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.

Friday, February 26, 2010

And I Quote

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.

~ Soren Kierkegaard

Study finds 841 chronically homeless in Charlotte

A study released Friday shows Charlotte's homeless problem is worse than estimated.

Volunteers interviewed 841 chronically homeless people. Chronically homeless is defined as those who have been homeless for more than year or four times in three years.

It was estimated that number would be around 600.

"I went from college to being homeless, hanging out with the wrong crowd." said one man.

More in NC form negative opinion about Burr

One less repugican in November

More North Carolina adults are forming a negative opinion about Richard Burr as the repugican heads into his re-election bid, according to a poll released Friday.

Full Story

America's most on-time airlines

America's most on-time airlines

The airline with the best track record for on-time arrivals had 83 percent of its flights on schedule.

Top 5

Fluke illuminates Bible's 'silent' period

Fluke illuminates Bible's 'silent' period

Two pieces of an ancient text separated by centuries and continents are finally reunited.

Spain's economic crisis threatens the euro

Spain's economic crisis threatens the euro

With 19 percent unemployment and a huge deficit, Spain could determine if Europe's currency falls.

Giant diamond breaks record at sale

Giant diamond breaks record at sale

Experts knew the Cullinan Heritage would fetch a hefty sum — but they had no idea just how much.

Drought uncovers flooded village

Drought uncovers flooded village

For the past 25 years, the only visible remnant of Potosi was the top of a church steeple.

'Living Wage' Could Be Factor in Government Contracts

The White House is looking at a new policy that would give an advantage in bidding on government contracts to companies that offer generous benefits and good pay.

'Living Wage' Could Be Factor in Government Contracts

Libya's Gaddafi Urges Jihad Against Switzerland

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi called on Thursday for a "jihad" or armed struggle against Switzerland, saying it was an infidel state that was destroying mosques.

Full Story

I see the 'ol'time' crazies of yesteryear are still just as batty as ever.

Prof suspended over hit man Facebook post?

A professor at a northeastern Pennsylvania university says she's been suspended indefinitely for what she thought was a humorous posting on Facebook about hiring a hit man.

Prof suspended over hit man Facebook post?

Giant Icebergs Break Free, Threaten Ocean Currents and Oxygen Levels

From Treehugger:

giant iceberg a22a photo
A giant iceberg in the southern Atlantic. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

On February 12 or 13, a truly mammoth iceberg broke free from the Mertz Glacier Tongue. The 985 square-mile block of ice is roughly the size of Luxembourg and, at 1300 feet thick, would fill Sydney Harbor more than 100 times. The block was dislodged by another large iceberg—known as B9B—which cleaved in 1987.

Now drifting together in the Southern Ocean, the icebergs are threatening—researchers report—to cap an important region responsible for driving the world's ocean currents.

Behold: glow in the dark toilet paper!

From Treehugger:

glowing toilet paper photo

Behold: glow in the dark toilet paper! No need to turn on the light for those late-night ventures to the bathroom,.
Toilet paper has been the subject of considerable drama here on the ole' TreeHugger. Sadly, the softer it is, the worse it is for old growth forests. We've heard calls to ditch the TP entirely and go with a bidet, and we now know that toilet-paper themed poetry can reduce use. But unless we all do like No Impact Man, or find the gospel after a trip to Thailand, we of the Western World are unlikely to ditch the roll terribly soon. So we might as well save some energy while we're at it, right?

The brain and intelligence

Maggie Koerth-Baker posted this over on BoingBoing today:


You know what they say about people with big brains ... Or, actually, maybe you don't.

Despite being a major concept underlying of the neurobiology of intelligence for the last 150 years or so, the connection between brain size and smarts isn't well-understood by Joe and Jane Average. Does it mean smaller people—including women—are less intelligent? What about animals, like elephants, that have much larger brains than ours? Are our academic destinies really written in our hat size?

It's complicated. We know that brain size and intelligence are correlated, but that simple fact is only a starting point for a much more intricate story—one that science is only beginning to understand.

First off, yes, bigger brains really do seem to be smarter brains. That correlation has been pretty solidly proven, experts say, and the connection gets stronger when you calculate total brain volume via MRI technology or post-mortem analysis, rather than simply running a tape measure around somebody's head. Basically, the more accurate and precise the brain measurement, the more size and smarts are connected.

How connected varies a bit, depending on the methodology, but an analysis of previous research, published in 2005 in the journal Intelligence, found a .33 correlation at the population level. Which means, if you look at humans as a whole, a little more than 10% of the difference in intelligence from person to person can be accounted for by brain size.

That's statistically significant. But it also means overall brain size isn't the only thing affecting intelligence. Case in point: Gender.

"It is true that women have smaller brains than men," said Sandra Witelson, Ph.D, professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University in Canada. "But numerous studies have shown that women aren't any less intelligent overall than men."

That works because male and female brains are built differently, according to Witelson and other researchers.

"If you look at the brain areas related to intelligence in men, they're different than the brain areas associated with intelligence in women. It implies at least two different brain architectures that lead to the same level of intelligence," said Richard Haier, Ph.D., a neuroscience consultant and professor emeritus at the University of California, Irvine.

Something about the way women's brains are built allows us to do the same thinking in a smaller space.

This difference helped tip researchers off to other factors that we now know are also correlated with variations in overall intelligence—and with variations in particular types of intelligence, such as verbal and spatial. Small differences in the placement and size of patches of grey matter (the stuff that does the thinking) and white matter (the stuff that helps the thinking get done more efficiently) can make a big difference in IQ.

Take Einstein. In 1999, Witelson's laboratory studied the great thinker's preserved brain.

" His brain was smack within normal brain size for his age," she said. "But he had a region in the parietal lobe that is crucial for visual imagery and mathematical thinking that was exceptionally large in his case. We suggest that it was the expansion of that region that gave him this extraordinary ability."

This also might help explain why some animals with larger brains are less intelligent than animals with smaller brains—the inner architecture and wiring of their brains are different.

Basically, "bigger brain = smarter" is a good rule of thumb, but it comes with a lot of "buts". Brain size can give you a general idea, but to make a really accurate prediction of any individual's intelligence, you'd need to look at multiple factors—from whether the person was right- or left-handed, to their gender, to their grey matter. Some answers are there, researchers say, but they don't fit easily into a sound byte.

Lars Chittka, Ph.D., professor of sensory and behavioral ecology at Queen Mary, University of London, and Jeremy Gray, Ph.D., associate professor in the department of psychology at Yale University, were also interviewed for this story. Their help was invaluable in piecing together the big picture of brain size and intelligence.

Interesting stuff indeed.

Have you ever noticed that the size of the heads of the wingnuts, teabaggers, birthers and whatever other appellation assigned to them are exceedingly small ...

The repugicans are now filibustering unemployment benefits - current benefits will run out before bill can be passed because of repugicans

Show the American people what selfish, uncaring extremists the repugicans really are.
Jim Bunning (reptile -Ky.) late Thursday launched a one-man crusade to block an extension of unemployment and COBRA insurance benefits, vowing to allow the benefit programs to expire Sunday unless Democrats agreed to pay for them with unused stimulus funds.

Bunning’s quixotic pursuit of deficit offsets at the potential expense of payments to unemployed or uninsured citizens enraged Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D -Ill.) and other Democrats, who vowed to keep the chamber in session until Bunning relents or collapses.

A senior Democratic leadership aide said Durbin would ask for unanimous consent to pass the extensions without Bunning’s payment scheme every half hour for the foreseeable future. “We’re going to keep doing it until we break him,” the aide said.
Did you get that?
This idiot wants us to use the stimulus funds that haven't yet been spent, but are about to be spent.
By CBO's estimate, up to 3.5 million jobs are depending on the stimulus for their existence this coming year.
This moron wants to wipe that out.

The economy isn't out of trouble yet.
A lot of economist worry that the economy may contract again the fall.
Taking back the remaining stimulus funds while the economy is still teetering, i.e., decreasing demand, is insane.

The Democrats are pointing this out, in addition to the inhumanity of taking away people's unemployment benefits.
We cannot let the repugicans propose economically dangerous solutions and let them get away with it.

Real estate outlook

Real estate outlook: More slides ahead

Housing prices are expected to fall again this year with the end of two federal programs.

Dangerous storm blasts Northeast

Dangerous storm blasts Northeast

Hurricane-force winds and snow cut power to more than a million, fan a huge fire, and disrupt travel.

Turkish officers charged in coup plot

A Turkish court on Friday charged 11 more military officers for allegedly plotting a 2003 coup against the Islamic-based government, increasing the number of officers jailed to 31 - including seven admirals and four generals.

Full Story

Arctic ice arches in peril

Dams of ice that usually plug straits leading out of the Arctic Ocean are failing to form, letting sea ice escape to the Atlantic and Pacific.

Arctic ice arches in peril

Lasers lift dirt of ages from art

Physicists have applied the same laser techniques commonly used for tattoo removal to clean several famous works of art.

Whaling 'worsens carbon release'

Blue Whale - Science Photo Library
A century of whaling may have released more than 100 million tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, scientists say.

