Mar 312008

Voice of San Diego has a good article on the increasingly skinny grey whales that migrate down the Pacific coast to Baja. It is thought that warmer waters have allowed for more fish migration and greater competition for plankton in Arctic seas. The whales end up with a longer migration in their search for food. The dropping numbers in Baja lagoons has put some hurt on the “eco-tourism” down there. The greys aren’t in danger as a species, but this could be a a warning of the changes that are taking place in our oceans.

Mar 122008

I had a gorgeous dive last night – lots of bioluminescence, some octopus, and tons of small critters out. There were only a few squid around, but apparently enough to fish for, as there were about 6 squid boats just outside the preserve. No photos from this dive as I didn’t have the batteries for my camera charged. Probably a good thing really, when diving with a camera you can forget to sit back and enjoy the dive. The night dives are great because of the amount of life to see, but not so great when you are rinsing and soaking all your gear at 10 PM.

Mar 052008

Secretary Paulson played the morality card two days ago when speaking about home owners that were in over their heads:

Homeowners who can afford their payments and don’t have to move, can choose to stay in their house. And let me emphasize, any homeowner who can afford his mortgage payment but chooses to walk away from an underwater property is simply a speculator – and one who is not honoring his obligations.

You have a situation where:
1) People lied on applications, or looked the other way
2) Banks and agencies made loans they knew people couldn’t pay, or lied about terms
3) Appraisers inflated values to match loan documents
4) Banks and others bought loans they knew were high risk and repackaged them as AAA rated debt
5) Rating companies rubber stamped and looked the other way
6) The Fed encouraged the unsustainable growth (bubble)

It seems to me there is plenty of blame to go around. A mortgage is a business transaction. If it is in someone’s best interest to take the hit and walk away from it all, they are within their rights to do it. Companies (including banks) do this all the time – close an office here, layoff some people there. No hard feelings, it’s business.

Mar 042008

Just in case I didn’t already think Nixon and Kissinger were complete mental bastards: The Nukes of October: Richard Nixon’s Secret Plan to Bring Peace to Vietnam

Nixon decided to try something new: threaten the Soviet Union with a massive nuclear strike and make its leaders think he was crazy enough to go through with it. His hope was that the Soviets would be so frightened of events spinning out of control that they would strong-arm Hanoi, telling the North Vietnamese to start making concessions at the negotiating table or risk losing Soviet military support.

Interesting, a year before and in a political race for the presidency, Nixon intervened to persuade South Vietnam to avoid the talks. This potentially stopped an early peace deal. Nice one, dick.

Codenamed Giant Lance, Nixon’s plan was the culmination of a strategy of premeditated madness he had developed with national security adviser Henry Kissinger. The details of this episode remained secret for 35 years and have never been fully told. Now, thanks to documents released through the Freedom of Information Act, it’s clear that Giant Lance was the leading example of what historians came to call the “madman theory”: Nixon’s notion that faked, finger-on-the-button rage could bring the Soviets to heel.

That’s about the stupidest plan I’ve ever heard of.