Welcome to ...

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.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Extinction Threatens World's Butt-Ugliest Fish

From Treehugger:


Photo: Sad and blobby blobfish (Greenpeace)

Without the redeeming good looks of other endangered species, the rather unfortunate-looking but aptly-named blobfish (Psychrolutes marcidus) may not figure in anyone's glitzy conservation campaign. Nevertheless, the fact is that this jiggly, jelly-like creature is threatened with extinction, thanks to the overfishing antics of deep sea trawlers scraping the bottom of Australian and New Zealand waters.

China dinosaur footprints found in Zhucheng

From BBC-Science:
Dinosaur footprint, Zhucheng City, grab from CCTV video
Scientists say the footprints belong to at least six different dinosaur types

Scientists in China say they have discovered more than 3,000 dinosaur footprints, all facing the same way.

The footprints - thought to belong to at least six dinosaur types - were found in eastern Shandong province, state news agency Xinhua reports.

Experts believe the prints are more than 100 million years old and say they could represent a migration or a panicked attempt to escape predators.

Dinosaur fossils have been found at about 30 sites in the Zhucheng area.

As a result, Zhucheng City has become known locally as "dinosaur city".

The footprints were uncovered on a 2,600 sq m (0.64 acre) rock slope in a gully following three months of excavation work, Xinhua reported.

The find is unusual because of the quantity and size of footprints uncovered, scientists said.

The footprints, which range from 10cm (3.9in) to 80cm in length, belong to dinosaur types including tyrannosaurs, coelurosaurs and hadrosaurs, Xinhua said.

'I'm Not Saying Your Mother's a Whore': How Faux News Censored Jon Stewart vs. Swill O'Really

From Gawker:

Faux News has generously placed the full, unedited conversation between Bill O'Reilly and Jon Stewart online, so we can see precisely how unfairly and deviously Faux edited the interview in order to weaken Stewart's case: A lot!

Full Story

One invades, the other flies away

One invades, the other flies away

Hundreds of giant squids near Calif. and a panda's unique air journey stir the Web.

Man buys 'secret' ghost town

Man buys 'secret' ghost town

The auctioned-off town in Latvia once wasn't even on maps because of Soviet military secrets.

New capitals of the housing crisis

New capitals of the housing crisis

Real estate markets like San Francisco and Dallas are no longer immune to the slump.

Ships collide in latest whaling clash

Ships collide in latest whaling clash

A Japanese harpoon boat and the anti-whaling vessel Bob Barker blame each other for the skirmish.


At about noon today, Australia time, at a location about 180 miles off Cape Darnley in Australian Antarctic Territory the Sea Shepherd vessel Bob Barker collided with the Japanese whaling vessel Yushin Maru 3. No injuries have been reported.

As it to be expected, both sides had rather different accounts of who was at fault in the situation:

Sea Shepherd's Bob Barker Collides With Japanese Whaler

Olympic team pressured to remove flag

Olympic team pressured to remove flag

A flag displayed at all recent Olympics as a mascot has come under fire in Vancouver.

Seoul's massive 'floating island' begins journey

Massive 'floating island' begins journey

A steel float the size of a football field is being moved toward a river in Seoul on giant airbags.

Best fast-food chicken wings

Best fast-food chicken wings

Find out which restaurants offer the spiciest, meatiest, and best all-around picks.

Danica Patrick survives scare in debut

Danica Patrick survives scare in debut

The star driver spins into the grass in her first NASCAR race, and narrowly avoids crashing into the wall.


Mid-Atlantic blanketed by 'Snowmageddon'

Crews can't keep up with the snow, and officials beg residents to stay home.

Bridge Made of Trash Collapses

In an absurd twist of fate and a rather distinct and unusual statement on the need to recycle, residents of Shanghai got the surprise of their life when earlier this month a major new bridge collapsed, revealing its components to be mostly rubbish and not concrete!

Spanning the Wusong River in central Shanghai ...

Wyoming suspect flees into police station

From the "You can't script this stuff" Department:

Police say a man suspected of stealing a bottle of Schnapps from a Wyoming grocery store didn't have the best escape route planned.

Full Story

And I Quote

Every child is an artist.
The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.

~ Pablo Picasso

Is brain damage a prerequisite for joining the repugican party?

Short answer - Yes

PZ Myers is a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris.

Is brain damage a prerequisite for joining the repugican party?

