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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.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Newly Discovered Wasp Species Enslaves Spiders

From Treehugger:

wasp enslaves spider photo

Photo via Northrup

Spiders spend a lot of time crafting their webs in hopes of making a meal out of all manner of winged insect--but a recently discovered species of wasp is found to use the spider's engineering prowess to it's own advantage. Through a not yet understood chemical process, the wasps are able to, quite literally, enslave the unsuspecting spiders to build a nest for their larva, and after all that hard work, become their first meal. Sure, it seems pretty dastardly, but researchers say it's evolution.

Asian Carp Lose Interest in Great Lakes Amid Waffling by Obama, Illinois, Army Corps

From Treehugger:

asian carp great lakesCredit: Flickr via kate.gardiner

If only the headline were true. The truth is, leaders in the Great Lakes region are crying for help in the fight against Asian carp. Barack Obama, who just happens to be a former Illinois senator, has opposed plans, along with officials in his state, to close Chicago area shipping locks in a last-ditch effort to keep the monster invasive fish from colonizing the lakes.

Studies by Notre Dame experts have found Asian Carp DNA beyond a barrier designed to keep them from entering Lake Michigan, and in a Lake Michigan harbor. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, meanwhile, has proposed closing the locks for a few days a week in an effort to control the fish—a plan that Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox called "as logical as keeping criminals in jail four days a week and hoping the other three days go well." What's next? For now, the fight has gone online. Maybe shame will move this along?

Sanaa, Yemen to Become World's First Capital City to Run Out of Water

From Treehugger:

Photo via Virtual Tourist

An Entire Capitol City Drying Up
A Yemeni water trader profiled in a recent Reuters investigation explains that even though his well is 1,300 ft deep, he's hardly extracting any water at all. The same goes for wells that are 2,000 and even 3,000 ft deep--in Yemen's mountainous capital city Sanaa, more water is being consumed than produced. Families have reported going without getting access to water for weeks. Sanaa is home to 2 million people, and is growing fast--but experts say that if trends continue, it could be a ghost town in 20 years. To make matters worse, Reuters reports that much of the shortage can be blamed on a "national drug habit".

Lack of morning light keeping teenagers up at night

201002171335 Zoe Caira wears a personal light-measuring device, called a Daysimeter, to monitor her rest and activity patterns and the amount of circadian light -- short-wavelength (blue) light -- reaching her eyes. Credit: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute recently conducted a field study to learn the effects of morning light on teenagers' sleep cycles. They concluded that a lack of exposure to early morning light can result in a 30-minute delay in the onset of sleep.

"If you remove blue light in the morning, it delays the onset of melatonin, the hormone that indicates to the body when it's nighttime," explains Dr. Figueiro. "Our study shows melatonin onset was delayed by about 6 minutes each day the teens were restricted from blue light. Sleep onset typically occurs about 2 hours after melatonin onset."

The study findings should have significant implications for school design. "Delivering daylight in schools may be a simple, non-pharmacological treatment for students to help them increase sleep duration," concludes Dr. Figueiro.

The new research has applications for more than 3 million shift workers and Alzheimer's patients who suffer from lack of a regular sleep pattern.

Studies have shown that this lack of synchronization between a shift worker's rest and activity and light/dark patterns leads to a much higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, seasonal depression and cancer over decades.

Cop News

Sarah Palin says birthers have a right to be a part of tea-party movement

More power to them.
The more of the lunatic fringe nuts that the Teabaggers collect, the better.
Sarah Palin said Tuesday that the so-called birthers who question President Barack Obama's citizenship deserve a seat in the tea-party movement.

Appearing on the O'Really Factor, the former Alaska governor was pressed by Swill O'Really on whether the tea-partiers could be negatively characterized by the birthers.

O'Really asked, "Do you think the birther people deserve a place at the table?"
Palin responded, "There is always going to be an element of those who want to be part of a movement who have their own ideas of where the country should go or what's going on with the country."

Foreclosure drama hits Olympic ski site

Got to give them this - the winter Olympics this year are full of drama ... now if the actual athletics were as full of drama it would be grand.

Foreclosure drama hits Olympic ski site

The resort where many Olympic events are hosted could be in foreclosure before the Games even end.

Teen pulls family from train's path

Teen pulls family from train's path

Todd McHugh likely saved a mother and her two kids from serious injury or death, police say.

