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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 01:20 AM
Number of posts: 25,205

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Firebombing of Tokyo: Introducing The Great Tokyo Air Raid

Saotome Katsumoto and the Firebombing of Tokyo: Introducing The Great Tokyo Air Raid

Translator’s Introduction
Richard Sams

March 10 is the 70th anniversary of the Great Tokyo Air Raid. Although Tokyo was bombed more than 100 times from November 1944 to the end of the war, the firebombing centered on the Shitamachi district in the early hours of March 10, 1945, was by far the most devastating air raid on the capital. In less than three hours from just after midnight, 279 B-29 bombers dropped a total of 1,665 tons of incendiaries.1 By dawn, more than 100,000 people were dead, one million were homeless, and 16 square miles of Tokyo had been burned to the ground.

More people were killed in the indiscriminate firebombing of March 10 than in the immediate aftermath of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. After the war, while Hiroshima and Nagasaki became symbols of Japan’s suffering and the peace movement, the Great Tokyo Air Raid was virtually excluded from public discourse. Hardly anyone wrote about the air raids that reduced the capital and most of Japan’s other cities to ashes, and the few articles that did appear in newspapers attracted little interest. For a quarter of a century after the war, while memorial services were held every year on August 6 and 9 for the victims of the atomic bombings and covered widely in newspapers and on television, the devastating firebombing campaign over Tokyo and much of urban Japan was quietly forgotten. While school textbooks, novels, poetry and films memorialized the atomic bombing and its victims, silence reigned with respect to the firebombing raids...


John Oliver reveals the stunningly racist history behind why some U.S. territories can’t vote

John Oliver reveals the stunningly racist history behind why some U.S. territories can’t vote
via Salon: http://www.salon.com/2015/03/09/john_oliver_eviscerates_the_condescending_treatment_of_u_s_territories/

The 9 unbreakable rules of the Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner universe

The 9 unbreakable rules of the Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner universe

Rule #1: the Road Runner cannot harm the coyote. Warner Bros
The Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, those cartoon favorites from Warner Brothers' beloved Looney Tunes, spent four dozen animated shorts engaging in ridiculous mayhem through the American Southwest.

Though the behavior of the two seemed spontaneous and silly, their comedic timing was a carefully constructed reality made by Chuck Jones, perhaps the most famous director at Warner Brothers' animation division.

Yesterday, Jones' rules for that reality went viral when film director Amos Posner tweeted a picture he had taken at the "What's Up, Doc? The Animation Art of Chuck Jones" exhibition at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City:


These rules come from Jones' 1999 autobiography, in which he wrote:

Just as I decided later that there would be no dialogue in the Coyote-Road Runner series because it seemed like a good rule, or indeed it would be a good rule if it was consistent; all comedians obey rules consistent with their own view of comedy. In my opinion, Jackie Gleason got more milage out of threatening to hit somebody than the Three Stooges ever did by doing so...


You can watch this compilation to see if he adhered to the rules he set down...

Carbon crash, solar dawn: ... why solar has already won

Carbon crash, solar dawn: Deutsche Bank on why solar has already won
By Giles Parkinson on 3 March 2015


...In a detailed, 175-page report, the Deutsche analysts led by Vishal Shah say the market potential for solar is massive. Even now, with 130GW of solar installed, it accounts for just 1 per cent of the 6,000GW, or $2 trillion electricity market (that is an annual figure).

But by 2030, the solar market will increase 10-fold, as more than 100 million customers are added, and solar’s share of the electricity market jumps to 10 per cent. By 2050, it suggests, solar’s share will be 30 per cent of the market, and developing markets will see the greatest growth.

“Over the next 5-10 years, we expect new business models to generate a significant amount of economic and shareholder value,” the analysts write in the report. Within three years, the economics of solar will take over from policy drivers (subsidies),

Their predictions are underpinned by several observations. The first is that solar is at grid parity in more than half of all countries, and within two years will be at parity in around 80 per cent of countries. And at a cost of just 8c/kWh to 13c/kWh, it is up to 40 per cent below the retail price of electricity in many markets. In some countries, such as Australia, it is less than half the retail price.

The case for solar will be boosted by the emergence of cost-competitive storage, which Deutsche describes as the “next killer app” because it will overcome difficulties in either accessing the grid or net metering policies. ...

The video sensation that could tip balance against coal in China

The video sensation that could tip balance against coal in China
By Giles Parkinson on 4 March 2015

For the past few days, the online community in China has been abuzz over a 104-minute documentary, Under the Dome, that has galvanised the population and even major investment banks who believe it may just tip the balance against fossil fuels in the world’s biggest polluter.

Under the Dome, a documentary on air pollution produced by Chai Jing, a former CCTV investigative journalist who had already reached celebrity status in China, has been viewed more than 200 million times in its first four days of release.

It has been widely applauded in the online community, and, most pointedly, drew praise from Chen Jining, the newly appointed Environmental Protection Minister, who thanked the film maker for bringing public attention to China’s chronic pollution issues.

Already, its potential impact is being compared – by investment banking giant Merrill Lynch – to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, and Rachel Carson’s A Silent Spring for its potential impact on the coal industry. Because of its endorsement by the Chinese government, Under the Dome could be even more powerful.

Indeed, Merrill Lynch said in a note to clients that the film’s impact could spell bad news for coal miners, coal generators, and oil refiners, and it could also cause ripple effects through the Chinese debt markets, even to the point where the Chinese currency might have to be devalued.

The anti-pollution ...

44 minutes


The Policeman Fell

It's possible the Tamir Rice shooting was an accident.

At 7:12 to 7:15
The shooting officer disappears the instant after Tamir goes down. He can be seen picking himself up from the ground as he emerges from behind the car at the trunk.

One possibility is that he exited the vehicle with weapon in hand, pointed it at Rice, slipped and in trying to keep his balance, pulled the trigger. The way he leans on the car for support makes me think he is in a state of shock.

I'm not trying to excuse the shooting, because even if it was an accident it almost certainly could have been prevented if the overall tone of police response were not so aggressive.

BTW, there is a news feed from http://www.killedbypolice.net/ that reports on every officer involved death on a daily basis. They are building a database from news reports.
Please subscribe and spread the word about it so that understanding of the scope of this problem becomes common knowledge Too many think it is far less frequent than it is.

MIT's Jon Gruber just got fired from the Massachusetts health care board

MIT's Jon Gruber just got fired from the Massachusetts health care board
Updated by Sarah Kliff on February 25, 2015, 5:46 p.m. ET @sarahkliff sarah@vox.com

MIT economist Jonathan Gruber has been fired from his post helping to oversee Massachusetts' health insurance marketplace, the Boston CBS affiliate reported Wednesday.
Gruber previously became embroiled in a controversy over video-taped remarks that showed him saying the health law only passed because of "the stupidity of the American voters."
More recently, Vermont's state auditor has accused Gruber of overbilling the state for consulting work he did on it's (now-failed) single-payer health care plan....


Aerogel Technology Offers Great Potential For Oil & Chemical Spill Cleanup



GOP gains put nuclear power back on the table

GOP gains put nuclear power back on the table
By Timothy Cama - 12/06/14 05:12 PM EST

Republicans and the nuclear power sector are hopeful that GOP control of the Senate will improve the political landscape for an industry that hasn’t opened a new generator in nearly two decades.

As Senate Democrats this week held their tenth hearing on nuclear safety since Japan’s Fukushima Daichii meltdown three years ago, Republicans and observers looked forward to a future with a more business-friendly approach to the industry.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), long a champion of nuclear power and a critic of environmental rules, is set to become chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, which oversees nuclear safety. The committee is also likely to retain nuclear fans like Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.).

“It’ll be clearly a more favorable committee, and there may be some things that we can do” to help the industry," Sessions said.

An Inhofe aide said the Obama administration and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) have been far too adversarial ...

More at http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/226209-gop-gains-put-nuclear-power-back-on-the-table

To target Greenpeace's flying director is to miss the point

To target Greenpeace's flying director is to miss the point
It's easy to set green against green, but the charity's problems run wider and deeper than one person's travel plans

Zoe Williams The Guardian, Tuesday 24 June 2014

'To be entirely untainted by the flaws of civilisation, you would have to live outside it: off-grid, deep green, breathing some other air.' Illustration by Belle Mellor

The problem with Pascal Husting is that he looks more like a person who flies to work than he does an employee of Greenpeace. In fact, he's both – Greenpeace's international programme director was exposed this week as a plane commuter – and that's what has fired another torpedo into the scull of the environmental movement. What, exactly, is the point of a campaign whose top brass cannot bring themselves to eschew the very behaviour they're campaigning against?

Yet if there is one thing more depressing than a world-class environmentalist flying from Luxembourg to Amsterdam as a commute, it's how easy it is to set greens, deep greens and green-leaners against one another. The best way to never be a hypocrite, and to always stay consistent, is to deny climate change, and have no agenda on anything beyond self-interest. There's always a chance you'll fall foul of sexual morality, which is the only kind you will still admit into debate, but in every other realm, ethics need not trouble you. Indeed, the more ardently you pursue your own interests, the more persuasively you live your own values. If, on the other hand, you have ambitions for large-scale change and believe things could be significantly better for vast numbers of people, you will always fail fully to embody your own hopes.

It won't necessarily be by flying. You might buy your kid some trainers in Primark, or buy yourself clothes you don't need; you might eat meat. You might sometimes drive when you could take public transport, or take public transport when you could cycle. It will always be possible for someone not just to critique your choices, but also to critique them on the same terms, using the same measures, as you critique the choices made by society.

To be entirely untainted by the flaws of civilisation, you would have to live outside it: off-grid, deep green, breathing some other air. This, however, would diminish your impact, because you would de facto be excluded from public life. The territory is knee-deep in the squelch of compromise, and nobody likes to dwell on this more than the people to whom the fact of climate change is in itself distasteful.

I have sat in meetings while people from rightwing newspapers laugh at a Green politician getting a taxi home from a midnight TV interview...

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