Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Mexican Trucks Entering US Cited for 1 Million Violations -

Mexican Trucks Entering US Cited for 1 Million Violations - 

Inspectors from the Texas Department of Public Safety have found a million violations in trucks coming from Mexico into El Paso, Texas between 2007 and 2011, according to a report by the El Paso Times. The report comes just weeks before Mexican trucks will be allowed to begin shipping long-haul freight into U.S. territory. 
The statistics, obtained by Fox News Latino, show that between the fiscal years of 2007 and the first six months of 2011 the state completed 1.2 million inspections at the El Paso state facilities by the Bridge of Americas and the Zaragoza International Bridge. Inspections led to 1,004,213 violations including brake problems, defective lights, and flat tires.

According to the El Paso Times, the violations found by U.S. officials, many of them repeat offenses, caused 31,519 trucks and 625 drivers to be placed out of service during this time period.
The data comes months after a bilateral agreement was signed earlier this month which will allow Mexican trucks to begin shipping long-haul freight far into U.S. territory.  Up to now, Mexican trucks could enter the United States but were restricted to a narrow border zone.
Critics, led by U.S. labor groups like the Teamsters union, say the statistics only reinforce their stance that the new cross-border trucking program will put lives in danger on America's highways.
“This report confirms what we have been saying for years – Mexican trucking companies and their fleets are not held to the same stringent safety standards as American carriers," said Jim Hoffa, general president of Teamsters, to Fox News Latino. "Until they meet every safety, training and environmental standard that our trucking companies meet, we should not allow these unsafe Mexican trucks to drive freely through our country.”
State Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, told the El Paso Times that the number of violations for the trucks from Mexico is in line with U.S. industry standards. He also assured that the trucks undergo inspections in Mexico and the United States.

Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2011/08/22/mexican-trucks-entering-us-cited-for-1-million-violations-report-says/#ixzz1Vsx43uoq

What men really think about your weight, cheating and faking orgasms -

What men really think about your weight, cheating and faking orgasms - 

At what point does a woman become sexually promiscuous?

  • When she sleeps with her 10th sex partner: 39%
  • When she sleeps with her 20th sex partner: 32%
  • When she sleeps with her 50th sex partner: 12%
  • When she sleeps with her 100th sex partner: 3%
  • Never: 15%

At what age do women start losing their looks?

  • 60: 7%
  • 50: 24%
  • 40: 39%
  • 30: 15%
  • 20: 1%
  • 18: 0%
  • Never: 14%

Would you date a woman with children?

  • Yes, I already am: 5%
  • Yes, it doesn't bother me: 48%
  • No, I wouldn't be comfortable: 21%

Is it important for a girlfriend to have 'wife potential'?

  • Yes, I won't bother pursuing a woman who isn't a potential wife: 31%
  • Somewhat, though I won't break up with her if I realise that she isn't: 49%
  • No, not at all, I don't look that far ahead in my relationships: %20

If there were no chance of your partner finding out, how likely would you be to cheat on her?

  • Not at all likely, I might be tempted, but cheating violates my morals : 34%
  • Not very likely, I might be tempted, but I love and respect her too much : 36%
  • Somewhat likely, but I would feel guilty, nonetheless : 20%
  • Very likely, she can’t be hurt if she doesn’t know about it : 7%
  • I already cheat on her : 3%

Read more: What men really think about your weight, cheating and faking orgasms | iVillage UK http://www.ivillage.co.uk/what-men-really-think-about-your-weight-cheating-and-faking-orgasms/133290#4#ixzz1VssvyVKw
Parenting: Information & advice

Bangkok's radical answers to global warming - Will the Thai government build an "Aqua City" off Bangkok's shores? -

Bangkok's radical answers to global warming - Will the Thai government build an "Aqua City" off Bangkok's shores? - 

For years, Thailand’s top disaster guru has sounded an apocalyptic warning: the sea is rising, Bangkok is sinking and the coastal metropolis will sit under five feet of water by 2030.

The only bulwark against this scenario is a $2.8 billion dyke sealing off Bangkok from the sea, so goes the refrain of Smith Dharmasaroja, head of Thailand’s National Disaster Warning Center.

But a plan to do just that, elevated from obscurity by Thailand’s new government, is getting creamed by environmentalists, experts and fishermen alike. Even Smith, who has pushed the idea on politicians for years, believes the plan’s latest incarnation is mostly fantasy.

“Impossible,” he said. “The plan has to be abandoned.”

Elected last month, Thailand’s ruling Pheu Thai party ran on promises to erect an 18-mile long seawall to save Bangkok from flooding. That proposal, and its drastic effects on the environment, are controversial enough.

But the party is pairing the dam plan with a vow to pull off an extremely ambitious engineering feat: erecting a modern “new city” behind the seawall.

“We don’t have to save money to build the dam and fill in the sea,” according to a policy brief from the party. “We’ll get 300-square kilometers (115 square miles) of new land” that can be developed and sold at a profit. “We could have various city centers, industries that don’t have to pollute in a city that considers the environment.”

The seawall, Smith said, is still Bangkok’s only salvation. “I’m still worried about the 16 million people in Bangkok, where roads will be covered with water, where hospitals will be flooded, where tourists won’t be able to come.”

But a futuristic city rising from the gulf? “It won’t work,” he said. “Under the water, it’s all soft mud. You can’t build anything on that.”

There are precedents, however, for both fending off the sea and reclaiming land. The Netherlands, perhaps the world’s premier dam builders, have erected complicated dykes to spare low-lying Amsterdam.

The oil-rich United Arab Emirates has expanded territory by creating entire islands in the Persian Gulf. In nearby Singapore, the tiny, affluent city-state grows its territory by dumping tons of sand on its shoreline.

