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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, November 8, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Take a little time out from your busy schedule to think about life.
Specifically, think about the meaning of it.
Yep, it sounds heavy.
And, on the one hand, it is heavy.
On the other hand, you get a real kick out of thinking about things like the meaning of life.
It buoys you up knowing that you're keeping tabs on the deep mysteries, on the unknowables, as well as on stuff like whether you paid your telephone bill.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Bassando Del Grappa, Veneto, Italy
Rome, Lazio, Italt
Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden
London, Ontario, Canada
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Campbelltown, New South Wales, Australia
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Udaipur, Rajasthan, India
Kuwait, Al Kuwayt, Kuwait
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Bochum, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
Melsungen, Hessen, Germany
Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico
Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

as well as Brazil, Israel, Egypt, Palestinian Territories, Malaysia, Nigeria and in cities across the United States such as Kailua, Wasilla, Tampa, Mesa and more.

Today is:
Today is Monday, November 8, the 312th day of 2010.
There are 53 days left in the year.


Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Abet and Aid Punsters Day
and
Cook Something Bold and Pungent Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

This Modern Life

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Keith Olbermann reinstated

An "indefinite" suspension ends up lasting only a few days for the MSNBC host.
Also: 

Want an easy way out of jury duty

An Ohio man was excused from jury service after mentioning he was friends growing up with serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.

Greater food insecurity from recession poses increased risk to low income individuals with diabetes

The economic recession impacts many aspects of our lives including an increase incidence of food insecurity. This can have serious consequences for those suffering from chronic illnesses like diabetes.

Weight Loss Crystals Being Developed

Scented crystals that trick the brain into thinking the body is full were being hailed Sunday as the latest path to weight loss in the UK.

A Restaurant Where Anyone over 350 Pounds Eats for Free


A restaurant in Chandler, Arizona will serve free food to anyone over 350 pounds. It’s called the Heart Attack Grill, and its managers just hired a 600-pound man named Blair River to be a model in their commercials:
Blair River stands 6 feet 8 inches tall and weighs about 600 pounds. His weight and his enthusiasm for the food at Chandler’s Heart Attack Grill have won him a $100-an-hour modeling contract.
This week he shot a YouTube video commercial to promote the grill, which invites anyone over 350 pounds to eat for free.[...]
The Heart Attack Grill, at 6185 W. Chandler Blvd. near Kyrene Road, has a medical theme. Waitresses are dressed in skimpy nurses’ uniforms. Customers, called patients, wear hospital gowns over their clothes. The menu features no diet drinks and high-calorie food called such memorable names as Double Bypass Burger. Fries are cooked in lard.
The restaurant is owned by former nutritionist Jon Basso, who ran a chain of seven Jenny Craig weight-loss centers in Oklahoma.

Haute cuisine in space

Dinner in orbit has come a long way from squeeze tubes and chalky ice cream.
Also: 

Odds and Sods

Our Sun is... Mesmerizing

Joan Pritchard's fridge keeps on working even though it was first switched on in 1936.

The Return of the Stoned Ape

Alex Grey, stoned ape
Evolutionary Psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa has recently been publishing a version of his Savanna-IQ Interaction Hypothesis over at Psychology Today. His theory, amongst many other things, establishes a connection between intelligence, novelity seeking and the consumption of psychoactive drugs. Or, as the Atlantic Wire put it: “Smart People Do More Drugs — Because of Evolution.” The quick version, hopefully without boiling it down too far, is that Kanazawa believes that more intelligent individuals are better equipped to deal with novel situations – and in fact seek those situations out. Thus, highly intelligent individuals are more likely to seek out experiences with psychoactive drugs, which are essentially novelty sinks. He’s not claiming that this behavior has a traditionally positive effect – in fact his wording shows a pretty strong bias against psychoactive experimentation but simply that people with high IQs are more likely to seek these experiences out. [...]
What struck me, is not that he found proof of this tendency – eyeballing the amount of Ph.D’s in the room the last time I tripped has me anecdotally primed for such a conclusion – but how interestingly it matches Terence McKenna’s “Stoned Ape” theory of human cognitive development. While history and the fields of Anthropology or Evolutionary Biology haven’t been too kind to many of McKenna’s theories over the years since he passed away, one that continually strikes me as relevant – perhaps because of my own theories of hybridization and technological development – is the Stoned Ape.