Chinese recklessness with antibiotics causing worldwide headaches

"Studies in China show a 'frightening' increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus bacteria, also know as MRSA .

There are warnings that new strains of antibiotic-resistant bugs will spread quickly through international air travel and international food sourcing."

Beware the coming onslaught of Chinese superbugs

Zero rupee note that Indians can slip to corrupt officials who demand bribes

Now here's an idea!

An Indian U of Maryland physics prof came up with these zero rupee notes that Indians can slip to officials who demand bribes. They've been wildly successful, with a total run over over 1,000,000 notes, and the reports from the field suggest that they shock grafters into honesty. Fifth Pillar is the NGO that produces the notes, and they're available for download in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.

One such story was our earlier case about the old lady and her troubles with the Revenue Department official over a land title. Fed up with requests for bribes and equipped with a zero rupee note, the old lady handed the note to the official. He was stunned. Remarkably, the official stood up from his seat, offered her a chair, offered her tea and gave her the title she had been seeking for the last year and a half to obtain without success. Had the zero rupee note reached the old lady sooner, her granddaughter could have started college on schedule and avoided the consequence of delaying her education for two years. In another experience, a corrupt official in a district in Tamil Nadu was so frightened on seeing the zero rupee note that he returned all the bribe money he had collected for establishing a new electricity connection back to the no longer compliant citizen.

Anand explained that a number of factors contribute to the success of the zero rupee notes in fighting corruption in India. First, bribery is a crime in India punishable with jail time. Corrupt officials seldom encounter resistance by ordinary people that they become scared when people have the courage to show their zero rupee notes, effectively making a strong statement condemning bribery. In addition, officials want to keep their jobs and are fearful about setting off disciplinary proceedings, not to mention risking going to jail. More importantly, Anand believes that the success of the notes lies in the willingness of the people to use them. People are willing to stand up against the practice that has become so commonplace because they are no longer afraid: first, they have nothing to lose, and secondly, they know that this initiative is being backed up by an organization--that is, they are not alone in this fight.

We should be printing a US version and handing them to our politicians - maybe the work they were elected to do will get done ...
I know, what a radical concept - their actually doing what they were elected to do ... but hey, it would be a novel thing, now wouldn't it?!

The Pentagon Looks to Breed Immortal ‘Synthetic Organisms’

darpa organisms

The Pentagon’s mad science arm may have come up with its most radical project yet. Darpa is looking to re-write the laws of evolution to the military’s advantage, creating “synthetic organisms” that can live forever — or can be killed with the flick of a molecular switch.

As part of its budget for the next year, Darpa is investing $6 million into a project called BioDesign, with the goal of eliminating “the randomness of natural evolutionary advancement.” The plan would assemble the latest bio-tech knowledge to come up with living, breathing creatures that are genetically engineered to “produce the intended biological effect.” Darpa wants the organisms to be fortified with molecules that bolster cell resistance to death, so that the lab-monsters can “ultimately be programmed to live indefinitely.”

Of course, Darpa’s got to prevent the super-species from being swayed to do enemy work — so they’ll encode loyalty right into DNA, by developing genetically programmed locks to create “tamper proof” cells. Plus, the synthetic organism will be traceable, using some kind of DNA manipulation, “similar to a serial number on a handgun.” And if that doesn’t work, don’t worry. In case Darpa’s plan somehow goes horribly awry, they’re also tossing in a last-resort, genetically-coded kill switch.

Pentagon Looks to Breed Immortal ‘Synthetic Organisms,’ Molecular Kill-Switch Included

Your tax dollars at work folks!

Filtering, Surveillance, Information Warfare

Hear no evil see no evil speak no evil

“The OpenNet Initiative estimates that at the end of 2009, 32% of all Internet users were accessing a filtered version of the Internet.”

ONI Releases 2009 Year in Review: Filtering, Surveillance, Information Warfare

Beatles 1,000 Years Later

It's the year 3,000 and archeologists have just discovered a group called The Beatles.

It's kind of interesting in that it makes one wonder if this is how badly we really understand events that occurred 1,000 or 2,000 years ago.

Bees see human faces as 'strange flowers'

Bees see human faces as 'strange flowers'

Bees can learn to recognize human faces, or at least face-like patterns.


Speaking of Karma

Today In Entertainment History   February 6
"Instant Karma" by John Lennon was released as a single on February 6th in 1970.

President Obama's Weekly Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
Weekly Address
February 6, 2010

Even though our economy is growing again, these are still tough times for America. Too many businesses are still shuttered. Too many families can’t make ends meet. And while yesterday, we learned that the unemployment rate has dropped below ten percent for the first time since summer, it is still unacceptably high – and too many Americans still can’t find work.

But what we must remember at a time like this is that we are not helpless in the face of our difficulties. As Americans, we make our own destiny. We forge our own path. And I am confident that if we come together and put aside the politics that keeps holding us back, we can do that again. We can rebuild this economy on a new, stronger foundation that leads to more jobs and greater prosperity.

I believe a key part of that foundation is America’s small businesses – the places where most new jobs begin.

These companies represent the essence of the American spirit – the promise that anyone can succeed in this country if you have a good idea and the determination to see it through. And every once in awhile, these ideas don’t just lead to a new business and new jobs, but a new American product that forever changes the world. After all, Hewlett Packard began in a garage. Google began as a simple research project.

Government can’t create these businesses, but it can give entrepreneurs the support they need to open their doors, expand, or hire more workers. And that’s what we’ve always done in this country. The folks at Southwest Windpower in Flagstaff, Arizona started their company in a small home. Since getting a loan from the Small Business Administration, they’ve sold 160,000 wind turbines to about 90 different countries, and are hiring even more workers today. When Sam Ko walked into one of the SBA’s small business development centers in Illinois, he didn’t have any business experience at all – just a patent for a new metal manufacturing technology. He was given a loan and a business plan, and today his company is still growing, with offices all over the Midwest.

Last year, the steps we took supported over 47,000 loans to small businesses and delivered billions in tax relief to small business owners, which helped companies keep their doors open, make payroll, and hire workers. But we can and must do more. That’s why I’ve proposed a series of steps this week to support small business owners and the jobs they create – to provide more access to credit, more incentives to hire, and more opportunities to grow and sell products all over the world.

Because financing remains difficult for good, credit-worthy small businesses across the country, I’ve proposed that we take $30 billion from the TARP fund originally used for Wall Street and create a new Small Business Lending Fund that will provide capital for community banks on Main Street. These are the small, local banks that will be able to give our small business owners more of the credit they need to stay afloat. We should also continue to waive fees, increase guarantees, and expand the size of SBA-backed loans for small businesses. And yesterday, I proposed making it easier for small business owners to refinance their mortgages during these tough times.

To give these companies greater incentives to grow and create jobs, I’ve proposed a new tax credit for more than one million small businesses that hire new workers or raise wages, as well as the elimination of all capital gains taxes on small business investment.

Finally, we should provide targeted support to the most innovative small businesses – the ones with the greatest potential to export new goods and products all over the world. A lot of these companies – like the wind turbine manufacturer I mentioned – are the foundation on which we can rebuild our economy to compete in the 21st century. They just need a little help securing the financing they need to get off the ground. We have every incentive to help them do that.

Next week, Congress will start debating many of these proposals. And if anyone has additional ideas to support small businesses and create jobs, I’m happy to consider them. My door is always open. But I urge members of both parties: do not oppose good ideas just because it’s good politics to do so. The proposals I’ve outlined are not Democratic or Republican; liberal or conservative. They are pro-business, they are pro-growth, and they are pro-job. Leaders in both parties have supported similar ideas in the past. So let’s come together and pass these measures without delay. Let’s put more Americans back to work, and let’s give our small business owners the support to do what they’ve always done: the freedom to pursue their dreams and build our country’s future. Thanks for listening.

Today is ...

Today is Saturday, February 6, the 37th day of 2010.

There are 328 days left in the year.

Today In History February 6

Today's unusual holidays and celebrations are:

Dump Your Significant Jerk Day


MOBIUS Awards Day

Our Readers

Some of our readers today have been in:

Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
London, England, United Kingdom
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
Leeds, England, United Kingdom
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Copenhagen, Kobenhavn, Denmark
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Poznan, Wielkopolskie, Poland
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Colima, Colima, Mexico

as well as China, and the United States

Daily Horosocpe

Today's horoscope says:

Trying to think of a special, pre-Valentine's Day treat?
Well, why not arrange a group meeting of all your friends and their sweethearts?
You can probably take over an entire restaurant, lounge or theater -- which means you'd all be free to do exactly what you want to do.
The only thing is, consider making it an early night -- you'll want some quality, solo time later on for whatever the evening brings.

"Probably" nothing - but it would take a stadium for all the friends to get together.