Sunday, January 30, 2005

Iraq's Oil Infrastructure

Iraq, with the 3rd largest proven crude oil reserves in the world, was supposed  to  pay for the cost of the war via Oil production.

It remains the least explored of the oil-rich Middle-Eastern countries. But its oil industry, according to a 2000 report, has serious technical and infrastructure problems.

Oil2_map416

Under optimal conditions, it is estimated Iraq could produce up to 6m barrels a day - almost double its peak of 3.5m, reached in 1979 before the war with Iran. Regular insurgent attacks on pipelines and pump stations have meant oil production rarely reaches its pre-invasion levels of about 2.5m barrels per day. In 2004, production is reported to have averaged 1.9m barrels. Sabotage on oil and power installations has cost Iraq more than $10bn.



Source:
Iraq's Oil Infrastructure
BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/in_depth/post_saddam_iraq/html/4.stm

Posted at 07:15 AM in Politics, War/Defense | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Iraq: Not a Blue or Red State

If you think the US is divided, try this map:



Infoiraqelect0105voters



Note that Iraqis are hardly "Red or Blue" Staters; There are instead many combinations of Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis. A peaceful, Democratic state certainly will not look like the US; I suspect it will be more like Israel or Italy than the U.S.


Source:
Iraq election guide
Wall Street Journal
http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/info-iraqelect0105.html

Posted at 07:10 AM in Politics, War/Defense | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Iraq Religous and Ethnic Groups

Iraq Population: 26 million people
(primarily concentrated in the eastern half of the country)

Most Iraqis are Muslim and are divided along religious lines (between Shias and Sunnis) and ethnic lines (between Arabs and Kurds).

The ethnicities and voting patterns appear to be more complex than the infamous US's Red State/ Blue State schism.

Religious_map416_1

There are no precise figures, but the mainly-Arab Shias are thought to form a 60% majority and expect to dominate political life after the January election. Under Saddam Hussein, Sunni Arabs (about 20% of the population) dominated political and economic life. The Kurds, who are also Sunnis and represent about 17% of the population, mainly live in the north where they have enjoyed varying degrees of autonomy since 1991.




Source:
Religous and Ethnic Groups inIraq
BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/in_depth/post_saddam_iraq/html/1.stm

Posted at 07:05 AM in Politics, Religion, War/Defense | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Iraqi Provinces (Governorates)

  Most of Iraq is relatively sparesly populated; Baghdad and Ninawa have nearly half the country's people:

 

Iraq_governates

Note the population concentrations by "State"




Source:
UNO Sat
via Friends of Democracy, January 14, 2005
http://friendsofdemocracy.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/iraqdistricts_copy_3.jpg

Posted at 07:00 AM in Politics | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Ensemble Cast Changes

We've talked about the cast change in Coupling, which is one of the funniest shows ever made.

When Richard Coyle, who played Jeff Murdock -- one of the main characters -- left after Season 3, the show lost a step or two.

An ensemble show like Coupling depends so much on the chemistry between the players -- major changes are usually fatal. I can only think of two shows that survived --even thrived -- after a major cast change.  A major casting actually workingis that rare:

The only 2 shows I can think of where it did were MASH --  Wayne Rogers as Capt. John Francis Xavier 'Trapper John' McIntyre (1972-1975) was replaced by Mike Farrell playing Capt. B.J. Hunnicut (1975-1983) -- and Cheers, with Shelley Long as Diane Chambers (1982-1987) swapped out for Kirstie Alley as Rebecca Howe (1987-1993). I think that worked but that was only cause most people couldn't stand the character of Diane.

While there must be others, nothing else pops into my head.

Any one have suggestions where the cast changes worked?

Posted at 07:14 AM in Television | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Friday, January 28, 2005

Docs witness MedMal but say nothing

So much for the Malpractice crisis . . . it appears what we have here is a Medical Ethics crisis: 

"Eighty percent of U.S. doctors and half of nurses surveyed said they had seen colleagues make mistakes, but only 10 percent ever spoke up, according to a study released on Wednesday.

These mistakes are undoubtedly contributing to the deaths of tens of thousands of people who die from medical errors in the United States each year, the researchers and experts on nursing said.

Nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers need to be less shy about speaking up about mistakes, incompetent colleagues and other problems that can hurt patients, the report said.

Healthcare workers who do speak up are not only able to nip the problem in the bud, but are also happier in their own work, said Joseph Grenny, president of consulting group VitalSmarts, which conducted the survey of 1,700 nurses, doctors, hospital administrators and other experts for the study."

Astounding -- another phony issue drummed up as payback for the White House's contributors.

>

Source:
Survey Finds 80 Pct of U.S. Doctors Witness Mistakes
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent
Reuters, Wed Jan 26, 2005 10:08 PM GMT   
http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsArticle.jhtml?type=healthNews&storyID=7442256

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Reuters stories have an annoying tendency of disappearing from the web . . . if that happens

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>

Survey Finds 80 Pct of U.S. Doctors Witness Mistakes
Wed Jan 26, 2005 10:08 PM ET

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By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Eighty percent of U.S. doctors and half of nurses surveyed said they had seen colleagues make mistakes, but only 10 percent ever spoke up, according to a study released on Wednesday.

These mistakes are undoubtedly contributing to the deaths of tens of thousands of people who die from medical errors in the United States each year, the researchers and experts on nursing said.

Nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers need to be less shy about speaking up about mistakes, incompetent colleagues and other problems that can hurt patients, the report said.

Healthcare workers who do speak up are not only able to nip the problem in the bud, but are also happier in their own work, said Joseph Grenny, president of consulting group VitalSmarts, which conducted the survey.

