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.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
If someone is intent on getting all they can -- and then some -- out of you, remind them politely but firmly that you can only give so much -- and that you are tapped out for now.
You're totally within your rights to insist that they back off and give you more room to breathe.
Though it's true that you're totally capable of dealing with multitasking, enough is enough for now.

Today is:
Today is Tuesday, July 13, the 194th day of 2010.
There are 171 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Embrace Your Geekness Day
Gruntled Workers Day

Welcome to our newest readers in:


You know you're from North Carolina when ..

1. You've gotten used to the smell of cow manure on a car trip to Raleigh..........OR if you grew up in Huntersville NC and your school bus went by Wallace Farm - sorry Highland Creek - if you don't like the smell move out of your $300K home - Wallace Farm was there LONG before you found the area....

2. Saying "y'all" isn't just a cute expression; it actually means something. And its sounds better than the "yous all" they say on the Sopranos

3. There are big Labrador retrievers in the back of every truck.....or pit bulls or coon dogs...or Catahouies

4. You give directions using KFC and Waffle House as landmarks.....ESPECIALLY if you are in Hickory or Charlotte

5. You still see Dale Earnhardt tributes on cars. OF COURSE HE IS THE ICON of Nascar. Petty is the King, Earnhardt put Nascar on the front page

6. You can't imagine life without Bojangles' sweet tea.....it will make your back teeth rattle and your dentist will hate you

7. Your annual church fundraiser always deals with BBQ and potato salad. Duh - don't all churches have a yearly BBQ fundraiser!!

8. You have a sunburn from May to October....and especially from mid-biceps down or from the waist up.

9. Your 'heavy winter clothing' consists of some turtleneck sweaters, a fuzzy jacket, and your daddy's boots.....and long johns

10. Your family has fried chicken once a week. Along with fried fish - at the FISH CAMP not the "seafood restaurant.

11. You can tell the difference between cotton fields and tobacco fields while driving.....as well as soybeans

12. One of your neighbors has a confederate flag hanging on their front porch, their garage, the sissy bar of their motorcycle or the 40' flag pole in the front yard.

13. Those "damn yankees" are taking over your school/church/workplace/etc.

Oh, and just so you damn yankees know "Bless your heart", does not mean what you think it means - Bless your heart.

Dancing on Hitler's Grave

Adolek Kohn’s dance at Auschwitz was a powerful and joyful statement, but it wasn’t the first of its kind. Groucho Marx visited his mother’s home town of Dornum, Germany in 1958. He found that the Nazis had destroyed Jewish graves and the records of Jewish residents. Marx then hired a car to take his travel group to Berlin.
It was surprisingly easy to get there. The car slipped through a checkpoint into a devastated gray and brown city of people in solemn clothing. Marx told the chauffer to drive to the bunker where Hitler was said to have committed suicide, where he was supposedly still buried.
The rubble at the site was about 20 feet high. Wearing his characteristic beret but without the trademark cigar, Marx alone climbed the side of the debris. When he reached the top, he stood still for a moment. Then he launched himself, unsmiling, into a frenetic Charleston. The dance on Hitler’s grave lasted a minute or two.
There was no joy in the dance, but the statement was clear.

Happiness is contagious

New research shows how emotional states can act like infectious diseases.  


A man fails in his attempt to ride a board that requires a group of people to successfully maneuver it.  
The Surfaris

Culinary DeLites

Culinary DeLites
Peaches and blueberries can be tricky, because they ripen in color but don't get sweeter after being picked.
Fruits and vegetables less nutritious due to factory farming
Here's another good reason to grow your own (if you can) or buy from organic markets when affordable.

While we've been dutifully eating our fruits and vegetables all these years, a strange thing has been happening to our produce. It's losing its nutrients. That's right: Today's conventionally grown produce isn't as healthful as it was 30 years ago — and it's only getting worse. The decline in fruits and vegetables was first reported more than 10 years ago by English researcher Anne-Marie Mayer, PhD, who looked at the dwindling mineral concentrations of 20 UK-based crops from the 1930s to the 1980s.