A Brief History of Bugs Bunny


IMPRESSIVE STATS
Bug Bunny is the world’s most popular rabbit:
* Since 1939, he has starred in more than 175 films.
* He’s been nominated for three Oscars, and won one -in 1958, for “Knighty Knight, Bugs” (with Yosemite Sam).
* Every year from 1945 to 1961, he was voted “top animated character” by movie theater owners (when they still showed cartoons in theaters).
* In 1985 he became only the 2nd cartoon character to be given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Mickey Mouse was the first).
* For almost 30 years, starting in 1960, he had one of the top-rated shows in Saturday morning TV.
* In 1976, when researchers polled Americans on their favorite characters, real and imaginary, Bugs came in second …behind Abraham Lincoln.
THE INSPIRATIONS
Bugs was born in the 1930s, but cartoon historians say his ancestry goes further back. A few direct antecedents:
* Zomo. You may not have heard of this African folk-rabbit. but he’s world famous. Joe Adamson writes  in Bugs Bunny: Fifty Years and Only One Grey Hare:
Like jazz and rock’n'roll, Bugs has at least some of his roots in black culture. Zomo is the trickster rabbit from Central and Eastern Africa who gained audience sympathy by being smaller than his oppressors and turning the tables on them through cleverness -thousands of years before Eastman invented film. A con artist, a masquerader, ruthless and suave, in control of the situation. Specialized in impersonating women.
* Charlie Chaplin. “It was Chaplin who established that ‘gestures and actions expressing attitude’ give a screen character life.” Adamson writes. The Looney Tunes directors, all fans of Chaplin, even stole many of his gags. For example:
The abrupt and shocking kiss Charlie plants [on] someone who’s getting too closse for comfort in The Floorwalker went on to become one of Bugs’ favorite ways to upset his adversaries. [And] the walking broomstick in Bewitched Bunny does Chaplin’s trademark turn, with one foot in the air, at every corner.
There are literally dozens of other Chaplin rip-offs. Bugs also lifted bits from silent comedians Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton.
* Groucho Marx. “Bugs uses his carrot as a prop, just as Groucho used his cigar,” points out Stefan Kanfer in Serious Business. “Eventually Bugs even stole Marx’s response to an insult: ‘Of course you know, this means war!’ ”
TIMELINE
1937: Warner Bros. animation director Tex Avery makes “Porky’s Duck Hunt.” Porky Pig hunted a screwball duck named Daffy -”who didn’t get scared and run run away when somebody pointed a gun at him, but leapt and hopped all over the place like a maniac.” “When it hit the theaters,” recalls another director, “it was like an explosion.”
1938: Warner Bros. director Ben “Bugs” Hardaway remakes the cartoon with a rabbit instead of a duck, as “Porky’s Hare Hunt”. Says one of Bugs’ creators: “That rabbit was just Daffy Duck in a rabbit suit.”
1939: Bugs Hardaway decides to remake “Porky’s Hare Hunt” with a new rabbit (as “Hare-um Scare-um”). Cartoonist Charlie Thorson comes up with a gray and white rabbit with large buck teeth. He labels his sketch “Bugs’ Bunny”.
1940: Director Tex Avery becomes the real father of Bugs Bunny with “A Wild Hare”. Bugs is changed from a Daffyesque lunatic to a streetsmart wiseass. “We decided he was going to be a smart alec rabbit, but casual about it,” Avery recalled. “His opening linewas ‘What’s up, Doc? …It floored ‘em! …Here’s a guy with a gun in his face! …They expected the rabbit to scream, or anything but make a casual remark… It got such a laugh that we said, ‘Let’s use that every chance we get.’ It became a series of ‘What’s up, Docs?’ That set his entire character, He was always in command, in the face of all types of dangers.”
* Bugs also gets his voice in “A Wild Hare”. Mel Blanc, who did most Looney Tunes voices, had been having a hard time finding one for the rabbit… until Bugs Hardaway showed him the latest sketch for “A Wild Hare”. Blanc wrote:
He’d obviously had some work done. His posture had improved, he’d shed some weight, and his protruding front teeth weren’t as pronounced. The most significant change, however, was in his facial expression. No longer just goofy, he was a sly looking rascal.

