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China Makes a Play for Rare Earths

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government, Science & Technology

Everyone knows China is planning to take over the world. But with most of the focus centered on their booming economy, the Asian giant is quietly putting together an entirely different strategy, one which involves domination of natural resources. As the importance of oil dwindles over the next few decades, what will become the new scarcity? The answer is "rare earth".

Rare earth elements are perhaps not so much rare as they are expensive and difficult to extract. They're used in the manufacturing of computers, LCD screens, wind turbines, car parts, cellphones, missiles, light bulbs, solar panels, and countless other technological necessities. To call them essential would be an understatement. And China controls 97 percent of them.

America's Super-Rich: "Not Fair!"

— Filed under: People & Culture
Money

Image by TW Collins via Flickr

It all started a few weeks ago, when Obama outlined his new plan to increase taxes for the super-rich — that is, families earning over $250,000 per year. Generally speaking, the rich usually know well enough to keep quiet about it, but this got them all riled up, and they've opened their mouths and inserted their feet.

The most famous example is that of university professor Todd Henderson, who blogged about the unfairness of it all, and has subsequently been ridiculed and harassed until he took the post down (although it's preserved for eternity here). He has since given up blogging forever.

Then comedian and actor Ben Stein weighed in.  He's the pitchman for Clear Eyes and the dry professor of "Bueller, Bueller" fame. He wants to know why he's being "punished". Fellow comedian Bill Maher ripped him to shreds in a response on the Huffington Post.… Continues …

We Strike, You're out?

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government, Opinion
A stylized representation of a red flag, usefu...

So Ed Miliband has been elected the new Labour Party leader, and his Brother David has annouced his retirement from front-line politics.  Ed can thank the Unions in his election, but to anyone who is keeping up with UK news this was always on the cards.  The changes to Government spending has everyone chattering and not a small amount of people ready to join the numerous calls to strike, giving back the power to the Unions that has been absent for so long.

The Unions are already in a strong position.  The Government are playing right into their hands with their reforms, and the media is ensuring that doom gloom and poverty is announced on a daily basis.  Along with bonuses going to bankers that disgust your average man, and the very likelihood of the New Faces of Labour taking the line of "Old Labour", we are well into our "Winter of discontent Part 2 - Where's the hair?".  The departure of David Miliband is likely to see a split in the Labour party, and I do wonder if this is only going to enhance the power of the Unions.… Continues …

Three parties - One choice.

— Filed under: Politics & Government, People & Culture, Opinion
Nick Clegg makes the Liberal Democrats' Leader...

Image via Wikipedia

Last week, Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg made a speech to the Liberal Democrat Party in Liverpool, outlining all of the success that the party has already brought to Britain in the last 5 months, and the successes he aims to accomplish over the next 5 years.

Within this speech he claimed to be challenging political convention and tradition.  He claimed to have reversed the situation whereby the rich pay less in tax than the poor.   He has stated that the current government have guaranteed OAP's a decent increase in pensions.

Excellent speech.  Real hearts and minds stuff.  You could win a lot of votes with this rhetoric, and that's exactly what he did. So many votes that he effectively choose the majority of the Government, when he made a deal with The Conservatives.   Now its time for Nick Clegg to start delivering on his promises, because despite the speech, it seems that The Liberal Democrats are just another party.  Joining The Tories and Labour in a game of Bluff, but  presenting no options and blinded by their own lies.  Mr Clegg claims to be the leader of a party that promises to bring something new.  What's new Nick?… Continues …

Fahrenheit 451 All Over Again: Operation Dark Heart

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government

Unsuccessful at stopping Wikileaks' release of sensitive information in July of this year, the Pentagon has decided to go old school and just burn Lt. Colonel Anthony Shaffer's new book entitled "Operation Dark Heart". Citing classified information and the need to protect national security (what else is new?), the entire first print run of 9,500 books was purchased and destroyed.

Apparently a second printing has been released with the offending information redacted, but according to the author, "when you look at what they took out, it's lunacy."

Either we go into Space or we go extinct

— Filed under: Science & Technology, Opinion

Texas Tech alumnus Rick Husband was the final ...

Image via Wikipedia

A couple of months ago world renowned Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking said "It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species, Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of."

This did get some media attention however it seems to me that people in general could not care less about looking at the long term future of man and space exploration. We have not even been to the moon since the 70's and now the Space shuttle program is closing down with nothing yet developed to replace it. Going to the moon and then losing the will to plant a colony will almost certainly be remembered as the moment our civilization failed. It would be like Moses leading his people to the Promised Land, them looking over the mountain and saying, "Nah, too hard we are going back to Egypt."… Continues …

New Column: "The World Outside"

— Filed under: TS Site News

Happy Earth Day, Big Blue Marble!

Image by EraPhernalia Vintage via Flickr

It's our pleasure yet again to announce the launch of another new column entitled "The World Outside" written by Ethan, who has been a familiar voice around this website since we launched. His new column will focus on "exploring issues relating to the environment, the future of our planet and that of mankind." The column can be visited at the URL below, or via the menu at the top of the site.

http://talkingskull.com/column/world-outside

The first column has already been posted — read and enjoy, and let us know your thoughts by posting comments!

We're actively seeking additional columnists, so if you're intrigued with the idea of providing your thoughts (roughly once a week) on a topic you're interested in or knowledgeable about, just drop us a line and we'll work something out.… Continues …

The Pope, Pills and Pop.

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government, People & Culture, Opinion
Pope Benedict XVI during general audition

Image via Wikipedia

So the Pope has been and gone, leaving behind him the opportunity for The Prime Minister to overuse the word "Faith", and attempt to paint himself in a golden light, using the darkness of the previous ruling party as a contrast.  Utter twaddle, in my opinion.

David Cameron has suggested that the Pope asked questions of the UK that would have people 'thinking about our society and how we treat ourselves and each other.' Mr Cameron also went on to say ‘Faith is part of the fabric of our country. It always has been and it always will be. Faith is not a problem for legislators to solve but rather a vital part of our national conversation. And we are proud of that.’ Spin, in fact spin so transparent that it makes Alastair Campbell's statement 'We don’t do God’ seem like it came from an honest person.… Continues …

New Column: "A Kingdom United?"

— Filed under: TS Site News
United Kingdom

Image by stumayhew via Flickr

We're very pleased to announce the launch of a new column entitled "A Kingdom United?" which will provide "a deeper look into the events and actions within the U.K." The column can be visited at the URL below, or via the menu at the top of the site.

http://talkingskull.com/column/kingdom-united

The columnist is our very own MrShaw — please join us in congratulating him! We're all looking forward to his insight and perspective on the latest news from Britain. Stay tuned!

We're actively seeking additional columnists, so if you're intrigued with the idea of providing your thoughts (roughly once a week) on a topic you're interested in or knowledgeable about, just drop us a line and we'll work something out.… Continues …

The Other Ground Zero Controversy

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government, People & Culture
Ketua BP MUPEL Bekasi

Image by Viking KARWUR via Flickr

A religious minority decides to build a house of worship in an area considered unacceptable by fringe elements of the religious majority. Although the country professes religious tolerance, and the group has a legal right to build their temple in said area, they are harassed by radicals and ignored by leaders and officials eager to gain political points.

No, it's not the mosque planned for construction in downtown New York, but it's awfully similar. Ground Zero in this case is Bekasi, on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia. In the world's most populous Muslim nation, a Christian group is trying to build a church on land which belongs to them. They've been threatened, harassed while worshipping, and physically attacked on their way to services. The mayor has asked them to move, and of course they've refused.… Continues …

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