Glaring red flags on your resumé

Glaring red flags on your resumé

Here are some of the worst blunders you can make on the one document that should be error-free.

Duped lottery winner gets cash back

Duped lottery winner gets cash back

A clerk tricked Willis Willis out of his $1 million jackpot, but he's getting some of it back.

Americans to SCOTUS: Y'all got it wrong

Americans to SCOTUS: Y'all got it wrong

A new poll shows there's one issue that unites nearly 80% of voters on both the right and left.

Report on Marines' water omitted cancer chemical

An environmental contractor dramatically under-reported the level of a cancer-causing chemical found in tap water at Camp Lejeune, then omitted it altogether as the Marine base prepared for a federal health review.

Report on Marines' water omitted cancer chemical

Toxic chemical found in Marines' water

A contractor under-reported a cancer-causing chemical in the water at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Indonesian Teen Convicted for Facebook Insult

A teenager received a suspended jail sentence for posting insulting comments on a romantic rival's Facebook page, the latest case bringing Indonesia's tough defamation laws under criticism.

Full Story

Methinks they doth go too far

TV Presenter Arrested for Mercy Killing

U.K. police arrested award-winning British TV presenter Ray Gosling on suspicion of murder.

Ancient Arabic Inscription Found In Jerusalem

A home renovation in Jerusalem's Old City has yielded a rare Arabic inscription offering insight into the city's history under Muslim rule, Israeli archaeologists said Wednesday.

Ancient Arabic Inscription Found In Jerusalem

Rare artifact found during home renovation

A Jerusalem home construction project yields a fragment of an 1,100-year-old Arabic plaque.

Man slapped by bear, slapped with fine

Must have served him bad food either that or bad service ...

A Florida man whose face was cut by a slap from a bear outside his door pleaded no contest to a charge of feeding wildlife.

Full Story

Also ... how much of a dolt do you have to be to be in a position to be slapped by a bear in the first place?

Afghan army raises Afghan flag over Marjah

An Afghan Army soldier salutes an Afghan flag
after hoisting it on a building in a market in Marjah

Military commanders raised the Afghan flag in the bullet-ridden main market of the Taliban's southern stronghold of Marjah on Wednesday as firefights continued to break out elsewhere in the town between holed-up militants and U.S. and Afghan troops.

Afghan army raises flag on embattled Taliban town

Students complained about prof charged in rampage

Students said they signed a petition and complained to no avail about the classroom conduct of an Alabama professor accused of killing three colleagues and wounding three others in a shooting rampage at a faculty meeting.

The students upset with biology professor Amy Bishop said they went to University of Alabama in Huntsville administrators at least three times a year ago, complaining that she was ineffective in the classroom and had odd, unsettling ways.

Full Story

Piedmont Natural Gas files for rate cut

Well what do you know ... not everything is going up!

Piedmont Natural Gas wants to shave customer bills in the Carolinas to reflect the dropping wholesale costs of gas.

Residential billing rates would go down 5 percent under current rates in both states. N.C. customers would see a 10 percent drop from rates of a year ago.

The new rates, if approved by state utilities commissions, would go into effect March 1.

An N.C. residential customer who paid the typical $135 for gas used in March 2009 would pay about $122 for this March’s use.

Wholesale gas costs make up the largest part of customer bills. Piedmont and other natural gas companies periodically “true up” their customer rates to reflect changes in wholesale costs, but can’t add additional profit margins.

Piedmont filed requests with utilities commissions this week to lower the wholesale benchmark contained in customer billing rates.

Prince Frederic joins California governor's race

Tabloid fixture joins California governor's race

A self-proclaimed prince best known for scandals and a famous wife runs on an unconventional platform.

Anger over Falklands shipping move

There have been calls for Argentina's ambassador to be given a dressing-down after the country's president issued a decree seeking to control shipping to and from the Falkland Islands.

TV chef suspended over cat recipe

A top Italian food writer has been suspended from the country's version of Ready Steady Cook for recommending stewed cat.

Full Story

Next No. 2 for Taliban could be former Guantánamo detainee released by the shrub

From Newsweek:
The capture last week of Mullah Baradar Akhund, the Taliban's No. 2 leader, is expected to spark a leadership reshuffle within the organization's Afghan branch. One jihadist who could step up to take Baradar's place: Mullah Abdul Qayam Zakir, a ruthless former Guantánamo detainee released back to Afghanistan by the shrub cabal.
But you do realize the wingnuts will be/are claiming it was President Obama who released him and not the shrub, because they have a severe and chronic problem with reality.

