Saturday, February 19, 2005


North Korea is not interested in talking about its nuclear weapons program(s) not even bilateral talks with the U.S. (according to Xinhua News):
The North Korean spokesman said his country is now unwilling to hold direct talks with Washington or join the six-party talks because of the "hostile" U.S. policy toward Pyongyang and its persistence in trying to topple the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, Xinhua reported.

"Because the United States insisted its hostile policy toward the DPRK and refused to co-exist with the DPRK and persisted to switch over the DPRK's regime, the DPRK has no justification to take bilateral talks by one-to-one on the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula with the United States now," Xinhua quoted the official as saying.
Pushing brinkmanship to the brink, or a sign that North Korea has crossed the nuclear Rubicon? Who knows?

Friday, February 18, 2005


So reads a couple of signs I see every day on my lovely drive up I-95 to work. How, pray tell, does this work? Does the airplane make an emergency landing on the freeway to issue speeders their tickets? Does the pilot radio down to a patrol car on the ground? If so, why can't the patrol car simply measure the speed of passers-by and issue tickets accordingly? How does one distinguish between the eight big black SUVs on the road from a few thousand feet in the air? Has anyone ever been issued a ticket by an airplane? Anyone know anyone who has?

Just curious.

UPDATE: Jeff (of Learning to Fly (or is it cope?)) uses that nifty internet thing to find that I am not the only soul to wonder about this. So has one "Beloved Beginner" who discovered this.

The short answer is "yes, speed limits are enforced by aircraft."

The longer, more complicated answer includes the following:
While there may be more to it than just the ominous signage, don't go thinking you're about to get nabbed by a cop in a Cessna. The odds are against that ever happening.

Aside from the fact that you never go more than five miles over the speed limit anyway (wink, wink), aerial enforcement is incredibly pricey. The State Police reckons the cost at keeping a fixed-wing aircraft on patrol to be about $70 an hour for fuel and maintenance. If you figure that most aerial enforcement patrols last about four hours, the state has already spent hundreds of extra dollars before collecting even a dime in fines.

Not only is it expensive, but Virginia does not have a fleet of Cessnas at its disposal. The Aviation Unit has only one plane available at each of its four stations in Manassas, Abingdon, Lynchburg, and Richmond.

"It's more expensive, of course," Saunders says, "and it's more labor intensive. But it's just one tool among many that's available to us."

Saunders admits that the real punch comes from the highway signs. "Hopefully the signs will act as a deterrence. If a motorist happens to read the sign, glance up and see an aircraft in the vicinity, even if it's not ours, it tends to cause closer attention to their driving. That's a good thing. There are a lot of ways to get the public's attention. Sometimes a gentle reminder is just as effective," he says.

It should be noted that several studies-- including a 1984 NTSB report to Congress-- have shown that aggressively enforcing speed limits does not appreciably reduce highway speeding or accidents. The real reason for nabbing drivers who break the speed limit (besides pumping dollars into law enforcement, which can be a real motive for some departments) is to create a police presence on the road.

Fact is, just seeing an officer at the side of the highway with lights flashing does more to encourage safe driving than any number of speeding tickets. Perhaps an inexpensive mannequin in a squad car perched at the side of the road though derided by many in law enforcement may actually do more good than the Eye in the Sky.

My question as to whether anyone has personally experienced or knows anyone who has personally experienced receiving a speeding ticket that involved police aircraft is still open.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Hard to tell. The message is from SENATORUBA, but the text reads as follows:
South Korea.

Dear Partner


Greetings from me and my family,Getting your contact was not an easy task because since I am not computer literate, I ordered my son to seek a partner very far away and he went to the institute of International Business to apply and he paid them the charges.

And that's it. No promises of splitting the loot with me (as long as I keep things confidential). No solicitation of my bank account information. No heartfelt pleas for assistance.

Besides, a computer illiterate South Korean? Not a chance!


Take your pick: The blog for a Libertarian Magazine waxes eloquent concerning the present condition of the 80's Rock sensation Journey
OR a website devoted to Steve Perry fan fiction.

Don't stop believin'

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