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Tuesday Map: Tracking hurricanes in Google Earth

With hurricane season in full swing, what better time to be a DIY meteorologist? Try this handy set of weather tools for Google Earth and you'll be tracking Hannah, Ike, and Josephine in no time.

The good news is that all three Gustav successors look like they won't develop into full-on hurricanes. Keep your fingers crossed.

By the way, one group of folks that is likely watching these storms with great interest? Investors in cat bonds, featured in FP's current issue. Cat bonds, short for catastrophe bonds, allow insurance companies to transfer the financial risks that come with disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes to the broader capital markets. If any of these storms cause major damage, investors in such bonds could be wiped out.

(Hat tip: Google Earth Blog)

Passport

Rice to visit Libya

It's been a busy couple of days for Muammar el-Qaddafi. In addition to embracing capitalism and accepting an apology from Italy, the Libyan leader will host Condoleezza Rice later this week. It's the first visit by an American secretary of state to Libya since 1953:

"It is a historic stop," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack. "It certainly does mark a new chapter in U.S.-Libya relations."

[...]

McCormack said the decision to visit Libya was also "tangible evidence" the United States did not harbor permanent enemies and served as an example to nations such as Iran, which has refused to give up its sensitive nuclear work that the West believes is aimed at building a nuclear bomb.

Libya's transformation from a corrupt, authoritarian sponsor-of-terror into a corrupt, authoritarian non-sponsor-of-terror is just one of accomplishments that David Frum attributes to the Bush administration in his FP cover story on Bush's legacy.

Qaddafi is known for having what some might call a unique style when it comes to diplomacy so this meeting should be interesting to watch.