It's happening to crops in the United States, too. In 2004, Donald Davis, PhD, a former researcher with the Biochemical Institute at the University of Texas, Austin, led a team that analyzed 43 fruits and vegetables from 1950 to 1999 and reported reductions in vitamins, minerals, and protein. Using USDA data, he found that broccoli, for example, had 130 mg of calcium in 1950. Today, that number is only 48 mg. What's going on? Davis believes it's due to the farming industry's desire to grow bigger vegetables faster. The very things that speed growth — selective breeding and synthetic fertilizers — decrease produce's ability to synthesize nutrients or absorb them from the soil.

Cisco Kid


The Taranis

Britain's Ministry of Defense announced this unmanned fighter jet, the Tiranus. 
Named for the Celtic god of bad-assery, it looks markedly more sinister than America's one, itself revealed in May. 
The U.K. introduces a prototype combat aircraft that's a big advancement on drones like the Predator. 

Jung's The Red Book

Tumblr Kqfgd8Uhwq1Qzbfwzo1 500
For more than 25 years, pioneer psychologist and seeker Carl Jung's Red Book was hidden away inside a Swiss bank vault. A huge lovely volume bound in red leather, also known as Liber Novus (The New Book), the book is essentially Jung's personal journals written in calligraphy and gorgeously illuminated during a very strange period in his life. I recently browsed through the Red Book, finally available to everyone in a breathtaking edition published by WW Norton & Company. The Red Book is a breathtaking travelogue from Jung's journey into his unconscious, and best enjoyed in small, powerful doses.

From Fortean Times:
Cgjun2Gejejej It was Jung’s break with Freud that led to his own ‘descent into the unconscious’, a disturbing trip down the psyche’s rabbit hole from which he gathered the insights about the collective unconscious that would inform his own school of ‘analytical psychology’. He had entered a ‘creative illness’, unsure if he was going mad.  In October 1913, not long after the split, Jung had, depending on your perspective, a vision or hallucination. While on a train, he suddenly saw a flood covering Europe, between the North Sea and the Alps. When it reached Switzerland, the mountains rose to protect his homeland, but in the waves he saw floating debris and bodies. Then the water turned to blood. The vision lasted an hour and seems to have been a dream that had invaded his waking consciousness. Having spent more than a decade treating mental patients who suffered from precisely such symptoms, Jung had reason to be concerned. He was ironically rather relieved the next summer when WWI broke out and he deduced that his vision had been a premonition of it. Yet the psychic tension continued. Eventually there came a point where Jung felt he could no longer fight off the sense of madness. He decided to let go. When he did, he landed in an eerie, subterranean world where he met strange intelli­gences that ‘lived’ in his mind. The experience was so upsetting that for a time Jung slept with a loaded pistol by his bed, ready to blow his brains out if the stress became too great.
In his Red Book – recently published in full – he kept an account, in words and images, of the objective, independent entities he encountered during his “creative illness” – entities that had nothing to do with him personally, but who shared his interior world. There were Elijah and Salome, two figures from the Bible who were accompanied by a snake. There was also a figure whom Jung called Philemon, who became a kind of ‘inner guru’ and who he painted as a bald, white-bearded old man with bull’s horns and the wings of a kingfisher. One morning, after painting the figure, Jung was out taking a walk when he came upon a dead kingfisher. The birds were rare in Z├╝rich and he had never before come upon a dead one. This was one of the many synchronic­ities – “meaningful coincidences” – that happened at this time. There were others.

Archaeologists Unearth Tortoise Bone

A University of Leicester archaeologist has discovered a bone belonging to a late 19th-century tortoise from Stafford Castle, Staffordshire - believed to be the earliest archaeological evidence of a tortoise kept as a family pet.

As reported in Post-Medieval Archaeology (volume 44/1) by University of Leicester archaeologist Dr Richard Thomas, the significance of the find is in the insights it gives on the early importation of tortoises and the changing attitude of British society towards family pets.

The Stafford Castle tortoise bone was found amongst the skeletons of cats and dogs, in a context that suggests it was kept as a pet, possibly by the family who were caretakers at the castle at the time. The date of the find coincides with the late 19th-century increase in the trade of live animals and with the widespread importation of tortoises in particular.

Why You Should be a Slacker

Perfectionists Die Earlier
Are you a perfectionist? You may just be on your way to an early grave:
Those with high perfectionism scores, meaning they placed high expectations on themselves to be perfect, had a 51-percent increased risk of death compared to those with low scores.
The researchers suspect high levels of stress and anxiety, which are known to be linked with perfectionism, might contribute to the decrease in lifespan.
Next, they reasoned that if perfectionism showed this association in a normal population, it might have an even greater impact on those with a chronic disease, which would put their bodies under even more stress.
The researchers did find exceptions, however, as perfectionists with type 2 diabetes may have better chance of survival than non-perfectionists with the same disease.

On The Job

On The Job
Your desk may be telling people you can't be trusted with a big project.  
Competition for jobs may get even fiercer as the federal effort winds down. 
Watch for these warning signs that distrust and backstabbing thrive at your company. 

CEO perks continue to shine

To be fair to the CEOs, this has been the most vibrant economy in decades so why shouldn't they deserve to have their lifestyle maintained?
Some of the whingers will bring up the fact that some on the list had to receive TARP money but it's such an irrelevant detail.
We need much more socialism for CEOs because if they aren't propped up in these tough times, how will their exclusive lifestyles survive?

It's The Economy Stupid

It's The Economy Stupid
Giving children too much information about your finances can be a mistake, says one expert.
There are times when debt can actually help you create wealth rather than destroy it.
The real legacy of the economic crisis: The 99ers
In Washington, the debate about extending unemployment insurance is just another contentious political exercise. It's a game for the repugicans. Of course, Senators and their staffers have well-paying jobs with excellent benefits (all taxpayer funded, of course.)

But, it's a harsh reality for the 99ers:
In the coming weeks, the Senate is expected to resume its debate about whether to extend the emergency jobless benefits that were passed in response to the steep increase in unemployment caused by the recession. But people like [Dwight Michael] Frazee, who have suffered the longest in the downturn, will not be part of that conversation. They are among the 1.4 million workers who have been unemployed for at least 99 weeks, according to the Labor Department, reaching the limit for the insurance. Their numbers have grown sixfold in the past three years.

The 99ers are glaring examples of the nation's most serious bout of long-term joblessness since the Great Depression. Nearly 46 percent of the country's 14.6 million unemployed people have been out of work for more than six months, and forecasters project that the situation will not improve anytime soon. Currently, the Labor Department says there are nearly five unemployed people for every job opening.

Frazee, 50, has applied for work at more places than he can remember since he lost his construction job two years ago. He has tried car dealerships, Kmart, Home Depot and the funky shops on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, near Toms River. He looked into becoming a commercial crabber, working in title insurance and as a bail bondsman. But no dice.

While searching for work, he lived on $585 a week in unemployment payments. But the checks were cut off in May when he reached 99 weeks. Now Frazee, who is married and has a 5-year-old daughter, is in a financial free fall with no safety net.
And, this should make all those repugicans who are blocking unemployment extensions very proud:
The longer he is out of a job, the more unemployable he feels. He suspects that potential employers are turned off by his age and by the fact that he has been out of work for so long. But he is moving near the top of the hiring list for his union. And in the meantime, he has been buying mail-order children's quartz watches from China and selling them on consignment at local convenience stores. He clears close to $3 per watch.

"I'm a union construction worker, but I think I can be a hell of a salesman," Frazee said. "A lot of the stores around here are owned by Indian Americans, and they like me. They're taking my watches. Maybe India and China are going to help me out of this jam if my country won't."

Polanski's freedom revives interest in case

Web searches spike after Switzerland refuses to extradite the Oscar-winning director to U.S.  

Bad Cops

Bad Cops

Dumb Crooks

Police in Connecticut said one of three people arrested on drug charges during a traffic stop had seven bags of heroin concealed in his buttocks.

Clumsy robber drops gun in lap of victim
A robbery victim had a force on her side other than police: The force of gravity. One of two people trying to rob a 69-year-old woman in her car on Friday night accidentally dropped his handgun into her lap. She grabbed the gun and turned it on the man, chasing him off, South Daytona police said.

The suspect also dropped a cell phone, which held pictures that helped the woman identify her robber to police, they said. At about on 7 p.m. Friday, Carol J. Costello had just left the Walmart on Beville Road when a black Chevrolet Impala pulled in front and forced her to stop. A passenger armed with a silver semi-automatic handgun wrapped in a towel jumped out and tried to break the driver's-side window with the gun, police said.

When that didn't work, he leapt onto the hood and smashed a large hole in the windshield. That's when the suspect's handgun fell through the hole and into Costello's lap. She grabbed the gun and aimed it at the suspect, who fled to the Impala.

Costello then tried to drive off, but her car struck the front of the suspects' car. She drove around the Impala and copied its tag number before it got away. From a picture on the suspect's cell phone, Costello was able to identify the man she said banged the hole in her windshield and dropped his gun. Police identified the suspect as Raymond Lewis Shepard, 25, of Daytona Beach. The Impala driver has not been identified.

The Secret of Sports

It's In The Belly Button!
Why do blacks excel at running track and whites dominate in the swimming pool? Scientists discovered the secret to why some athletes are so good at their sports: it’s in their belly buttons!
What’s important is not whether an athlete has an innie or an outie but where his or her navel is in relation to the rest of the body, says the study published in the International Journal of Design and Nature and Ecodynamics.
The navel is the center of gravity of the body, and given two runners or swimmers of the same height, one black and one white, "what matters is not total height but the position of the belly-button, or center of gravity," Duke University professor Andre Bejan, the lead author of the study, told AFP.
"It so happens that in the architecture of the human body of West African-origin runners, the center of gravity is significantly higher than in runners of European origin," which puts them at an advantage in sprints on the track, he said.
Conversely, the position of the belly-buttons in white athletes mean that they have longer torso and thus are usually better swimmers: Full Story

The New Extreme Sport

The old is new again
Jousting is back in a big way

Sometimes one might encounter a simulation of jousting at a Renaissance fair, but this medieval sport is now returning as a full-contact martial art. There are about 200 jousters around the world and 30 in North America, and as Dashka Slater writes in The New York Times, the sport is becoming increasingly authentic and dangerous:
Over time, modern jousters have learned the lessons of their medieval predecessors — plate armor protects better than chain mail, and more armor protects better than less. Even so, there are still plenty of injuries: concussions and dislocated shoulders, broken hands, assorted fractures and gashes. In one much-talked-about incident a few years ago, the Australian jouster Rod Walker suffered a partly severed penis when a lance veered south during a match at a Renaissance fair in Michigan — a targeting failure that might not have happened if both he and his opponent hadn’t been competing with broken hands.
The New York Times Magazine visits the Gulf Coast International Jousting Championiships, a new old extreme sport spun-out of Ren Faires. "This is the real deal,” (said one attendee,) a Renaissance-fair regular named Renzy Hill. “There’s a real possibility of getting hurt.”

From the NYT:
The championship event was created by two men, both professional jousters, who are on a mission to transform jousting from Renaissance-fair entertainment to arena sport. One is Shane Adams, the knight who unhorsed Tolle. The other is Charlie Andrews, a Hummer-driving former bull rider who spent six years as a Navy Seal and is hard-pressed to utter a sentence that doesn’t include at least one profanity. “I personally believe that Shane Adams and myself are the two best jousters in the world, period,” he says. “Anybody wants to argue it, you can come out and joust us or shut your pie hole.” A member of the Chukchansi tribe in California, Andrews is 6-foot-4 and about 250 pounds, with tattoos of his spirit animals ringing his thick biceps. He doesn’t joust because he’s attracted to romantic notions of honor and chivalry or because he has an affinity for the medieval period. (“I don’t know jack about history, nor do I care,” he says.) He does it because he considers jousting one of the most extreme sports ever invented, and he likes doing things that most other people can’t or won’t do.
“I like violent sports,” says Andrews, who also participates in mixed martial arts. “I like hitting you. I like getting hit. I like competing man to man to see who the better man is that day.”

Australian bitten while trying to ride crocodile

A man has undergone surgery after he drunkenly broke into a Broome reptile park and jumped on the back of a 5m crocodile.

The 36-year-old man, who had earlier been kicked out of a nearby pub for being intoxicated, climbed the fence of the wildlife park and entered the crocodile enclosure at about 10pm (AWST) the other night.

Police said the man first approached a 2.8m saltwater crocodile and tried to give it a drink of beer before jumping on the back of the larger beast, named Fatso.

You got to hand to those Aussies ... they're - how can we say it - special.

Three-story eyeball watches over Chicago

Chicagoans be warned - you're being watched, by a giant three-story high eyeball.

El Chupacabra: Is the legendary "goat sucker" stalking Hood County?

Two strange, coyote-like creatures have been killed with in 10 miles of each other, and locals say the animals could be chupacabras.

Wizard of Id

Wizard of Id

June: How hot was it?

NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) provides the above map, showing how the month of June ranked among all Junes for the past 116 years.  Nationwide, it was the 8th-warmest June on record.
NOAA’s State of the Climate report shows the June 2010 average temperature for the contiguous United States was 71.4 degrees F, which is 2.2 degrees F above the long-term average (1901-2000). The average precipitation for June was 3.33 inches, 0.44 inch above the long-term average.
The month was also wetter than average:

Giant jellyfish seen in the Adriatic

It may be pretty to look at, but you might be a little intimidated if you came face to face with it.

Rumors that the Higgs Boson has been found...

Higgs Boson found?!
There are rumors.

Missing Scientist?

An Iranian nuclear expert who vanished under murky circumstances turns up at an embassy in DC. 

The Bird Is The Word

Family Guy

Genetically Modified Salmon May Be Declared "Safe" For Human Consumption - In The USA

pout fish photo
Trisopterus luscus or "pout," genes from which have been inserted into Atlantic Salmon for the purpose of making it eat all the time.  
Image credit:Wikipedia
This proposed commercial genetic trick - inserting the genes of a "pout fish" (as pictured) into Atlantic Salmon genes - has nothing to do with improved taste or texture or color or nutrition we'd appreciate as salmon-eating consumers. It's being done so farm-raised Atlantic salmon will eat year round, gaining weight through what would naturally have been the spawning season. Maybe, just maybe, consumer costs will be kept down if it is adopted.
At least Americans won't worry about ecological and human health risks, should sale of GM salmon be approved. FDA most certainly has an office full of aquatic ecologists and geneticists with field experience, and who care about and understand biodiversity number crunchers and consultants who can easily baffle journalists lacking background in the biological or environmental sciences.
Article continues: Genetically Modified Salmon May Be Declared "Safe" For Human Consumption - In The USA

Wild Tiger Population Dropped by 96.8% in 20 Years

tiger teeth photo
Photo: Wikipedia, CC
Tigers are Rapidly Disappearing from the Wild
According to the latest estimates, there are only about 3,200 tigers left in the wild on the entire planet. That's a catastrophically sharp decline from the 100,000 tigers that were estimated to be in the wild in 1990. The WWF experts warn that "The big cat, which is native to southern and eastern Asia, could soon become extinct unless urgent action is taken to prevent hunting and loss of habitat." Read on for more details on the fight to keep tigers from extinction.

Amazon Storm Killed Half a Billion Trees in Two Days

big amazon storm photo  
Photo via TomekY
If you thought unscrupulous logging practices were the only threat to the world's largest rainforest, then think again. According to a new study, one extremely powerful storm in 2005 resulted in the deaths of an estimated 441 million to 663 million trees along the Amazon basin in just a matter of days, releasing an untold amount of carbon into the atmosphere. What's worse is that as global temperatures rise from CO2 emissions worldwide, such powerful storms may become all the more common -- resulting in a vicious cycle that could accelerate the effects of climate change.


Cookie Jill posted this piece over at Skippy the Bush Kangaroo

A little "light and cheery" story to start off the week. As Crunch  Gear puts it...sorry for harshing on your buzz.

Ominous  reports are leaking past the BP gulf salvage operation news blackout  that the disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico may be about to reach biblical proportions.

251 million years ago a mammoth undersea  methane bubble caused massive explosions, poisoned the atmosphere and  destroyed more than 96 percent of all life on earth. experts agree that what is known as the Permian Extinction Event was the greatest mass extinction event in the history of the world.

...those  subterranean seas of methane virtually reshaped the planet when they  explosively blew from deep beneath the waters of what is today called the Gulf of Mexico.