N.C. mountains experiencing one of worst winters on record

It’s another day of heavy snow, gusty winds and cold temperatures for North Carolina’s mountains, but that’s nothing new this season for the high country.

The mountain area is experiencing one of its worst winters on record – with at least another month of snow remaining.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning until 6 a.m. Thursday for Avery, Alleghany, Ashe, Mitchell, Watauga and Yancey counties, saying 6 inches or more of new snow could fall by daybreak Thursday. That would be on top of several days’ worth of snow that has fallen already this week.

In the lower elevations, it will be much more peaceful in coming days. High pressure will bring clear skies and gradually warming temperatures to the Charlotte metro region through Saturday.

A persistent flow of cold, unstable air from the Great Lakes is responsible for the mountain snows. As the moist air hits the mountains, it rises, the moisture condenses, and it falls as snow. A National Weather Service observer in Avery County has reported 8 inches of new snow since Monday morning.

Forecasters say they expect about 2 new inches today in mountain valleys, 4 inches in higher elevations, and 6 inches or more at elevations above 3,500 feet facing the Tennessee border.

As of Wednesday morning, Boone had received nearly 70 inches of snow this season. The National Climate Data Center reports Boone’s seasonal average is 35.5 inches, and the all-time record is 103.4 inches, set in the winter of 1959-60.

Forecasters say the snow machine – the persistent northwest flow of moist, unstable air – will come to an end Thursday. The mountains are expected to get partial clearing during the day, and perhaps a weekend without additional snow. However, another storm system is expected to move across the Southeast next Tuesday, perhaps bringing more wintry precipitation.


Yippee, we can't wait!

Biggest mistakes you make on the job

Biggest mistakes you make on the job

You may think you're a dynamo at work, but unwitting slip-ups can stall your advancement.

Wingnuts hammer John McCain

Don't you just love it when the rabid dogs turn on one of their own!

Wingnuts hammer John McCain

As the Arizonia geezer gears up for a fierce primary fight, wingnut talking heads go on the attack.

New credit card rules come with caveats

New credit card rules come with caveats

A new law taking effect Monday will stop some fees, but there are plenty of loopholes.

Tut's ills won't kill fascination

It turns out Egypt's beloved boy-king wasn't so golden after all -- or much of a wild and crazy guy, for that matter.
But will research showing King Tut was actually a hobbled, weak teen with a cleft palate and club foot kill enthusiasm for a mummy that has fascinated the world for nearly a century?
Not likely, historians say.

Tut's ills won't kill fascination, historians say

Spring clean leads to $2.5m windfall

A simple spring clean turned into a $2.5 million bonus for a Melbourne woman when she found a five-month-old Tattslotto ticket on her desk.

Full Story

First Photos of Snowflakes For Sale

From Treehugger:

snow flake.photo
Image from the Guardian

Maybe everyone is getting sick of looking at snow, but these vintage photographs of snowflakes will be gone soon so better look now... Taken by a self-educated Vermont farmer, Wilson A. Bentley at the end of the 1800's, they are the first photos of snow ever taken.

Ten of them are up for auction but in fact the photographer was a little obsessive and took thousands (as in 5,000) of the images. And no two were ever alike. He began by trying to draw them but the snow melted before he could finish. So his parents got him a camera and that's how a life's work started...

Musings on Nature and Man's Place in It

From Treehugger:

Cowpie and flower
Photo credit: Florian Möllers for Wild Wonders of Europe

Do you ever feel like the shit rolls in faster than you can get out from under it? Then take a minute to relax and think about the bigger picture. The more you expand your mind, the smaller your concerns will appear. Here are some gorgeous images and musings to help you wander away from your daily cares. Learn from Mother Nature: she'll teach you how to turn shit into flowers.

Musings on Nature and Man's Place in It (Slideshow)

DEA continues raids on medical marijuana growers

Chris Bartkowicz

On Thursday, a Denver news station interviewed Chris Bartkowicz about his medical-marijuana operation in the basement of his home. Bartkowicz, confident of his compliance with state laws, boasted of its size and profitability.

“I’m definitely living the dream now,” he told 9News.

