Saturday, December 3, 2011

News: Jobs Mirage. Budget & Soc. Sec. Tsunami. Ancient Egyptian Boat. Illinois. First Heart. Porch.


News, Some old, Some New:

Jobs Mirage: 315,000 Drop Out Of Workforce, Driving Unemployment Rate To Three-Year Low


"Despite a stark drop in the national unemployment rate reported Friday, economists warned it will take decades for the labor market to return to pre-recession employment levels if the economy's achingly slow growth continues.

The U.S. economy added 120,000 jobs in November -- falling short of economists' expectations -- while the unemployment rate dipped from 9.0 to 8.6 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday morning. But roughly half of the decline in the unemployment rate came from the 315,000 Americans who dropped out of the labor market last month, in part a reflection of the slow pace of the recovery, economists said.

"When unemployment is this high for this long, it's very likely that most of the people dropping out are doing so because they can't find work," said Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, who has studied the shrinking labor force during the years since the recession began. "There is some movement here, that's true. But it's just so slow."

While November's job gains roughly kept pace with population growth, a more positive glimmer can be found in the upwards revisions of the past two months of employment growth. Job growth for September was revised up to 210,000 from 158,00, and October's gains were up to 100,000 from 80,000.

120,000 may not be 250,000 -- the lowest number most economists look to for a really healthy recovery -- but it's also better than zero, the initial headline number of new positions created in August, when fears of a double-dip recession really began to take hold. In October, the number of new positions created in August was revised upwards to 103,000.

"We've got a modest acceleration and more employment growth then we saw over the summer," said Nigel Gault, Chief US Economist at IHS Global Insight, a firm offering economic and financial analysis, forecasting and market intelligence.

Domestically, Gault said, things haven't turned out as bad as people feared. But the global picture emanating from Greece and China looks darker. "At the moment, the U.S. is doing better than most of the rest of the world. But let's say Europe drops into recession. How far and how long could we outperform them?""

More at:


Congress Needs a Balanced Budget Amendment

Congress Needs a Constitutional Restraint on Spending, and more about Social Security:

More at:


More videos about the Japanese Tsunami last June:

"I cannot imagine what this experience must feel like. Quality is less than perfect but there is no doubt as to what they are seeing."   Taken by one of the victims:

"This video taken with my digital camera shows the huge tsunami, after the catastrophic earthquake having attacked the eastern part of Japan, is rushing through my home town, Minami-Sanriku. I took this at Shizukawa high school on the hill near my house. On the end part of the video all people running away on the plot managed to escape from the tsunami in luck.
I'd like to warn you to watch this. The reason is the following: I heard some people became PTSD, who had seen the tragic news on the 9.11 terror attack in 2001. This shocking video also apparently would affect the minds of the viewers. My house has also been swept away and my cat has been lost. I don't want to watch this and don't think this video helps much your understanding to the sufferers as me. However I uploaded it after a lot of hesitation. I hope something of it moves you to want to know what happens to us." 

Watch at the end where they save a person in a wheelchair.


Here is an aerial view video of the Tsunami, it is amazing, the forces of Nature:


"After" pictures:

The remaining destroyed buildings stand in the tsunami-hit area on June 12, 2011 in Otsuchi, Iwate, Japan.


"Vehicles drive through the tsunami-hit area, three months and two days after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami on June 13, 2011 in Natori, Miyagi, Japan. Japanese government has been struggling to deal in the aftermath of the disaster and the problems affecting the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Authorities are preparing for an increased risk of viral and infectious disease as delays in the clearing the debris combine with the arrival of Japan's humid, rainy season." (Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)


Many interesting BEFORE and AFTER Tsunami photos:


On to Egypt:

Ancient Egyptian Boat To Be Restored In Effort To Boost Tourism

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) — "Archaeologists have begun excavating a 4,500-year-old wooden boat found next to the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of Egypt's main tourist attractions, Egypt's top antiquities official said.

The boat is one of two buried next to the pharaoh Khufu in what appeared to be a religious custom to carry him in the afterlife. Khufu, also known as Cheops, is credited with building the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Sakuji Yoshimura, a Waseda University professor who is leading the restoration project with Egypt's Antiquities Council, said scientists discovered that the second ship is inscribed with Khufu's name.

Khufu founded the 4th Dynasty around 2680 B.C. and ruled Egypt for 23 years."

"Zahi Hawass, Minister of State for Antiquities, called the excavation "one of the most important archaeological and conservation projects in the world." He hoped its display would boost tourism in Egypt, which has fallen sharply since the country's popular revolution that deposed President Hosni Mubarak in February.

The boat was originally found in 1954 along with another ship, which was restored and is regarded as one of the most significant discoveries on the Giza plateau for its age, size and condition. Experts say the ships are the oldest surviving vessels from antiquity.

The second boat is thought to be smaller than its sister ship, which is about 140 feet (43 meters) long.

Using a pulley system, a team of scientists lifted the first of 41 limestone slabs, each weighing about 16 tons, to uncover fragments of the ancient ship. Over the next two months, experts expect to unearth about 600 pieces from the boat's underground resting place. Restoration is expected to take about four years, and then it will be displayed at the Solar Boat Museum near the huge pyramid, which routinely attracts millions of tourists, boosting one of Egypt's most important industries.

