Daily Archives: April 11, 2012

Galactic Views (36)


Chaos in Orion
NASA – Baby stars are creating chaos 1,500 light-years away in the cosmic cloud of the Orion Nebula. Four massive stars make up the bright yellow area in the center of this false-color image for NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Green indicates hydrogen and sulfur gas in the nebula, which is a cocoon of gas and dust. Red and orange indicate carbon-rich molecules. Infant stars appear as yellow dots embedded in the nebula.


The Most Outrageous Clowns Are in Congress

By Margaret Carlson – When a scandal like the GSA’s $823,000 trip to Las Vegas comes along, you see that it takes truly risible details, like an actual clown in attendance, to move the outrage dial in Washington.

A shelf in the office of Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma groans under the dozens of reports he has done on ridiculous government expenditures (he has documented more than $200 billion in overlapping and duplicative programs) and more than $200 million in silly conferences. Titles go from “Wastebook 2011” to “Subsidies for the Rich and Famous” to “Shooting the Messenger: Congress Targets the Taxpayers’ Watchdog” (that’s the Government Accountability Office, which does the spadework for Coburn’s tomes).

Little happens, Coburn explains, because Congress is “numb to stupidity and waste,” treating everything as just one more Bridge to Nowhere. Congress is bored by oversight. It prefers to plant flowers in the form of new programs, not do the hard work of pulling weeds in the old, bloated and frivolous ones.  more>http://tinyurl.com/d92nu49

Peak Intel: How So-Called Strategic Intelligence Actually Makes Us Dumber

By Eric Garland – Many people have not encountered the job title, “intelligence analyst.” For the past 50 years, since the rise of the Central Intelligence Agency as a clearing house for information about the Soviet Union, this has been a job that involves researching trends, analyzing their potential impact, and reporting the possibilities to decision-makers. In the age of nuclear weapons, the world was changing too fast for leaders to make decisions based only on their own outdated assumptions.

Organizations learned to critically assess their futures — or literally lead humanity into possible mass extinction. The model mostly worked, and eventually the CIA was joined by other agencies, as well as for-profit consulting companies, which mimicked many of the techniques pioneered in the Cold War.

In my experiences, and based on what my colleagues in the field tell me, executives today do not do well when their analysts confront them with challenging, though often relatively benign, predictions. Confusion, anger, and psychological transference are common responses to unwelcome analysis. more> http://tinyurl.com/bljy76p

Five more minutes? New clock answers resounding ‘no’

By Ted Shaffrey – There is no snooze button. If you unplug it, a battery takes over. As wake-up time approaches, you cannot reset the alarm time. Once it goes off, to stop it you must get out of bed, go into the kitchen or bathroom, and punch the day’s date into a telephone-style keypad. That’s the only way to stop the loud ‘ding-ding’.

It was invented by Paul Sammut, a 25-year-old engineer who lives in Hoboken. He started working on the gadget because he was finding it hard to get up and make it to work on time after college. more> http://tinyurl.com/bovr7z4

IBM CEO Still in the Rough Over How to Handle Augusta Snub

By John Grgurich – Can one of America‘s reigning corporate titans — a company that has miraculously remade its name as a progressive, forward-looking organization — let its brand-new CEO be publicly snubbed with no bold response or defense of any kind?

Arguably, IBM wouldn’t even be where it is today if it weren’t for Rometty.

It should be noted that Rometty plays golf. And since so much business is still conducted on the links, her being kept out of Augusta National is more than just an academic issue. more> http://tinyurl.com/cxd433n


CONGRESS WATCH Ask CFPB, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) MyMoney, MyMoney.gov Money Matters, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) The majority of today’s young adults care more about financial fitness than physical fitness, Charles Schwab & Co. New Poll Shows Managing Money … Continue reading


CONGRESS WATCH ‘Spirit of survival’: Paul praises cleanup efforts from tornado, Nita Johnson, Sentinel-Echo.com