Newnan Golfer Fires 55 – on 18 Holes

Link to AJC

GOLF: Newnan man can drive, and putt, to 55
Glenn Sheeley – Staff
Saturday, May 15, 2004

For Newnan resident Steve Gilley, 55 is no longer the speed limit. It’s the best number he has ever shot on a golf course. Playing in his hometown of Martinsville, Va., at Lynwood Country Club last Monday, the 32-year-old mini-tour player shot a 16-under-par 55 that included a back nine of 25 — an eagle followed by eight birdies. Although not done in official competition and on a course measuring just more than 6,000 yards, the numbers are still staggering.

The magic didn’t last, though. Two days after the 55, Gilley could manage only an even-par 72 in local qualifying for the U.S. Open in Wallace, N.C., and failed to advance. “It’s kind of frustrating,” he said. “I go from making everything to where I can’t make a 5-footer.”

I played the Lynnwood course numerous times in my junior days. It was a very short, municipal-style course. Now the course rating is 67.8, and slope is 110. (I’d like to spend about a week playing it now to post some good scores!)

New Sources of Energy: Solar Roofing System

Marley Roofing is a major UK manufacturer of many kinds of roofing products. They have introduced a solar tile system. “The Marley SolarTile™ was designed to integrate with the Marley Modern interlocking tile and is easily installed by fixing to standard batterns. .. Each tile has a PV laminate comprising of 10 BP Solar Saturn cells generating an output of 23Wp. Over the year a suitably orientated installation of 100 Marley Solar Tiles will generate enough electricity for a typical 3 bedroom household (excluding central heating and water heating).

Marley SolarTiles™ are easy to install, use standard battening and are completely modular to meet the requirements of any roofing application. The Solar Tile has just two parts, a Top and a Base. The tile top fits onto the base and contains the photovoltaic elements which generate electricity. The tile base fits onto the roof and provides the electrical connectors to the house wiring.” This would allow the substitution of new PV cells as they are developed.

via Ken Novak’s Weblog

Revenge in Iraq

Dave Pollard look at the root causes of our military’s treatment of prisoners in Iraq:

Does our fierce desire for revenge — over 9/11, over the damned Iraqi insurgent ingrates who won’t accept us as liberators, over every indignity and rebuff and psychological atrocity inflicted on us personally, or on ‘our people’, however broadly or narrowly we define that term — cause us to take quiet pleasure in acts of revenge by ‘our people’ — whether they be manipulative Hollywood renditions or real life retaliations against ‘others’?

In our minds, in our search for blood vengeance, are we all too willing to substitute Saddam Hussein for Osama Bin Laden, and the nameless naked Iraqis in Abu Ghraib for the cowards who killed and publicly displayed the bodies of innocent Americans? And to substitute the latest one-dimensional evil character in the latest Hollywood film for every monster who ever caused us or those we love grief, pain, or humiliation throughout our lives?

Link How to Save the World

Getting the Most Security for What We Spend

From security expert Bruce Schneier:

As Americans, and as citizens of the world, we need to think of ourselves as security consumers. Just as a smart consumer looks for the best value for his dollar, we need to do the same. Many of the countermeasures being proposed and implemented cost billions. Others cost in other ways: convenience, privacy, civil liberties, fundamental freedoms, greater danger of other threats. As consumers, we need to get the most security we can for what we spend.

The invasion of Iraq, for example, is presented as an important move for national security. It may be true, but it’s only half of the argument. Invading Iraq has cost the United States enormously. The monetary bill is more than $100 billion, and the cost is still rising. The cost in American lives is more than 600, and the number is still rising. The cost in world opinion is considerable. There’s a question that needs to be addressed: “Was this the best way to spend all of that? As security consumers, did we get the most security we could have for that $100 billion, those lives, and those other things?”

If it was, then we did the right thing. But if it wasn’t, then we made a mistake. Even though a free Iraq is a good thing in the abstract, we would have been smarter spending our money, and lives and good will, in the world elsewhere.

Crypto-Gram: May 15, 2004

Counterterrorism in Airports

From security expert Bruce Schneier:

It’s just a pilot program, but undercover security officers are roaming Boston’s Logan Airport, looking for suspicious people who may be planning a terrorist act. It’s got a fancy name, “behavior pattern recognition,” but basically it means “be on the lookout for suspicious people.”

I think this is the best thing to happen to airplane security since they reinforced the cockpit doors.

I’ve long argued that traditional airport security is largely useless. Air travelers — the innocent ones — are subjected to all sorts of indignities in the name of security. Again and again we read studies about how bad the checkpoints are at keeping weapons out of airports. The system seems to do nothing more than irritate honest people. (Remember, when airport security takes a pair of scissors away from an innocent grandma, that’s a security failure. It’s a false positive. It’s not a success.)

Well-trained officers on the lookout for suspicious people is a great substitute.

