Violence in Korean beef protests

About 130 people were injured during a violent clash during protests against the importation of American Beef into South Korea. By now, most of the moderates who participated in the protests are probably tired of them and need to go back to their own lives, so it's not a particular surprise that only the hardcore protestors would still go on. So it would have only been a matter of time before the ongoing protests resulted in violence.

The ironic thing is that for all we know, the injuries from this single protest might be more harm than what could result from the import of US beef, at least in terms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease infection. It is quite possible that no such cases might arise at all. I could be wrong, and the protestors could be right in their belief that import of US beef could result in a rash of cases, but there is no indication that this would be the case.

Good and bad solar news

The Bureau of Land Management, which manages public land in the United States, has put a two-year moratorium on new solar plant proposals on public land. The good news is that the moratorium is motivated by the large number of proposals that have been made, which implies that a lot of companies are interested in solar energy as a significant source of energy in the near future. This is a hopeful sign that cleaner energy sources are on the rise.

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GLAST is operational

GLAST in space

GLAST, the space-based gamma-ray observatory from NASA, is now operational and has started collecting data. GLAST will be able to observe much higher energy gamma rays compared to the Swift satellite, which should open a new view to the skies.

While it's a sure thing that GLAST will be observing known things such as gamma-ray bursts, active galactic nuclei, and supernova remnants, it might even make breakthroughs in physics by observing annihilation of dark matter particles or violations of Lorentz invariance.

The computer graphic for GLAST in orbit is courtesy of NASA.

Socialist America

Socialism seems to be alive and well in America, despite rhetoric to the contrary. The government bailed out Bear Stearns with a very large subsidy, while Congress has passed a law to support homeowners that are in danger of foreclosures. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but there's a slight cognitive dissonance in that a lot of people in power extol the virtue of a pure free market with minimum regulation.

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