Opinion: The Hindenburg, Cannabis and North Korea

March 6, 2013

     3 opinions about recent news topics that have caught my eye.

Hindenburg Mystery Solved?

     Personally, I thought this mystery had been solved back in 2000, but new headlines are announcing the results of a research team in England claiming the spark starting the fire was from static electricity. The articles are short on facts, being presented as a teaser for a documentary on British Channel 4 rather than an actual news story.

     Whether from static, lightning, conductor or bomb I have been under the impression that what started the fire was secondary to why it consumed the ship so fast. The public broadcast back in 2000 pointed out the powdered aluminum used to give the ship its distinct silver exterior. Watching the video of the disaster even reminds me of a water balloon popping in ultra slow motion. The skin just goes and the interior water sits there for a moment before splashing out. Who really cares what started the fire? Just don’t paint the outside of your ship with solid state rocket fuel.

     What “new” facts come to light we shall see. Fires happen, our modern marvel of today, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner comes to mind and this is 76 years later. If the Hindenburg’s hull had maintained structural integrity even for 30 more seconds that might of let it descend enough and burned off enough gas for at least a chance of survivors. Unlikely, but better than the zero chance those poor buggers had. Hopefully this new study goes into some of that.

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Cannabis Legalization

     Living up here in Washington State this has been a never ending source of amusement since I-502 was passed by voters back in December. Recent in the headlines is the debate over impaired driving, with this “5 nanogram” number being thrown around.

     I find the lack of facts on the issue to be extremely frustrating as a voter. 3 months later and story after story keeps posting up this 5 nanogram number as if it is supposed to mean something. Where is the supporting information? What is the level detected in a blood test 10 minutes after smoking? What is the level 3 hours after smoking? The next day? Where did this 5 nano-number come from in the first place? 7 days after smoking a person might test 5 nanograms so where did these week-long-high buds come from? And are they for sale in Washington?

     CNN recently did a story with at least some information about impaired driving and blood nanogram levels in it. According to that source, after smoking a joint the average level from the test subjects was about 25 nanograms. That is far and above the 5 nanograms opponents of legalization are asking for and this is the only report I have seen with at least some facts in it.

     Both sides of this issue really need to do a better job of informing voters with facts. If supporters of this testing level want my vote then show me the blood test studies so I can make up my own mind as the informed voter I am supposed to be.  As it is now, by all measure I can see, the 5 nanogram level amounts to a zero use policy which is in violation of state law legalizing consumption.

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North Korea
 
     “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” ~ George Santayana ~

     A new leader, a nuclear bomb test and the 38th parallel all rolled into one. While I do feel the Korean War is given the short shaft in our history books, bombing the ass end of this country back into the stone age (again) hopefully will not be needed to refresh some memories.

     I struggle with the reasons why North Korea continues on the path that it does with the international community through its foreign policy. All things considered, the rest of the world is surprisingly tolerant of rogue states. Just play nice and for the most part oppressors are allowed to do whatever.

     After 12 years of police actions in the anti-terror war, rather than be war weary I feel many would see a conflict with North Korea as a refreshing change of pace. Actual borders? Physical territory to occupy? Achievable objectives? A uniformed enemy to target? A South Korea to take over already right there? It would be the most intense six hours of combat the world has ever seen as the U.S. military just blew off steam.

     Ok, that is overly simplistic, but recent actions taken by the North are doing more to provoke an action rather than prevent one. North Korea would be far better served by opening borders to trade, immigration and tourism. Securing a place for itself with the international community through peaceful means is the right way for Kim Jong Un to retain power.

     China is the reason the North still exists and the politics of 1953 are different than today. Recent expansionist actions in the South China Sea does make one wonder if China would be better served in that strategy by allowing the North to end. A unified Korea would presumably see the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Korean peninsula leaving a small country of little threat even if it is headed by the South.

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The West Report
The opinions expressed in The West Report are the author’s own. Facts, Relevance or Claims of lucidity are purely coincidental.
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