“A tough little stinker, isn’t he?” Hardaway commented… and the light went on in Blanc’s brain.
A tough little stinker… In my mind I heard a Brooklyn accent… To anyone living west of the Hudson River at that time, Brooklynites were associated with con artists and crooks… Consequently, the new, improved Bugs Bunny wouldn’t say jerk, he’d say joik.
* The rabbit is now so popular he needs a name. According to some sources, he is about to be dubbed “Happy Rabbit”. Tex Avery wants “Jack E. Rabbit”. But when Thorson’s year-old drawing labeled “Bugs’ Bunny” is turned up, producer Lon Schlessinger chooses that. Avery hates it. “That’s sissy,” he complains. “Mine’s a rabbit. A tall, lanky, mean rabbit. He isn’t a fuzzy little bunny!” But the name sticks.
1941: Bugs Bunny becomes competitive. Four extremely talented directors -Avery, Fritz Freleng, Bob Clampett, and Chuck Jones- try to top each other with new gags and aspects of Bugs’ personality. It’s the key to the character’s success -he’s constantly growing. “As each director added new levels to this character,” Adamson explains, “it was picked up by others and became part of the mix.”
1943: Animator Robert McKimson (later a director himself), working for Bob Clampett, refines Bugs’ features into what they are today. “We made him cuter, brought his head and cheeks out a little more and gave him just a little nose,” McKimson says. He looks more “elfin” and less “ratlike” now.
1945: During World War II, Bugs has become a “sort of a national mascot.” Critic Richard Schickel writes: “In the war years, when he flourished most gloriously, Bugs Bunny embodied the cocky humor of a nation that had survived its economic crisis [in surprisingly good shape], and was facing a terrible war with grace, gallantry, humor and and solidarity that was equally surprising.” By the end of the war, Bugs isn’t just a cartoon character, but an American icon.
BUGS FACTS
Saved by a Hare. The inspiration for the original rabbit came from Walt Disney. In 1935 Disney put out a cartoon featuring a character called Max Hare. Hardaway’s rabbit looks suspiciously like Max.
Trademarks. Where did Bugs’ carrot-crunching and “What’s up, Doc?” come from? No one’s sure, but experts have suggested they might have been inspired by a couple of popular films.
* In Frank Capra’s 1934 Oscar-winning comedy, It Happened One Night, Clark Gable nervously munches on carrots.
* In the classic 1939 screwball comedy My Man Godfrey, William Powqell uses the line, “What’s up, Doc?” repeatedly.
On the other hand, Tex Avery had a habit of calling everyone Doc -so he may have inspired the phrase. (Mel Blanc -Bugs’ voice- also claims in his autobiography that he ad-libbed the line, but he seems to take credit for everything- so we don’t believe him.)
Tough Act. Blanc said that recording the “What’s up, Doc?” line turned out to be the most physically challenging part of doing the voice:
“What’s up, Doc?” was incomplete without the sound of the rabbit nibbling on the carrot, which presented problems. First of all, I don’t especially like carrots, at least not raw. [Ed note: In another BR, we erroneously reported that he was allergic to carrots. Oops.] And second, I found it impossible to chew, swallow, and be ready to say my next line. We tried substituting other vegetables, including apples and celery, with unsatisfactory results. The solution was to stop recording so that I could spit out the carrot into the wastebasket and then proceed with the script. In the course of a recording session I usually went through enough carrots to fill several wastebaskets. Bugs Bunny did for carrots what Popeye did for spinach. How many…children were coerced into eating their carrots by mothers cooing… “but Bugs Bunny eats his carrots.” If only they had known.
Eat Your Veggies. Actually, there were pressures to switch from carrots. “The Utah Celery Company of Salt Lake City offered to keep all the studio’s staffers well supplied with their product if Bugs would only switch from carrots to celery,” Adamson reports. “[And] later, the Broccoli Institute of America strongly urged Bugs Bunny to sample their product once in a while… Mel Blanc would have been happy to switch… but carrots were Bugs’s trademark.”
Surprise Hit. To his creators, Bugs Bunny was just another character that would probably run in a few cartoons and fade unnoticed into obscurity. “We didn’t feel that we had anything,” Avery recounted years later, “until we got it on the screen and it got a few laughs. After we ran it and previewed it and so forth, Warner liked it, the exhibitors liked it, and so of course [the producer] ran down and said, ‘Boy, give me as many of these as you can!’ Which we did.”

