US Army recruiter threatens high school student with jail


This is a video of a counter-recruitment demonstration in Philadelphia, USA.

In the United States armed forces, middle aged people; people with little education; wounded veterans and other people with health problems; people on drugs; people with criminal records; nazisdead soldiers etc. etc. for various reasons used to be not welcome.

Now however, with wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, (Somalia; maybe Iran next; Venezuela next; etc. etc), all these categories are welcome (though apparently gays and atheists are still not).

However, even so, recruiters do not meet their cannon fodder quota goals. How do they solve that?

From Democracy NOW! in the USA:

August 06, 2008

Army Recruiter Suspended for Threatening High School Student with Jail Time, Sparks Bipartisan Call for Investigation

A story involving an Army recruiter in Texas last week has led to a bipartisan call for an investigation. The recruiter from the Greenspoint Recruiting Station in Houston was suspended after a recording of his threats aired on a local TV station. The recruiter, Sgt. Glenn Marquette, warned eighteen-year-old Irving Gonzalez that he would be sent to jail if he decided to go to college instead of joining the military, even though Gonzalez had signed a non-binding contract that left him free to change his mind before basic training. We play the recording of their conversation, and we speak with two of the teenage Army recruits involved. We also question a spokesman for the US Military Recruiting Command and speak with a Texas Congressman who is calling for an investigation. [includes rush transcript]

Olbermann: America fears gays more than terrorists: here.

Cheney Considered Proposal To Dress Up Navy Seals As Iranians and Shoot at Them: here.

Women’s football starts off Beijing Olympics


This is a video from a USA-Norway women’s soccer match last year.

Today, two days before the official opening of the Beijing Olympic games, the race for gold, silver, and bronze medals already started.

It started with the football tournament, which had to start early because of the many matches.

Tomorrow, the men’s football will start.

Today, the women’s football started. Ex world champion Germany did not manage to win from Brazil: 0-0.

Reigning world champion USA played against Norway in their first match. Norway scored two goals. In the second half, the US team tried to equalize, but did not have real chances for that. Their goalkeeper prevented Norway from scoring more goals. So, a 2-0 Norwegian victory.

Opinion: Intense interest in Women’s World Cup proves there is a market for women’s sports beyond magazine spreads: here.

Online petition against Star Wars plans in Czech Republic


No Bases Conference – Brdy – Czech Republic: see here.

From the No Star Wars site in the Czech Republic:

“I do not agree with the installation of a US military base on Czech Republic territory, as part of their NMD (National Missile Defense) project. The implementation of this project is increasing international tensions, generating a new arms race and is the first step towards the militarization and control of space. Since more than two thirds of the Czech population are against this project, I think it is only fair that the Czech people have the right to decide on such an important question by means of a referendum.”

You can sign this petition there.

See also here.

Russia responds to American anti-ballistic missile systems in Europe: here.

Anti Star Wars in Britain: here.

Hadrosaurs outgrew predators


This video says about itself:

At last, my tribute to the awesome duck-billed Hadrosaurids! The music is “Chariot” by Gavin DeGraw.

The dinosaurs in this video are:

Anatotitan
Brachylophosaurus
Charonosaurus
Corythosaurus
Edmontosaurus
Gryposaurus
Hadrosaurus
Hypacrosaurus
Kritosaurus
Lambeosaurus
Maiasaura
Naashoibitosaurus
Nipponosaurus
Olorotitan
Parasaurolophus
Saurolophus
Shantungosaurus
Telmatosaurus
Tsintaosaurus

From Ohio University in the USA:

Duck-billed dinosaurs outgrew predators to survive

New study on hadrosaur bones shows fast growth, reproduction rates

ATHENS, Ohio (Aug. 5, 2008) – With long limbs and a soft body, the duck-billed hadrosaur had few defenses against predators such as tyrannosaurs. But new research on the bones of this plant-eating dinosaur suggests that it had at least one advantage: It grew to adulthood much faster than its predators, giving it superiority in size.

In a study published online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, scientists compared growth rate data from the hadrosaur, Hypacrosaurus, to three predators: the tyrannosaurs Albertosaurus and its gigantic relative Tyrannosaurus rex, as well as the small Velociraptor-like Troodon.

The research suggests that it took 10 to 12 years for Hypacrosaurus to become fully grown. Tyrannosaurs, however, reached adulthood after 20 to 30 years, said Drew Lee, a postdoctoral fellow in Ohio University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine who co-authored the paper with Lisa Noelle Cooper, a doctoral student at Kent State University and a researcher with the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine.

“Our duck-billed dinosaur grew three to five times faster than any potential predators that lived alongside it,” Lee said. “By the time the duck-billed dinosaur was fully grown, the tyrannosaurs were only half grown – it was a huge size difference.”

Hypacrosaurus also reached sexual maturity early, at only two or three years of age, Cooper said.

