Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Mid-Week Post

It's the postiest!

This is what Poland and Europe should be doing:

Poland opened its first gas link from the West on Tuesday as part of a European Union drive to ensure greater supply security that has taken on new urgency after Russia annexed Crimea and reignited fears about deliveries to Europe.

Building new links and upgrading infrastructure to enable flows eastward gained renewed focus in the EU following a contract dispute between Moscow and Kiev in 2009 that stopped gas flows via Ukraine to much of central and southeastern Europe in the middle of winter.

Russia's seizure of Crimea and the escalating crisis with Ukraine has increased pressure on the West to find ways to wean off the supplies from state-controlled Gazprom that meet about one third of European demand.

Moscow also announced on Tuesday a more than 40 percent increase in the price Ukraine must pay for gas, stepping up economic pressure on Kiev in its political standoff with Moscow and underlining the potential threat to European deliveries.

(Sidebar: wait until fall when Ukraine makes a deal with Poland or uses its own resources.)

I'm sure this is nothing to be concerned about:

Bulgaria has put on high alert or deployed its air force about 30 times in two months in response to a recent spike in Russian military aircraft flying near its aerial borders on the Black Sea, its defence minister said on Tuesday.

Both the West and Russia have carried out a series of military drills as a show of force in the worsening standoff over Russia's annexation of Crimea, which has sparked retaliatory sanctions from Washington and Brussels.

NATO said it was "considering all options" as it studied new steps to bolster its military presence in eastern Europe on Tuesday, while saying it saw no sign that Russia was withdrawing tens of thousands of troops from the Ukranian boarder.

Despite its longstanding friendship with former Cold War ally Russia, Bulgaria joined NATO 10 years ago and has twice participated in navy drills with a U.S. warship in the Black Sea since the Ukraine crisis. It is also currently hosting a two-week military exercise that includes Ukrainian and U.S. forces.

"I can only guess what is the goal of these flights," said Defence Minister Angel Naidenov. "But when we have about 30 cases which promoted either takeoffs or bringing our jets on higher alert in the last couple of months, it is worth to be very vigilant," Angelov told reporters.

President Rosen Plevneliev, who is also commander in chief of the Bulgarian army, said Bulgaria's ageing Mig-29 jet fighters had been deployed 2-3 times a week in recent months, compared with a previous rate of 2-3 times a year.

Russia may be deliberately provoking such flights to exhaust the flying capacity of Bulgaria and other's Russian-made jets, Plevneliev said, adding that Romania, Turkey and Bulgaria should boost their cooperation in air policing.

Oh look- another incidence of "workplace violence":

Several people were killed and at least 14 injured on Wednesday when a gunman opened fire at a U.S. Army base in Fort Hood, Texas, the site of another rampage in 2009, U.S. officials said.

The same man who promised to meet Iran without pre-conditions in 2008 and let Iran go sanctions-free shouldn't have a problem with this:

The United States has a veto in the United Nations Security Council by virtue of being one of the council’s five permanent members granted that power by the institution’s charter. But should the US be able to veto a country’s selection of its ambassador to the UN in New York simply because UN headquarters is located on American soil?

Traditionally the US has recognized that it has no right to intervene in a country’s choice of a UN ambassador – but that stance is being tested with the news that Iran intends to send a diplomat who was involved in the 1979 hostage-taking at the American Embassy in Tehran as its representative in New York.

I honestly have no idea why parents insist on buying devices and appliances for their kids knowing somewhere in the recesses of their minds that doing so is a costly, spoiling and isolating exercise:

“Parents often feel out of control when it comes to screen time — like they’re either taking a shot in the dark or should just give up,” lead researcher Douglas Gentile, a developmental psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at Iowa State, tells Yahoo Shine. “But what this study shows is that even that shot in the dark is really powerful. Parents have a much more of a profound effect on their child’s wellbeing than they realize.”

For the study, researchers analyzed the media habits of more than 1,300 Iowa and Minnesota schoolchildren already participating in an obesity-prevention program. They collected data from students, parents, teachers, and nurses on topics including screen-time limits, exposure to violent media, bedtimes, behavior, grades, and height and weights data — first at the start of the study and then again seven months later. “What we saw was this kind of ripple effect,” Gentile says, explaining that limits on screen time — specifically, watching shows or movies in any form, and playing video games — improved kids’ sleep, academics, pro-social behavior, and even body mass index. That seven months wound up being a sufficient amount of time to see differences between kids who had screen-time limits and those who did not was a happy surprise to researchers, particularly since the effects were small.

And now, things you might not know about Raiders of the Lost Ark:

While developing the film with Spielberg and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, Lucas named the main character “Indiana Smith.” But Spielberg protested that it was too similar to the 1966 Steve McQueen western Nevada Smith and requested a change. The three agreed that the last name should be as universal and nondescript as “Smith,” so Lucas threw out “Jones” as a possibility. Indiana came from Lucas’ dog, an Alaskan malamute named Indiana. The big, hairy pup was also the inspiration for Chewbacca from Star Wars.

Once again, dogs change the course of human history.

No comments: