This fellow is not human. He must be a visitor from another galaxy or something…
Speed Solo Eiger Record
Ueli Steck | YouTube
____________________________________________________________________________ At the age of 17, Steck achieved the 9th difficulty rating (UIAA) in climbing. As an 18-year-old he climbed the north face of the Eiger, and the Bonatti Pillar in the Mont Blanc massif. In June 2004, he climbed the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau within 25 hours with Stephan Siegrist. Another success was the so-called Khumbu-Express in 2005, for which the climbing magazine Climb named him one of the three best alpinists in Europe. The project consisted of the first solo-climb of the north wall of Cholatse (6440 m) and the east wall of Taboche (6505 m). In 2007, while climbing the direct line on the southern flank to the summit of Annapurna in the Himalayas, he was hit by a falling rock which smashed his helmet. He was knocked unconscious, slipped more than 200 feet, but survived with only bruises and a concussion. In May 2008, again climbing Annapurna, he broke off his ascent due to an avalanche threat, but the next week climbed to assist a Spanish climber Iñaki Ochoa de Olza, who had collapsed. Medical help was slow in coming and the Spanish climber died despite Steck’s help. In 2008, Steck was the first recipient of the Eiger Award for his mountaineering achievements.
Rory Stewart is the author of a wonderful book called ‘The Places In Between’ in which he recounts his experience walking across Afghanistan. Since that time he has had a remarkable career as a diplomat, writer, lecturer, college professor and member of the British Parliament. In this TED Talk, Stewart offers the most cogent, clear-headed and refreshingly honest assessment of why the war in Afghanistan is still going on and what is required to end it…
Time to End the War
Rory Stewart | TED | July 11
____________________________________________________________________________ Now the member of British Parliament for Penrith and the Border, in rural northwest England, Rory Stewart has led a fascinatingly broad life of public service. He joined the Foreign Office after school, then left to begin a years-long series of walks across the Muslim world. In 2002, his extraordinary walk across post-9/11 Afghanistan resulted in his first book, The Places in Between. After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, he served as a Deputy Governorate Co-Ordinator in Southern Iraq for the coalition forces, and later founded a charity in Kabul. To secure his Conservative seat in Parliament, he went on a walking tour of Penrith, covering the entire county as he talked to voters. In 2008, Esquire called him one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century. He says: “The world isn’t one way or another. Things can be changed very, very rapidly by someone with sufficient confidence, sufficient knowledge and sufficient authority.”
I totally agree with Paul Krugman in this morning’s column. An important commentary on the situation in DC…
The Centrist Cop-Out
Paul Krugman | NYTimes | 28 July 11
The facts of the crisis over the debt ceiling aren’t complicated. Republicans have, in effect, taken America hostage, threatening to undermine the economy and disrupt the essential business of government unless they get policy concessions they would never have been able to enact through legislation. And Democrats — who would have been justified in rejecting this extortion altogether — have, in fact, gone a long way toward meeting those Republican demands.
As I said, it’s not complicated. Yet many people in the news media apparently can’t bring themselves to acknowledge this simple reality. News reports portray the parties as equally intransigent; pundits fantasize about some kind of “centrist” uprising, as if the problem was too much partisanship on both sides.
What has happened to the Federal Aviation Administration in the last few days should remind everyone of the costs of the Republicans’ obstructionism and their slash-and-burn budget games.
Taxes on airline tickets expired on Friday when the F.A.A. lost its operating authority, including the authority to collect taxes. Passengers are rightly furious at the nation’s airlines, many of which are pocketing the difference. But the masterminds of this fiasco are the House Republicans who let this happen.
House Republicans have lost sight of the country’s welfare. It’s hard to conclude anything else from their latest actions, including the House speaker’s dismissal of President Obama’s plea for compromise Monday night. They have largely succeeded in their campaign to ransom America’s economy for the biggest spending cuts in a generation. They have warped an exercise in paying off current debt into an argument about future spending. Yet, when they win another concession, they walk away.
This increasingly reckless game has pushed the nation to the brink of ruinous default. The Republicans have dimmed the futures of millions of jobless Americans, whose hopes for work grow more out of reach as government job programs are cut and interest rates begin to rise. They have made the federal government a laughingstock around the globe.
President Obama Addresses the Nation on Dangers of Default. With eight days until our nation faces an unprecedented financial crisis, the President addressed the nation on the consequences the stalemate in Congress could have on the stability of our economy.
Lately I have wondered if President Obama might declare a state of emergency and override the republican “Strike Against America” campaign they have been waging by some sort of “emergency executive privilege.” I guess not. I think there might be something in the Constitution preventing such a move. Seems a shame when one intransigent political party can effectively shut down and bankrupt the entire country. I guess they really don’t care what sort of damage they do so long as they get their way. Slash and burn. Take no prisoners. Sounds like what we’ve been doing to Iraq and Afghanistan. Interestingly I haven’t heard anyone suggest we stop doing what we’re doing to Iraq and Afghanistan, at a cost of a billion dollars a day. I guess some causes trump all others, don’t they…
Republicans, Zealots and Our Security
Nicholas Kristof | NYTimes | 23 July 11
If China or Iran threatened our national credit rating and tried to drive up our interest rates, or if they sought to damage our education system, we would erupt in outrage.
Well, wake up to the national security threat. Only it’s not coming from abroad, but from our own domestic extremists.
We tend to think of national security narrowly as the risk of a military or terrorist attack. But national security is about protecting our people and our national strength — and the blunt truth is that the biggest threat to America’s national security this summer doesn’t come from China, Iran or any other foreign power. It comes from budget machinations, and budget maniacs, at home.
A “right-wing, fundamentalist Christian.” And a maniac…
Anders Behring Breivik
The Norwegian police on Saturday charged a man they identified as a right-wing fundamentalist Christian in connection with the bombing of a government building in central Oslo and a shooting attack on a nearby island that together killed at least 92 people.
This is a scary video. Imagine if every letter you wrote, every package in the mail was somehow “hacked” like the email of the Royal family? We’ve all encountered viruses on our computers. A royal pain, right? That’s done by relative amateurs. Imagine when the big boys of crime decide that the path to riches is through your laptop? Think I’m being a tad paranoid? Watch this…
____________________________________________________________________________ The chief research officer at F-Secure Corporation in Finland, Mikko Hypponen has led his team through some of the largest computer virus outbreaks in history. His team took down the world-wide network used by the Sobig.F worm. He was the first to warn the world about the Sasser outbreak, and he has done classified briefings on the operation of the Stuxnet worm — a hugely complex worm designed to sabotage Iranian nuclear enrichment facilities.
As a few hundred million more Internet users join the web from India and China and elsewhere, and as governments and corporations become more sophisticated at using viruses as weapons, Hypponen asks, what’s next? Who will be at the front defending the world’s networks from malicious software? His work offers a peek into the post-Stuxnet future. He says: “It’s more than unsettling to realize there are large companies out there developing backdoors, exploits and trojans.”