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Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Sunday, January 17, 2010

School Board phone system goes haywire - 25,000 households at 5 o'clock on a Saturday morning - to say School is closed -

Reading - School Board phone system goes haywire - 25,000 households at 5 o'clock on a Saturday morning - to say School is closed -

auto response phone system

HALTON REGION - It's one thing to install a new auto-dial software system. But it's quite another to announce it to 25,000 households at 5 o'clock on a Saturday morning.

That's what happened to the Halton District School Board this weekend when it accidentally sent out a phone message to parents, advising them that school was cancelled.

To add to the embarrassment of school board officials, the message warning of "inclement weather" went out on a balmy morning.

And, of course, it was Saturday.

The trouble began last Monday when, eager to try out an updated version of the system, school board officials held a test run.

An employee created an automated message advising that bad weather had forced the closure of every school in the region for the day and fed it into the system. Once the test was done, the worker thought she had deleted the message. She was wrong.

At 5 a.m. Saturday, the system started calling 25,000 households. The employee who made the mistake was one of the people woken up. Realizing something had gone awry, she scrambled to fix the problem, but it was too late. By 5:30 a.m., every household had been called.

Sharon De Vellis was among them. An Oakville resident and mother of two children, she rises at 6 a.m. on weekdays and was looking forward to catching an extra hour or two of shut-eye Saturday morning.

It was not to be. At 5:07 a.m., she got the call.

"I did grapple for the phone, thinking that someone had died," she recalled.

"I thought that it must have snowed a lot last night. I turned to my husband and said, `Is it snowing?' He said, `It's Saturday!'"

De Vellis laughed off the rude awakening Saturday afternoon, as she tried to distract her kids with a movie while she stole off to take a nap and make up for lost sleep.

"We don't get much time to sleep in, period. So if we can get up to an extra hour, that's great," she said.

In Milton, Jodie and Peter Near had a similar experience. When first awoken by the call, Peter wondered if there was freezing rain outside until his wife pointed out that – freezing rain or not – it was the weekend.

The couple rolled over and went back to sleep.

Board officials promised to take steps so it doesn't happen again.

Read more - http://www.thespec.com/News/BreakingNews/article/706616

Deep Discount on Space Shuttles - Here is a recession bargain and NASA has slashed the price -

Reading - Deep Discount on Space Shuttles - Here is a recession bargain and NASA has slashed the price -

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Here is a recession bargain: thespace shuttle. NASA has slashed the price of the 1970s-era spaceships to $28.8 million apiece from $42 million.

The shuttles are for sale once their flying days are over, which is scheduled to be this fall.

When the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in December 2008 put out the call seeking buyers at museums, schools and elsewhere, the agency received about 20 inquiries. An agency spokesman, Mike Curie, said he expected more interest, especially with the discount.

“We’re confident that we’ll get other takers,” Mr. Curie said Friday.

The Discovery is already promised to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. The Atlantis and the Endeavour are up for grabs. It is possible that the Enterprise, a shuttle prototype that never made it to space, will also be available. The Enterprise is currently at the Smithsonian.

Mr. Curie said no decisions would be made before summer.

The lower price is based on NASA’s estimate of the cost for transporting a shuttle from Kennedy Space Center to a major airport, and for displaying it indoors in a climate-controlled building. The travel cost may vary based on location. NASA has moved up the delivery date to the latter half of 2011, instead of 2012.

Potential customers have until Feb. 19 to put in a request.

As for the space shuttle main engines, those are now free. NASA advertised them in December 2008 for $400,000 to $800,000 each, but no one expressed interest. So now the engines are available, along with other shuttle artifacts, for the cost of transportation and handling.

Assembly will be required, however.

Read more - http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/17/science/space/17nasa.html?hpw

Norway Pays Bitter Price for Mass Third World Immigration -

Reading - Norway Pays Bitter Price for Mass Third World Immigration - All 21 reported cases of rape with aggravated assault - committed by “non-Western immigrants” -


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All 21 reported cases of rape with aggravated assault — the highest number since records were started — in the Norwegian capital of Oslo last year were committed by “non-Western immigrants” and 90 percent of all rape victims were Norwegian women, police have announced.

Oslo police spokesman Hanne Kristine Rohde defied the strictures of political correctness to release the figures in an interview on the national Norwegian broadcaster, NRK. She said she was aware that the “statistics are controversial.”

When she was asked by NRK if the police were not “stigmatising an entire community” by releasing the statistics, Ms Rohde said she “wants to contribute to a better and safe world. That’s why the truth needs to be told. I hope the debate will focus on that,” she told NRK.

According to the police figures, the number of rapes with violent assault committed in Oslo also doubled compared to 2008. According to the police statement, “in each and every case, not only in 2008 and 2009 but also in 2007, the offender was a non-Western immigrant. At the same time, in 9 out of 10 cases, the victim was Norwegian, not just by nationality, but also by ethnicity.”

The NRK report concluded that “not a single one of the offenders had a Western background. Four people have been arrested. In all other cases, the victims reported that the offenders either looked like non-Western immigrants, or they spoke a non-Western language. Not a single case has been connected to a Western man.”

According to official figures released in 2008, Third World immigration accounted for 25 percent of Oslo’s population. Data from the city and state statistics bureau shows that of Oslo’s 560,484 residents, 137,878 were immigrants.

The largest single immigrant group continues to be from Pakistan. Next in line is Somalia. Other countries with relatively large immigrant groups in Oslo include Sri Lanka, Iraq, Turkey, Vietnam and Iran.

In addition, an ever growing group of Third World immigrants is dependent on welfare. A study by Tyra Ekhaugen of the Frisch Centre for Economic Research and the University of Oslo concluded that immigration has increased the pressure on the welfare state, because many immigrants do not join the tax-paying part of the population.

Third World immigrants are, the study showed, recipients of social security benefits at a rate ten times that of native Norwegians — destroying the liberal argument used by pro-immigration politicians in Norway that immigration was necessary to maintain the social welfare state.

More than half of all social security benefits in the city of Oslo are spent on non-Western immigrants. Immigrants from Africa have the highest unemployment rate, with official figures in 2005 showing a black unemployment rate of 17.5 percent.

Immigrants from Asia had an unemployment rate of 12.3 percent, while those from South and Central America had an unemployment rate of 10.1 percent. The average unemployment rate amongst native Norwegians was 2.4 percent.

Read more - http://bnp.org.uk/2010/01/norway-pays-bitter-price-for-mass-third-world-immigration/