The devil is in the details, of course. All too often “he’s acting suspicious” really translates to “he’s black.” Well-trained is the key to avoiding racism, which is both bad for society and bad for security. But security is inherently about people, and smart observant people are going to notice things that metal detectors and X-ray machines will miss.

Of course, machines are better at ducking charges of prejudice. It may be less secure to have a computer decide who to wand, or to have random chance decide whose baggage to open, but it’s easier to pretend that prejudice is not an issue. “It’s not the officer’s fault; the computer selected him” plays well as a defense. And in a world where security theatre still matters more than security, this is an important consideration.

For about a year now, I’ve been saying we can improve airport security by doing away with the security checkpoints and replacing them with well-trained officers looking out for suspicious activity. It’ll probably never happen, but at least this is a start.

Crypto-Gram: May 15, 2004

Monsanto Backs Off Bio-Wheat

11:42 AM May. 10, 2004 PT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Monsanto on Monday said it was suspending plans to introduce what would be the world’s first biotech wheat, a product that has generated concerns around the world about scientific tinkering with a key food crop.

Monsanto, whose shares moved lower Monday morning, said it had reached the decision after "extensive consultation" with customers in the wheat industry, and would continue to monitor the desire for crop improvements to determine "if and when" it might be practical to move forward.

Link Monsanto Backs Off Bio-Wheat

More posts about Monsanto:

Are you eating Monsanto’s genetically modified crops?

Monsanto’s Government Ties

Monsanto Backs Off Bio-Wheat

Shining a Light on Agribusiness and It’s Poster Child Monsanto

Monsanto Files Patent for the Pig

Saudi Oil Vulnerability Scenarios

This is why I have been investing in North American oil and gas producers.

Fear of attack or disclosure of error. Current oil prices (over $40) are the result of a fear of terrorism and increased demand. A similar price could be expected if data or technological risk are proven to be real. A sustained price of $40 will reduce global growth by 1% (-$500 billion in the first year).

Moderate attack. If global guerrillas attack Ghawar successfully, the price of oil will likely spike to $75 a barrel. This would slow global economic growth by 2.5% (a -$1.25 trillion loss).

Large attack. A successful attack on Ghawar and Basra would result in a price of $160 a barrel. Global economic growth would slow by 4.55% (a -$2.25 trillon loss) — essentially a global depression.

via Global Guerrillas

Why Are We Tied to the Middle East?

Thomas Friedman asks — and answers — some tough questions:

Why didn’t the administration ever use 9/11 as a spur to launch a Manhattan project for energy independence and conservation, so we could break out of our addiction to crude oil, slowly disengage from this region and speak truth to fundamentalist regimes, such as Saudi Arabia? (Addicts never tell the truth to their pushers.) Because that might have required a gas tax or a confrontation with the administration’s oil moneymen.

Why did the administration always — rightly — bash Yasir Arafat, but never lift a finger or utter a word to stop Ariel Sharon’s massive building of illegal settlements in the West Bank? Because while that might have earned America credibility in the Middle East, it might have cost the Bush campaign Jewish votes in Florida.

via Posted on Categories Current Affairs, Energy, Environment, Iraq, Terrorism

We Are Becoming Israel

Al Qaeda does have a strategy for this phase of its war with the US. It’s called “superpower baiting.” This strategy works on the simple premise that the US over responds to humiliation.

Our over response to humiliating attacks usually takes the form of conventional military force: invasions, bombings, sieges, and search/destroy missions. These conventional attacks are easy and provide immediate gratification, however, everytime we do respond in this manner, the US becomes more isolated.

Isolated from our allies and each other. Isolated from our real objectives based on the facts available to us. Isolated from our morals and codes of conduct. In the end, when we are fully isolated, we become Israel.

If this is al Qaeda’s strategy — to goad the US to transform itself into Israel — then the beheading of Nick Berg makes sense. This act of humiliation serves to steel our resolve to stay in Iraq, in the wake of the Abu Ghraib debacle. It keeps us in place to continue the process of isolation.

via Global Guerrillas

A Time for Truth – by Pat Buchanan

The neoconservative hour is over. All the blather about “empire,” our “unipolar moment,” “Pax Americana” and “benevolent global hegemony” will be quietly put on a shelf and forgotten as infantile prattle.

America is not going to fight a five- or 10-year war in Iraq. Nor will we be launching any new invasions soon. The retreat of American empire, begun at Fallujah, is underway.

With a $500 billion deficit, we do not have the money for new wars. With an Army of 480,000 stretched thin, we do not have the troops. With April-May costing us a battalion of dead and wounded, we are not going to pay the price. With the squalid photos from Abu Ghraib, we no longer have the moral authority to impose our “values” on Iraq.

Bush’s “world democratic revolution” is history.

Link to article

Via Ken Novak