Sunday Reads: Frankenstorm, Hermit Crabs and Classic Hollywood
Posted: October 28, 2012 Filed under: 2012 presidential campaign, Environment, Foreign Affairs, George W. Bush, Great Britain, History, Iran, Middle East, misogyny, Mitt Romney, morning reads, nature, U.S. Economy, U.S. Military, U.S. Politics | Tags: Bretton Woods Meeting, Elizabeth Taylor, Hurricane Sandy, manipulation, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, political ads, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), Richard Burton Diary
For those of you in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, Hurricane Sandy is getting closer. The latest updates from NOAA here and for a few links on the preparations, check these out:
Take Hurricane Sandy seriously, East Coast residents warned
East Coast residents prepared Saturday for the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy, which forecasters expect to make landfall as soon as Monday night and then merge with a sprawling winter storm to create weather havoc for tens of millions of people across one-third of the nation.
From Maine to the Carolinas, federal and state officials urged residents and businesses to prepare for the worst — drenching rain, flooding, high winds, highs seas, snow and widespread power outages. Federal officials said the impact would extend into the Ohio Valley.
Even though Sandy was still at least two days away, residents along the northeastern Atlantic Coast, mindful of possible transit shutdowns and bombarded by storm warnings, kicked into preparation mode.
Hurricane Sandy to reach Massachusetts late Sunday night
As Hurricane Sandy loomed closer to the northeast coast Saturday afternoon, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency in preparation for power outages, coastal flooding, and beach erosion that could rock the New England region.
The Bay State will begin feeling the hurricane’s effects Sunday evening, said National Weather Service meteorologist Kim Buttrick, but not its full force until Monday.
Winds will start blowing 35 to 45 miles per hour Monday in Massachusetts, with gusts up to 55 mph in the morning that will accelerate in the afternoon reaching a peak of 65 miles per hour. Higher-than-average winds and precipitation will continue until Tuesday morning, Buttrick said.
Threat of Hurricane Sandy grows as it targets East Coast
Rain accumulations of up to 12 inches and heavy snowfall inland are considered likely in some areas. As it merges with an Arctic jet stream, forecasters said Sandy has all the ingredients to transform into a “super storm” unlike anything seen over the eastern United States in decades.
On its current projected track, Sandy could make U.S. landfall on Monday night or Tuesday morning anywhere between Maryland and southern New England, forecasters said. Some computer models showed a likely landfall between Delaware and the New York/New Jersey area.
For a bit of humor on this Frankenstorm, The 12 Worst Ways New Yorkers Prepared For The Last Hurricane. (Some may find it offensive, but I always thought the novel Frankenstein was really horrifying.)
Okay, I’ve got a few more links for you this morning. There was so much going on this past week, with the whole “god’s gift” crap coming out of the mouths of the GOP, you may have missed these stories.
This first link is something I hope Dakinikat can comment on:
Transcript of ’44 Bretton Woods Meeting Found at Treasury
A Treasury economist rummaging in the department’s library has stumbled on a historical treasure hiding in plain sight: a transcript of the Bretton Woods conference in 1944 that cast the foundations of the modern international monetary system.
The Center for Financial Stability has included links to the transcripts on its web site.
International Monetary Fund, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
John Maynard Keynes addressed the Bretton Woods conference, where the International Monetary Fund was created.
Historians had never known that a transcript existed for the event held in the heat of World War II, when delegates from 44 allied nations fighting Hitler gathered in the mountains of New Hampshire to create the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. But there were three copies in archives and libraries around Washington that had never been made public, until now.
“It’s as if someone handed us Madison’s notes on the debate over the Constitution,” said Eric Rauchway, a historian the University of California, Davis.
Wow, that is huge…
This past week, we also saw Iran being hyped up again by the GOP: GOP Rep Says Strike On Iran’s Nuclear Facilities Would Not Be An Act Of War
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on CNN last night that neither he, nor the Iranians, would consider an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities an act of war.
