Death of a Mining Town

From the Washington Post:

Signs of Picher’s impending death are everywhere. Many stores along Highway 69, the town’s main street, are empty, their windows coated with a layer of grime, virtually concealing the abandoned merchandize still on display. Trucks traveling along the highway are diverted around Picher for fear that the hollowed-out mines under the town would cause the streets to collapse under the weight of big rigs. In some neighborhoods, empty mobile homes sit rusting in the sun, their windows broken, their doors yawning open, the detritus of life — car parts, broken toys, pieces of carpet, rotting sofas — strewn across their front yards.

“It’s like watching somebody that you love very much suffer a long, slow, painful death,” said Kim Pace, a lifelong resident and principal of Picher-Cardin Elementary School. Even though “it’s the right thing to do, and it needs to happen, you’re not ready to give them up.”

The culprits of Picher’s demise are the same lead and zinc mines that brought the town its prosperity and boosted its population to a high of 16,000 before World War II. But the mines were shut down in the 1970s, and all that is left in and around Picher are about 1,000 people and giant gray piles of mining waste, known locally as “chat,” some hundreds of feet tall and acres wide, that loom over abandoned storefronts and empty lots.

Psychic Sylvia Browne Wrong…..Again

This time it was about the missing teenager who was found last week.

Montel Williams’ psychic pal Sylvia Browne told the family of missing Shawn Hornbeck he was dead shortly after the Missouri boy vanished – and later allegedly offered to help locate his body for $700 per half hour.

The popular TV clairvoyant appeared on the “Montel Williams Show” in February 2003, four months after Shawn disappeared, and told Pam and Craig Akers she believed their son was “no longer with us.”

She also advised that his body could be found in a wooded area 20 miles from their Richwoods, Mo., home, near two large jagged boulders.

Shawn, now 15, was found alive and well last Friday, living just miles away with a man now charged with snatching the boy when he was 11.

Browne’s “vision” of his death caused search teams to redirect their efforts and drew dozens of calls from the public who believed they lived near the woods matching Browne’s descriptions.

James Randi has a whole page dedicated to Sylvia Browne who accepted his $1 million dollar challenge and has yet to take it.

YouTube has several clips of her getting busted by grieving family members.

China Space Attack: Unstoppable

Defense Tech on the Chinese shooting down satellites if war were to break out:

China has shown it can destroy a satellite in orbit. What could the U.S. do to stop Beijing, if it decided to attack an American orbiter next? Short answer: nothing.

It takes about 20 minutes to fire a ballistic missile into space, and have its “kill vehicle” strike a satellite at hypersonic speed — over 15,000 miles per hour — in low-earth orbit. That’s far too quick for anything in the American arsenal to respond, in time. There’s “no possibility of shielding” a relatively-fragile satellite against such a strike. “And it is impractical [for a satellite] to carry enough fuel to maneuver away even if you had specific and timely warning of an attack,” Center for Defense Information analyst Theresea Hitchens notes.

The American military today counts on its satellites to relay orders, guide troops across battlefields, and spy on enemy hideouts. The U.S. Air Force’s primer for war in space — “Doctrine Document 2-2.1: Counterspace Operations” — lists a number of measures that can be taken to protect American assets in orbit, including “deploying satellites into various orbital altitudes and planes” and “employing frequency-hopping techniques to complicate jamming.” But those tactics are used to preserve the U.S. satellite constellation as a whole. None of them could save a single American orbiter against a direct attack. “Physical hardening of structures mitigates the impact of kinetic effects, but is generally more applicable to ground-based facilities than to space-based systems due to launch-weight considerations,” the Air Force document notes. “Maneuver[ing] is limited by on-board fuel constraints, orbital mechanics, and advanced warning of an impending attack. Furthermore, repositioning satellites generally degrades or interrupts their mission.”

The 10 Most Expensive Books Of 2006

From Forbes:

In an evermore digitized world, the printed word takes on special value–especially if it happens to be enshrined in a rare, beautiful and historically significant book.

Auction houses and collectors did brisk business in rare books in 2006, setting records in several categories. A 15th-century edition of maps by the second-century Greek mathematician Ptolemy brought in $4 million, the highest price ever paid for an atlas. An 1873 signed edition of Une saison en enfer (A Season in Hell) by the poet Arthur Rimbaud brought in a record price for a work of French literature, $644,000.

Last year also saw a record price set for an Australian book, with the sale of Journey of Discovery to Port Phillip, New South Wales, for $689,000. A seminal work of exploration, the book plays a role in Australian history comparable to Lewis and Clark’s History of the Expedition in the United States.


They are only asking for £31 trillion.

Welcome to, the official site of the International Coalition for British Reparations. We are a global network of citizens who have suffered injuries at the hands of the British Empire over the last five hundred years. We’ve banded together to ask the United Kingdom to compensate the world for all the damage they’ve done.

(Thanks PVC)