18 January; Birds, Zombie Banks and other Topics

Workout notes 1:40 treadmill run (just about 10 miles; the POS clock reset itself at 50 minutes (5.1 miles?) and I went 5 miles further (for sure). Still this was my best 10 mile effort in a while; I set the treadmill to the “pace” setting and mostly kept it 9:30-10:00 (with a few slip ups in both directions)

My right hamstring was slightly sore prior to the run and the “crack” on the left heel hurt this morning (sore to the touch).

Birds and Planes: I had a video of birds (dead ones) being shot through a running jet engine. Conservation Report links to data which suggests that the number of bird-aircraft collisions is climbing and will climb even more; evidently the birds are getting a bit too used to humans.

They have a photo of the aftermath of a bird-helicopter collision.

Update Evidently, the plane struck far more birds than the engines had been designed to handle:

According to material posted on the FAA’s Web site, the type of engines on the US Airways jet were certified to be able to keep operating for five minutes at 75% of normal takeoff power after ingesting a total of five birds, each weighing 1.5 pounds. If a single bird weighing four pounds gets sucked into an engine, FAA standards require it to be able to shut down safely, without a fire or internal disintegration.

Aviation experts have said that some Canada geese can weigh as much as 12 or 13 pounds apiece, and the population of such birds has been growing steadily. Investigators haven’t yet identified the specific kind of birds involved in the latest accident.

According to interviews of the pilots by investigators, the A320 encountered a virtual wall of birds that somehow veered into its path, Kitty Higgins, a safety board member, told reporters earlier Saturday. The FAA rules also never envisioned a scenario in which relatively low-altitude collisions with birds could result in both engines of such an airliner catastrophically losing power. Over the years, however, the FAA has imposed tougher engine-performance requirements, tried to make engine-certification tests more realistic and supported research to reduce the dangers. […]

Here is a test video

And an actual event

Zombie Banks These are banks that are being kept alive by outside support; the term comes from Japan. The trouble is that

1. It is difficult to tell which banks are headed toward a zombie state:

It took years for the Japanese government to deal with its zombie banks. Here, the government is already working with the banks to get bad loans off their books. Still, James Angel of Georgetown University says it’s not always easy to tell which banks are destined to be zombies and which will go on to lead healthy, productive lives.

James Angel: Have the regulators gone over the books in enough detail to determine whether this is a bank worth saving? You know, that’s the real question.

He says banks such as Citigroup may still be hiding bad news. He says even if Citi turns out not to be one of the walking dead, taxpayers have plenty to be sore about.

Angel: The danger in this case is that you know they require so many pints of blood to replenish their capital that the U.S. taxpayer winds up as the owner of the bank.

And if we rescue too many banks from a zombie nightmare they could end up bleeding us dry.

2. Sometimes, known bad banks (aggregator banks) are used to buy bad debts. This might work but :

A Bad Bank is surely better than the piecemeal, unpredictable, and opaque approach of TARP I. But in order that the Bad Bank not turn into another giant taxpayer-financed boondoggle for the benefit of shareholders, creditors, executives, traders, and directors of the banks that got us into this mess in the first place, any Bad Bank purchase of their toxic assets ought to carry conditions similar to the ones I suggested recently for dispensing TARP II funds.

Follow the link to see Robert Reich’s suggested guidelines.

Middle East Don’t read this diary if you don’t want to be depressed. It appears that most conflicts between waring ethnic/religious groups eventually end when one group or the other is liquidated. I sure hope that something can be negotiated here.

Science and Academia Should there be an academic day of “free for all” where all ideas get weighted equally?

Since the wingnuts and creationists are busily pushing a bogus version of intellectual responsibility that they have labeled “academic freedom”, which is really an excuse to peddle any old nonsense to children, some wag is now promoting Academic Free-For-All Day.

PZ Myers goes on to link to the idea:

On Academic Free-for-All day, everyone can have it their way. Don’t worry if 99.9% of the experts on some subject agree on one conclusion about the facts — if your ‘gut’ says differently, then go for it! No matter how wacky the idea is, you can usually find a handful of cranks with Ph.D.s to back you up!

Follow the link for a few laughs.

Speaking of laughs:

There is a movement in various parts of the world to have atheist themed bus signs (e. g.: “There is Probably no God”, “Be Good For Goodness Sake”, etc.

Some churches have attempted to counter with their own signs. Well some folks have had fun with photo-shop:




January 18, 2009 - Posted by | Barack Obama, creationism, economy, education, evolution, injury, political humor, politics, politics/social, ranting, religion, running, science, training, world events

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