Grenny's team surveyed 1,700 nurses, doctors, hospital administrators and other experts for the study.

"Fifty percent of nurses said they have colleagues who appear incompetent," Grenny told a meeting of clinical care nurses.

"Eighty-four percent of physicians and 62 percent of nurses and other clinical care providers have seen co-workers taking shortcuts that could be dangerous to patients," he added.

The survey found that 88 percent of doctors and 48 percent of nurses and other workers felt they worked with colleagues who showed poor clinical judgment.

A 1999 study by the nonpartisan Institute of Medicine found that up to 98,000 Americans die each year from medical errors in hospitals. Last July, Lakewood, Colorado-based HealthGrades Inc. said the true number was closer to 195,000 people a year.

The errors include giving patients the wrong drug or the wrong dose, surgical errors and spreading germs through unhygienic practices.

"People frequently see these problems but too often they fail to talk about them," Grenny said.

Why not? Because people fear confrontation, lack time or feel it is not their job, Grenny said. Even doctors were afraid to question nurses they saw making errors, he said.

His survey found the 10 percent of workers who did speak up felt good about it.

"When they effectively confront a situation, it makes a difference," he said. "These people are also more satisfied with their workplace."

Connie Barden, who helped author standards for the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, said nurses cannot be afraid to point out mistakes. "Nurses must be as proficient at handling personal communication as they are in clinical skills," she told the meeting.



Source:
Survey Finds 80 Pct of U.S. Doctors Witness Mistakes
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent
Reuters, Wed Jan 26, 2005 10:08 PM GMT   
http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsArticle.jhtml?type=healthNews&storyID=7442256

Posted at 07:05 AM in Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Lazy Bastard

How goddamned lazy to you have to be to clean a 50 yard stretch of sidewalk the width of a snow blower -- you can barely walk down this.

That's Glen Cove Road, a major heavily trafficed north/south thoroughfare. You would die if you tried walking in the street (others have).

The "shoveled" space is less than 12 inches wide.

Lazy_bastard

Lazy get!

I don't know what idiot is responsible for this (they performed similarly last year) but here is the sign on the property.

Posted at 06:28 AM in Humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Snow Outhouse

Our amusing snow theme continues today:


Snow_outhouse

File this one under "too much spare time"

Posted at 06:24 AM in Humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Calvin & Hobbes Snowmen

  I've always loved Calvin & Hobbes; I was that kid grwoing up.

This is one of my favorites:

Ch_940110_3

But I am (apparently) only a passing fan. Check out this guy:

Sharkstrip2aj

Sharkreal011ib

There's a full run of C&H re-enactments here.

You have to respect:

1) the evil genius of Bill Watterson in creating C&H

2) the brilliant absurdity of realizing Watterson's vision in the physical world.

Outstanding job blue team . .  .

Posted at 07:06 AM in Design, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Ever wonder why golf is so popular?

even though golf bores me to tears (its watching grass grow -- literally -- with an overlay of frustration), I still found this terribly amusing . . . 

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Ever wonder why golf is growing in popularity, and why people who don't even play the game go to professional tournaments or watch it on TV? The following may shed some light:

(1) Golf is an honorable game, with the overwhelming majority of professional players being honorable people who don't need referees.

(2) Pro golfers don't have some of their players in jail every week.

(3) Pro golfers don't kick dirt on, or throw bottles at, other people.

(4) Pro golfers are paid in direct proportion to how well they play.

(5) Pro golfers don't get per diem and two seats on a charter flight when they travel between tournaments.

(6) Pro golfers don't hold out for more money, or demand new contracts, because of another player's deal.

(7) Pro golfers don't demand that the taxpayers pay for the courses on which they play.

(8) When pro golfers make a mistake, nobody is there to cover for them or back them.

(9) The PGA raises more money for charity in 1 year than the NFL does in 2.

(10) You can watch the best pro golfers in the world up close, at any tournament, including the majors, all day every day for $25 or $30.

(11) The cost for even a nosebleed seat at the Super Bowl costs around $300 or more unless you buy it from scalpers in which case it's $1,000+.

(12) You can bring a picnic lunch to the tournament golf course, watch the best in the world and not spend a small fortune on food and drink. Try that at one of the taxpayer funded baseball or football stadiums. If you bring a soft drink into a ballpark, they'll give you two options - get rid of it or leave.

(13) In pro golf you cannot fail 70% of the time and make $9 million a season, like the best baseball hitters (.300 batting average) do.

(14) Pro golf doesn't change its rules to attract fans.

(15) Pro golfers have to adapt to an entirely new playing area each week.

(16) Pro golfers keep their clothes on while they are being interviewed.

(17) Pro golf doesn't have free agency.

(18) In their prime, Palmer, Norman, and other stars, would shake your hand and say they were happy to meet you. In his prime Jose Canseco wore T-shirts that read "Leave Me Alone."

(19) You can hear birds chirping on the golf course during a tournament.

(20) At a golf tournament, (unlike at taxpayer-funded sports stadiums and arenas) you won't hear a steady stream of four letter words and nasty name calling while you're hoping that no one spills beer on you.

(21) Tiger hits a golf ball over twice as far as Barry Bonds hits a baseball.

(22) Golf courses don't ruin the neighborhood.

(23) Why do golf courses have 18 holes---not 20, or 10, or an even dozen? During a discussion among the club's membership board at St. Andrews in 1858, a senior member pointed out that it takes exactly 18 shots to polish off a fifth of Scotch. By limiting himself to only one shot of Scotch per hole, the Scot figured a round of golf was finished when the Scotch ran out.

Posted at 11:13 AM in Humor | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack