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|357||Constantius II visits Rome for the first time.|
|1282||Villagers in Palermo lead a revolt against French rule in Sicily.|
|1635||Virginia Governor John Harvey is accused of treason and removed from office.|
|1760||French forces besieging Quebec defeat the British in the second battle on the Plains of Abraham.|
|1788||Maryland becomes the seventh state to ratify the constitution.|
|1789||The crew of the HMS Bounty mutinies against Captain William Bligh.|
|1818||President James Monroe proclaims naval disarmament on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain.|
|1856||Yokut Indians repel an attack on their land by 100 would-be Indian fighters in California.|
|1902||Revolution breaks out in the Dominican Republic.|
|1910||The first night air flight is performed by Claude Grahame-White in England.|
|1916||British declare martial law throughout Ireland.|
|1919||Les Irvin makes the first jump with an Army Air Corps parachute.|
|1920||Azerbaijan joins the Soviet Union.|
|1930||The first organized night baseball game is played in Independence, Kansas.|
|1932||A yellow fever vaccine for humans is announced.|
|1945||Benito Mussolini is killed by Italian partisans.|
|1946||The Allies indict Tojo on 55 counts of war crimes|
|1947||Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl and five others set out in a balsa wood craft known as Kon Tiki to prove that Peruvian Indians could have settled in Polynesia.|
|1953||French troops evacuate northern Laos.|
|1965||The U.S. Army and Marines invade the Dominican Republic.|
|1967||Muhammad Ali refuses induction into the U.S. Army and is stripped of boxing title.|
|1969||Charles de Gaulle resigns as president of France.|
Sen. John McCain last Sunday blasted President Barack Obama and other top administration officials for failing to intervene on behalf of rebels in Syria, calling it "one of the most shameful chapters in American history."Yes it is. It began with ruinous wars started by the shrub, the worst president ever in American history, continued with John McCain as a nominee for president by the repugican cabal, went further by McCain including Sarah Palin on the ticket, a shameless candidate of whom even McCain was ashamed, and continues now with McCain pandering to his party's desperate and ubiquitous, often pointless and dishonest attacks on the president. No matter what the news, some repugican crook will appear on television to denounce President Obama for it. Check the polls. Even repugicans now hate the repugican cabal. There's a reason for that. McCain is a big part of that reason.
The liver is incredibly tiny -- just half a millimetre thick and four millimetres wide. Yet this minute organ, with little visual resemblance to the real thing in its petri dish home, manages to replicate key processes done by the real thing. It produced the protein albumin and synthesised plasma glycoproteins fibrinogen and transferrin. These are all vital in getting nutrients, hormones and drugs to the blood and the rest of the body. It also generated fat-carrying cholesterol. For its detoxification functions, the liver also needs to produce certain enzymes including CYP 1A2 and CYP 3A4 -- which this tiny organ precursor also did. Its albumin production was between five and nine times more than in 2D flat cell structures engineered.Liat Clark of Wired UK has the story: here.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged within minutes early this afternoon, after somebody hacked an AP Twitter account and posted a bogus tweet saying the White House had been attacked.Why did I put the word "scary" into the title? Not because of an evanescent 140-point drop (I lived through the crash of 1987). No. Here's what scares me, from a separate WSJ article:
The Dow, which had been up about 130 points, fell into the red within two minutes, and then bounced back just as quickly as it became obvious that the “news” was false, and a prank.
[T]raders employing so-called algorithms that automatically buy and sell shares after scanning news feeds—including posts on social media sites such as those run by Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. —had already taken action...Note that it wasn't the traders who were scanning the news and then activated defensive algorithms - it was the computers that read the news feeds and - without human analysis or authorization - initiated trading strategies.
In an echo of the May 2010 "flash crash," when the Dow lost 600 points in a matter of minutes, market participants say liquidity—a measure of traders' ability to sell stock positions quickly—dried up while the market was falling...
Some said the episode revealed the influence of computer-driven, high-frequency-trading hedge funds, which by some measures account for as much as half of U.S. stock market volume. The computer programs some of them use have expanded their reach to social-media platforms such as Twitter.
