Thu 30 Aug 2007
Posted by glenn under Anti-War
Laura MacInnis, reports:
GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States has 90 guns for every 100 citizens, making it the most heavily armed society in the world, a report released on Tuesday said.
U.S. citizens own 270 million of the world’s 875 million known firearms, according to the Small Arms Survey 2007 by the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies.
About 4.5 million of the 8 million new guns manufactured worldwide each year are purchased in the United States, it said.
“There is roughly one firearm for every seven people worldwide. Without the United States, though, this drops to about one firearm per 10 people,” it said.
Thu 16 Aug 2007
Posted by glenn under General
New scientific findings suggest that a large comet may have exploded over North America 12,900 years ago, explaining riddles that scientists have wrestled with for decades, including an abrupt cooling of much of the planet and the extinction of large mammals.
Sun 5 Aug 2007
Posted by glenn under Science
Jay Leno behind the steering tiller of his 1909 Baker Electric. (Jamie Rector for The New York Times)
DEXTER FORD, The New York Times, reports:
THE new hybrid Ford Escape taxis scuttling around New York City give their occupants an aura of environmental superiority. But as far as clean electric-powered cars are concerned, these high-mileage hybrids are actually a bit behind the times.
About 100 years behind.
Starting in 1914, the Detroit Taxicab and Transfer Company built and operated a fleet of nearly 100 electric cabs. Customers would often wait for a smoother, cleaner, more tasteful electric cab, even when a gas-powered cab was already on station.
At the turn of the 20th century, quiet, smooth, pollution-free electric cars were a common sight on the streets of major American cities. Women especially favored them over steam- and gasoline-powered cars.
In an era in which gasoline-powered automobiles were noisy, smelly, greasy and problematic to start, electric cars, like Jay Leno’s restored 1909 Baker Electric Coupe, represented a form of women’s liberation. Well-dressed society women could simply drive to lunch, to shop, or to visit friends without fear of soiling their gloves, mussing their hair or setting their dresses on fire.
Thu 2 Aug 2007
Posted by glenn under Government
Stew Magnuson, National Defense Magazine, reports:
The U.S. Army quietly entered a new era earlier this summer when it sent the first armed ground robots into action in Iraq.
So far, the robot army’s entrance into the war has been a trickle rather than an invasion.
Only three of the special weapons observation remote reconnaissance direct action system (SWORDS) have been deployed so far.
The Army has authorized the purchase of 80 more robots — which are being touted as a potentially life-saving technology — but acquisition officials have not come forth with the funding.
“As [soldiers] use them and like them, I’ve heard positive feedback, they want 20 more immediately. It’s a shame we can’t get them to them,” Michael Zecca, SWORDS program manager, told National Defense.
The three robots, which tote M249 rifles and are remotely controlled by a soldier through a terminal, have been in Iraq since April and are with the 3rd Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade.