses was high on drugs: Israeli researcher

Such mind-altering substances formed an integral part of the religious rites of Israelites in biblical times, Benny Shanon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem wrote in the Time and Mind journal of philosophy.

He said the psychedelic effects of ayahuasca were comparable to those produced by concoctions based on bark of the acacia tree, that is frequently mentioned in the Bible.

Cleanliness Equals More Sickliness? March 4, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment.
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Immune Systems Increasingly On Attack – washingtonpost.com
Our obsession with germs and cleanliness is not exposing children the ability to develop resistance and anti-bodies.  Some studies now indicate that more than half of the U.S. population has at least one allergy.

The cause remains the focus of intense debate and study, but some researchers suspect the concurrent trends all may have a common explanation rooted in aspects of modern living — including the “hygiene hypothesis” that blames growing up in increasingly sterile homes, changes in diet, air pollution, and possibly even obesity and increasingly sedentary lifestyles. (more…)

Anti-Trade Tirades Scare World March 3, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, philosophy & politics.
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Zakaria: Dems vs. Free Trade | Newsweek Voices – Fareed Zakaria | Newsweek.com
A senior Latin American diplomat, who asked to remain unnamed because of the sensitivity of the topic, says, “Look, we’re all watching Obama with bated breath and hoping [his election] will be a transforming moment for the world. But now that we’re listening to him on trade—the issue that affects us so deeply—we realize that maybe he doesn’t wish us well. In fact, we might find ourselves nostalgic for Bush, who is brave and courageous on trade and immigration.”

The facts about trade have been too well rehearsed to go into them in any great detail, but let me point out that NAFTA has been pivotal in transforming Mexico into a stable democracy with a growing economy. And, in Lawrence Summers’s words, “[it] didn’t cost the United States a penny. It contributed to the strength of our economy because of more exports and because imports helped to reduce inflation.” Trade between the NAFTA countries has boomed since 1993, growing by about $700 billion. There are no serious economists or experts who believe that low wages in Mexico or China or India is the fundamental reason that American factories close down. And labor and environmental standards would do very little to change the reality of huge wage differentials between poor and rich countries’ workers. (more…)

What Makes Finnish Kids So Smart? March 2, 2008

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What Makes Finnish Kids So Smart? – WSJ.com
High-school students here rarely get more than a half-hour of homework a night. They have no school uniforms, no honor societies, no valedictorians, no tardy bells and no classes for the gifted. There is little standardized testing, few parents agonize over college and kids don’t start school until age 7.

Yet by one international measure, Finnish teenagers are among the smartest in the world. The academic prowess of Finland’s students has lured educators from more than 50 countries in recent years to learn the country’s secret, including an official from the U.S. Department of Education. What they find is simple but not easy: well-trained teachers and responsible children. Early on, kids do a lot without adults hovering. And teachers create lessons to fit their students. (more…)

Skeptics on Human Climate Impact Seize on Cold Spell March 2, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in cool stuff.
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Skeptics on Human Climate Impact Seize on Cold Spell – New York Times
According to a host of climate experts, including some who question the extent and risks of global warming, it is mostly good old-fashioned weather, along with a cold kick from the tropical Pacific Ocean, which is in its La Niña phase for a few more months, a year after it was in the opposite warm El Niño pattern.

If anything else is afoot — like some cooling related to sunspot cycles or slow shifts in ocean and atmospheric patterns that can influence temperatures — an array of scientists who have staked out differing positions on the overall threat from global warming agree that there is no way to pinpoint whether such a new force is at work.

Toward a Liberal Realist Foreign Policy March-April 2008 March 2, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics.
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Toward a Liberal Realist Foreign Policy March-April 2008
Since the shock of 9/11, the United States has been exporting fear and anger, rather than our more traditional values of hope and optimism. Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo have become more powerful global icons of America than the Statue of Liberty. Terrorism is a real threat and likely to be with us for decades, but over-responding to the provocations of extremists does us more damage than the terrorists ever could. Success in the struggle against terrorism means finding a new central premise for American foreign policy to replace the current theme of a “war on terror.” A commitment to providing for the global good can provide that premise.

Cubans are complaining – loudly – March 2, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics.
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Cubans are complaining – loudly – World Blog – msnbc.com
During many visits to Cuba over the last two decades, I have never heard so many everyday Cubans openly criticizing life on the island as I did during this last trip to cover Raul Castro officially taking over the presidency from his ailing brother, Fidel.

No one was surprised by Raul Castro’s nomination; that was widely expected. So all eyes that day were on the second-in-command position, that of first vice-president. When the person named was not a younger reformer type, as a lot of people had hoped, but instead a hardliner – a 77-year-old Communist Party ideologue named Jose Ramon Machado Ventura – many people in Cuba were disappointed and even felt betrayed. (more…)

Mrs. Obama’s Lucrative “Public Service” March 2, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in philosophy & politics, Politics.
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The Corner on National Review Online
As she has many times in the past, Mrs. Obama complains about the lasting burden of student loans dating from her days at Princeton and Harvard Law School. She talks about people who end up taking years and years, until middle age, to pay off their debts. “The salaries don’t keep up with the cost of paying off the debt, so you’re in your 40s, still paying off your debt at a time when you have to save for your kids,” she says.

“Barack and I were in that position,” she continues. “The only reason we’re not in that position is that Barack wrote two best-selling books… It was like Jack and his magic beans. But up until a few years ago, we were struggling to figure out how we would save for our kids.” A former attorney with the white-shoe Chicago firm of Sidley & Austin, Obama explains that she and her husband made the choice to give up lucrative jobs in favor of community service.

What she doesn’t mention is that the helping industry has treated her pretty well. In 2006, the Chicago Tribune reported that Mrs. Obama’s compensation at the University of Chicago Hospital, where she is a vice president for community affairs, jumped from $121,910 in 2004, just before her husband was elected to the Senate, to $316,962 in 2005, just after he took office. And that does not count the money Mrs. Obama receives from serving on corporate boards. She would have been O.K. even without Jack’s magic beans.

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