Embrace challenge and shun convenience for its own sake. Ask, “Will this really make me happier in the long run?” about all life decisions. Realize that happiness comes from accomplishment and personal growth, rather than from luxury products. Seek out voluntary discomfort as a way to become stronger, rather than running from it. Develop a healthy sense of self-mockery, and acknowledge that you are a wimp in many ways right now (and only by acknowledging it can you improve). Practice optimism. And of course, ride a bike.He wrote on his blog MrMoneyMustache:
That’s pretty high-level stuff. If you just want the meat and potatoes: Live close to work. Cook your own food. Take care of your own house, garden, hair and body. Don’t borrow money for cars, and don’t drive ridiculous ones. Embrace nature as the best source of recreation. Cancel your TV service. Use a prepaid cellphone. And of course, ride a bike!
For almost two years, I’ve been preaching a different brand of financial advice from what you see in the newspapers and magazines. The standard line is that life is hard and expensive, so you should keep your nose to the grindstone, clip coupons, save hard for your kids’ college educations, and save any tiny slice of your salary that remains into a 401(k) plan. And pray that nothing goes wrong in the 40 years of career work that it will take to get yourself enough savings to enjoy a brief retirement.
Mr. Money Mustache’s advice? Almost all of that is nonsense: Your current middle-class life is an Exploding Volcano of Wastefulness, and by learning to see the truth in this statement, you will easily be able to cut your expenses in half – leaving you saving half of your income. Or two thirds, or more.
Then, an elderly woman came forward and said she accidentally swallowed what was in her flute.An appraisal determined that it was indeed, a real diamond. The jeweler she took it to would have preferred that she cleaned it first. More
"I thought someone will win this and I won't have to tell them," Miriam explained.
Miriam immediately went to an area hospital for an x-ray only to find out diamonds don't show up on x-ray.
The very next day, Miriam went in for a routine colonoscopy. When she arrived at the doctor's office she gave him some special instructions.
"Be on the lookout for it in case," she recalled telling her doctor.
Her doctor ended up finding the elusive diamond.
Though interest-rate swaps are not widely understood outside the finance world, the root concept actually isn't that hard. If you can imagine taking out a variable-rate mortgage and then paying a bank to make your loan payments fixed, you've got the basic idea of an interest-rate swap.
In practice, it might be a country like Greece or a regional government like Jefferson County, Alabama, that borrows money at a variable rate of interest, then later goes to a bank to "swap" that loan to a more predictable fixed rate. In its simplest form, the customer in a swap deal is usually paying a premium for the safety and security of fixed interest rates, while the firm selling the swap is usually betting that it knows more about future movements in interest rates than its customers.
Prices for interest-rate swaps are often based on ISDAfix, which, like Libor, is yet another of these privately calculated benchmarks. ISDAfix's U.S. dollar rates are published every day, at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., after a gang of the same usual-suspect megabanks (Bank of America, RBS, Deutsche, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, etc.) submits information about bids and offers for swaps.
And here's what we know so far: The CFTC has sent subpoenas to ICAP and to as many as 15 of those member banks, and plans to interview about a dozen ICAP employees from the company's office in Jersey City, New Jersey. Moreover, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, or ISDA, which works together with ICAP (for U.S. dollar transactions) and Thomson Reuters to compute the ISDAfix benchmark, has hired the consulting firm Oliver Wyman to review the process by which ISDAfix is calculated. Oliver Wyman is the same company that the British Bankers' Association hired to review the Libor submission process after that scandal broke last year. The upshot of all of this is that it looks very much like ISDAfix could be Libor all over again.
"It's obviously reminiscent of the Libor manipulation issue," Darrell Duffie, a finance professor at Stanford University, told reporters. "People may have been naive that simply reporting these rates was enough to avoid manipulation."
And just like in Libor, the potential losers in an interest-rate-swap manipulation scandal would be the same sad-sack collection of cities, towns, companies and other nonbank entities that have no way of knowing if they're paying the real price for swaps or a price being manipulated by bank insiders for profit. Moreover, ISDAfix is not only used to calculate prices for interest-rate swaps, it's also used to set values for about $550 billion worth of bonds tied to commercial real estate, and also affects the payouts on some state-pension annuities.
So although it's not quite as widespread as Libor, ISDAfix is sufficiently power-jammed into the world financial infrastructure that any manipulation of the rate would be catastrophic – and a huge class of victims that could include everyone from state pensioners to big cities to wealthy investors in structured notes would have no idea they were being robbed.
When animals die, their corpses exude a particular "stench of death" which repels their living relatives... Corpses of animals as distantly related as insects and crustaceans all produce the same stench, caused by a blend of simple fatty acids.