Rogers said that he believed there are options “short of war” that could prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and, strangely, CNN host Erin Burnett wondered if bombing suspected nuclear weapons facilities would be an option that is “short of war.” While Rogers at first appeared taken aback by Burnett’s odd question, he then went a bit further, saying definitively that such an attack would indeed be “short of war” and the Iranians would see it that way too:
ROGERS: Well, in very targeted strikes, we use very targeted strikes against al Qaeda. And so if it is a very targeted strike, many would argue that that’s short of war. And if it only seeks to go after their nuclear program, that is — we’re not talking about invasions or naval engagements or troops on the ground, none of that. And this has been used by other — President Clinton used this tactic.
But there’s also other things under that. I’m not saying that’s — that is the right answer. That is an option that I believe is short of war if it is very selective, very targeted, only to the nuclear program. And we do know, those — that the Iranians believe that there is a whole panoply of options — war and then these targeted strikes they don’t see as — wouldn’t see as an act of war.
Rogers made these statements and then I noticed this article a day later…from The Guardian: Britain rejects US request to use UK bases in nuclear standoff with Iran
US diplomats are said to have also lobbied for permission to use US bases on British territory such as Diego Garcia. Photograph: AFP
Britain has rebuffed US pleas to use military bases in the UK to support the build-up of forces in the Gulf, citing secret legal advice which states that any pre-emptive strike on Iran could be in breach of international law.
The Guardian has been told that US diplomats have also lobbied for the use of British bases in Cyprus, and for permission to fly from US bases on Ascension Island in the Atlantic and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, both of which are British territories.
The US approaches are part of contingency planning over the nuclear standoff with Tehran, but British ministers have so far reacted coolly. They have pointed US officials to legal advice drafted by the attorney general’s office which has been circulated to Downing Street, the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence.
This makes clear that Iran, which has consistently denied it has plans to develop a nuclear weapon, does not currently represent “a clear and present threat”. Providing assistance to forces that could be involved in a pre-emptive strike would be a clear breach of international law, it states.
“The UK would be in breach of international law if it facilitated what amounted to a pre-emptive strike on Iran,” said a senior Whitehall source. “It is explicit. The government has been using this to push back against the Americans.”
The US has not officially asked for assistance from Britain, but feelers are being put out there. Which is scary enough…
Report: British attorney general thinks strike on Iran could be illegal
…the apparently staunch U.K. opposition to working with the U.S. on this is striking, particularly after British Prime Minister Tony Blair so closely joined U.S. President George W. Bush in planning and executing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The 2003 Iraq invasion became a source of considerable political backlash in the U.K., including a two-year official investigation that culminated in Blair being summoned to a bruising public inquiry.
Based on this story, it appears that the U.K. wants little or nothing to do with even U.S. planning for a potential strike on Iran, much less the attack itself. “I think the U.S. has been surprised that ministers have been reluctant to provide assurances about this kind of upfront assistance,” an anonymous British source told the Guardian, speculating that this meant Washington might not even inform London of an attack until after it had happened. “In some respects, the U.K. government would prefer it that way.”
I realize one probably does not have anything to do with the other, but it seemed like a strange coincidence. And since I am currently reading 500 Days, these stories made me think of the way the world was manipulated by Bush and Cheney. (Especially Cheney.)
This article from Alternet also talks about manipulation, as far as political ads are concerned. How Corporations Know Who You Will Likely Vote For
Chinese officials have launched a probe after microbloggers said they had uncovered another allegedly corrupt leader who owns millions of dollars worth of property, state press said on Thursday.
If you’re a registered voter and surf the web, one of the sites you visit has almost certainly placed a tiny piece of data on your computer flagging your political preferences. That piece of data, called a cookie, marks you as a Democrat or Republican, when you last voted, and what contributions you’ve made. It also can include factors like your estimated income, what you do for a living, and what you’ve bought at the local mall.