Now, worried scientists are increasingly concerned the same series of catastrophic events that led to worldwide death back then may be happening again-and no known technology can stop  it. - Helium

It's Only The Environment After All

It's Only The Environment After All
BP cites paperwork problems as it cuts payments on 40,000 claims related to ongoing Gulf of Mexico catastrophe, but hey, they're polishing the beaches.
Baby turtles and birds are posing a big challenge to crews trying to clean oiled animals.  
oil spill cleanup vehicle on beach photo
Oil spill cleanup vehicle photo: US Coast Guard via flickr
Coming through a variety of sources all through the afternoon, not the least of which is the AP talking to Obama administration officials speaking on condition of anonymity, is word that a new offshore oil drilling moratorium will be issued--a little more than two weeks after a Louisiana judge struck down a previous ban on the grounds that the harm caused to jobs was too great. This time, the details have been tweaked as follows:
Article continues: Obama Admin Bucks Federal Judge, Issues New Offshore Drilling Moratorium (UPDATED)
It's Not Like We Don't Have Another One

Jindal's 'artificial islands' are crumbling into Gulf of Mexico

Just a guess but maybe the scientists were right in saying they would not work.
For yet another so-called fiscal conservative (whatever that's supposed to mean) it sounds like a bizarre way to waste hundreds of millions of dollars.
The construction equipment is being submerged as this expensive, shoot-from-the-hip program sinks.
Even if the islands weren't crumbling into the sea they still would severely disrupt fish who need access to the marshes.
Do repugicans ever stop and think about consequences before they rush into these massive plans?
Click through to see the other photos of Jindal's expensive mistake.
A dramatic series of of aerial images show that plans to build artificial islands to block oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill from reaching Louisiana's sensitive marshland appear to be crumbling. Literally.

Two months ago, against the advice of many coastal scientists, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal began furiously campaigning for the construction of six artificial islands to hold back the advancing oil. The federal government quickly granted Jindal his wish, and construction on the islands has been continuing apace.

But images taken of one construction site near the northern edge of the Chandeleur islands appear to show the sea washing away a giant sand berm over the course of about two weeks.

The first image, at top, was taken on June 25. The second and third, below, were taken from roughly the same vantage point on July 2 and 7. All three images were first published yesterday by coastal scientist Leonard Bahr on his blog, LACoastPost.

Lunatic Fringe

Lunatic Fringe
When dealing with wingnuts ... Remember the rule: 
If they accuse someone of something, then they're already guilty of it.
Liars and Fools
Wrong again asshole - that'd be you and your ilk ... you know the demented idolaters of the shrub.

Michele Bachmann (reptile-Minnesota) agrees with radio host’s description of health bureaucrat as "Chairman of the Obamacare Death Panel".
OK, let's get this straight - the 'death panels' are your butt-buddies ... the insurance companies.

Wrong lard-ass, and what have we told you about screeching into the mirror?
But coming from a True America-Hater - it's what we've come to except.

Repugicans in Congress push conspiracy theories: BP oil spill was an inside job, Obama wants poor response.
What a bunch of idiots. However is was an inside job - inside the cabal we ousted in November 2008. And it is the repugicans and their corporate handlers (i.e., BP) that want a poor response.

Yep, and the little green men are waiting to take you away too I bet. What an idiot!

Actually that would be the wingnut militias there, moron.

OK, who let this insane bitch out of the psych ward ... fess up.

Faux's Glenn Beck lies: Barack Obama is "the most radicalized president this nation has ever seen".
No that would have been the faker/pretender known as the shrub.

Repugican Vitter supports birther law suits
You might recall that Vitter is the adulterer who was caught paying prostitutes, and then recently was found to have a staffer accused of cutting his girlfriend with a knife (and Vitter knew, and did nothing about it until it went public).

From AP:
Repugican David Vitter of Louisiana says he supports conservative organizations challenging President Barack Obama's citizenship in court.

Vitter, who is running for re-election, made the comments at a town hall-style event in Metairie, La., on Sunday when a constituent asked what he would do about what the questioner said was Obama's "refusal to produce a valid birth certificate."


Jan Brewer loses her head

http://www.drsputnik.com/sputnik/img/22/sput-180039.jpg Governor Jan Brewer (retard-Arizona) imagines non-existent beheadings across the state's deserts.

This bitch is Psycho!

Federal court opens door for all Guatemalan women to claim political asylum, citing murder rate

A court ruling Monday created the possibility that all Guatemalan women could qualify for political asylum in the U.S. because of the high female murder rate in the Central American country.
Arizonians are just going to love this!


Los Lobos performs 'Evangeline' in Montreal, Quebec, April 22, 1985.

