War and Peace

International Business Times reports: Move aside, Chuck Norris, Ron Paul Facts is now in. Ron Paul, a Texas Congressman and 2012 presidential hopeful, has inspired a fiercely loyal following around the country…

Very interesting post from the MicroCosmologist blog:

So it looks like the Allen Telescope Array is falling onto the chopping block in this era of fiscal “emergency.” To me, this sounds a lot like the recent battle to defund NPR or PBS, in that the money they need to continue is just … chump change in the grand scheme of finances. They’re $2.5 million short, and for that, they’ll need to stop taking data and shut down the telescope array. It deeply bums me out to think that such a low value is placed on the quest to find other intelligence in our universe. When compared with so many other things that gladly get millions or billions of dollars, it’s maddening to see SETI so marginalized …

And to put things into perspective, I’ve whipped up this handy infographic, comparing how $2.5 million compares to so many other things that we absolutely must have, and will not hesitate to pay for:

SET Infographic

Background info on the shutdown here.

Operation ChristmasThe BBC reports:

The Colombian army says it has installed a giant Christmas tree in Farc rebel territory, to encourage guerrilla fighters to demobilize. Special forces infiltrated the remote Macarena mountain range to dress a 25m (82 ft) high tree with 2,000 lights.

Movement sensors will make the tree light up when guerrillas approach. The army says it will put up trees in nine other rebel-held zones to spread the message that Christmas is a good time to abandon armed struggle.

The Colombian government says more than 2,000 guerrillas demobilized this year under a scheme that gives them amnesty and help to return to civilian life. “Operation Christmas,” as it was code named, was carried out by elite troops using Blackhawk helicopters.

Richard HolbrookeJason Ditz writes on Antiwar.com:

Family members are reporting that the late Richard Holbrooke, the US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan who died yesterday following heart surgery, gave as his last words “you’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan.”

The dying words stand in stark contrast to Holbrooke’s living words, which were almost uniformly supportive of President Obama’s repeated escalations of the Afghan War. They’re also a major inconvenience to the president at a time when he’s trying to spin the ever worsening war as a runaway success.

Indeed, President Obama has already released a statement praising Holbrooke and saying he deserves much of the credit for the “progress” in the disastrous conflict, and reiterated that “he understood” how important the war is. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also issued a statement on Holbrooke, and it too centered on how important the escalation of the war was.

South Korea has begun using robots to survey and, if necessary, fire at intruders crossing the DMZ line from the North. It is operated by soldiers who verify intruders through audio visual…