Across the country, companies are using cookies to tailor the political ads you see online. One of the firms is CampaignGrid, which boasted in a recent slideshow, “Internet Users are No Longer Anonymous.” The slideshow includes an image of the famous New Yorker cartoon from 1993: “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” Next to it, CampaignGrid lists what it can now know about an Internet user: “Lives in Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District, 19002 zip code, Registered primary voting Republican, High net worth household, Age 50-54, Teenagers in the home, Technology professional, Interested in politics, Shopping for a car, Planning a vacation in Puerto Rico.”
Freaky stuff…Oh and by the way, Romney lands key endorsement in crucial swing state – Iowa . Yup, after all that fuss over Obama’s interview being “off the record” and they endorse Romney.
Okay, enough with that…check out these two articles about those golden years of Hollywood. Iconic Scarlett O’Hara dresses restored, displayed
It turns out there will be another day for Scarlett O’Hara’s green curtain dress. Many of them.
The iconic dress and Scarlett’s burgundy ball gown from the 1939 film “Gone With the Wind” have been saved from deterioration by a $30,000 conservation effort by the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas.
The dresses worn by actress Vivien Leigh are now on display for the first time in nearly 30 years at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum as part of a Hollywood costume exhibit.
Ransom Center officials announced the project in 2010, noting the dresses were in danger of falling apart from age.
And this one, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor’s Romance As Revealed In His Diaries, which has an excerpt of the newly published diary.
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor married twice. Their first marriage lasted for ten years (1964-74), and their second marriage happened very suddenly, 16 months after their divorce, during a visit to Botswana in 1975. This excerpt from The Richard Burton Diaries (Yale University Press, $35) reveals what occurred.
From the little they have in the excerpt, Burton’s alcohol use was problematic…to say the least.
Almost done, just a couple more articles…this time on Hermit Crabs. My kids have kept these little crabs before and I have seen them fight to get into another crabs shell. Hermit crabs socialize to evict their neighbors
Social animals usually congregate for protection or mating or to capture bigger prey, but a University of California, Berkeley, biologist has found that the terrestrial hermit crab has a more self-serving social agenda: to kick another crab out of its shell and move into a larger home.
The terrestrial hermit crab Coenobita compressus lives inside a discarded snail shell and forages for plants and carrion along the Pacific coast from Mexico to Peru. Photos by Mark Laidre, UC Berkeley.
All hermit crabs appropriate abandoned snail shells for their homes, but the dozen or so species of land-based hermit crabs – popular terrarium pets – are the only ones that hollow out and remodel their shells, sometimes doubling the internal volume. This provides more room to grow, more room for eggs – sometimes a thousand more eggs – and a lighter home to lug around as they forage.
But empty snail shells are rare on land, so the best hope of moving to a new home is to kick others out of their remodeled shells, said Mark Laidre, a UC Berkeley Miller Post-Doctoral Fellow who reported this unusual behavior in this month’s issue of the journal Current Biology.
So the crabs dance in a conga line….
“The one that gets yanked out of its shell is often left with the smallest shell, which it can’t really protect itself with,” said Laidre, who is in the Department of Integrative Biology. “Then it’s liable to be eaten by anything. For hermit crabs, it’s really their sociality that drives predation.”
A free-for-all takes place whenever three or more hermit crabs congregate, with all crabs intent on displacing someone else to get a larger shell.
Laidre says the crabs’ unusual behavior is a rare example of how evolving to take advantage of a specialized niche – in this case, land versus ocean – led to an unexpected byproduct: socialization in a typically solitary animal.
You can find a video of crabs fighting here, it is not in the conga line formation…but it is funny to see the crab being pulled out of the shell by another crab. It looks animated.
Let’s end this with a funny video, from the early 90′s, featuring a conga line:
“Heh!” What are you all up to this Sunday, share some links and thoughts below…and those of you in Sandy’s way, take care of yourselves.