In Matters Of Health

In Matters Of Health
These alternatives allow you to satisfy your sweet tooth without added fat and calories.  
The United States of Obesity

For the fifth year running, Mississippi clinched yet another unwanted distinction of being the fattest state of 2010. A whopping 70% of Mississippians are overweight, with more than 33% of them being downright obese.
The skinniest state is Colorado, but if you read the statistics closely, the news isn’t so great: more than 55% of Coloradans are overweight, and nearly one in five are obese.

Voice Blindness

Would you recognize the sound of your own mother if she called? Not Steve Royster – the man has one of the rarest and strangest disorder known to man: voice blindness.
Like everyone else, phonagnosics can tell from the sound of your voice if you’re male or female, old or young, sarcastic, upset, happy.
They just have no blooming idea who you are.
"It’s not that every voice sounds the same to me," Royster explains, "it’s just that hearing someone’s voice doesn’t bring that person to mind."
According to phonagnosia researcher Diana Sidtis, the part of the brain that allows people to distinguish things like age, gender and emotional content in a voice is different from the part of the brain that makes sense of whether or not the voice they’re hearing has "personal relevance." That’s the part of the brain that’s able to relate to a voice and determine that it’s actually familiar.
In phonagnosia, this part of the brain is damaged. This is why Royster never knows who’s calling him, even when the voice on the end of the line is his own mother.
"I’m often at a loss and have to fake it," Royster says about his phone calls with his mom. "Just continue to say, ‘Well, that’s nice,’ until [she] eventually hits on something about the house or one of my brothers, and that will clue me in that this strange woman who has called me is, in fact, the one that gave birth to me."
Steve Royster can't recognize voices on the phone, not even his own mother's.  

The wrong way to cover your mouth

Most people don't correctly keep germs from flying when they sneeze or cough. 

Milk: Does It Do Your Body Good?

Got milk? On the surface of it, there’s nothing healthier than a glass of milk – no preservatives, no artificial colors, no high-fructose corn syrup – just good ol’ nutritious milk … Or is it?
… almost 8,000 years after nomadic herders realized they could tug at the udders of slow-moving livestock, we still aren’t sure how much of the stuff we should be drinking. The USDA recommends three cups of dairy a day for all adults, but the science behind milk hasn’t been settled. "This is one of the most complicated and interesting areas of nutrition," says Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, "and we don’t have all of the answers."
Many high-profile nutritionists — often working with large research grants from the dairy industry — say that milk in great quantities is an essential part of the daily diet that can help prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer and other illnesses. "Anything less than three glasses a day, and you won’t get all of the nutrients that you need," says Connie Weaver, head of food and nutrition at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. Most of Weaver’s funding comes from the National Institutes of Health, but she’s also supported by the National Dairy Council.
On the other side, groups promoting animal rights and veganism — including PETA and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine — say that cow’s milk is a nutritional nightmare that doesn’t belong in the human diet. "It’s gross," says Dr. Neil Barnard, author and founder of the PCRM. "Milk is nutritionally perfect for one purpose: feeding a calf," he says. "The idea that we should be drinking milk from a cow is just bizarre."
Willett, one of the world’s most prominent nutrition experts, doesn’t belong to either camp. From his viewpoint, one or two cups of milk each day is a safe, reasonable and nutritious goal. "But beyond that," he says, "the benefits are unclear, and there may be some risk."

The Scientific Difference Between a Yuppie and a Hippie

What's the difference between a yuppie and a hippie? Science to the rescue! Psychologists Mark Pezzo, Jordan Litman and Stephanie Pezzo discovered that yuppies and hippes are quite different in their tendency to underestimate task-completion times (aka planning fallacy):
The present study investigated variables related to errors in predicting when tasks will be completed. Participants (N = 184) responded to the Time Structure Questionnaire (TSQ; Jones, Banicky, Pomare, & Lasane, 1999) and Temporal Orientation Scale (TOS; Bond & Feather, 1988) and predicted when they would complete either a desirable or undesirable task. Factor analysis of the TSQ and TOS identified two factors: yuppie traits, which involved being hard-working and goal-oriented, and hippie traits that reflected “living for the moment”. Overall, individuals tended to underestimate when they would complete both tasks. However, for the undesirable task, yuppie traits corresponded with less prediction bias whereas hippie traits were associated with greater bias.
Translation: yuppies are better at estimating how long it would take them to complete an undesirable task, whereas hippies are not so swift at it.