Monthly Archives: February 2012

Assault Continues on Women’s Reproductive Rights

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/29/us/virginia-senate-passes-revised-ultrasound-bill.html?pagewanted=all&src=ISMR_AP_LO_MST_FB

During the furor over the GOP primary race in Michigan and Arizona, this sort of snuck by.  But it is troubling.  On the face, they left out the mandated transvaginal ultrasound, but it still can be used.  And “In Idaho, senators introducing a similar ultrasound bill added language on Monday requiring use of “whichever method the physician and patient agree is best under the circumstances.””  Nice to know my state uses vague language that makes it possible to be used without the full consent of the patient.

Virginia would become the eighth state to require that women have ultrasounds before abortions and also be “offered” descriptions of the fetus. Offered descriptions.  To me that is a clear attempt to influence a woman’s choice, and I think should be challenged in court under Roe v. Wade.  I’d have to do some legal research and see the language used in the case, but it seems clear to me that such a direct attempt to change a woman’s decision is wrong.

In other states, the move is to force women to hear the heartbeat, see the ultrasound, although she can avert her eyes, as the doctor narrates what is seen.  Doctors not doing so can face felony charges.

“In Alabama, the Virginia furor fanned new controversy over a proposal in the Legislature, prompting a swift reaction from voters and the author of the bill, which is called the “Right to Know and See Act.”

Even if it is amended to offer a choice of probes, the bill would contain some of the country’s strongest pre-abortion mandates.

It would require the ultrasound screen to face the woman while the doctor narrates the images, although the law states that it should not be “construed to prevent a pregnant woman from averting her eyes,” the bill reads. Doctors who do not follow the prescribed routines could face felony charges and could be sued by the potential father and grandparents.”

“The Pennsylvania legislature is considering a law with some of the country’s strongest provisions. It would require vaginal probes in many cases, display of the scanning screen to the patient and a printout of the image for inclusion in the patient’s medical records. It would also impose a 24-hour waiting period between ultrasound and abortion that critics say would be a burden for some women.”

“In Mississippi, a bill working its way through committee requires an ultrasound that provides an image of high quality, which cannot be achieved with abdominal procedures in the initial months of pregnancy. The woman must be offered a chance to see the image and hear the fetal heartbeat. She cannot avoid hearing a description of the sonogram unless, among other things, she is a victim of sexual assault or incest or the fetus is medically compromised.”

This is such an invasion of a women’s reproductive rights as to be a direct attack.  And in so many states.  What happened?   I want this before the court, and declared to be outlawed under Roe v. Wade and other cases.

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Review: 20 Years Later

20 Years Later
20 Years Later by E.J. Newman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a great book – reads so easily, and I raced through it. Gripping plot of mostly kids, who have formed gangs following an unknown cause of people dying off and gone. Few adults in this new world. At the center is a young man with a gift, and his mother, who in the middle of two gangs, has made peace by supplying them with medical aid and supplies from her garden that she cultivates in the back of her house. The story unfolds slowly as more characters are introduced, more information on the gangs is brought forth, and the mystery slowly comes into focus when a young girl goes missing, but another young boy is just “found.” Can’t divulge much more about the plot without spoilers, but it’s a well-written tale of how people cope with such stress. The hero is torn – his belief in healing over hurting is strong, so strong that he can’t go along with the majority, even with his friends. His faith in himself never wavers, which feels right about a young 15 yr old teenage boy. Black and white to all of them. Revenge, honor, territory, all are “boundaries” that you don’t cross. Although the book stands on it’s own, it leaves open lots of questions as to why some of the kids are :different”, why they are the ones left after “it” happened, and what does the woman leader of one of the gangs really want. Looking forward to the sequel.

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Review: A Million Suns

A Million Suns
A Million Suns by Beth Revis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second book in a several book series. This one I think needs to be read in order, because much of the character’s’ backstory is revealed only partially, giving you an incomplete picture of who they are and why they do what they do. That said, I think that this could easily pass for non YA fiction if the protagonists weren’t so young. This second books deals with life on the ship following the changes made in the first book. She does a fantastic job of a generational ship world-building. Everything on that ship you get to know, down to the rusty rivets. And it’s not thrown at you lecture style, but just unveiled as we move through the ship and it’s various functions – each is well-described, and made to be important to the overall-functioning, and in this book, more surprises exist as we move again through the various parts. It concerns a young boy/man, groomed from birth to take over the mantle of the Eldest, when the current Eldest dies. And a young woman, cryo-frozen since Earth generations ago, who is woken up unexpectedly in the first book. Without major spoilers there isn’t much more I can say about the plot, but you can see through the author’s writing why some of the people feel about the ship as they do, and the varying levels of comfort, and claustrophobia suffered from some -some are agoraphobic, frightened of what might one day be outside the ship, and others are ready for the challenge. Book 3 is scheduled to come out in Jan 2013. A worthy SF book.

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Review: Ice Claw

Ice Claw
Ice Claw by David Gilman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second book in the series – I couldn’t find the first at the library. The author is the writer of the series on BBC called A Touch of Frost. He understands fairly tight plotting and continuous adventure. Avalanches, chases, parkour, wind sailing, paragliding, bears, wolves and tigers, oh, my! are just part of the rollicking adventure this 15 yr old kid goes on. Hs father is in a convalescent home, where he is trying to get his memory back after being tortured and beaten up for his environmentalist activities. So his son and best friend whom this Dad is raising are sent to a boarding school in the alps, and where our hero participates in Xtreme sports. Kayaking, snowboarding, cycling, etc. He loses the race trying to help someone, decides to go for a snow run to clear his head, and the adventure begins. The character development is thin – the boy is tough, adventurous and fearless (which is explained in part),while his friend is bookish, but the other characters for the most part are cardboard. Good fun reading, and I’ll read the sequel I have in my pile, but just not great reading, at least for an adult, who wonders about how a 15 yr old kid can freely travel from country to country, even when wanted by police, and how a young girl, age not specified, but she seems to like our hero, can rent a car – maybe it’s a younger age in Europe? Small niggling details an adult would pick up on, but then it wasn’t meant for my age group. For a young boy, or girl!, this would be a great book to get them into reading. Big enough that they can keep the story going, not too hard to read, and has strong male and female roles, and more books in the series.

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Review: Rot & Ruin

Rot & Ruin
Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reading another zombie book – this one so different from the last romantic, lighter-hearted one. This one is a doozy – WARNING: some spoilers on the zombies themselves, not the plot!

In it, the dead have taken over much of the land, and the living are in walled in enclosures, small cities of 8000 or so. Some amenities still exist, depending on the talent pool that made it into that city. The world fell in a week. It is very deep into not how the disease started, or gory scenes of chomping zombies, but more an introspective on what these living dead are – what they might mean to those who love them, and how best to keep them in check. For the most part, they stay where they died, and only move when they see something move or a loud noise. They will eat meat, human or animal, but only the human reanimate. They do not need to feed – they can exist without rotting for years, with vines growing up around their legs, if not disturbed.

This is a character study of some people cope with this scenario, how others don’t, how some defy moral codes, and others live by them at great cost to themselves. This is about the living dead, not zombies. A wonderful book, with a nice adventure thrown in for good measure. Characters are well drawn, and interesting – flawed, but good.

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Girl Scouts have ‘radical policies’ ???

Rep. Bob Morris: Girl Scouts have ‘radical policies’

Morris

Verbatim text of letter from Indiana state Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne, to fellow lawmakers.

February 18, 2012

http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20120220/BLOGS01/120229962

This needs to be read through carefully – this is what this country is up against, and it is war! Some samples of the propaganda and lies spread about the Girl Scouts, based on “talking to some well-informed constituents, I did a small amount of web-based research..” Small amount indeed. Well-informed – on what??

“Nonetheless, abundant evidence proves that the agenda of Planned Parenthood includes sexualizing young girls through the Girl Scouts, which is quickly becoming a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood”

“Liberal progressive troop-leaders will indoctrinate the girls in their troop according to the principles of Planned Parenthood, making Bishop Conley’s warning true.”

“Many parents are abandoning the Girl Scouts because they promote homosexual lifestyles. In fact, the Girl Scouts education seminar girls are directed to study the example of role models. Of the fifty role models listed, only three have a briefly-mentioned religious background – all the rest are feminists, lesbians, or Communists. ”

“Boys who decide to claim a “transgender” or cross-dressing life-style are permitted to become a member of a Girl Scout troop, performing crafts with the girls and participate in overnight and camping activities – just like any real girl.” Any real girl!

“The fact that the Honorary President of Girl Scouts of America is Michelle Obama, and the Obama’s are radically pro-abortion and vigorously support the agenda of Planned Parenthood, should give each of us reason to pause before our individual or collective endorsement of the organization.” Oh, dear! Michelle Obama an honorary President. Take cover – hide your girls!

via Facebook.

Review: Envy

Envy
Envy by Gregg Olsen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was an odd book for me – I usually read in the fantasy/SF grouping of teen books, and this was more along the lines of paranormal/teen angst. Done by an award winning true crime journalist, it’s his first book for teens, and although he comes with the credentials of having two daughters, I’m not sure all the book meshed with what teens are thinking, saying and texting. Based on a story ripped from the headlines of a young girl who commits suicide, a pair of twins, with some paranormal abilities to reach out and “see” what the dead and the living are thinking, decide to investigate why their friend, who had drifted away in HS, was now dead. Their father was a crime writer, and so they had been surrounded with death and investigations since birth, which make the idea more plausible – plus the pull they feel from the visions. The book is done in a heavy modern teen style, with interspersions of faux newspaper articles, notes, and texts – it’s the texts that bother me. While I have no idea of how and what my daughter texts, the texting language he used jarred on me – it’s not what she uses when she texts me. She usually uses fairly complete sentences and words. Some of them were obvious texting changes that even I make, others not so much, and some were just hard to figure out – you have to sound then out in your head, and in context, and that slows me, the reader, down. Teens may have no problem – I’m guessing he ran it through his daughters, but without knowing their ages, I can’t guess at it’s accuracy. One word in particular stumped me for a long while “boud” – I finally figured it was meant to be “about,” but why change the last letter? It probably means something else all together .-)

All in all, a decent “chiller” read, with another book in this series coming. I’d read it, in the hopes that I feel a little more depth from the teen characters (the adults were drawn a little deeper to me), and to see what the rest of the mystery surrounding this interesting locale, a old logging historic place town near Port Orchard and Bremerton has in store. Since this is such a topical book, and makes many references to brands, styles, and other teen things, it might date itself quickly.

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Dearly, Departed, by Lia Habel – my Goodreads review

A wonderful entry into the Pride& Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter style of books – this one is from about 200 years in the future, after Yellowstone blows it’s top, wars and fighting break out, and the world moves south. After the ravages of that time, the leaders looked for a model of growth, prosperity, manners, and family,and they decided on a Neo-Victorian age to emulate. The women are wearing the clothing of the time, compete to the bloomers, and the better off ones attend fashionable boarding schools, are instructed in the ladylike pursuits, and trained to be a debutante. Then the season is upon them, and their goal – a husband. But during the middle of her last year, our intrepid heroine is thrown into a wild adventure. One day on her way home, a man comes shuffling up to her, wrapped up so she can’t see his face, and tells her she is in danger and to come with him. Frightened she runs off, but later, she is attacked in her home that night, and she flees across the rooftop, shooting several of her would-be captors and is helped by these masked men from earlier. They tell her that she is in danger, and they will take her somewhere safe. She arrives at a military base of operations, sacred out of her mind. Her father is dead, a year ago, her mother died several years ago, and she had ben living with her aunt. Now she is held semi-captive at a remote army base, where the army fights the “Punks” who live in south America.

Technology still exists in some forms – balloon to ride in, with engines, cell phones, holographic screens, and various other technologies that were able to be saved and scavenged from the ruined ice-covered cities to the north. What she discovers next, to her horror at first, is the best part – a young soldier sets him self up to explain to her, slowly, what is going on and to get her to trust him. Setbacks along the way as she learns the truth of her situation and the situation surrounding her city, add fuel to the fire, but she is a feisty young girl, and soon is able to process the enormity of it and get one with the business. Who, what, where is left for you to find out in this and the next book, Dearly, Beloved.

My flaws are few – I enjoyed this one too much not to give it full accolades, but I would have liked to see more of the world-building he did before jumping into the adventure, and I’d like to know a little more about how they have cell phones which must need cell phone towers, and some TV, but not much electric lighting, etc. Some inconstancies there that could be explained away (Steampunk abounds with them – sort of take it as it is attitude of the authors). But the humor, the fun, the absolute hilarity of the premise is terrific. Romance abounds for her, and her best friend left in the city who is battling her own demons from all sources – her family, society, and somehow something else. But all is well that ends well, or does it? Find out for yourself, and be prepared to chuckle.

Seasteading: Cities on the ocean | The Economist

Cities on the ocean
Now this is NOT my article – it comes from The Economist, but I wanted to share it with others – it’s one of the ways that we will have to look for space if we don’t slow/stop populations growth, a topic near and dear to me. Seasteading is one of them. And they may become more important in future years if global warming comes to pass and sea levels rise.

Seasteading: Libertarians dream of creating self-ruling floating cities. But can the many obstacles, not least the engineering ones, be overcome?
Dec 3rd 2011 | from the print edition

THE Pilgrims who set out from England on the Mayflower to escape an intolerant, over-mighty government and build a new society were lucky to find plenty of land in the New World on which to build it. Some modern libertarians, such as Peter Thiel, one of the founders of PayPal, dream of setting sail once more to found colonies of like-minded souls. By now, however, all the land on Earth has been claimed by the governments they seek to escape. So, they conclude, they must build new cities on the high seas, known as seasteads.

It is not a completely crazy idea: large maritime structures that resemble seasteads already exist, after all. Giant cruise liners host thousands of guests on lengthy voyages in luxurious surroundings. Offshore oil platforms provide floating accommodation for hundreds of workers amid harsh weather and high waves. Then there is the Principality of Sealand, a concrete sea fort constructed off Britain’s coast during the second world war. It is now occupied by a family who have fought various lawsuits to try to get it recognised as a sovereign state.

In this Technology Quarterly
More than just digital quilting
A classic invention
Return of the human computers
Indolent or aggressive?
Spotting the rot
Sticky fingers
And the winners were…
The devil in the details
»Cities on the ocean
Getting past the guards
Resistance is futile
Reinventing the wheel
Seer of the mirror world
Reprints
Related topics
United Kingdom
United States
Travel
Cruises
Culture and lifestyle
Each of these examples, however, falls some way short of the permanent, self-governing and radically innovative ocean-based colonies imagined by the seasteaders. To realise their dream they must overcome some tricky technical, legal and cultural problems. They must work out how to build seasteads in the first place; find a way to escape the legal shackles of sovereign states; and give people sufficient reason to move in. With financing from Mr Thiel and others, a think-tank called the Seasteading Institute (TSI) has been sponsoring studies on possible plans for ocean-based structures and on the legal and financial questions they raise. And although true seasteads may still be a distant dream, the seasteading movement is producing some novel ideas for ocean-based businesses that could act as stepping stones towards their ultimate goal.

Floating some ideas

Seastead designs tend to fall into one of three categories: ship-shaped structures, barge-like structures based on floating pontoons and platforms mounted on semi-submersible columns, like offshore oil installations. Over-ordering by cruise lines means there are plenty of big, second-hand liners going cheap. Ship-shaped structures can pack in more apartments and office space for a given cost than the other two types of design, but they have a big drawback: their tendency to roll in choppy seas. Cruise ships can sail around storms, but static seasteads need to be able to ride them out. And the stabilisers on big cruisers only work in moderate seas and when the ship is moving.

Enthusiasts have proposed a wide range of designs for seasteads
Pontoon-type structures, or giant barges, are the cheapest of the three options, but they are even more vulnerable than ships to choppy seas. Shipbuilders like Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan have proposed various designs for floating cities based on massive “mega-float” pontoons, with skyscrapers towering above the waterline. But these would only work in calm, shallow waters—and these tend to be within land-based governments’ territorial limits. George Petrie, a former professor of naval architecture at the Webb Institute in New York state who is writing a series of technical papers for TSI, has calculated that even in a relatively benign stretch of water off Hawaii, such structures would leave their residents pretty groggy much of the time.

As oil companies drilling in ever deeper waters have demonstrated, structures built on floating columns are the most rugged, though they are more expensive than ship- or pontoon-type vessels. The shipbuilding industry has plenty of experience in making them, but the expectations of comfort among the permanent residents of a seastead will be much greater than on an oil platform, where workers are paid well for short tours of duty in relative discomfort. Even in placid weather, floating-column structures bob up and down as the sea heaves beneath them, which can make people seasick. To prevent the vessel from drifting due to currents and winds, seasteads may need dynamic-positioning thrusters, but these would increase costs. In waters less than 1,800 metres deep, Mr Petrie calculates, a cheaper option would be to moor the platform to the seabed. As it happens, there are a number of barely submerged islands off the coast of California, the location of preference for early seasteaders. Alas, they tend to be volcanoes.

Even once a viable blueprint for the structure of a seastead is produced, the technical challenges are not over. The more it relies on land-based supplies of fuel and water, the harder it will be to achieve the libertarian dream of escaping the evil ways of existing governments. At sea there is plenty of wind and wave energy, and occasionally sunshine, but building renewable-energy systems that can survive harsh ocean conditions is even harder and more costly than designing land-based ones. Another problem is communication. Satellite-based connections are slow and expensive. Laying a fibre-optic cable would be difficult. A point-to-point laser or microwave link might work, suggests Michael Keenan, the president of TSI. But that would rely on a land-based transmitting station, again making the seastead reliant on landlubbers.

The long arm of the law

The technical challenges are daunting enough. The legal questions that seasteads would face are no less tricky, and call into question whether it would really be possible to create genuinely self-governing mini-states on the oceans. Until seasteaders are ready to cut their ties with the land altogether, they will want to build their colonies not much more than 12 nautical miles (22km) offshore—the limit of countries’ territorial waters—otherwise travelling to and from the seastead will take too long. But the laws of the sea give countries powers to enforce some criminal laws up to 24 nautical miles out and to regulate some economic activities in a 200-mile “exclusive economic zone”. Ships are granted exemptions, but a seastead tethered to the seabed would not qualify.

Some countries (notably America) assert the right to extend their jurisdictions, in matters affecting their citizens, across the entire planet. And like any other seagoing structure, a seastead would be obliged to register with a “flag state”, to whose maritime laws it would be subject. Some flag states are lax about enforcement but if, say, America disapproved of the goings-on aboard a seastead, it could lean on such states to get tough—and offer enforcement on their behalf. In the 1960s Britain’s government shut down pirate-radio ships not by sending the navy to attack them but by banning British suppliers and advertisers from doing business with them.

In all, the leaders of the seasteading movement concede that they will have to avoid getting into anything too provocative—drugs, pornography or money-laundering, for example. As for taxes, America already demands that its citizens pay income tax even when they are living abroad—and that would include living on a seastead. There is nothing to stop other countries following suit and indeed getting extraterritorial about other taxes too. Until seasteaders are able to bank their money with independent, ocean-going financial institutions, they may not be able to escape the taxman’s clutches.