The following day, the dream was over.

Drug-enforcement agents raided his home, placed him under arrest, and carried off dozens of black bags of marijuana plants and growing lights.

The Obama administration promised in October that the federal government would respect state laws allowing the growing and selling of marijuana for medicinal use, but the Drug Enforcement Agency sent a loud message with the arrest of Bartkowicz.

Despite Obama admin’s promise, DEA continues raids on medical marijuana growers

What turns a tadpole into a killer?

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the temporary rainwater pond: a deadly predatory infant amphibian is lurking.


Health News

A proposed new category of childhood disorder has been brought into focus by the conviction of a mother for killing her daughter;

Child psychiatric diagnosis on trial

Science News

From BBC-Science:
DNA generic
Scientists are publishing details of their research of the DNA of large wild cattle that died out almost 400 years ago.

Astronauts complete their third and final spacewalk of the current shuttle mission to the International Space Station.

One of the rarest whales in the world was not a victim of extensive whaling as previously supposed, a study says.

'Cross-fostering' aims to save marsupial species.

Click to reveal


Meet Wolfie Blackheart: a non-neurotypical, animal-identified teen in Texas who finds herself at the center of controversy: allegations of animal torture, mental health, and the wrath of /b/.
"I would never kill a canine," the self-described 'wolf woman' said, "I am a canine."

Iko Iko

Dr. John plays Iko Iko

And I Quote

You won't get anything unless you have the vision to imagine it.

~ John Lennon

Burger King heats up the coffee wars

Burger King heats up the coffee wars

With help from Starbucks, Burger King goes up against McDonald's breakfast items.

Thirty-Six Percent Of U.S. Homes Without Broadband

A new Commerce Department report shows just why Google wants to jump into ISP-land. The report states that approximately 40 percent of Americans do not have high-speed Internet access at home.

Nielsen study shows there's a long road ahead to get people to pay for online content

From the "DUH!" Department:

Here's a shocker: When given the choice between paying for something or getting it for free, most people will choose free.
That's just one of the insightful findings from "Changing Models: A Global Perspective on Paying for Content Online," a new study from Nielsen.
The research company interviewed almost 30,000 people around the globe about pay models for the Internet -- and if there's one thing the world is united on, it's that free is better.

Full Story

Speaking of dogs ...

Great Scot! Sadie the Scottie wins Westminster

A Scottish terrier is America's new top dog. Sadie the Scottie walked off with the title Tuesday night by winning best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club.

Dickens' dog collar fetches $11,590 in NYC auction

A dog collar that belonged to Charles Dickens has fetched $11,590 at a New York City auction.

Doc to gastric bypass patient: Go on a fucking diet!

A New Zealand surgeon was reprimanded by officials for being unprofessional after he told a severely obese patient to a "go on a fucking diet."

Full Story

As the fortune cookie crumbles ...

It is nice to be remembered, but it is far cheaper to be forgotten.

You Know the Flying Dragons in Avatar?

From Treehugger

Photo: Reddit user Biophilia_curiosus

Can't Wait Until They Find the Full-Sized Species...
A Reddit.com user by the name of Biophilia_curiosus posted a few photos that he took in Indonesia. They show an amazing species of gliding lizard which basically looks like a miniature dragon. Fans of the film Avatar will be reminded of the flying Toruks... More photos below.

I Dig A Pony

The Beatles

Today is ...

Today is February 17, the 48th day of 2010.

There are 317 days left in the year.

Today In History February 17

Today's unusual holidays and celebrations are:

My Way Day


World Human Spirit Day

Our Readers

Some of our readers today have been in:

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
London, England, United Kingdom
Colchester, England, United Kingdom
Prague, Hlavni Mesto Praha, Czech Republic
Bucharest, Bucuresti, Romania
Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Athens, Attiki, Greece
Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
Halifax, England, United Kingdom
Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada
Maidstone, England, United Kingdom
Santiago, Region Metropolitana, Chile

as well as Scotland, Korea, and the United States

Daily Horoscope

Today's horoscope says:

Part of you really and truly wants to keep quiet about what you're feeling, especially if it concerns a touchy subject.
But a much more insistent part of you just won't have it, and is determined to let it all out.
You're currently involved in a heated internal battle, and while neither side has officially won, deep down you know who to bet on.
Your feelings are written all over your face.

Wow, deep.