Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Answering the Cantseefade WMD Challenge

Blogger Cantseefade challenged me to back up my story about Saddam's WMD cache with facts (see WMD post and comments below). These facts are readily available on the internet. Here are a few highlights:

The BBC talks about the 500 tons of uranium and 1.8 tons of yellow cake:

The United Nations nuclear watchdog has accounted for most of the uranium feared stolen from Iraq's largest nuclear site, Tuwaitha, reports say...About 1.8 metric tons of "yellow cake" and 500 tons of unrefined uranium went missing as the Iraqis left Tuwaitha unattended during the war.

More info on the implications of this stockpile from News Max:

David Kay, the former chief U.S. weapons inspector who was hailed by the press last year for pronouncing Iraq WMD-free, shared some interesting observations with Congress this past January about goings-on at al Tuwaitha in 2000 and 2001.

"[The Iraqis] started building new buildings, renovating it, hiring some new staff and bringing them together," Kay said. "And they ran a few physics experiments, re-ran experiments they'd actually run in the '80s."

"Fortunately, from my point of view," he added, "Operation Iraqi Freedom intervened and we don't know how or how fast that would have gone ahead. ... Given their history, it was certainly an emerging program that I would not have looked forward to their continuing to pursue."

Just to give you an idea of where this kind of thing can lead in the future, see the current Iran situation. This is from the National Review:

The mullahs have torn off their conciliatory mask in order to bare their fangs to us, the Europeans, and the Iranian people. If we had an Iran strategy worthy of the name, our confused leaders would have pointed out the remarkable interview with the chief nuclear affairs negotiator, Hossein Musavian. It was broadcast on Iranian television August 4th, and made it quite clear that the Iranians deliberately tricked the Europeans into giving the mullahs an extra year to complete a vital part of their nuclear program in Isfahan.

"Thanks to the negotiations with Europe," he bragged, "we gained another year, in which we completed...Isfahan." This was quite a coup, at least in Musavian's humble opinion: "We suspended (the enrichment program) in Isfahan in October 2004, although we were required to do so in October 2003...Today we are in a position of power: (the program) in Isfahan is complete and UF4 and UF6 gases are being produced. We have a stockpile of products, and...we have managed to convert 36 tons of yellow cake into gas and store it..."

Buying time by prolonging negotiations. Sound familiar? Saddam pulled a similar trick for 12 years.

Cantseefade, I have backed my story with facts. There are hundreds of other stories out there from legitimate news sources such as the BBC, the New York Times and others. Do you believe now?

Scientists Say Hurricanes Are Natural

Some people are trying to blame Hurricane Katrina on Global Warming or Bush's failure to sign the Kyoto Protocol. Obviously, these notions are foolish. From the New York Times:

Because hurricanes form over warm ocean water, it is easy to assume that the recent rise in their number and ferocity is because of global warming.

But that is not the case, scientists say. Instead, the severity of hurricane seasons changes with cycles of temperatures of several decades in the Atlantic Ocean. The recent onslaught "is very much natural," said William M. Gray, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University who issues forecasts for the hurricane season.

From 1970 to 1994, the Atlantic was relatively quiet, with no more than three major hurricanes in any year and none at all in three of those years. Cooler water in the North Atlantic strengthened wind shear, which tends to tear storms apart before they turn into hurricanes.

In 1995, hurricane patterns reverted to the active mode of the 1950's and 60's. From 1995 to 2003, 32 major hurricanes, with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater, stormed across the Atlantic. It was chance, Dr. Gray said, that only three of them struck the United States at full strength.

Historically, the rate has been 1 in 3.

Then last year, three major hurricanes, half of the six that formed during the season, hit the United States. A fourth, Frances, weakened before striking Florida.

"We were very lucky in that eight-year period, and the luck just ran out," Dr. Gray said.

Global warming may eventually intensify hurricanes somewhat, though different climate models disagree.

In an article this month in the journal Nature, Kerry A. Emanuel, a hurricane expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote that global warming might have already had some effect. The total power dissipated by tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic and North Pacific increased 70 to 80 percent in the last 30 years, he wrote.

But even that seemingly large jump is not what has been pushing the hurricanes of the last two years, Dr. Emanuel said, adding, "What we see in the Atlantic is mostly the natural swing."

Monday, August 29, 2005

Funny Town Name

From The Register:

An Austrian village called Fucking will not change its name despite sniggering Brits making off with its roadsigns.

Mayor Siegfried Hauppl has asked visitors to lay off the signs which began to attract outside attention after British and US soldiers passing through in 1945 illuminated the locals as to the English meaning of Fucking, Ananova reports.

Hauppl explained: "We had a vote last year on whether to rename the town, but decided to keep it as it is. After all, Fucking has existed for 800 years, probably when a Mr Fuck or the Fuck family moved into the area. The 'ing' was added as a word for settlement."

We reckon that Fucking has been around a lot longer than 800 years, otherwise there wouldn't have been any Fucks to lend their name to the village in the first place, would there?

Be that as it may, the disappointing news is that the residents of Fucking are - according to Franz Duernsteiner, an expert on preposterous Austrian village names - very "conservative" people. He said: "Most of them can speak English, and when someone asks them where they come from they are a little ashamed to say it."

That's fair enough, and certainly something the residents of Milton Keynes can sympathise with.


From Boortz:

The media is fond of reminding us that no Weapons of Mass Destruction were ever found in Iraq. This has been the clarion call of the Democrats for a couple of years now. However, did you know that WMD were found in Iraq? Not just a couple...but lots of them. A mother who lost her son in Iraq was interviewed on Fox News had this to say: "I have seen photos of entire fighter jets buried in the sand. I have seen pictures of entire caches of weapons that just my son's unit would uncover." I wonder why we never hear much about that one? Here's also a nice little list of what was found:

-500 tons...that's right...TONS...make that 1million pounds of yellow cake uranium. It was found at Saddam's nuclear weapons facility (yup...he had one of those too.)

-1.8 tons of partially enriched uranium found at the same place. You know, the stuff you need to make nukes.

-Hidden centrifuge parts and blueprints.

-Two dozen artillery shells loaded with Sarin and mustard gas.

Sounds like WMD to me! You may want to print this off and impress your friends with your knowledge.
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