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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Florida Freeze Damages as Much as 5% of Orange Crop

Florida's freezing weather may have damaged as much as 5 percent of the orange crop early today, in what were likely the coldest hours in the past several days of frigid temperatures.

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Obama Said to Consider Fee on Banks to Trim Deficit

President Barack Obama may propose a fee on financial-services companies as he tries to make good on a vow to cut the budget deficit in half, administration officials said.

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UFOs: One Of The Greatest Mysteries Of The 21st Century

Do UFOs actually exist?

That is a question that has been hotly debated all over the world for decades.
But as reports of UFO sightings continue to pour in all over the globe, the nature of the debate is changing.
Rather than asking whether or not UFOs exist, an increasing number of people are wondering who is piloting them, where they are...

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OK, for the last time UFO's DO exist!

Any flying object that you cannot identify is a UFO.

Now whether or not it is an extraterritorial 'spacecraft' is another ball of wax all together.

Doctor Gets Five Years For Assaulting Cyclists With His Car

doctor gets five years for cycling assault image
LA Times

Brian noted earlier how Charles Diez got four months in jail for shooting (and barely missing) a cyclist who was in his way, and considered it an embarrassment. In California, they are a bit tougher: In July 2008 Christopher Thompson, passed two cyclists and got in front of them and jammed on the brakes. Ron Peterson went face first into the rear window, breaking his teeth, slicing off his nose, and cutting his face; he needed ninety stitches.

He was sentenced last week to five years in prison for mayhem; assault with a deadly weapon, his car; battery with serious injury; and reckless driving causing injury.

Was Barack Obama's First Year a Breath of Fresh Air?

Photo via UFOBC

This will be news to no one: some have soured on Barack Obama. The list of his missed opportunities and non-accomplishments thus far irks his supporters and gives ammunition to his enemies. But before we all get too disappointed, it's worth remembering that he actually accomplished a lot his first year, too. For every not-so-abolished Don't Ask Don't Tell law, there's a promising national auto emissions standard, for each not-closed-yet Guantanamo, there's an EPA mobilizing to regulate greenhouse gases. Here are some of his best accomplishments of 2009.

Himalayan Glaciers Entirely Gone by 2035?!?

gaumukh photo
photo: Barry Silver via flickr.
You've probably read claims about how the glaciers in the Himalayas are melting at such a fast pace that some of them could be entirely gone by 2035. I know I've made reference to the statement, made by Indian glaciologist Syed Hasnain and repeated around the internet, as have other posts on TreeHugger. Well, it seems according to a recent article in New Scientist by Fred Pearce, that Hasnain is backtracking on his assertion, saying that the statement was "speculative" and that he's never made that claim in any peer-reviewed journal. Yet it made it into the IPCC report of 2007:

Cittaslow Moves Out of Europe

good slow city italy photo
Image credit: Good

The slow cities movement started in Italy in 1999 when Mayor Paolo Saturnini chose to stay small and protect local business instead of courting industry and growing larger. With the help of three other Italian towns and the Slow Food organization he founded the Cittaslow movement.

Capricious Mis-Judge

Luzerne County Judge Mark A. Ciavarella, accused of getting kickbacks for sending minors to a private detention center, is alleged to have sentenced a "juvenile defendant to six months at a detention facility based solely on the number of birds perched on the ledge outside his courtroom."

And he wonders why he is accused and investigated?

Fugitive caught via World of Warcraft

Indiana cops caught a fugitive by getting Blizzard to turn over the IP address from which he was playing World of Warcraft:
Howard County, Indiana Sheriff Department Deputy Matt Roberson tracked down fugitive Alfred Hightower via the hugely popular massively multiplayer online game. Hightower was wanted on several counts of drug dealing but had fled the country to Canada.

After finding out Hightower was a WoW fan, Roberson sent a subpoena to the game's maker, Blizzard Entertainment. With the information they sent back, Roberson was able to pinpoint the perp's location.

Scanners can store and transmit images

You know those airport scanners that the TSA swore up and down that didn't store and couldn't transmit the compromising photos of your buck-naked self?

Well ...

They lied.

The documents, which include technical specifications and vendor contracts, indicate that the TSA requires vendors to provide equipment that can store and send images of screened passengers when in testing mode, according to CNN.