But environmentalists insist that there’s no feasible way to set buildings atop the foundation of soupy muck off Bangkok’s coast.

Nothing short of a huge, reinforced platform built above the sea would suffice, said Anond Snidvongs, director of the Southeast Asia Regional Research Center. “That’s if you want that area completely dry all the time, no matter the tide.”


United pilots to use iPad for navigation - replacing the hefty flight manuals and chart books with 11,000 iPads -

United pilots to use iPad for navigation - replacing the hefty flight manuals and chart books with 11,000 iPads - 

United Airlines said Tuesday it was replacing the hefty flight manuals and chart books its pilots have long used with 11,000 iPads carrying the same data.
The 1.5 pound (0.7 kilogram) iPad will take the place of about 38 pounds (17 kilograms) of paper instructions, data and charts pilots have long used to help guide them, parent company United Continental Holdings said.

The popular tablet computer will carry the Mobile FliteDeck software app from Jeppesen, a Boeing subsidiary which provides navigation tools for air, sea and land.

"The paperless flight deck represents the next generation of flying," said Captain Fred Abbott, United's senior vice president of flight operations.

"The introduction of iPads ensures our pilots have essential and real-time information at their fingertips at all times throughout the flight."

It will be supplied to all pilots on United and Continental flights; the two carriers merged in 2010.

United is the second major US carrier to adopt the iPad as a key pilot flight aid.

In May Alaska Airlines also adopted it, after the Federal Aviation Administration okayed the iPad for cockpit use.

United estimates that using the iPad will save 16 million sheets of paper a year, and that the lighter load it represents will save 326,000 gallons (1.2 million liters) in fuel.

"With iPad, pilots are able to quickly and efficiently access reference material without having to thumb through thousands of sheets of paper and reduce clutter on the flight deck," the company said.


Martin Luther King memorial made in China - $120 million four-acre memorial to Dr King made in China -

Martin Luther King memorial made in China -  $120 million four-acre memorial to Dr King made in China - 

The 30ft-tall statue, which forms the centrepiece of a $120 million (£73 million), four-acre memorial to Dr King, opened to the public on Monday on the National Mall in Washington. It is the only memorial on the Mall that does not honour a president or fallen soldiers.
Standing in the shadow of the Washington Monument, the statue shows Dr King emerging from a mountain of Chinese granite with his arms crossed and is called The Stone of Hope.
However, there has been controversy over the choice of Lei Yixin, a 57-year-old master sculptor from Changsha in Hunan province, to carry out the work. Critics have openly asked why a black, or at least an American, artist was not chosen and even remarked that Dr King appears slightly Asian in Mr Lei's rendering.
Mr Lei, who has in the past carved two statues of Mao Tse-tung, one of which stands in the former garden of Mao Anqing, the Chinese leader's son, carried out almost all of the work in Changsha.
More than 150 granite blocks, weighing some 1,600 tons, were then shipped from Xiamen to the port of Baltimore, and reassembled by a team of 100 workmen, including ten Chinese stone masons brought over specifically for the project.

Dr King's son, Martin Luther King III, has defended the outsourcing.
"I have seen probably 50 sculptures of my dad, and I would say 47 of them are not good reflections," he said, to USA Today."This particular artist: he has done a good job."
However, Ed Dwight, a sculptor in Denver, said Dr King would be "turning over in his grave" if he knew his likeness had been conceived by someone living under a Communist regime.
"He would rise up from his grave and walk into their offices and go, 'How dare you?'"
Mr Lei was chosen after the memorial's fund-raisers observed him at work at a stone carver's symposium in Minnesota. Amid the criticism, the architects in charge of the project said that they had visited Mr Lei's studio in Changsha to find he had already carved several versions of the work.
He has also prepared a bronze bust of Barack Obama which he intends to gift to the president.
The new memorial is next to the Lincoln Memorial, on whose steps Dr King delivered his "I have a dream" speech in 1963, a defining moment in the American Civil Rights movement. The statue will be officially dedicated on Sunday, the anniversary of the speech, but the park has opened in advance to visitors. Around 400,000 people are expected in the run-up to Sunday's event.
The statue, meanwhile, will be 11ft taller than the statues in the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials. It is unclear how much money was saved by making it in China.


Hong Kong inflation surges to 16-year high as government warns of more short-term pain -

Hong Kong inflation surges to 16-year high as government warns of more short-term pain - 

Inflation in Hong Kong surged to a 16-year high in July and the government warned that the problem would not go away soon.
Consumer prices rocketed 7.9 percent from a year earlier, according to official figures released Monday. That’s the highest rate since 8.4 percent in November 1995.
The Hong Kong government said a suspension in July 2010 of rent paid by people living in public housing distorted the figures. Stripping those relief measures out, the underlying inflation rate was 5.8 percent, still higher than the 5.5 percent underlying rate recorded in June.
Higher private housing rents and pork prices helped push up consumer prices in July.
The government said “inflation is likely to remain notable in the near term” because of high global food prices and local private housing rents.
Asian governments this year have been battling quickening inflation with higher interest rates, stronger currencies and slower growth in spending.
Rising inflation threatens to swell the ranks of people in the region living below the poverty line.
China reported earlier this month that inflation rose to a 37-month high in July, adding pressure on Chinese leaders to cool living costs while keeping economic growth on track.
Vietnam has the region’s highest annual inflation rate at 21 percent while India’s is 8.6 percent. Rapid rises in prices, especially for food, could threaten social stability, which in the past decade has been underpinned by the rising living standards that Asia’s robust economic growth has delivered.
The Asian Development Bank estimates that a 10 percent increase in food prices drags another 64 million people below the $1.25-a-day poverty line.
Read more -