Both boats were made from Lebanese cedar and Egyptian acacia trees.

The experts hope to restore the second ship as successfully as the first. Hawass said the boat's condition was better than he expected. "I was really afraid when I first saw the wood," he said. "I am very optimistic that in four years there will be another boat."

The entombed boat remained untouched until 1987, when a team from the National Geographic Society threaded a tiny camera under the site's limestone surface to see what lay beneath and found it. Other similar cavities nearby were empty.

After receiving a $10 million grant from Waseda University, Egyptian and Japanese scientists in 2008 began preparing for the ship's excavation process, conducting environmental surveys and building a temperature and humidity controlled structure around the site.

After the excavation process is complete, scientists will devise a computerized schematic of the boat to aid in its reconstruction."



On This Day:

Illinois becomes the 21st state.  Dec 3, 1818

"Illinois achieves full statehood on this day. Though Illinois presented unique challenges to immigrants unaccustomed to the soil and vegetation of the area, it grew to become a bustling and densely populated state.

The strange but beautiful prairie lands east of the Mississippi and north of Lake Michigan presented a difficult challenge to the tide of westward-moving immigrants. Accustomed to the heavily forested lands of states like Kentucky and Tennessee, the early immigrants to Illinois did not know what to make of the vast treeless stretches of the prairie. Most pioneers believed that the fertility of soil revealed itself by the abundance of vegetation it supported, so they assumed that the lack of trees on the prairie signaled inferior farmland.

Those brave souls who did try to farm the prairie found that their flimsy plows were inadequate to cut through prairie sod thickly knotted with deep roots. In an "age of wood," farmers also felt helpless without ready access to the trees they needed for their tools, homes, furniture, fences, and fuel. For all these reasons, most of the early Illinois settlers remained in the southern part of the state, where they built homes and farms near the trees that grew along the many creek and river bottoms.

The challenge of the prairies slowed emigration into the region; when Illinois was granted statehood in 1818, the population was only about 35,000, and most of the prairie was still largely unsettled. Gradually, though, a few tough Illinois farmers took on the difficult task of plowing the prairie and discovered that the soil was far richer than they had expected. The development of heavy prairie plows and improved access to wood and other supplies through new shipping routes encouraged even more farmers to head out into the vast northern prairie lands of Illinois.

By 1840, the center of population in Illinois had shifted decisively to the north, and the once insignificant hamlet of Chicago rapidly became a bustling city. The four giant prairie counties of northern Illinois, which were the last to be settled, boasted population densities of 18 people per square mile. Increasingly recognized as one of the nation's most fertile agricultural areas, the vast emptiness of the Illinois prairie was eagerly conquered by both pioneers and plows."


First human heart transplant.  Dec 3, 1967:

"On December 3, 1967, 53-year-old Lewis Washkansky receives the first human heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa.

Washkansky, a South African grocer dying from chronic heart disease, received the transplant from Denise Darvall, a 25-year-old woman who was fatally injured in a car accident. Surgeon Christiaan Barnard, who trained at the University of Cape Town and in the United States, performed the revolutionary medical operation. The technique Barnard employed had been initially developed by a group of American researchers in the 1950s. American surgeon Norman Shumway achieved the first successful heart transplant, in a dog, at Stanford University in California in 1958.

After Washkansky's surgery, he was given drugs to suppress his immune system and keep his body from rejecting the heart. These drugs also left him susceptible to sickness, however, and 18 days later he died from double pneumonia. Despite the setback, Washkansky's new heart had functioned normally until his death.

In the 1970s, the development of better anti-rejection drugs made transplantation more viable. Dr. Barnard continued to perform heart transplant operations, and by the late 1970s many of his patients were living up to five years with their new hearts. Successful heart transplant surgery continues to be performed today, but finding appropriate donors is extremely difficult."



Jay and I walked Misty and Maddie for a while down there near his house before we came here and took out the screen porch's plant sink.  

Screen-porch-plant-sink The metal sink with draining boards is very heavy, but it had to be removed first.   Bobbie cat stayed in her porch bed and watched us while we wrestled it onto the porch table.  Then we could move the cabinet.

We put new pipe insulation on the plumbing, screwed a board down in the corner along the space between the floor and the wall which made it draft and lizard proof. 

As this sink's drain goes out underground to my Red Maple tree in front, the faucet had been left dripping through most of the summer.  But no one realized until recently that the drain on the sink had a dripping leak, and so part of the cabinet bottom had to be replaced. 

The clear-vinyl-clad porch has stayed pretty comfortable during the last two unusually cold winters, and the plants were all happy, but it was the leak which made this an important thing to address.  The draft and lizard proofing just needed to be done at the same time. 

The aloe plants on the porch aren't too happy right now, as the kittens have really messed them up by laying on them, it will take time for them to recover.

The other foster mom is taking my cats for Adoption Day early, which is much better for me  Two full-glass storm doors were advertized on Craigslist, and I need one for my back door, and one for the back door of the guest house utility room.  Shay's cats sleep in there at night time, and it will keep them warmer this Winter.  So Jay and I are going to pick the doors up today. 

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