Monday, September 30, 2013

Map of Health Care Insurance Rate Changes Due to Obamacare

Forbes has a great article discussing the geography and overall changes in health care insurance premiums due to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.  Overall the Forbes article describes how all the new regulations will make health care insurance less affordable.

Only Colorado and New Hampshire benefit overall with women in Ohio also saving money.  Nebraska is the worse state to suffer in terms of the growth of fees.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Syria is Not Assyria

Some people have been discussing the events in Syria in apocalyptic terms.  Some have gone so far to pick Old Testament references to Assyria as being prophecies about the civil war in Syria.  I have one answer to those who ask if Assyria=Syria: No.

First off, Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, is located inside the modern city of Mosul, Iraq.

Now granted modern Syria and Iraq are artificial creations so one must look beyond simple borders.  Looking at the people it is clear Assyria does not equal Syria.  Assyrians exist today.  Most are either Chaldean Catholic or Nestorian Church of the East.  While there are some Assyrians in Syria (500,000 out of 22,500,000), most Syrians are Arab.

Finally, Assyria ceased to be as an independent power in 605 BC.  Syria became in 1946.

The land, people, and time do not match.  Assyria is not Syria.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Maps of Abortion Policies Worldwide Post-14 and 24 Weeks of Gestation

The United States is in rare company.

The only countries that allow abortion after fourteen weeks of gestation are the United States, Canada, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, the People's Republic of China, North Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam.

The nine after fourteen weeks.  Click to enlarge.
The only countries that allow on-demand abortion after twenty-four weeks of gestation are the United States, Canada, the People's Republic of China, and North Korea.
The four after twenty-four weeks. Click to enlarge.

Monday, September 16, 2013

"Great" Britain Strikes Back against Russian Insult

During an emotional high over the Syria crisis, a Russian official described the Great Britain/United Kingdom as a small island that no one pays attention to.  The British have apparently taken that insult personally.  The government-funded British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has a full article about just how impressive Great Britain is.

Claims to fame are
1) Ninth biggest island in the world!
2) One of the most populous islands in the world!
3) One of the few islands of significant size that officially calls itself 'great'!
4) One of a series of islands which governed massive empires!

My main family line comes from Great Britain (from what I can tell well established and probably pre-Norman Dane) so please do not believe I am mocking British with this post.  I am amused by the BBC's need to justify Britannia. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fall Foliage Map 2013

Stormfax has a great webpage and map of fall foliage color changes.  They also link to various states' tourism offices that handle foliage tourists.

Mid-Atlantic Region:
 PENNSYLVANIA  Fall Foliage/Events Hotline  1-800-FALL-INPA
 NEW JERSEY  Fall Foliage/Events  1-800-VISIT-NJ
 DELAWARE | (alt) Fall Foliage/Events  1-800-441-8846
 MARYLAND | (alt) Fall Foliage/Events  1-800-LEAVES-1
 VIRGINIA | (alt) Fall Foliage/Events  1-800-434-LEAF
 WEST VIRGINIA Fall Foliage/Events  1-800-CALL-WVA
 NORTH CAROLINA Fall Foliage/Events  1-800-VISIT-NC

New England Region:
 CONNECTICUT Fall Vacation Hotline  1-800-CT-BOUND
 MAINE Publicity Hotline  1-800-533-9595 or 1-888-MAINE-45
 MASSACHUSETTS | (alt) Fall Foliage Hotline  1-800-227-MASS (6277)
 NEW HAMPSHIRE | (alt) Fall Color Hotline  1-800-262-6660 or 1-800-258-3608
 NEW YORK | (alt) Fall Foliage Hotline  1-800-225-5697 or 1-800-CALL-NYS
 RHODE ISLAND | (alt) Fall Vacation Hotline  1-800-556-2484
 VERMONT | (alt) Fall Foliage Hotline  1-800-VERMONT or 1-800-828-3239

Midwest, West & South:

 ARKANSAS | (alt)  Fall Foliage  1-800-NATURAL
 CALIFORNIA | (alt)  Fall Foliage  1-800-354-4595
 COLORADO | (alt) Travel/Events Hotline  1-800-COLORADO
 GEORGIA Travel/Events Hotline  1-800-864-7275
 ILLINOIS | (alt) Travel/Events Hotline  1-800-2CONNECT
 INDIANA | (alt) Travel/Events Hotline  1-888-ENJOY-IN
 KENTUCKY Color Connection  1-800-225-8747
 MICHIGAN Foliage Hotline  1-800-644-3255
 MINNESOTA Foliage Hotline  1-800-657-3700
 MISSOURI Fall Report  1-800-NATURAL
 MONTANA | (alt) Travel/Events Hotline  1-800-847-4868
 OHIO Foliage & Travel Hotline  1-800-282-5393
 OREGON | (alt) Foliage Hotline  1-800-547-5445
 TENNESSEE Fall Color Hotline  1-800-697-4200
 TEXAS | (alt) State Park Hotline  1-800-792-1112
 WASHINGTON State Foliage Information  1-800-354-4595
 WISCONSIN Foliage Hotline  1-800-432-TRIP
 WYOMING | (alt) Travel Hotline  1-800-225-5996

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Government to Finally Consider Allowing Naturally Restored Landscapes to Remain after Disasters

CNS is reporting that the government is considering changes to environmental sensitivity index maps to factor in naturally restored, post-disaster landscapes to remain.  In the past, the government has allowed homes to rebuilt on modified sandbars after hurricanes.  However, Hurricane Sandy's impact has shown that nature's having more natural landscapes could ease the effects of disasters (think sandbars or the Louisiana swamps lessening the strength of hurricanes).

