Here are a few bookmarks that caught my attention today:
Sun Storm Forecast (Tuesday New York Times): “Scientists say it is impossible to predict when the next monster solar storm will erupt — and equally important, whether Earth will lie in its path. What they do know is that with more sunspots come more storms, and this fall the Sun is set to reach the crest of its 11-year sunspot cycle.”
US Earns a D+ on Infrastructure (American Society of Civil Engineers): “The 2013 Report Card grades are in, and America’s cumulative GPA for infrastructure rose slightly to a D+. The grades in 2013 ranged from a high of B- for solid waste to a low of D- for inland waterways and levees. Solid waste, drinking water, wastewater, roads, and bridges all saw incremental improvements, and rail jumped from a C- to a C+. No categories saw a decline in grade this year.”
Terrorism is an Expression of Middle Class Frustration (Sultan Mehmood writing in DAWN): “The simple positive relationship between poverty and (material) crime could not be extrapolated… Not a single study could make a cogent case that terrorism had economic roots. This lack of evidence culminated in a recent review of the literature by Martin Gassebner and Simon Luechinger of the KOF Swiss Economic Institute. The authors estimated 13.4 million different equations, drew on 43 different studies and 65 correlates of terrorism to conclude that higher levels of poverty and illiteracy are not associated with greater terrorism. In fact, only the lack of civil liberties and high population growth could predict high terrorism levels accurately… It is not that most terrorists have nothing to live for. Far from it, they are the high-ability and educated political people who so vehemently believe in a cause that they are willing to die for it. The solution to terrorism is not more growth but more freedom.”
More Boko Haram Bombings in Nigeria (AFP): “A series of blasts targeting buses full of passengers in Kano, Nigeria has killed at least 20 people and sources say the toll is expected to rise. Initial reports indicated that two suicide bombers drove a car packed with explosives into a bus at the New Road station in Sabon Gari, a predominantly Christian neighbourhood in the majority Muslim city. Several explosions were heard following the initial blast, sparking panic as bloodied bystanders including some with serious injuries fled the scene as soldiers arrived to cordon off the area. Kano, the largest city in Nigeria’s north, was repeatedly targeted by Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, blamed for killing hundreds in the region since 2009. (See related stories in sidebar.)
Pyongyang Pushes Buttons: Last week several Washington D.C. (aka as “Hollywood for ugly people”) luminaries took time out for the premiere of Olympus Has Fallen, a film featuring a North Korean terrorist attack on the US capital. This week the real North Koreans (apparently, but not yet confirmed) launched a cyber attack on South Korea and a YouTube attack on Washington. Frankly, I preferred last month’s North Korean YouTube attack on New York… especially the musical soundtrack.