“The ideal builders of seasteads may not be small groups of innovators, but giant engineering firms.”
And escaping the taxman may not, in any case, be enough of an incentive to lure residents to a seastead. Despite their stated preferences even libertarians, it seems, prefer to live in over-regulated, high-tax places like London and New York. Mr Keenan notes ruefully that the Free State Project, a scheme started ten years ago to get 20,000 people to move to New Hampshire and vote in a libertarian local government, has had little success so far. Unless a seastead were the size of Manhattan its citizens would have to forgo the cultural life, the parks and the wide choice of shopping and restaurants offered by large cities. The most realistic designs produced so far would reduce residents to living in cabins that, however sumptuously kitted out, would be little bigger than a typical millionaire libertarian’s bathroom.

Some seasteaders think the way forward is to build less ambitious offshore communities to demonstrate the potential of the idea. By basing themselves just outside countries’ territorial waters to avoid some of their laws, floating habitats could show land-based governments how such things as low taxes, light regulation and free access for foreign workers can produce wealth without ill effects. Such ocean-based businesses could be a step on the way to true seasteads.

Stepping stones to a seastead

In 2010 a group of marine engineers produced a detailed design study for the ClubStead—a floating resort city which would sit perhaps 100 nautical miles off the Californian coast, with 70 staff and 200 guests. It would combine the comforts of a cruise ship with the resistance to wind and waves of an oil platform, which its design closely resembles. Seven storeys of buildings would be cantilevered off the columns and, in an idea borrowed from bridge design, its extensive open decks are slung from cables. There would be solar panels (and gardens) on the roofs of these buildings, but the ClubStead would also rely on diesel power. It would make its own fresh water from seawater and have two helipads and a dock for boats.

How the ClubStead might look
The ClubStead design study includes a lot of detailed work on wind and wave resistance, construction methods, and so on. But its authors admit that much more would need to be done to produce a full blueprint ready for a shipyard to start building it. Nigel Barltrop, professor of naval architecture at Strathclyde University in Scotland, says he has “little doubt that you can do something like this and make it work”. But he thinks the structure may need further reinforcement to prevent fatigue—think of all of those metal joints constantly creaking in the waves. Otherwise the result could be a disaster like the collapse in 1980 of the Alexander Kielland, a floating accommodation block for North Sea oil workers, which broke apart and capsized, killing 123 people.

Besides its moderately spacious apartments, the ClubStead would have room for either a casino resort or a “medical tourism” centre. Many of the staff could be non-Americans who would otherwise struggle to get visas. They could spend most of the time aboard, taking occasional shore leave on tourist visas. The designers reckon it would cost $114m—less than some land-based luxury hotels—of which the biggest item is constructing and kitting out the apartments, at just under $50m. Running costs would be $3.4m a year.

A breakaway group from TSI is working on a simpler and cheaper idea called Blueseed. The idea is to convert a cruise liner into an offshore “incubator” for small, high-tech start-ups and position it just outside American territorial waters off California. The attraction for the start-ups is that they would be able to hire foreign engineers and scientists without the hassle of getting work visas for them.

Dario Mutabdzija of Blueseed says chartering and adapting a cruise ship should cost $15m-50m, depending on its size, and the combined rent for a tenant’s living quarters and office space might be around $2,000 a month, comparable with costs in Silicon Valley. So far the project is at the seed-capital stage, working to overcome venture capitalists’ doubts about getting involved in something subject to maritime law, an unfamiliar matter. Another problem, Mr Mutabdzija admits, is that it is unclear how American officials will choose to interpret the complex and vaguely worded immigration laws. He hopes that they will “just leave us alone for a while and see how it goes”.

If the sort of “just-offshoring” approach of the ClubStead and Blueseed projects can prove itself, it might be attractive for several industries in which large revenues are generated by relatively small numbers of skilled people, and which are subject to onerous taxes or regulation. Financial trading, gambling and cosmetic surgery are obvious candidates. Private hospitals could provide new treatments that have been approved by other countries but not by America’s sluggish regulators.