While some may decry government rules allowing insurance companies to deny rebuilding funds for some waterfront homes, the restoration of the environment's impact on powerful storms may save more money, families' homes, and lives in the long run.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Arctic Ocean Ice Cover Grows by 60% Compared to 2012, Still on Downward Trend

Climate science and politics has become a race to stupidity by both sides.  The loudest voices of doom dominate the environmentalists while the absolute deniers are the loudest voice on the skeptics side.

Today's example is Arctic Ocean ice cover growing by sixty percent compared to 2012.  Great news on the surface.  It certainly proves false doom sayers who claimed the Arctic Ocean would be ice free in 2013.

From Daily Mail
However, the Guardian (who has played fast and loose with climate science before but not this time) points out that this sixty percent still is part of an overall decline.

From The Guardian

Now there is an overall "pause" (or if you see it as a "cessation") in global warming that was not foreseen in modelling.  It remains to be seen whether or not this large growth in sea ice actually means something or is merely a short-term bounce.  While it cannot be simply dismissed it is foolish to declare the problem over.  Scientist will be trying to figure out exactly what and why is going for a long time.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Liam Fox's Ten Global Trends to Watch Out For

Former British Secretary of State for Defense Liam Fox has published the book Rising Tides about global threats against the West and the world in general.  The top ten threats are

Pakistan: A fractured rogue state artificially held from Collapse, thus only prolonging the decay, by international aid.

Water Scarcity and Wars Derived from It: In the end water is worth more than oil.  Egypt and Ethiopia already play a dangerous game over the flow of the Nile.

Dirty Bombs: Deadly, long-term impact terrorism made easy

The Downfall of the Euro:  Last time Europe's economy failed the dream of globalization died for 75 years and there were two world wars.

National Debt:  First international strength dies, then national strength, and then everyone suffers.

Demographic Graying:  A nation of old people cannot have a welfare system nor can it be a player on the world stage.

Unfettered Immigration: Eventually non-assimilated immigrants can take over a graying country and bring all the problems they tried to escape over with them to their new home.

International Jihadi Terrorism:  From New York to London to Africa to Syria to the Far East, militant Islamists are fighting a war against the world.

Nuclear Iran:  The world will become an even more dangerous state.  Eventually someone will use a nuclear weapon again.

Collapse of Political Will in the West: So many Westerners are afraid to confront other culture's problems.  The West has some major problems (selective killing of young), but no one dares confront the problems which cause so much death and suffering across the world.  Sometimes other's choices are not "different", they are wrong.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Irish Emigration Shows History is Not Dead, Emigration and Immigration Still Can Change Demography

It has rebounded a bit but the lower base is disturbing.  Without jobs this small base will seek employment elsewhere.
One person emigrates from Ireland every six minutes.  The main driver of emigration is unemployment which is especially high (33%) among young adults.  Meanwhile, Ireland's labor market is full of jobs which European Union open border policies allow for Eastern Europeans to be employed at much lower wages.  Ireland's poor economy, general demographic decline to decreasing birthrates, and outflow of ethnic natives with inflow of foreigners is changing the country.  It is no longer the stereotypical Catholic republic of seventy-five years ago.

The same changes hold true for Belgium where up to a quarter of the country is non-native, a London where ethnic English are the minority, and Persian Gulf countries where Christians make the largest religious group.  Those who think previous demographic profiles will continue in the future are fools.  History is not dead.  Migration does impact demographics.  Just as borders change, so do countries makeup.

Videos of the History and Geography of Syria

Two great videos can help give background to the current situation in Syria

First is a short history of the Sykes-Picot agreement which divided modern-day Syria and Iraq.  The agreement ignored "natural" borders of various different ethno-sectarian groups.  Mentioning the World War I agreement shows that the Seventy-Five Years War (World War I and the related European wars ending with the fall of the Eastern Bloc) continues to be waged in the Middle East despite it ending in Europe in 1989.

The second one breaks down the current ethno-sectarian division upon the physical landscape.

Some people may wonder if dividing Syria is an option.  It has be done before as modern Syria is a rump state.  Today Syria's geopolitic can be understood as people from the Alawite State ruiling from the State of Damascus, exploiting the resources of the State of Aleppo.