Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Gulag Testimonial

A new book appeared, based on NKVD files from the Ukraine, from the years 1938-39.
Shows how "normal" life was there, how people were routinely tortured and murdered for no reason at all. 700,000 of them in those two years alone...

Read the short review

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Quote of the day

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

Mark Twain

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Burning our food.

Pres. Bush has mandated that by 2030, 15% of vehicle fuel used in the USA must be biofuel - i.e. ethanol. In the EU there is a mandate for 5% biofuel.

This is crazy, totally crazy. The idea that we have surplus arable land and agricultural resources, and can permit ourselves to burn our corn or sugar cane is insane.

This article in The Guardian explains it well. Here is an excerpt:

It doesn't get madder than this. Swaziland is in the grip of a famine and receiving emergency food aid. Forty per cent of its people are facing acute food shortages. So what has the government decided to export? Biofuel made from one of its staple crops, cassava. The government has allocated several thousand hectares of farmland to ethanol production in the district of Lavumisa, which happens to be the place worst hit by drought.

This combines the two themes: government intervention, and
green intervention. Madness squared.