Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Qatar Airlift

This probably isn't the best idea for a desert country with no rain-fed agriculture, but it is notable:
The showdown between Qatar and its neighbors has disrupted trade, split families and threatened to alter long-standing geopolitical alliances. It’s also prompted one Qatari businessman to fly 4,000 cows to the Gulf desert in an act of resistance and opportunity to fill the void left by a collapse in the supply of fresh milk.
It will take as many as 60 flights for Qatar Airways to deliver the 590-kilogram beasts that Moutaz Al Khayyat, chairman of Power International Holding, bought in Australia and the U.S. “This is the time to work for Qatar,” he said....
Most of the fresh milk and dairy products for Doha’s more than 1 million population came from Saudi Arabia up until a week ago. That milk is getting scarce after the kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and two allies cut transport links with a country that spends $500 million a week to prepare stadiums and a metro before the soccer World Cup in 2022.
Al Khayyat, whose main business is a construction firm that built Qatar’s biggest mall, had been expanding the company's agricultural business at a farm 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Doha. Food security is part of Qatar’s government strategy to steer the economy away from petrodollars, known, like in Saudi Arabia, as “Vision 2030.”
On a site covering the equivalent of almost 70 soccer fields, new grey sheds line two strips of verdant grass in the desert with a road running through the middle up to a small mosque. It produces sheep milk and meat and there were already plans to import the cows by sea. Then Qatar was ostracized, so the project was expedited.
I would say that trying to produce cow milk isn't the best investment of resources in the Middle East, but Saudi Arabia's investment in a war on Shiite Islam and anyone who supports the Shiites is even worse.  I don't understand how Obama supported the Saudis' war on Yemen, and it is scary as hell that Trump feels the need to encourage the ultimate terror sponsors to start even more shit.  Hopefully we manage to avoid the idiotic war with Iran so many morons in this country want us to pursue (such as the commander-in-chief).  I'll be rooting for Qatar in the current fight.

Your U.S. Open Host Origin Story

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has a really interesting story of how this year's host course Erin Hills was built, and how it came to host the U.S. Open.  It is hard to believe.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Planting 2017

Well, we finally finished planting (at least the first time) for the season.  May as well watch it rain some more:


FRACTAL - 4k StormLapse from Chad Cowan on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Small Towns As The New Inner Cities

The Wall Street Journal goes to Kenton, Ohio to look at the demographic challenges facing many small towns:
In Hardin County, where Kenton is the seat, factories that once made cabooses for trains and axles for commercial trucks have shut down. Since 1980, the share of county residents who live in poverty has risen by 45% and median household income adjusted for inflation has fallen by 7%.
At the same time, census figures show, the percentage of adults who are divorced has nearly tripled, outpacing the U.S. average. Opioid abuse is also driving up crime.
Father Dave Young, the 38-year-old Catholic priest at Immaculate Conception, was shocked when a thief stole ornamental candlesticks and a ciborium, spilling communion wafers along the way.
Before coming to this county a decade ago, Father Young had grown up in nearby Columbus—where for many years he didn’t feel safe walking the streets. “I always had my guard up,” he said.
Since 1980, however, the state capital’s population has risen 52%, buoyed by thousands of jobs from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., plus the growth of Ohio State University. Median household income in Columbus is up 6% over the same span, adjusted for inflation. “The economy has grown a lot there,” said Father Young. “The downtown, they’ve really worked on it.”
Meanwhile, as Kenton—population 8,200—continues to unravel, he said he has begun always locking the church door. Again, he finds himself looking over his shoulder.
There are definitely some similarities between the current struggles of many small, isolated towns and the challenges faced by inner city neighborhoods fifty years ago.  Both areas lost jobs and hope while drug use and family failures spiraled up.  Currently, we haven't seen the spike in violent crime in small towns, and hopefully we won't, but I expect that part of the inner city collapse rose up with the feeling of hopelessness that grew up out of the utter lack of opportunity and impact of drugs.  It very well could crop up in today's seemingly abandoned small towns.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

House GOP Obamacare Repeal: Robbing From The Sick and Giving To The Rich

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Chart of the Day: Word Cloud Edition

Quinnipiac asked, "what is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Donald Trump?":

The most common responses, in order:
1. idiot, 39 times
2. incompetent, 31 times
3. liar, 30 times
4. leader, 25 times
5. unqualified, 25 times
6. president, 22 times
7. strong, 21 times
8. businessman, 18 times
9. ignorant, 16 times
10. egotistical, 15 times
It is good that we only did the top 10, because the 11th most-common word is not suitable for a family newspaper. It rhymes with “mass soul.” And actually, it’s only tied for 11th … with “stupid.”
I would have probably used moron or dumbfuck.