Bug Bunny became so popular with the public that he got laughs even when he didn’t deserve them. “He could do no wrong,” remembers dialog writer Michael Maltese. “We had quite a few lousy Bugs Bunnies. We’d say, ‘Well he haven’t got time. Let’s do it.’ And we’d do it, and the audience would laugh. They loved that rabbit.”

The Burqa Band

The world is filled with weird bands, but I think that Oddee has found 10 of the weirdest bands that music has ever seen. Take, for instance, the Burqa Band:
The Burqa Band is an all-female indie rock band from Kabul, Afghanistan. They perform anonymously, all of the members wearing burqas in an apparent protest against the Taliban’s rules regarding Islamic dress. They released a single, "Burqa Blue" and a self-titled album in 2002. The group has gained some popularity in Europe in the 2000s, and has toured in Germany, where a song of theirs was remixed by DJ Barbara Morgenstern.
The Burka Band is currently inactive due to the lead singer having to move to Pakistan to find singing work, but the drummer, still anonymous and living in Afghanistan, has expressed hope in playing again in the future.
Read about 9 more weird bands, including jazz-playing hamsters, here.

Welcome To Vulcan, Alberta

 

In 1915 a surveyor for the Canadian Pacific Railway chose a name for an area in Alberta, Canada. The place must have reminded him of the gods of Roman mythology as he chose the name Vulcan, after the god of fire. He had no idea the favour he was doing for the future generations of the town that would spring up around the railroad.

Ziggy

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Homeowners sue over loans

Homeowners say banks aren’t living up to their end of the deal under trial mortgage changes.
Also: 
Banks under fire for failing to live up to terms of modified loans
It makes no sense at all for banks to agree to modified loan terms and then revert back to the original terms. Of course they're telling a different story but for obvious reasons there's little reason to believe them any more. They consistently play by whatever rules they find can benefit them the most and the federal government all too often allows them to get away with it. Fortunately a number of states are suing them and when you see the consistent problems across the country, it is hard to accept the story churned out by the banks.

How many more chances will the banks get before a grown up decides to step in and apply the rules? It's annoying that consumers continue to be treated differently than the banks.
Attorney Shennan Alexandra Kavanagh said several of the plaintiffs lost their homes after their payments reverted to their original sums that they were unable to pay. She said she believes tens of thousands of borrowers in Massachusetts alone could be covered by the suits if they get class-action status.

One of the lawsuits, against Bank of America Corp., was consolidated earlier this month with similar complaints in five other states, Kavanagh said.

Bank of America spokeswoman Shirley Norton said in an e-mail that the lender will continue aggressively defending itself against the cases.

More lawsuits have been filed against other lenders elsewhere.

Tiny college's $30 mil windfall

The final bequest from a family trust is like hitting the lottery for this Penn. school.
Also: 

What outlets won't tell you

The quality of made-for-outlet goods may not compare to that of a regular store.  
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Alzheimer's and family finances

Experts say one of the early signs of the disease is the inability to manage money.  
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On The Job

These occupations are actually adding people today — if they have the right credentials.  
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Responsibility

A man goes for a job interview.

'Well', says the personnel manager, ' I must be quite honest, this job does require somebody very responsible.'

'Exactly', exclaims the job-seeker, 'that's why I am here.' 'I have had ten jobs in the past year, and every time something went wrong they always looked to me and said I was responsible!'

Phones

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America's best neighborhoods

The Frank Lloyd Wright district in Oak Park, Ill., is rich with architecture and history.  
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Largest yachts in the world

Roman Abramovich's Eclipse includes its own submarine and reportedly cost $1.2 billion.
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Ten cars you can't get in U.S.

The HSV MalooR8 is the world's fastest pickup truck, but it won't be found on American roads.  
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Redneck Home Security

Installing A Home Security System

1. Go to the Goodwill Store and buy a pair of men's used work boots, size 14-16.

2. Place them on your front porch, along with several scattered empty beer cans, a copy of a well-thumbed Guns &amp, Ammo magazine and several NRA magazines.

3. Put a few giant dog dishes next to the boots and magazine.

4. Leave a note on your door that reads:

"Hey, Bubba, Big Jim, Duke and Slim -- I went to the gun shop for more ammo. I'll be back in an hour. Don't mess with the pit bulls: they attacked the mailman this morning and messed him up real bad. I don' think Killer took part in it but it was hard to tell from all the blood.

"P.S. I locked all four of 'em in the house. Better wait outside."

Many flee Indonesia volcano amid fears of eruption

Frightened residents fled a bustling city of 400,000 at the foot of Indonesia's rumbling volcano Monday, cramming onto trains, buses and rented vehicles as authorities warned Mount Merapi could erupt again at any time.

Much Of US South Experiencing Extreme Drought

lake travis texas july 2009 photo
Lake Travis (Austin, Texas), July 2009.  
Image credit:University of Nebraska at Lincoln, National Drought Center; Photo courtesy of Bridget Cameron, Texas Water Development Board.
Large swaths of US southern states are experiencing severe drought impacts, concentrated in the Lower Mississippi River watershed, and extending east through parts of Florida. Portions of Texas, as pictured, also continue to be adversely impacted. Production of tobacco, peanuts, soy, and wheat have fallen in roughly a dozen states; and, cattle producers are being forced to purchase hay instead of letting animals graze freely. If this keeps up, as it is predicted to by NOAA, cattle may be sold off. The typical pattern would be meat prices will go down, then rebound to higher levels than before and stay that way.
Secondary drought impacts on the US Congress of 2011 will be interesting to watch, given the emerging consensus view that Congress should reduce, not expand, the Federal deficit.
Article continues: Much Of US South Experiencing Extreme Drought - Let The Water Wars Begin

Bad Cops

Pennsylvania police officer is charged with animal cruelty

California cop who killed unarmed man on the ground gets two years, less time served

Michigan sheriff's deputy facing sexual assault charges in Bay County accepts plea deal

Massachusetts police chief charged in firearms case

Nearly 100 Toronto police officers to be disciplined over G20 summit conduct

Philadelphia cops confiscate man's guns, despite concealed carry permit, because he's black

US intelligence did not connect American to Mumbai attacks

White House officials said Monday that U.S. intelligence did not connect an American man to the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks he later pleaded guilty to helping plot.
Not surprising since it was the shrub and the cabal's junta 'in charge' of "intelligence" at the time.

Broken Record

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Colorado DA drops felony hit-and-run charges against billion-dollar financier because of "serious job implications"

There's rules for things like this - we like to call them 'laws' - but as you can see ... there's rules for us and there's rules for them.

Colorado District Attorney Mark Hurlbert has dropped felony charges against Martin Joel Erzinger, a Morgan Stanley Smith Barney wealth manager who controls $1 billion in investments, because financial rules would require Erzinger to notify his clients that he was charged with a felony, and this would have "serious job implications" for the financier. Erzinger is facing charges for allegedly rear-ending cyclist Dr. Steven Milo, and then leaving the scene of the crime. Milo, a liver transplant surgeon, has spinal and brain injuries, disfiguring scars, and will likely be in pain for the rest of his life.
Milo was bicycling eastbound on Highway 6 just east of Miller Ranch Road, when Erzinger allegedly hit him with the black 2010 Mercedes Benz sedan he was driving. Erzinger fled the scene and was arrested later, police say. Erzinger allegedly veered onto the side of the road and hit Milo from behind. Milo was thrown to the pavement, while Erzinger struck a culvert and kept driving, according to court documents.
Erzinger drove all the way through Avon, the town's roundabouts, under I-70 and stopped in the Pizza Hut parking lot where he called the Mercedes auto assistance service to report damage to his vehicle, and asked that his car be towed, records show. He did not ask for law enforcement assistance, according to court records.
Erzinger told police he was unaware he had hit Milo, court documents say.
When Avon police arrived he was putting a broken side mirror and a bumper in his trunk, court record say.

