Monthly Archives: November 2013

Views from the Solar System (174)

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Lighting the Paths Across the U.S.

NASA – Thanksgiving is a time for family, for feasting, and for gratitude in the United States. It is also a time when the nation’s transportation network is clogged with travelers. According to the American Automobile Association, an estimated 43.4 million Americans will travel 50 miles (80 kilometers) or more during Thanksgiving week, with the average round trip being 600 miles (1,000 kilometers). More than 90 percent of them will use cars or trucks, while the rest will ride planes or trains.

The United States has more roads€”4.1 million miles (6.6 million kilometers)€”than any other nation in the world, and roughly 40 percent more than second-ranked India. About 47,000 of those U.S. miles are part of the Interstate Highway System, established by President Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s. The country also has 127,000 miles (204,000 kilometers) of railroad tracks and about 25,000 miles (40,000 kilometers) of navigable rivers and canals (not including the Great Lakes).

The imprint of that transportation web becomes easier to see at night. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP (National Polar-orbiting Partnership) satellite acquired two nighttime images early on Oct. 1, 2013, for this natural-light, mosaic view of the continental United States. The VIIRS instrument uses a “day-night band” of wavelengths that is sensitive to low light levels and manmade light sources. The images were collected just three days before the new moon, so reflected light from space and the atmosphere was relatively low. It was also a rare night when most of the nation was cloud-free.

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Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using Suomi NPP VIIRS and DMSP OLS data provided courtesy of Chris Elvidge (NOAA National Geophysical Data Center)
Caption: Mike Carlowicz

Corporate espionage undermines democracy

By Ralph Nader – It’s not just the NSA that has been caught spying on Americans. Some of our nation’s largest corporations have been conducting espionage as well, against civic groups.

In effect, big corporations have been able to hire portions of the national security apparatus, and train their tools of spycraft on the citizens groups of our nation.

This does not bode well for our democracy. Our democracy is only as strong as the civic groups that work to preserve and protect it every day. more> http://tinyurl.com/m9uys9h

Four Keys to Great Customer Service

By Caroline Baum – Anyone who has survived a marathon phone session with an Internet service provider knows the frustration, not to mention the elevated stress level, associated with today’s automated world. In many cases, customer service has been supplanted by do-it-yourself phone menus and websites.

I’ve tried to distill the message I got from these companies into some important concepts.

  • Customer service is marketing
  • The price of loyalty
  • Who we are is what we do
  • The time value of money, or the value of our time

I have never had reason to contact a real person at … Now that’s the definition of good customer service. more> http://tinyurl.com/ox8p2fa

A Computer Might Come After Your Job Next

By Matthew C. Klein – First it won at “Jeopardy.” Now it might threaten millions of low-wage jobs.

If it works, this technology would be a boon for everyone who prefers to buy things from the comfort of home. Right now, only a small percentage of shopping occurs online. Shipping costs could be one reason. Another is that many people are hesitant to buy things over the Internet when they can’t try them out first, especially clothing. That reticence could be overcome by these new technologies. If a computer knew your body shape and knew the dimensions of each piece of clothing, it could show you exactly how items would fit. more> http://tinyurl.com/pa6kghm

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The Eight Fictions Of Central Banking

By Steve Denning – Fiction: “The absence of higher inflation is sufficient license for the Fed to continue its present course.”

Reality: The real danger of long periods of free money and subsidized credit is significant capital misallocation and mal-investment, which undermine long-term growth or financial stability.

Fiction: “Highly accommodative monetary policy through QE provides broad support to the economy.”

Reality: Current policy helps the rich, but does little for workers and retirees or those seeking unemployment. more> http://tinyurl.com/pvsps83

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Library of Congress – S. 1197 [113th] National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 H.R. 3350 [113th] Keep Your Health Plan Act of 2013 H.R. 3204 [113th] Drug Quality and Security Act H.R. 2283 [113th] Human Trafficking Prioritization Act … Continue reading

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CONGRESS WATCH Turner pushes for federal money for Moraine plant, Cornelius Frolik, Dayton Daily News Congressman Turner on WHIO at GM Moraine Plant, YouTube [VIDEO 1:56]

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CONGRESS WATCH Chaffetz: Deception of Americans is never acceptable, Jason Chaffetz, sltrib.com Rep. Jason Chaffetz: “President can’t live up to his promises.”, YouTube [VIDEO 4:25] Chaffetz Looks For Details About “Ethical” Obamacare Hacker, YouTube [VIDEO 4:31] Chaffetz Grills DHS Officials … Continue reading

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CONGRESS WATCH Senator Carper’s Thanksgiving Greeting, YouTube [VIDEO 2:05] Related articles Updates from Senator Tom Carper (blogs.strategygroup.net)

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CONGRESS WATCH Proclamation 106 – Thanksgiving Day, 1863, ucsb.edu Related articles Updates from Congressman J. Randy Forbes (blogs.strategygroup.net) Updates from Congressman J. Randy Forbes (blogs.strategygroup.net) Updates from Congressman J. Randy Forbes (blogs.strategygroup.net)