The Garret Tree
Friday, November 14, 2008
  Financial meltdown reaches the sun. Is Earth doomed?
Click on image for full size view.
(If the sun lost 15 per cent of its power, there would be another ice age)

When a computer becomes a photo editor.
From Google News, approximately 1100 ET Nov. 14, 2008

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Sunday, March 09, 2008
  John McCain on Japanese waterboarding
Senator John McCain, the Republican candidate for president of the United States surprised me again tonight when he appeared on 60 Minutes and mentioned to interviewer Scott Pelley about how the Japanese used waterboarding during the Second World War.

In one way, I am not surprised, as the son of Second World War POW, abuse like that is of great interest to all who have that legacy and so it is no surprise that the Senator, who was, of course, a prisoner of the North Vietnamese, would have a strong interest in the subject.

But is, as far as I know, the firs time since the Second World War, that an American politician of McCain's stature has brought up the subject of Japanese waterboarding. It is certainly the first time that a presidential candidate has discussed Japanese waterboarding on a major network news show like 60 Minutes.

Here is the key quote:

Pelley asked him about American interrogation methods today. Asked if water boarding is torture, McCain said, "Sure. Yes. Without a doubt."

"So the United States has been torturing POWs?" Pelley asked.

"Yes. Scott, we prosecuted Japanese war criminals after World War II.
And one of the charges brought against them, for which they were convicted, was that they water-boarded Americans," McCain said.

You can read the complete 60 Minutes interview here

Here is my account of the infamous Double Tenth waterboarding case in Singapore in 1943.
I first blogged about Waterboarding is a War Crime in November 2005.

Despite the claims of U.S. officials, waterboarding is not an effective interrogation technique.
You can read the entire blog entry but here is the bottom line summary. British and Australian commandos raided Singapore harbour and successfully blew up ships. The Japanese secret police believed it was civilian internees who committed the sabotage.
So the Japanese tortured their suspects, who under water boarding, and other tortures confessed to taking part in a commando raid they knew nothing about.

Related link: An account of the waterboarding of American POWs by the Japanese during the Second World can be found here from Georgtown University.

Watch the 60 Minutes interview with Republican presidential candidate, Senator John McCain:

Now that Senator McCain has raised the issue, and raised it as part of the campaign, I hope that more people will take a closer look at how the Japanese decided to ignore the Geneva Convention and how the Far East war crimes trials dealt with the issue.

For me this is probably the most interesting U.S. presidential campaign in my lifetime. All three candidates have admirable qualities. (John McCain has also got good poilcies on climate change)

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Sunday, January 14, 2007
  Living in a science fiction world

Sometimes last week, I wondered if I was living in a science fiction novel or movie. I've been reading science fiction since I was a kid. Only it wasn't the great adventure into space, it could be the opening scene of a disaster story.

On December 28, 2006, the Canadian media, including the CBC reported a discovery by Laurie Weirs of the Canadian Ice Service. She had found, by looking at NASA satellite images, that the Ayles ice shelf had collapsed on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island back in August 2005.
(official report on the collapse).

Weirs' discovery was confirmed by Luke Copland at the University of Ottawa Laboratory for Cyrospheric Research. You wll find his special website on the event here.

The story was picked up media around the world.

My colleagues at CBC's Quirks and Quarks also reported on the even on January 6, 2007. You can find and listen to an MP3 of the broadcast by clicking the link.

Once I got back to work after the New Year, I spoke to both Weirs and Copeland. At, we decided to build a photo gallery that would track the collapse. The first images used in the study were from the NASA/MODIS real time images from the Terra and Aqua satellites and uncorrected for the curvature of the earth.

So I called my contacts at the Goodard Space Flight Center, where the MODIS project has its headquarters and requested images corrected for the curvature of the Earth for use in the photo gallery. MODIS reported the ice shelf collapse on January 9. 2007.

The images were used in the CBC photo gallery which tracks ice shelf collapse minute by minute.
The CBC's Kelly Crowe also did a follow up report for the National. (Real Video, runs 5:24).

So no wonder there were those science ficton movie thoughts in the back of mind, getting those satellite images from NASA of yet another indication of global climate change. Is it the opening scene of what is to come.....?

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I write in a renovated garret in my house in a part of Toronto, Canada, called "The Pocket." The blog is named for a tree can be seen outside the window of my garret.

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Name: Robin Rowland
Location: Toronto, Canada

I'm a Toronto-based writer, photographer, web producer, television producer, journalist and teacher. I'm author of five books, the latest A River Kwai Story: The Sonkrai Tribunal. The Garret tree is my blog on the writing life including my progress on my next book (which will be announced here some time in the coming months) My second blog, the Wampo, Nieke and Sonkrai follows the slow progress of my freelanced model railway based on my research on the Burma Thailand Railway (which is why it isn't updated that often) The Creative Guide to Research, based on my book published in 2000 is basically an archive of news, information and hints for both the online and the shoe-leather" researcher. (Google has taken over everything but there are still good hints there)

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