Slovakian police arrested 2 men who possessed about 500 grams of uranium that they intended to sell (ABC has the best online report I've seen so far).
This was enriched uranium - the kind that governments have to spend big buck to learn to make for a bomb (and the kind that Iran hasn't figured out how to make yet).
And yet, it wasn't enough for a bomb - it was about 2% of what you need for a bomb.
And ... it was powdered. You need a lump for a bomb.
So, this is exactly what you would need to make a radiological bomb: one in which conventional explosives spew radioactive material into the air.
That much uranium wouldn't be too harmful - but in a world where people call microwaving "nuking" and are afraid to eat irradiated foods - the panic associated with its release would be huge.
So, here's the economics. The going price for this stuff is $3500/gram (about 30 times the street price of cocaine). These guys had just under $2 million worth.
This stuff doesn't cost $3,500/gram because they picked that number out of thin air. It costs that much because there is someone on the other end willing to pay that much.
Now, take off your foil cap and put on your thinking cap: if no one out there wanted to use this it's price would be $0/gram. That's the going rate for useless stuff, like say the used post-it notes around your desk.
In fact, if you had 500 grams of enriched uranium, the value to you would probably still be zero because you wouldn't know who to sell it to. The only reason for having it is because you are privileged to know who to sell it to, and how much they'll pay for it.
This economist's conclusion is that if you don't think a terrorist is going to build and use a radiological bomb, then you are in denial. The counterfactual is that if you are right, the price for the stuff would be a lot lower than it is.
Despite critical acclaim and massive promotional budgets, a wave of
anti-Santa holiday pictures floundered at the box office over the
Thanksgiving opening weekend, leading some entertainment industry
analysts to question whether Hollywood had overestimated the American
public's loathing for the Claus administration ...
"I'm not sure what went wrong," said Jeff Bell of the MPAA after the
release of the weekend Nielsen/EDI movie box office figures. "... I blame illegal downloaders."
"Kringle's List," starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Julia
Roberts in a cautionary tale of rogue elf agents inside the North
Pole's illegal Naughty and Nice wiretapping operation, led the pack of
anti-Claus releases ...
A similar fate befell "In the Valley of Elves," TriStar's $80
million claymation remake of the 1964 Rankin-Bass classic "Rudolph the
Red-Nosed Reindeer." ... a reindeer father haunted when his naive red-nosed son ... volunteers for a dangerous rooftop mission only to be
killed by Santa ... One Tri-Star executive blamed the
disappointing receipts in part on the the film's R rating and
controversial interspecies gay love scene between Rudolph and Herbie
(Jake Gyllenhaal), a young elf who undergoes a sexual and dentistry
Star power was also unable to save Sundance Films' "Dialog On 34th
Street," Writer/ Producer/ Director/ Star/ Costume Designer/ Makeup
Artist Robert Redford's take on the Christmas quagmire. Just last month
the film had a triumphant debut for Redford at Redford's prestigious
Sundance Film Festival, where it brought home Best Picture and earned
Redford the Golden Redford ...
Faring even worse was "The Midnight Polar Express," Searchlight's
$250 million computer animation tale starring Reese Witherspoon as a
mother whose children are falsely accused of naughtiness, abducted to
the North Pole on a magical rendition train, and taken to Chrismo
Island where they are iceboarded by a sadistic Santa's Helper ...
Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert, who gave glowing, 5-star
reviews to each of the films, said he was not surprised by their poor
"It's sad, but hopefully these wonderful films will do much better
in the overseas market," said Ebert. "No matter how much down inside
they know how Christmas is wrong, and Santa is wrong, it's hard for
Americans to see their elves portrayed in a balanced, realistic way, as
tragically haunted sadistic pederasts. By contrast European filmgoers
are much more sophisticated and educated, so they eat that shit right
Face it, west of the Hudson this
country is a vast group home of 300 million drooling retards.
Despite the disappointing weekend showing, MPAA spokesman Bell said
that industry still has high hopes for 17 more anti-Santa films that
will open nationwide this weekend, including "The Reindeer Hunter,"
"Shop Loss," and Quentin Tarantino's much anticipated "Workshop of
Another modest data reliability problem has come up with the global warming issue.
The idea that global warming is leading to more hurricanes is getting pretty deeply embedded in the collective consciousness; although in their defense it should be noted that very few climatologists have actually made this claim.
Anyway, the data problem is that better measurement is allowing storm trackers to name more storms. This bumps up the number of named storms without actually providing evidence that they really are more frequent.
The details are that better satellite tracking is allowing them to spot storms far out to sea earlier, and to get wind speed data from them without sending out a plane. This is certainly an improvement, but it is inconsistent with the old method of sending out a plane to measure the central pressure of the storm (something that still can't be done with a satellite).
This is all analogous to the fact that cancer rates are rising, although no one is certain to what extent that is because we are looking for it more. Of course, in the cancer case this uncertainty hasn't prevented those broadly opposed to modern western society to blame it for cancer. The problem here then really isn't the hurricane data, but the lack of awareness of this pitfall, and the potential for abuse.
It will be hard for what I'm going to say to not be interpreted as a jibe at Democrats, but have you noticed how the criticism of Bush has died down a bit since last spring now that the economy blasted out 2 strong quarters of growth?
Filthy lucre solves a lot of problems. It can also create them - have you noticed that the Democratic candidates are looking a little less sure of themselves, and the Republicans are starting to generate some buzz? As a pretty solid Republican, I assure you that I'm no more enthused about this group of candidates than I was in 2000 or 1996, so I can't even say that I find this to be a good thing.
Once upon a time, everyone saw Wargames, but most people don't know that it almost happened for real about four months after the movie came out (# 1 on the list).
Of course ... it's also not PC to mention that it wasn't the USA that almost started a nuclear holocaust ... it was Reagan's evil empire ... or in this case "empire that was evil because they didn't spend enough on basic quality control".
Windows Explorer tells you the size of files, but not the size of the collections of files that make up a folder.
That's really stupid if you think about it, because you can also get the amount of space used up on a drive through My Computer - so they've got the top and bottom of your hard drive covered, but they forgot the middle.
Here's a free and easy to install service called Folder Size that will do this for you. It's great for figuring out why your drive is full ... again.
I maintain much cleaner computers than just about anyone who doesn't get paid for it, and my wife and I practice (fairly) safe computing.
So ... I thought I'd let you all know that I spent a good chunk of my Thanksgiving break removing malware from our home PC. I found about 30 robots (only 1 nasty one), about 20 viruses, but not too much adware. It's a good think Kaspersky, Spybot and Ad-Aware are free.
With the development of internet technology, work at home jobs are increasing in the market. Also setting up small business online with ones own bank savings can provide excellent work at home opportunities. Apart from savings, banks offer0 credit card to cater to short term finance needs. Partial tax payments like tax credits are also available to promote online businesses. Market now offers several alternatives to traditional credit card debt which are helpful to work at home businesses.