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Good News for Greenies: Cats Kill More Birds Than Wind Turbines

Make no mistake, wind turbines still suck as a form of alternative energy, but at least they do not kill as many birds as cats.

“While public attention has focused on wind turbines as a menace to birds, a new study shows that a far greater threat may be posed by a more familiar antagonist: the pet house cat.

A new study in The Journal of Ornithology on the mortality of baby gray catbirds in the Washington suburbs found that cats were the No. 1 killer in the area, by a large margin.”

Read rest of article here.

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Analysis of Emails to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: 62% in Favor of Limiting Collective Bargaining

“Gov. Scott Walker was right: The angry crowds in Madison didn’t tell the whole story of how Wisconsinites felt.

In the week after Walker announced his plan to dramatically curtail public employees’ collective bargaining rights in the state budget repair bill, a wide majority of the emails to him expressed support, an analysis of those emails indicates.”

Read the rest here.

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Michael Lewis Discusses His Prophetic 1989 Article on a Japanese Earthquake

Others here at iBC have mention that Japan may be selling some US bonds in the near future…

“Japan’s economy was already in bad shape before this catastrophe—their public debt totaling almost 200 percent of their G.D.P. How can they recover, and who will be footing the bill?

I wouldn’t be surprised if this event calls into serious question the Japanese government’s ability to service its debt. But I would be surprised if anyone wound up footing the bill other than the Japanese people, as they are both rich and famously poorly insured. A friend in the catastrophe-insurance market points out that the last big Japanese earthquake, in Kobe, generated roughly $100 billion in losses, only $3 billion of which were insured. The nature of Japanese society is to share the burden, and so the losses, I assume, will be socialized. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Japanese government, to cover the losses, will need to sell off at least some of their 800-and-something billion dollars in U.S. treasury bonds. And I wonder: if the Japanese become big net sellers of our bonds, who will step in to buy them?”

Read the entire Vanity Fair article here.

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Gazans Fire Rockets and Morter Shells into Israel

Would it surprise anyone, given the changes in Egypt, to see things heat up between Israel and Palestine? If Hamas really wants to take on Israel, why not do it when America is fighting three wars and a skyrocketing deficit?

“JERUSALEM (AP) — Palestinian militants fired two rockets into southern Israel on Sunday and Israeli troops killed two Palestinians in a new outburst along the volatile border with Gaza.

The violence came a day after Palestinian militants fired more than 50 mortar shells into Israel – the heaviest Palestinian barrage since a bruising Israeli military offensive in Gaza two years ago.

Both sides have largely honored an informal cease-fire since the 2009 war, in which about 1,400 Palestinians were killed, including militants and civilians. Israel says Hamas has rebuilt its arsenal, and a pattern of rocket attacks and Israeli reprisals has escalated in recent weeks.”

Read the rest here.

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Coast Guard Investigating Reports of Large Gulf Oil Spill

Perhaps the President will get a second chance to make a first impression…If the report is accurate, a 100 mile sheen would be very serious.

“A possible massive oil sheen is being investigated by the US Coast Guard. The report comes from 20 miles north of the site of last April’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. A press release sent Saturday night stated that the Coast Guard confirmed there was a “substance in the water,” yet have not determined what that substance is.

Paul Barnard, operations controller for Coast Guard Sector New Orleans, stated that investigators were following up on two calls to the National Response Center. The calls indicated that a potential oil or chemical spill had occurred in the area.

The Matterhorn well site, 20 miles north of the BP Deepwater Horizon site is being investigated. The Matterhorn field includes a deepwater drilling platform owned by W&T Technology.

A pilot, flying over the reported area, stated that the sheen about a half-mile and a half-mile wide could be seen from the air. Another report stated that a much larger sheen, approximately 100 miles long, could be seen. The larger of the two points of interest was spotted Saturday off Grand Isle, Louisiana by pilot Bonny Schumaker.”

Read rest of report here.

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Arab League Criticizes Allied Air Strikes on Libya

CAIRO (AP) — The head of the Arab League has criticized international strikes on Libya, saying they caused civilian deaths.

The Arab League’s support for a no-fly zone last week helped overcome reluctance in the West for action in Libya. The U.N. authorized not only a no-fly zone but also “all necessary measures” to protect civilians.

Amr Moussa says the military operations have gone beyond what the Arab League backed.

Read the rest here.

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American Data Collection Flights: Worst Contamination Within 18 Mile Range of Highest Concern

WASHINGTON — The first readings from American data-collection flights over the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan show that the worst of the contamination has not spewed beyond the 18-mile range of highest concern established by Japanese authorities, but there is also no indication that another day of frantic efforts to cool nuclear fuel in the reactors and spent fuel pools has yielded any progress, according United States government officials.

Read rest of article here.

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Media Using Anti-Nuclear Lobby as Experts on Crisis?

It should be no surprise that the media would welcome a nuclear disaster as it gives them a chance to trash the industry.

“The media, however, has risen to the challenge, with a combination of poor information, ignorance, and alarmism, along with antinuclear activists passing themselves off as unbiased experts.

Let’s try to make some sense of it all.”

Read the rest here.

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Economists Believe Japan May Recover Very Quickly

Reuters has an interesting take on how the earthquake and tsunamis will affect Japan’s future economic growth.

“The instinctive reaction when viewing the extensive damage and frantic efforts to secure damaged nuclear reactors is to assume economic havoc will follow.

But researchers who have studied similar disasters in rich countries reach a reassuring conclusion: human resilience and resourcefulness, allied to an ability to draw down accumulated wealth, enable economies to rebound quickly from what seem at first to be unbearable inflictions – be it the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York or Friday’s 8.9-magnitude earthquake, the worst in Japan’s history.

Japan itself provides Exhibit No. 1 in foretelling the arc of recovery. A 6.8-magnitude temblor struck the western city of Kobe on January 17, 1995, killing 6,400 people and causing damage estimated at 10 trillion yen, or 2 percent of Japan’s gross domestic product.

The importance of Kobe’s container port, then the world’s sixth-largest, and the city’s location between Osaka and western Japan made it more significant for the economy than the more sparsely populated region where the latest quake and tsunami struck. Extensive disruption ensued, yet Japan’s industrial production, after falling 2.6 percent in January 1995, rose 2.2 percent that February and another 1.0 percent in March. GDP for the whole of the first quarter of 1995 rose at an annualized rate of 3.4 percent.

“Despite the scale of the disaster, it is hard to find much evidence in the macroeconomic data of the effects of the Kobe earthquake,” said Richard Jerram, chief Asian economist at Macquarie in Singapore and a veteran Japan-watcher.

Indeed, Takuji Okubo, chief Japan economist at Societe Generale in Tokyo, noted that Japan’s economy grew by 1.9 percent in 1995 and 2.6 percent in 1996, above the country’s trend growth rate at the time of 1.5 percent. Private consumption, government spending and, especially, public fixed investment all grew above average in 1995 and 1996, Okubo said in a report. By analogy, the medium-term impact on growth from the latest quake was also likely to be positive, he said.”

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Radiation Leaks Recede, Cooling Resumes After Explosion of Nuclear Plant

It is amazing that the containment facility appears to have been effective at stopping the spread of radiation:

“We’ve confirmed that the reactor container was not damaged. The explosion didn’t occur inside the reactor container. As such there was no large amount of radiation leakage outside,” Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said in a news conference Saturday evening. “At this point, there has been no major change to the level of radiation leakage outside, so we’d like everyone to respond calmly.”

Plans to continue cooling the plant are underway, including pumping in sea water. Officials are also planning on using boric acid to slow down the reaction.

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