The smell helps living animals avoid others that have succumbed to disease or places where predators lurk. This "death recognition system" likely evolved over 400 million years ago. The discovery was made by a team of researchers based at McMaster University, near Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and is published in the journal Evolutionary Biology...
The fraction that was so off-putting to other cockroaches contained nothing but simply fatty acids, with oleic and linoleic acids the two main components... They have found that terrestrial woodlice use the same chemistry to recognize their dead, using it to avoid both crushed woodlice and intact corpses. As do two unrelated species of social caterpillar, which usually gather in large numbers...
And because insects and crustaceans diverged more than 400 million years ago, likely from an aquatic ancestor, it is likely that most subsequent species all recognize their dead in a similar way...
"Evolution may have favored recognition of such cues because they are so reliable and exposure to risks of contagion or predation are so important."
“In spite of the title, there is really only one giant spider,” King writes, “but we don’t feel cheated because it’s a dilly. It appears to be a Volkswagen covered with half a dozen bearskin rugs. Four spider legs, operated by people inside this VW spider, one assumes, have been attached to each side. It is impossible to see such a budget-conscious special effect without feeling a wave of admiration.”Ed Wood might be known as the worst director in history, but he actually cranked out movies that were shown in theaters. Godzilla is a guy in a suit, but that's the way we know Godzilla. And even though Jaws had a decent budget, it wouldn't have been so suspenseful if Spielberg weren't forced to work around the fact that the shark didn't work. Read about the creativity of limitations at Jamie & Adam Tested.
As it turns out, King guessed right. The spider was indeed mounted on a Volkswagen with eight people moving the legs inside the car. Richard Albain, who went on to create the FX in John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 and The Fog, was the man who built the VW spider.
“We had to physically make this thing move, so the quickest, cheapest way is to buy a Volkswagen bug,” he says. “It’s low to the ground, the engine’s in the back, and we can put everything on the frame on the front. We built off it, we welded everything to the body. We used it as a mode of transport, of making it move, and it was low enough to the ground where we could hide it. That way we could drive it up over the hill, and into the city. And the same time we’re rowing the legs, and trying to keep everybody in synch!”
Even when abandoned, an apple tree can live more than 200 years, and, like the Giving Tree in Shel Silverstein's book, it will wait patiently for the boy to return. There is a bent old Black Oxford tree in Hallowell, Maine, that is approximately two centuries old and still gives a crop of midnight-purple apples each fall. In places like northern New England, the Appalachian Mountains, and Johnny Appleseed's beloved Ohio River Valley—agricultural byways that have escaped the bulldozer—these centenarians hang on, flickering on the edge of existence, their identity often a mystery to the present homeowners. And John Bunker is determined to save as many as he can before they, and he, are gone.Bunker is an apple detective, who looks for such old fruit-bearing trees in order to preserve their genes by grafting. Read about his work, and the history of apple cultivation in America. More
The tree was blown down during galeforce winds on Wednesday night. The oldest oak in Wales – and probably one of the oldest oak trees in northern Europe – has grown in the Ceiriog Valley near Chirk, north Wales, since 802 and measured 12.9m in girth. Legend states that the Welsh prince Owain Gwynedd rallied his army under the tree in 1157, before defeating the English King Henry ll at the nearby battle of Crogen, and that the tree was spared when Henry had his men cut down the Ceiriog woods in 1165.Text and image from The Guardian. Photo credit Rob McBride. Related stories at the BBC and at the Globe and Mail highlight efforts underway to preserve and protect some of Britain's other historic trees.
This grouping of stars is one of the few things that has likely been seen, and will be seen, by every generation. The Big Dipper is not by itself a constellation. Although part of the constellation of the Great Bear (Ursa Major), the Big Dipper is an asterism that has been known by different names to different societies.Text and image from NASA's Astronomy Photo of the Day.
Asterisms are sub- or supersets of constellations which build a constellation itself, or a group of stars, physically related or not.Here is a list of dozens of asterisms (such as the "belt of Orion.")
You can see a few Lyrids in the photo (3 small ones on the left, in the Milky Way, and one larger one in the top right of the Milky Way). Andromeda can be seen near the tree to the left.EarthSky has the larger pic: Here.
The video below shows some fascinatingly odd animal behavior that I've never heard of before: baboons stealing stray puppies from their mothers and raising them as part of their troop. This kind of interspecies interaction where one species raises another species specifically for companionship and protection--in other words, keeping pets--is behavior that is typically attributed only to humans. To see it happening with baboons and dogs is nothing short of amazing.