Rather than deciding in advance which line of business will be a seastead’s livelihood, Mr Petrie has a more Darwinian idea, one that libertarians should warm to: create a large expanse of floating “land” in mid-ocean and rent it out to whoever wants it. Individual homes and business premises would be winched aboard on cranes and bolted down. If their owners don’t pay the rent, they could be lifted out and replaced. The seastead thus “evolves and finds its way”, says Mr Petrie. He has set himself the objective of making the cost of living on a seastead not much more than the average for upper-middle-income housing in a typical American city.

Linguists quip that a dialect is a language without an army and a navy to enforce its status. Theologians likewise say that a cult is simply a church that lacks political clout. Seasteads may end up as wannabe sovereign states without the means to defend their autonomy against land-based governments. The first ones to overcome the many technical challenges, raise the money to construct their vessels and set out for the open seas will be quite dependent on terrestrial authorities’ goodwill. But countries short of available land, or whose leaders are struggling to pass liberalising reforms against resistance from vested interests, may tolerate limited experiments in low-tax, rule-free self-government. So the seasteaders may be in with a chance.

Who will jump in first?

Given the huge costs and risks involved, perhaps the ideal builders of seasteads will not be small groups of innovators like the Blueseed team, but giant engineering firms such as Mitsubishi, India’s Tata group or Samsung of South Korea. Indeed, as Mr Keenan notes, the most viable political model for a seastead may not be a libertarian democracy but an enlightened corporate dictatorship.

Sceptics will say that floating pies in the sky are more likely to materialise than floating cities on the oceans. But the seasteaders are undeterred. Nobody anticipated the immense variety of uses that would be dreamed up for the internet, Mr Keenan observes, and the same may apply to the idea of creating colonies on the high seas. As Mr Petrie puts it: “All that is lacking is for the first one to go into the water and say, ‘Hey, come on in, the water’s fine.’”

from the print edition | Technology Quarterly 12/03/11

Rick Sanatorium, the master of contradictions

http://news.yahoo.com/santorum-questions-obamas-world-view-not-faith-181305027.html

Rick Sanatorium, as a friend called him – the gift that keeps on giving – the white elephant kind… Today he is backtracking on Obama’s faith and ideology, calling it his world view instead, but in the process gives us some gems of his own – “”I am talking about his world view, and the way he approaches problems in this country. I think they’re different than how most people do in America,” he said in the broadcast interview.
The former Pennsylvania senator said Obama’s environmental policies promote ideas of “radical environmentalists,” who, Santorum argues, oppose greater use of the country’s natural resources because they believe “man is here to serve the Earth.” He said that was the reference he was making Saturday in his Ohio campaign appearance when he denounced a “phony theology.”
“I think that is a phony ideal. I don’t believe that is what we’re here to do,” Santorum said. “We’re not here to serve the Earth. The Earth is not the objective. Man is the objective.””

So MAN is all important – forget about that phony global warming and climate change, or not clear cutting the rain forest so we continue to air to breathe, etc. It’s all about MAN. Of course if we destroy the planet, then MAN will cease to exist. Hmmm. Beer work on that one Rick.

AND: “Santorum said his claim that Obama’s health care overhaul encourages abortions stems from the fact that insurance companies are required to pay for prenatal testing, which he said will result in more pregnant women having more procedures. He specified amniocentesis, a procedure that can identify physical problems in the unborn.
“The bottom line is a lot of prenatal tests are done to identify deformities in utero and the customary procedure is to encourage abortion,” he said….. He said he’s critical of the mandate in Obama’s health care plan that insurers must pay for the tests, not of prenatal testing in general.
“There are all sorts of prenatal testing which should be provided free. I have no problem with that if the insurance companies want to. I’m not for any of these things to be forced,” Santorum said.

OKay, so it’s okay to get pre-natal testing, which promotes abortions, if it’s free. Can we spell contradiction in large bold letters??