The TSA has stated publicly on its website, in videos and in statements to the press that images cannot be stored on the machines and that images are deleted from the scanners once an airport operator has examined them. The administration has also insisted that the machines are incapable of sending images.

US government employees doing Al Qaida's job for them: undermining the quality of life in the "free" world.

Osama's still free, how about you?

Miep Gies has died at age 100

Gies' website says she was among a group of Dutch citizens who hid the Frank family of four and four others in a secret annex in Amsterdam, Netherlands, during World War II.

Miep Gies, who hid Anne Frank's diary after the teen was arrested by Nazis, has died at age 100

Humanity is a virus

... Literally

People may not be quite the humans they think they are. Or so suggests new research showing that the human genome is part bornavirus.

Bornaviruses, a type of RNA virus that causes disease in horses and sheep, first inserted their genetic material into ancestral human DNA at least 40 million years ago, the study shows. The findings, published January 7 in Nature, provide the first evidence that RNA viruses other than retroviruses (such as HIV) can stably integrate genes into host DNA. The new work may help reveal more about the evolution of RNA viruses as well as their mammalian hosts.

“Our whole notion of ourselves as a species is slightly misconceived,” says Robert Gifford, a paleovirologist at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, affiliated with Rockefeller University in New York City. Human DNA includes genetic contributions from bacteria and other organisms, and humans have even come to rely on some of these genes for basic functions like fighting infections.

Human Genome Is Part Bornavirus

Chemical computer that mimics neurons to be created

chemical computer

A promising push toward a novel, biologically-inspired “chemical computer” has begun as part of an international collaboration.

The “wet computer” incorporates several recently discovered properties of chemical systems that can be hijacked to engineer computing power. [...]

What distinguishes the current project is that it will make use of stable “cells” featuring a coating that forms spontaneously, similar to the walls of our own cells, and uses chemistry to accomplish the signal processing similar to that of our own neurons.

The goal is not to make a better computer than conventional ones, said project collaborator Klaus-Peter Zauner of the University of Southampton, but rather to be able to compute in new environments.

“The type of wet information technology we are working towards will not find its near-term application in running business software,” Dr Zauner told BBC News.

“But it will open up application domains where current IT does not offer any solutions – controlling molecular robots, fine-grained control of chemical assembly, and intelligent drugs that process the chemical signals of the human body and act according to the local biochemical state of the cell.”

Songs in the key of life

As with tunes, speech in a major key sounds cheerful, while minor-key tales sound gloomy and depressing.

Why is 'Neanderthal' still a byword for dumb brute?

The notion that Neanderthals went extinct because they were too dim-witted to compete with modern humans is losing its currency among the general public.
About time, says Ewen Callaway.

Science News

Arctic tern (Carsten Egevang)
The Arctic tern's extraordinary pole-to-pole 70,000km migration is detailed by Danish and UK scientists.

Seven simple dinners

Seven simple dinners

Put a delicious dinner on the table with these easy menus for every day of the week.

Joe Namath's daughter Olivia arrested in Florida pot bust

Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath's 19-year-old daughter has been arrested in South Florida.

Olivia Namath (pictured on the right) faces charges of possession of liquor by a person under 21 and two counts of possession of marijuana, including possession with the intent to sell. She has been released on bond.

According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, a deputy smelled marijuana in a car driven by Namath during a traffic stop Sunday. Authorities found bags containing a green leafy substance that tested positive for marijuana in the car's floor board and trunk. They also found a bottle of rum and beer bottles.

The deputy's narrative states that Namath denied knowing about the drugs.

Truer words have never been spoken ...

I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.

~ Charles De Gaulle

And I Quote

People can misinterpret almost anything so that it coincides with views they already hold.

~ Stanley Kubrick

Big marriage penalty in health care bill

Big marriage penalty in health care bill

Some married couples will pay more for the same coverage than unmarried people living together.

Road projects' disappointing effect on jobs

Road projects' disappointing effect on jobs

A federal surge in spending on roads and bridges was supposed to help local unemployment.

Make $30 an hour without a degree

Make $30 an hour without a degree

Highly skilled workers in these fields can earn $60,000 a year — or even more.

Google Toilet Paper?

Google has become a household name.
It’s a noun – the most popular search engine on the Internet – and it’s a verb – “Just Google it.” Now thanks to the Vietnamese it’s also a popular brand of toilet paper!

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Ancient Costa Rica Part I: Lost history in the land of the crossroads

Maggie Koerth-Baker posted this very interesting piece today over at BoingBoing:

The Maya built pyramids. The Inca constructed Machu Picchu. But what do you know about the historical exploits of the Maléku, the Cabécar or the Bribri?

Chances are, not a whole heck of a lot. All three are indigenous peoples native to Costa Rica, part of a larger cultural and linguistic group that archaeologists call Chibchan. Their ancestors were the earliest inhabitants of Costa Rica, but the general public (even within that country) knows very little about them.

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With a Archaeology degree the Chibchan culture isn't unknown to me but this is an interesting piece nonetheless.

Doing battle with the red devils of the Pacific

Join a research ship tagging Humboldt squid – diablos rojos to Mexican fishermen – which are invading the waters off central California

Doing battle with the red devils of the Pacific

Crystal mountains speak of moon's molten past

They may not sparkle like Superman's Fortress of Solitude, but giant outcrops of pristine crystal have been found on our nearest neighbor.

Crystal mountains speak of moon's molten past

Cop News

Diabetes News

A study suggests that the hormone leptin helps correct diabetes, and that "leptin's antidiabetic effects are independent of the hormone's well-known ability to reduce body weight."

Of course, years of testing stand between this finding and a dream come true for millions who have diabetes, and leptin isn't absorbed through the digestive tract so a miracle pill seems unlikely.

Other studies have shown that fake fructose reduces circulating insulin and leptin, another reason to avoid high fructose corn syrup, but again, smart people already do.

Here's a statistic for you

About one out of every fifty Americans now subsists on nothing but food stamps.
So, in keeping with they way things work in DC the budget for that will no doubt be cut, too.

Thinks he's a god

A county judge in Tennessee, Durwood Moore, is being sued for ordering a court spectator arrested and drug-tested because, says the judge, he had a hunch the guy was a user.

The test came back negative, but, more to the point, judges aren't gods and courtroom spectators who aren't making a ruckus should have no fear of arbitrary arrest out of nowhere.

Burning Bridges

Mike Curb Congregation

Turning wood in to bone

Scientists have developed a new method with which to turn a certain type of [rattan] wood in to bone that is nearly identical to that in humans.

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Slovak aviation cops sneak explosives into travelers' luggage, jailarity ensues

The Slovak aviation cops decided to test their airport security by planting explosives on travelers without their knowledge, to see if they'd be spotted by the security screeners.

Wait ... it gets better:

The screeners only caught seven out of eight explosive-plants.

The remaining one was left in the luggage of an Irish tourist, who was nabbed on his return to Dublin and thrown in jail.

Three days later, the Slovak cops contacted their Irish counterparts, who let the poor bastard out of jail, cordoned off his street, and had the bomb-squad remove the Slovak explosives.

Ludmila Stanova, spokeswoman for Slovakia's ministry of the interior, says Dublin airport was warned to expect a person carrying explosive samples, and that the passenger was also alerted after his arrival.

"He was supposed to wait for the police to take the sample from him," she told the BBC World Service...

On Tuesday morning the man's flat near Dublin city centre was cordoned off while bomb disposal experts removed the explosives for further examination.

The Irish Army said passengers had not been put in danger because the explosives were stable and not connected to any essential bomb parts.

The Slovak minister for the interior has expressed his government's "profound regret" to Mr Ahern.

Today is ...

Today is Monday, January 11, the 11th day of 2010.

There are 354 days left in the year.

Today In History January 11

There are no unusual holidays or celebrations for today.

Our Readers

Some of our readers today have been in:

Bangkok, Krung Thep, Thailand
Kassel, Hessen, Germany
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
London, England, United Kingdom
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia
Cobourg, Ontario, Canada

Daily Horoscope

Today's horoscope says:

Here we go again: You're in the mood to shop, big-time, and to buy whatever it is that you're absolutely sure no one else has -- or, at the very least, no one you know.
Before you whip out that plastic, though, think about this one thing: If you really want to be different, why not put your cards and your checkbook away and redo something you already own -- in your very own way.
Invest in some paint and a couple of stencils.
You might end up with a profitable part-time business.

Profitable, now there's the ticket.