Liars and Fools

Liars and Fools

Faux's Steve Doozy (ahem, Doocy) delusionally ponders whether Obama attorneys are "sympathetic to Al-Qaeda cause".
No, that would be your handlers at Faux that are pathetic (excuse me, sympathetic) to the Al-Qaeda cause as they are forever doing their worst (best) to move it forward.
Pardon the obvious substitution of the proper term - pathetic.

American Thinker (which is nothing of the sort) predicts that Obama's "Ides of March" (assassination) moment is near".
OK, when are these blatant threats and treason going to be answered!

Faux News and wingnut Frank Gaffney lie and claim the Missile Defense Agency logo combined Obama logo with symbol of Islam is evidence Obama’s "submission to Shariah"
Damn, their delusions are getting even more bizarre! Is that even possible?

Steve King (reptile - Iowa) boasts that he "empathizes" with the suicide bomber who attacked an IRS office last week, and encourages his listeners to "implode" other IRS offices.
Treason, pure and simple!

Louie Gohmert (retard - Texas) lies saying that Obama is more willing to negotiate with terrorists than with repugicans.
All right 'lies' may not be quite accurate ... however negotiating with terrorists is more fruitful than negotiating with repugicans.
But that is beside the point, Obama isn't and will not negotiate with 'terrorists' and he as much as said so yesterday at the health summit when he in so many words told the repugicans to fuck off and the legislation that we the American people want will pass and become law over their dead bodies if need be.
On second thought ... 'lies' is more than accurate!

Cop News

Senate Inaction Jeopardizes Unemployment Benefits

The Senate failed late Thursday to extend programs for laid-off workers, jeopardizing unemployment benefits scheduled to expire over the weekend.

Full Story

The not so friendly skies ...

Bad weather wasn't the only thing slowing travelers down Thursday in New York.

Passengers on a Delta Connection flight out of Rochester were delayed after two female flight attendants got into a fight on board the plane.

Flight attendants fist fight on plane

The Pentagon coughs up over 800 pages worth of potentially illegal spying, including peace groups and Planned Parenthood

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has forced the Pentagon to release over 800 pages of classified material documenting "possibly illegal" spying during the shrub cabal. The heavily redacted documents include details of a spying program against Planned Parenthood and white supremacist groups in the run up to the Atlanta Olympics, as well as spying on Alaskans for Peace and Justice, an anti-recruiting group, civilian cell phone conversations, and other breaches of spying laws.

The rubric of spying is that it needs to take place to stop people who are acting illegally or may act illegally. When spies break the law, they commit the infraction that they claim to have dedicated themselves to preventing.

Pertaining to the Planned Parenthood members, for example, the oversight report provides no explanation about how the information was collected. Nor does it indicate why the information was collected and notes only that military intelligence is not allowed to collect and disseminate information on U.S. persons unless the information constitutes "foreign intelligence." The report indicates that the collection was therefore "clearly outside the purview of military intelligence" and should have been handled by law enforcement.

Another oversight document discusses an incident involving the interception of civilian cellphone conversations of U.S. persons in April 2007. During a field exercise at Fort Polk, Louisiana, a Signals Intelligence noncommissioned officer operating a SIGINT collection system intercepted the cell phone calls, though the document doesn't indicate if they were intercepted on U.S. soil or outside U.S. borders.

Initial reports indicated that the officer listened to the conversations for entertainment purposes, and the incident was reported to the National Security Agency. But the inspector-general document indicates that the officer never admitted to this and indicates only that he may have listened to some conversations "longer than necessary to do his job."


Cool Stuff

Today is ...

Today is Friday, February 26, the 57th day of 2010.

There are 308 days left in the year.

Today In History February 26

Today's unusual holidays and celebrations are:

For Pete's Sake Day,
Levi Strauss Day
National Personal Chef's Day

Our Readers

Some of our readers today have been in:

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
North York, Ontario, Canada
Lublin, Lubelskie, Poland
Warsaw, Mazowieckie, Poland
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Athens, Attiki, Greece
London, England, United Kingdom
Alcala De Henares, Madrid, Spain
Kielce, Swietokrzyskie, Poland
Antwerp, Antwerpen, Belgium
Wodonga, Victoria, Australia
Delhi, Delhi, India
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
San Salvador, San Salvador, El Salvador
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

as well as Scotland, Guatemala, Wales, Northern Ireland, Philippines, Ireland, Serbia, and the Unites States in such cities as New Braunfels, Elmhurst, Lehigh Acres, Hauppauge, Ashaway, Manton and many more

Daily Horoscope

Today's horoscope says:

You may be super focused on the task at hand, but you also know when it's time to take a load off.
So after days of drilling away at a project, it's finally done.
You may be tired, but you're ready to move on and concentrate on an entirely different subject: the person who's been impatiently waiting for you to finish this latest venture.
If you can, start your weekend early today!

That'll be nice for a change.