The most cutting edge information technology meets the most ancient survival technology, as Google invests in weather-insurance, backed by meterological computing, for farmers. Google Inc.’s venture capital arm is backing a start-up founded by ex-Googlers that insures farms and other business against the whims of Mother Nature. Launched four years ago, WeatherBill Inc. is announcing today $42 million in Series B funding from Google Ventures, Khosla Ventures and several previous investors. Founded by two ex-Googlers–Chief Executive David Friedberg, who worked on Google’s… Read more

A man believes that a Bible verse teaches that there is oil in Israel.  So he started Zion Oil & Gas Co. to find it.  And apparently he has. Ask John Brown why he’s spent three decades looking for oil and natural gas reserves in Israel, and he has a simple answer: The Bible told him to. That sounds a bit crazy, the chairman of Zion Oil and Gas Co. admits, especially because no one had ever found much oil… Read more

National Geographic reports on a NASA study of the climate effect of a “regional” nuclear war: The global cooling caused by these high carbon clouds wouldn’t be as catastrophic as a superpower-versus-superpower nuclear winter, but “the effects would still be regarded as leading to unprecedented climate change,” research physical scientist Luke Oman said during a press briefing Friday at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. Earth is currently in a long-term warming… Read more

And I thought Republicans were harsh on the president.  Here is British journalist Nile Gardiner, writing in the London Telegraph: The débacle of Washington’s handling of the Libya issue is symbolic of a wider problem at the heart of the Obama administration’s foreign policy. The fact that it took ten days and at least a thousand dead on the streets of Libya’s cities before President Obama finally mustered the courage to call for Muammar “mad dog” Gaddafi to step down… Read more

Al Mohler, a consistent defender of traditional marriage and sexual morality,  says that, despite his and other conservatives’ efforts, gay marriage will soon be legalized across the board and that Christians and their churches need to figure out how to deal with it when that happens: Though many Christians are going to try to deny “the obvious,” evangelical leader Dr. Albert Mohler believes gay marriage is going to become normalized. “I think it’s clear that something like same-sex marriage is… Read more

The Secretary of Defense gave a speech at West Point that surely bummed out the student body: Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, in one of his last addresses to the Army, said Friday that he envisages a future ground force that will be smaller, pack less heavy firepower and will not engage in large-scale counter-insurgency wars like those in Iraq or Afghanistan. “In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land… Read more

Russia is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the emancipation of the serfs by Czar Alexander II, tying this event to what the Czar’s contemporary, President Abraham Lincoln, would do soon thereafter in emancipating America’s slaves.  From the Washington Post: In this season of sesquicentennials, Russia is marking the liberation of 20 million serfs on March 3, 1861. That was one day before Lincoln was sworn in as the 16th president, assuming powers that he would eventually use to bring American… Read more

Please forgive me for bragging about the academic prowess of my students.  This is something I wrote about the findings of our assessment efforts at Patrick Henry College, where I am the Provost and a Literature Professor: A new book and a spate of news reports are presenting evidence that America’s college students, on the whole, are not learning very much. They score poorly in critical thinking, writing, and other academic skills. Most college students score abysmally low in “civic… Read more

Sunday is Oscar night, and for the first time in ever-so-long, I am up with quite a few of the movies that are up for awards.  My recommendation and prediction:  Give all of the major awards to The King’s Speech. If there are any statues left over, give them to True Grit. What films are you pulling for?    Give your predictions of the winners. Oscar – The official 2011 site for the 83rd Academy Awards. Read more

Muammar Gaddafi and his loyalists are holding onto Tripoli, as the rest of the country is joining with the mass uprising of the people.  Gaddafi is attacking his citizens with tanks and from the air, but the populace has weapons too.  Some army units have reportedly abandoned the dictator and have joined the popular revolt.  Ordinary people have raided police stations and looted abandoned militia bases for weapons. Pitched battles are breaking out everywhere.  An unconfirmed rumor that Gaddafi has… Read more

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