“That’s another added bonus when facing predators – if you can keep reproducing, you’re set,” she said. “It’s the stuff of evolution.”

Cooper conducted the original analysis of the hadrosaur while an undergraduate student at Montana State University. Working with scientists Jack Horner and Mark Taper, Cooper looked at thin sections of the long leg bones of a specimen of Hypacrosaurus and counted and measured the growth rings, which each represent one year of life.

“We were shocked at how fast they grew. If you look at a cross section of the bone of a nestling or even from within the egg, there are huge spaces in which blood supply was going through the bone, which means they were growing like crazy,” she said.

Hypacrosaurus was one of three common prey for the meat-eating tyrannosaurs, but was the most vulnerable, Lee said. He described the animal, which lived 67 million to 80 million years ago, as the “Thomson’s gazelle of the Late Cretaceous.” The other two had horns or had stout, tank-like bodies that would have provided some physical protection from their enemies. But even those creatures show faster growth rates than the predators, Lee noted, with the hadrosaur boasting the quickest growth spurt.

At least one study suggests that living animals employ this survival strategy as well, Lee said. Scientists have found that killifish, a tiny freshwater fish found mainly in the Americas, mature faster when predators lurk. Anecdotal evidence suggests that creatures such as African ungulates grow big to create an advantage over lions, cheetahs and hyenas, he said. And researchers also see signs of this phenomenon in butterflies, toads, salamanders, guppies and some birds, Cooper added.

See also here. And here.

Duck-Billed Dinosaurs Emitted Low, Eerie Sounds: here.

The 10 Smartest Dinosaurs: here.

Dinosaur Family Life – How Dinosaurs Raised Babies and Children: here.

Hiroshima after 63 years


This video is called The Hiroshima [nuclear] bomb.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Shrouded in dishonesty

(Tuesday 05 August 2008)

SIXTY-THREE years ago on Wednesday, the detonation of an atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima ushered in the nuclear age and, with it, the cold war.

Its use was based on a lie and, since then, the development of nuclear weapons and justification for their possession have been shrouded by dishonesty.

Even before the end of the war against nazi Germany and militarist Japan, the White House was preparing to shatter the wartime alliance and resuscitate the politics of the red scare, which was directed as much at the aspirations of working people in the US, Britain and liberated Europe as at the Soviet Union.

There was no military necessity for the destruction of Hiroshima and, three days later, Nagasaki.

It was a demonstration not so much to the Japanese monarchy but to the Soviet leadership, announcing that the US had the most powerful weapon the world had ever seen and implying that it would be used against the Soviet Union if Moscow trespassed on the essential interests of US imperialism.

After the end of the war with Germany, in 1945, Japan became the intended nuclear weapon target. Not for the sake of ending the war with Japan: the Japanese government was willing to capitulate, provided that Emperor Hirohito would remain head of state. The US government also wanted the emperor to stay on, as they feared a new republic in Japan might shift to the left. So, the US government decided to kill ten thousands of mainly working class Japanese civilians by nuclear catastrophe, in order to intimidate the Soviet Union and the rest of the world.

To his discredit, the post-war Labour prime minister Clement Attlee, whose government introduced the NHS and a welfare state, signed up to the mirage of a British independent nuclear deterrent, omitting to inform even his Cabinet that he had done so.

Initial responses to the mass slaughter in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, especially among the civilian populations of the Allies, were muted.

Most people accepted US president Harry Truman‘s assertion that the bombings had taken place “to shorten the agony of war” and there was little awareness of the enormity of the new weapon.

That awareness grew in the following weeks, as people realised the damage that bombs of 15 kilotons and 21 kilotons – tiny in comparison with the explosive power of tens of megatons deployed by today’s nuclear arsenals – could wreak.

In Hiroshima, an initial death toll of 70,000 grew to 100,000 in a year and 200,000 in five years. In Nagasaki, the figures were 40,000, then 70,000 and, after five years, 140,000. Radiation sickness entered popular consciousness.

Opposition to nuclear weapons became a global movement, spearheaded by Japanese peace campaigners and represented in Britain by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. International public opinion succeeded in galvanising the nuclear and nonnuclear powers to draw up the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which was signed in New York 40 years ago.

It committed non-nuclear states not to seek atomic weapons, which is the US pretext for threatening Iran but it also bound the nuclear powers to reduce their own arsenals as a step on the road to total abolition.

Not only have they not done so but the US is pressing ahead with its son of Star Wars militarisation of space scheme and our own government has already agreed to replace its nuclear-armed Trident submarines, while denying – shades of Mr Attlee – that any decision has been taken.

The longer that nuclear weapons exist, the more likely it is that they will be used, creating death and misery on a scale unrecognisable even by the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The best way to honour their memory is to press our own government to reverse the decision to upgrade its own nuclear weapons.

See also here.

The CND peace symbol: here.

Why the WWII nuclear bombs dropped on Japan weren’t needed: here.