Shoe

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Scientists Fight Back Against Climate Change Denying Politicians

With repugicans in charge of the House in 2011, they're planning to hold high profile hearings examining the alleged "scientific fraud" behind global warming. The only fraud, of course, is the claim that there's been a "scientific fraud", but a new House investigation will make for some interesting theater.
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Photo: Aske Holst, Flickr, CC
The most surprising thing about the midterm elections wasn't that it swept over 60 Tea Party-backed candidates to power -- it was that more than half of those candidates are on record denying climate change. Unified climate denial is an alarming platform to adopt in the modern world, considering every other major political party around the globe -- even conservative ones -- acknowledges that global warming is a serious problem. But the ascendant far-right wing that's just taken power isn't deterred by stuff like science: The GOP plans to attack the EPA, "investigate" climate scientists, and convince the public that climate change is a scam. Thankfully, climate scientists have had enough. This time, they're fighting back.
Article continues: 700 Scientists Fight Back Against Climate Change Denying Politicians

Dead Coral Found in Deepwater Near BP Oil Spill Well

Dead coral found near BP oil spill site photos
If BP was hoping that "out of sight, out of mind" would help memories of the Deepwater Horizon gulf oil spill disaster fade, news from an ongoing NOAA exploration of coral communities in the deep gulf sea floor could dash their hopes. The findings of a team led by Penn State Biologist Charles Fisher could also dash hopes that the large quantities of oil and chemicals released in the depths of the Gulf of Mexico left local flora and fauna largely unharmed. Fisher's team has found the first evidence of widespread coral death in the cold depths.
Article continues: Dead Coral Found in Deepwater Near BP Oil Spill Well

Collider produces 'mini-Big Bang'

One of the lead-ion collisions, as seen by the ALICE experiment The Large Hadron Collider has successfully created a mini-Big Bang by smashing together lead ions instead of protons.

Scientists turn skin into blood

In an important breakthrough, scientists at McMaster University have discovered how to make human blood from adult human skin.

The discovery, published in the prestigious science journal Nature today, could mean that in the foreseeable future people needing blood for surgery, cancer treatment or treatment of other blood conditions like anemia will be able to have blood created from a patch of their own skin to provide transfusions. Clinical trials could begin as soon as 2012.

Mick Bhatia, scientific director of McMaster's Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, and his team of researchers have also shown that the conversion is direct. Making blood from skin does not require the middle step of changing a skin stem cell into a pluripotent stem cell that could make many other types of human cells, then turning it into a blood stem cell.

"We have shown this works using human skin. We know how it works and believe we can even improve on the process," said Bhatia. "We'll now go on to work on developing other types of human cell types from skin, as we already have encouraging evidence."

The discovery was replicated several times over two years using human skin from both young and old people to prove it works for any age of person.

Non Sequitur

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Animation — from an ancient art form to high science

Cryptic images from Paleolithic cave drawings to Shrek, the movie.
I thought to tackle a much lighter topic than aging, cancer, toxic spills and malaria for a change of pace, especially since Christmas is getting closer and need some happier thoughts.

Top 10 Famous & Deadly Swords

The first swords appeared during the Bronze Age.
It was made of copper and was uncovered at the Harappan sites in present-day Pakistan.

By the Middle Ages iron and steel swords were being mass produced and used in battle.
Soldiers were trained in swordsmanship and prepared for combat.
It was before the era of guns and high powered artillery and face to face fighting was the norm.

During this time in history, all of the royal generals, kings, and emperors owned personal swords.
These weapons were manufactured by the greatest sword makers of the time.
Many historical manuscripts document events surrounding significant swords.

Ancient Roman site collapses

The wreckage of a 2,000-year-old gladiators' house is an 'embarrassment' for Italy.  
Also: 

Earth may have had water from day one

The planet's water came from the dust from which Earth was born – and not simply from comet or asteroid impacts, new calculations suggest.

Tallest Monkey God Statue

This is rather exciting news: World's tallest Hanuman statue at Shimla.
Religiosity in India is scaling new heights. Just on the outskirts of this erstwhile summer capital of the British raj, a giant 108 feet high idol of Hanuman (the Monkey God) was unveiled at Jakhoo Hanuman temple, overlooking the entire city.
Given its gigantism, it would not be out of place to say that monkeys will be omnipresent in this famous tourist destination which already has a large monkey population.
How does it measure up to Christian idols?
Deemed to be world's tallest statue at 108 feet at the highest altitude of over 8100 feet and constructed at a cost of Rs 1.5 crores, it surpasses the current tallest statue of 'Christ the Redeemer', which measures at 98 feet and stands at an altitude of 2296 feet in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
hanuman
According to Hindu mythology Hanuman is said to have stooped at this spot to ask the way to Drona Giri to know the exact location of the sanjeevini booti that he had set out to get.

B.C.

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Baby koala shot 15 times in cruel attack

An orphaned koala which was shot up to 15 times in a cruel attack is fighting for its life after being found next to its dead mother. The tiny joey received a fractured skull, gunshot pellets scattered throughout the body and damaged stomach and intestines in the attack which has shocked animal rescuers. Vets say it is not clear yet whether the joey, which was blasted out of a tree with a shotgun on Queensland's Sunshine Coast hinterland, will survive.

The joey was found at Jimna on Friday next to its mother, which had died from gunshot wounds. Stomach and intestinal perforations have been repaired and three pellets removed, including from the skull, but a further 12 remain. Veterinarian Amber Gillett said yesterday the joey - who staff named Frodo - remained in a critical condition. If her condition can be stabilized, she will undergo further surgery to remove pellets and repair damage.


She is receiving intravenous antibiotics, fluids and pain relief and has had blood transfusions. "Frodo's condition is extremely critical and will require intensive monitoring and care in the coming days," Dr Gillett said. "We are stunned to see this kind of animal cruelty and cannot begin to fathom why somebody would want to shoot a koala that poses no threat to them."

RSPCA chief executive Mark Townend said his organization would provide any help needed to find the culprit and would be happy to prosecute. "If people think they can help, contact us, the police or the Environment Department," Mr Townend said. "I just can't believe the ratbags we've had to deal with over the past 12 months. We've spent a lot of money on education about animal welfare. If people don't like animals, why don't they just leave them alone. They don't have to shoot them."

Canadian couple find second python in their home

When Janet Wilkinson opened her washing machine, she expected to find some laundry. Instead, she found a python. She shrieked, “Another snake!”

Finding a python living in your home, without your consent, is a lot to handle. But finding more than one? Well, that’s terrifying. The Royal Python Wilkinson found coiled in her washing machine on Friday night was the second snake she and her husband, Chris Forde, have found in their home in two weeks.


“Lightning only strikes in the same place once,” Wilkinson said at the couple’s home near Coxwell and Danforth Aves. on Saturday. “But last night it struck again — and it is probably going to strike three or four more times.”

One snake is an anomaly. Two snakes are a family. And a local pet store informed the couple that they’ll likely meet some reptilian siblings in the near future.

Extinct bears found underwater

Underwater archaeologists have discovered the skulls of four Arctotherium - a genus of short-faced bear that went extinct 11,300 years ago

Ants enslave the strong not weak

Protomagnathus americanus (c) Sebastian Pohl Slavemaker ants target strongly defended colonies when seeking new servants, researchers find.

South America's Unusual Animals in Stunning Close-ups

Argentine Native Animals black and white hawk eagle photo
Photo credit: Rossi Fox Production
Canadian photographer Daniel Fox traveled extensively through Argentina to capture the beauty of nature and animals for The Wild Image Project (which we featured in a slideshow last year).
Recently, the artist and his partner Jasmine Rossi embarked on a new venture: The Mate Expedition, a trip through the Argentine mesopotamia to discover what makes the South American drink mate such a core component of the culture of the country, and to observe the exuberant local fauna and flora.
The result is a set of whole new photographs, this time including pretty unusual animals native of the Central and South American regions, some of them in danger of extinction.
South America's Unusual Animals in Stunning Close-ups Slideshow

New Wave Alpacas


Alpacas are a South American species in the camel family. The alpaca, guanaco, llama, and vicuña are closely related and are known collectively as lamoids. The long, fine repellent hair ranges in color from black to white and is highly prized for manufacturing cloth, particularly the white wool.