August 31, 2005

A very neat system developed by the French company Poseidon just saved a kid from drowning. Powerful survelliance/recognition systems are the core technology for tracking terrorists – Poseidon should move into the security market.

A young girl has been saved from drowning in a swimming pool by new high-tech underwater safety cameras and dramatic footage of the rescue was released today.

The 10-year-old girl lost consciousness in the deep end of the Bangor Swimming Pool, North Wales, last Wednesday and dropped quickly to the floor of the pool, 12ft 6ins under the surface.

Within 10 seconds, one of four underwater safety cameras spotted the girl and alerted lifeguards via a pager message. A lifeguard dived into the water and pulled the girl to safety. She was given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and made a full recovery in hospital.

The Poseidon technology can detect movement, trajectory and texture of underwater objects. It then compares images to a database of thousands of examples of swimmers in trouble.
If it finds a match, it alerts lifeguards using a pager message which also displays a diagram showing the location of the stricken swimmer.


Brit State Violence (Not)

August 31, 2005

Brit libertarians believe their state has killed lots of them and so should be prohibited from using violence. They’re wrong – on a historical basis, Brits are about 5,000 times safer from their state than the citizens of Iran, the role model of the recent murderers of Brit innocents.

I’m reacting to this:

The one thing the last century has taught us is that while terrorists may be dangerous, much more dangerous is the uncontrolled state, the state that kills some of its citizens in the name of making life safer for the others.

And this:

I take as the great lesson of the 20th century that it is the State that is not your friend, it is the State, when allowed to get out of hand, that is the greatest threat to your health, safety, continued liberty and yes, even your life.

But Anglosphere nations aren’t “uncontrolled” states, but beacons of freedom and liberty. Treating them with the same suspicion as one might, say, Iran, is nonsensical. The “great lesson” of the 20th Century is that the sacrifices of the Anglosphere states, including the deaths of about 1.2 million Brits, secured the “health, safety & continued liberty” of much of the world.

And Brits are very safe from their own state, as shown by an exhaustive analysis of state violence published by R.J. Rummel at the University of Hawaii. He surveys the 20th Century to 1987 and calculates the % of their own citizens different states have deliberately killed each year.

State Average % of citizens killed per year
UK (1900-1987) 0.000003
US (1900 -1987) 0.000016
France (1900-1987 0.000315
Iran – Islamic rep (1979-1987) 0.015
Iraq – Baath (1963-1987 0.067
Germany – Nazi (1933-1945 0.087
China – Red (1949-1987) 0.12
USSR (1917-1987) 0.422

These numbers exclude executions after due process and accidents. I had to delve into the spreadsheets to get the French numbers.

So on a historical basis, Brits are 100 times safer from their state than French citizens are from theirs, 5,000 times safer than Iranians are from the Mullahs, and 40,000 times safer than Chinese citizens are from their rulers.

Game over.

Glow-ball Vorming

August 31, 2005

Most of the German MSM is gleefully hailing Global Warming caused by US energy profligacy as the cause of Katrina. Strangely, spite of this the $ is holding up fine.

This is a common European fantasy, satirized by the late, very lamented, Diplomad. Here are some quotes from Spiegel Online, always a rich source of humor.

Scientists are quite calmly saying that we will see this kind of thing more often. After all, this is what they have been forecasting for years — climate change, human-caused and irreversible.

“People will argue about the causes of climate change for a long time to come,” the paper writes. “But its effects are already reality. They are called Katrina…

US hurricane expert Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that shows a rising tendency for hurricanes that exactly reflects the curve of greenhouse gases. German scientists from the Max-Planck Institute hail the study as the first proof of a real link. “If this man-made warming continues, we will have to expect stronger storms in future” Emmanuel tells the paper.

I’m guessing the guys at Max-Planck skipped the statistics lecture that taught that correlation does not imply, let alone provide “first proof of”, causation. For example, the fact that all states voting for Kerry in 2004 are next to large & cold bodies of water does not prove that cold water causes delusions.

All is not lost, one German paper talks sense:

“hurricanes are a natural phenomenon. They occurred long before humans could be affected by them. Whether the frequency and intensity of these storms has truly increased in recent years has not yet been proven with statistics.”

Whether humans have aversely affected the Earth’s climate or not, the paper says, one thing is clear “we have modern technology to thank that Katrina was not able to do more damage.” Indeed, thanks to early warning systems, the people of New Orleans were evacuated before the storm hit. “One hundred years ago, a tropical storm as strong as Katarina would likely have caused many deaths, because it would have hit people unawares.”

Indeed! Opinion Journal quotes (gasp) the NYT:

Because hurricanes form over warm ocean water, it is easy to assume that the recent rise in their number and ferocity is because of global warming.

But that is not the case, scientists say. Instead, the severity of hurricane seasons changes with cycles of temperatures of several decades in the Atlantic Ocean. The recent onslaught “is very much natural,” said William M. Gray, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University who issues forecasts for the hurricane season.

From 1970 to 1994, the Atlantic was relatively quiet, with no more than three major hurricanes in any year and none at all in three of those years. Cooler water in the North Atlantic strengthened wind shear, which tends to tear storms apart before they turn into hurricanes.

In 1995, hurricane patterns reverted to the active mode of the 1950’s and 60’s. From 1995 to 2003, 32 major hurricanes, with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater, stormed across the Atlantic. It was chance, Dr. Gray said, that only three of them struck the United States at full strength.

How To Help

August 31, 2005

You can best help the people of the trashed Gulf Coast by sending money to the US Red Cross.

It’s a completely different outfit from the America-hating International Red Cross.

…there is no connection between the International Committee of the Red Cross (a Europe-based organization with an anti-American, anti-Israel agenda) and the American Red Cross, who support the United States whole-heartedly, and have even withheld dues from the ICRC, out of disgust at their agenda. Don’t target the wrong group, just because they have a similar name.

The link is here – you can donate by credit card.