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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.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
That deal that sounds too good to be true?
You could be right.
Just in case, examine your reasons for feeling panicked about not being able to plunk down your 'entry-level investment,' as requested, immediately.
Is it because you're genuinely interested, or because the person who's selling knows how to create anxiety?
This goes for all matters, by the way, from personal to professional.
When in doubt, ask for the opinion of someone you unconditionally trust.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Kuwait, Al Kuwayt, Kuwait
Coffs Harbor, New South Wales, Australia
Montpellier, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Leicester, England, United Kingdom
Kathmandu, Bagmati, Nepal
Brasilia, Distrito Federal, Brazil
London, England, United Kingdom
Budapest, Budapest, Hungary
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Edithvale, Victoria, Australia
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan

as well as Namibia, Spain and in cities across the United States such as Norwalk, Bangor, Walunt, Dunn and more.

Today is:
Today is Sunday, October 3, the 276th day of 2010.
There are 89 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Country Inn Bed and Breakfast Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

To Maintain A Healthy Level Of Insanity ...

Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, 

ask 'If they want fries with that'.

Free speech cases at top of Supreme Court's agenda

First Amendment cases top the Supreme Court's docket as it begins a new term with a new justice and three women on the bench for the first time.

The court will look at provocative anti-gay protests at military funerals and a California law banning the sale of violent video games to children. These cases worry free speech advocates, who fear the court could limit First Amendment freedoms.

The funeral protest lawsuit, over signs praising American war deaths, "is one of those cases that tests our commitment to the First Amendment," said Steven Shapiro, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Another case involves a different aspect of the First Amendment, the government's relationship to religion. The justices will decide whether Arizona's income tax credit scholarship program, in essence, directs state money to religious schools in violation of the constitutional separation of church and state.

Under Chief Justice John Roberts, marking his fifth anniversary on the court, and with the replacement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor by Justice Samuel Alito, the court has been more sympathetic to arguments that blur the line between government and religion, as long as one religion is not favored over another.

Justice Elena Kagan, confirmed in August, is the one new face on the court, but nearly everyone will be sitting in different seats when the term opens on Monday.

Like so much else at the Supreme Court, the justices sit according to seniority, other than the chief justice at the center of the bench. The retirement of John Paul Stevens, who had served longer than the others, means Roberts now will be flanked by Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy.

Kagan and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who joined the court last year, will sit at opposite ends of the bench. The woman with the longest tenure, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, also is now the senior liberal-leaning justice with Stevens gone.

Though it's never certain how changes will affect the court's direction, President Barack Obama said he was looking for someone in the mold of the liberal-leaning Stevens when he chose Kagan. If Kagan votes as Stevens did, her presence would not affect the ideological divide that has four justices on the conservative side, four on the liberal side and Kennedy in the middle, though more often with the conservatives.

Then, too, a justice's first term is not necessarily a good predictor of future performance. If anything, getting a read on Kagan in her first year may be even harder because her former job as Obama's solicitor general already has forced her to take herself out of 24 of the 51 cases the court has so far agreed to hear. The solicitor general is the top lawyer who argues the government's cases before the high court.

The first case from which she is withdrawing will be argued Monday, and Kagan will slip out of the courtroom before Roberts invites the lawyers to begin their argument.

Kagan's absences create the potential for the eight remaining justices to split 4-4 in some cases. That outcome leaves in place the decision reached by the most recent court to have the case, but leaves unsettled the issue the high court was set to resolve.

A second Arizona law, imposing penalties on businesses that hire illegal immigrants, also is before the court this term. At issue is whether the state law intrudes into an area, immigration, that really is the federal government's responsibility.

The result at the Supreme Court could signal how the court might resolve another suit working its way through the federal courts over the Arizona immigration law that puts local police officers on the front lines of enforcing federal immigration law, said Brian Wolfman, a Georgetown University law professor.

Several cases that pit consumers against business also revolve around when federal law trumps state action. In one case, parents of a child who suffered severe, lasting damage from a vaccine want to use state law to sue a drugmaker, even though Congress has established a special court to hear disputes over vaccines.

The business community is asking the court to rein in the use of class actions in suits and arbitrations in state courts. Plaintiffs often can force large settlements without a trial if they succeed in pooling the claims of everyone who might be affected.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., backed by many business groups, wants the court to toss out an enormous class-action sex discrimination suit over allegations that it pays women less than men and promotes women less frequently. The case could involve millions of women who once worked at the world's largest private employer.

In recent years, the start of a new term has been accompanied by speculation over who might soon retire. The same nine justices served together from 1994 to 2005, an unusually long period of stability. Since 2005, four new justices have joined the court.

The oldest justice is Ginsburg, at 77. Scalia and Kennedy are 74, while Justice Stephen Breyer is 72.

Ginsburg has said she intends to stay on the court for five more years or so, and the other three septuagenarians have given no indication they are leaving anytime soon.



Awesome Pictures

Jet contrails etch the sky at sunrise in Hodorf, Germany.

Three ways to cut your breast-cancer risk

Weight loss is key to lowering levels of hormones that "turn on" some cancers, says Dr. Oz.

Love Grows (where my Rosemary goes)

Edison Lighthouse

Where the Berlin Wall Stood

Berlin wall memorial after reunification photo
Image: Where the Berlin Wall Stood, 1961-1989.
Twenty years after the treaty reuniting Germany was signed, Germany prepares for a celebration. Barely a trace of the original wall can be found now; many tourists enjoying Berlin's reunification festivities are drawn more by its reputation as a cutting-edge party city than by ghosts of the past. Those who seek out museums and memorials emerge from visiting the chilling historical documentation into the light of a major European metropolis. Land reclaimed from where the wall once stood now boasts modern architecture, itself drawing tourists.
But after twenty years, celebration still takes a backseat to analysis. What has been achieved? Is it enough? The questions raised each year as the third of October approaches focus mainly on the economy and integration. The GDP of the former Eastern States has grown from 33.5% in 1991 to 73% of the standard set in the former Western States today. Germany's Chancellor Merkel is an "Ossi," as people who grew up in the GDR are known. But there is another aspect to German reunification that deserves analysis. And celebration.
Article continues: Germany Celebrates 20 Years after Reunification

Random Celebrity Photo

Charlene Tilton

Charlene Tilton

Terror warning for Americans in Europe

U.S. citizens are being urged to remain vigilant at popular tourist spots and transport hubs.  

11 and 12-year-old arrested for armed robbery

Two young boys were arrested in North Las Vegas for holding up two clerks at gunpoint to steal some cash. Surveillance video from a donut shop shows an 11-year-old, with his shirt pulled over his head, point a BB gun at the clerk and demand money. The 12-year-old accomplice was waiting outside the store.

The clerk described the boy as only up to her chin, but she believed the BB gun was a loaded handgun. The boys then went to a Subway restaurant across the street, where they are accused of executing a similar plan.

According to North Las Vegas police, the 11-year-old boy was brazen enough to hold his BB gun to an employee's head at Subway. The 11-year-old boy's mother didn't apologize for her son's actions, but she did acknowledge that her son and his 12-year-old partner deserved punishment.

Police said this wasn't the first time the 11-year-old committed such a crime. Investigators alleged that police were able to track him down because of his prior felony charge.

CBS radio reporter, wife arrested for growing marijuana plants

The Washington Post reports that CBS Radio News correspondent Howard Arenstein and his wife were arrested Saturday on drug charges after police searched their Washington home and found marijuana plants growing in the yard.

Rednecks and other assorted weirdos

Rednecks and other assorted weirdos
Redneck Windshield Defroster
If necessity is the mother of invention, then duck tape is probably the father. 
Well, at least when it comes to this Redneck Windshield Defroster. 
Take a look at more Hilarious Redneck Inventions over at Oddee. 

James Bond Tech

Martin Aircraft's device has a top altitude of 8,000 feet and can hit 63 mph.  

Inventing language, the easy way

http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/mg20727796.300/mg20727796.300-1_100.jpgFresh pastures meant a cosier life for early humans – if they hadn't, we would never have loosened up enough to learn to speak

Amazing 1903 photos that showed the secret kingdom of Tibet for the very first time

Amazing 1903 photos that showed the secret kingdom of Tibet for the very first time to be auctioned off. 
Tibet snaps
The pictures date from the notorious expedition of Edwardian adventurer Francis Younghusband in 1903-04 and gave the western world their first glimpse of life in the hidden kingdom.




The perfect time for a walk in the park.

Dogwood Winter

As Autumn begins it is time to plan the Vernal plantings ...

Folklore of the eastern United States tells gardeners not to plant until after the dogwood trees have bloomed. The reason: Dogwood Winter, known regionally as Blackberry Winter.

Dogwood Winter generally arrives following an extended mid-spring warm spell and brings several days of cold, cloudy, disagreeable weather, often accompanied by frost and perhaps a flurry of snow. It usually occurs during May and coincides with the blooming of dogwood trees and blackberry bushes, from which it derives its popular names.

Dogwood Winter appears to be one of several weather "singularities" -- one time events common to North America, such as Indian Summer and January Thaw, but in a retrograde thermal direction. As someone once described it: "It's spring, then suddenly winter returns."

The American, or flowering, dogwood ranges from Texas to Minnesota eastward to the Atlantic shoreline from Florida to southern New England. This small tree, often as wide as it is tall, favors the well-drained but moist, fertile sites of mixed hardwood forests and pine forest edges.

Many gardeners believe that the safest time to plant cold-sensitive species, such as tomatoes, comes in the returning warm weather following Dogwood Winter. Native Americans also watched for dogwood blossoms as signs to begin planting crops.

The dogwood's beauty and utility have long been celebrated in North America. Early colonists reportedly used every part of the dogwood except "the rustle of its leaves."

The Northern Lights - Aurora Borealis


In 1621 French scientist Pierre Gassendi decided to name the strange natural displays of light he had observed in the sky. He took the name of the Roman goddess of the dawn, Aurora and combined it with the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas. The world had a name, finally, for these mysterious light shows - aurora borealis.

'Big UP Deal' Protects 271,000 Acres in Michigan

photo nature conservancy big up upper peninsula deal
The Nature Conservancy has finally closed on a "Big UP Deal" that took 10 years and $58 million, and will protect and limit development on 271,000 acres in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. If you're unfamiliar with the UP, it includes some of the last untouched places on Earth, and faces threats from sulfide mining.
Article continues: 'Big UP Deal' Protects 271,000 Acres in Michigan

Duluth, Minnesota Teams Up with the Sun to Take Out its Trash

duluth-waterfront photo
The Duluth waterfront, on Lake Superior. 
Photo: rococohobo under a Creative Commons license.
Duluth, Minnesota is taking out its trash- and the sun is helping out. The City on Lake Superior announced on Thursday the debut of its Toss It Green initiative, to install twenty solar-powered trash compactors along its Lakewalk. The containers, half of which will be for trash, half for recycling, have built-in solar panels to power them, and will hold up to five times more refuse than traditional garbage cans. That means Duluth city workers won't have to head out every week to pick up and replace full bags. In fact, they never have to go out unnecessarily- each compactor has a sensor and a communication system, to alert workers when they are full. And if it rains? Each compactor also has a battery to keep it running when the sun isn't out.
Article continues: Duluth, Minn. Teams Up with the Sun to Take Out its Trash

A painless way to achieve huge energy savings ...

Stop wasting food
Scientists have identified a way that the United States could immediately save the energy equivalent of about 350 million barrels of oil a year — without spending a penny or putting a ding in the quality of life: Just stop wasting food.

Sharing the Wealth

A rich man is driving down the highway and he see's a man in the median eating handfuls of grass, he tell his driver to pull over and he yells to the man, "What are you doing there?"

The man says, "I am broke and hungry and this is the best I can find."

The rich guy says, "Come with me and I can help!"

The poor man says, "But what about my wife?"

The rich guy says, "She can come too!"

The poor man says, "But my children are just up the road, what about them?"

The rich guy, reluctantly say's, "They can come too".

The poor man says "How about my aunt and uncle, and sisters?"

To which the rich guys replies,

"Just how big do you think my lawn is?"

Non Sequitur


Wingnuts and the Truth

This is what happens when the Truth encounters a wingnut's brain.

When Donald Duck met Glenn Beck

This is a perfect example of how the lunatic fringe truly are:
"This is a re-imagined Donald Duck cartoon remix constructed from dozens of classic Walt Disney cartoons from the 1930s to 1960s. Donald's life is turned upside-down by the current economic crisis and he finds himself unemployed and falling behind on his house payments. As his frustration turns into despair Donald discovers a seemingly sympathetic voice coming from his radio named Glenn Beck."

A turn of a phrase


A crazy person; a crank.


There are countless words in the language that began as two-word terms, later to become hyphenated and later still to merge into a single word, for example, 'zigzag', 'forewarned', 'ninepence' etc. Crackpot is on that list.
If you go about researching the origin of 'crackpot' it won't take long to come up with the village of Crackpot, in Swaledale, Yorkshire. This is the site of the imposing ruined farmstead, Crackpot Hall. This name long predates the use of the term 'crackpot' meaning crazed, as it dates from at least the 12th century, before which the region had been taken over by Viking insurgents. Inviting as the idea might be, the Vikings didn't turn up there and decide that the locals were mad and name the place accordingly. At that time the village was called Crakepot, which derives from the Norse terms 'kraka', a crake or crow and 'pot', a deep hole or pit - neither of which has anything to do with the current 'crazy' meaning of the word. Crackpot was merely 'the hole where crows gather'.
To discover its origins, we need to ignore the Vikings and realise that 'crackpot' is a shortened form of 'cracked-pot', which splits into its constituent parts, cracked and pot.
Cracked is itself a shortening of 'brain-cracked' (or cracked-brained'). 'Cracked' simply meant 'impaired'; 'faulty'. Both of these terms were current in the 17th century. For instance, in Randle Cotgrave's, A dictionarie of the French and English tongues, 1611, we find:
EstropiƩ de caboche, ou de ceruelle, frantick, witlesse, braine-sicke, brain-crackt.
And in John Canne's A Necessity of Separation from the Church of England, 1634, we find:
If Mr. Bradshaw had found such a reason in Mr, Johnson's writing, he would surely have called idle head, cracked-brained, fool etc.
In the Middle Ages, 'pot' was used to mean 'skull' or 'head'. For example, this piece from Guy de Chauliac's translation of Grande Chirurgie, circa 1425:
Ye pot of ye heued
So, a 'cracked pot' was a 'faulty head' and crackpot is synonymous with our more recent terms 'numbskull', 'blockhead', 'brain-dead' etc.
The first record that I can find of the term 'crack-pot' (with a hyphen at that stage) is in a Broadside Ballad, recorded by John S Farmer in 1883:
My aunty knew lots,
and called them crack-pots.
See it's easy to tell a wingnut - they're Crackpots!

Strange vending machines

Order a pizza made from scratch in Italy, or get a gold bar in Abu Dhabi.  

Federal Welfare System Not Helping The New Poor In Economic Crisis

In addition to being severely underfunded during this crisis, the welfare programs simply aren't set up to help the formerly-middle class people who are trying to get into the system. For instance, here in Pennsylvania, someone I know was turned down because his bank statement showed transfers from Paypal into his checking account, and they counted that as monthly income. He tried to explain that he'd sold everything he had left on eBay, and there was nothing left to sell, but the caseworker wouldn't listen.

Contrary to popular myth, (a repugican shrieking point by the by) it's quite difficult for anyone with any assets at all to get onto welfare:
The nation's welfare system of cash assistance, for decades the core of help for mothers and children in financial distress, has become a shrunken piece of the U.S. social safety net.
The welfare rolls have absorbed relatively few of the Americans who have tumbled lately into poverty or unemployment.
The number of families getting welfare checks, federal figures show, increased by about 185,000 between the start of the recession in late 2007 and this spring. During roughly the same period, the number of families living in poverty rose by more than 400,000 to record levels, according to the Census Bureau, which reported this week that, in Washington, three out of 10 children were poor last year.
State by state, welfare programs are a patchwork, with little connection between the condition of a state's economy and the number of people who have gone onto welfare.
Taken together, this new portrait of welfare answers a central question that hovered over the impassioned debate of the mid-1990s, when Congress and the Clinton administration transformed welfare from a federal entitlement into a state-run program of temporary assistance that emphasized work. How would the reshaped welfare system respond, policymakers and advocates wondered then, if the economy plunged into long, serious trouble?
Nearly three years after the start of a grave economic downturn, it now is clear that "despite extremely high levels of employment, that has not translated into welfare increases as much as many people expected," said Douglas J. Besharov, a University of Maryland professor who has studied welfare for years.
Welfare's role will be further diminished after Thursday, when emergency funds Congress began providing early last year to help states cope with hard economic times run out. Despite urging from the Obama administration and welfare directors around the country, lawmakers decided not to extend the emergency welfare money, which gave states more than $4 million, in part to subsidize wages to help people go to work.
Congress also was scheduled this year to renew the entire welfare program, known officially as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, but deferred the task until at least next year.

R.I.P. to four famous U.S. car brands

Two are old favorites, one's a brute, and the fourth was called "a different kind of car company."  

Incredible ways people fall into debt

One woman went bankrupt running up $30,000 in calls to a 900-number psychic line.  

Home renovations that don't pay off

You may think these improvements will increase your home's value, but they often don't.



Service with a Smile

A Grandmother was surprised by her 7 year old grandson one morning when he had made her coffee.

She drank what was the worst cup of coffee in her life. When she got to the bottom there were three of those little green army men in the cup. She said, "Honey, what are the army men doing in my coffee?"

Her grandson said, "Grandma, it says on TV-'The best part of waking up is soldiers in your cup!'"

The Beginner’s Guide To Zen Habits

Zen, pronounced dhyanam in Sanskrit and chan in Chinese, is a form of Buddhism centred upon sitting meditation, and the wordless and silent nature of enlightenment.

A variety of techniques are used to restore identity with the nature of Buddha, including shouting and beating. The discipline, or zazen, may be aided by concentration on texts and problems, or koan.

Obese But Healthy?

Should people who are obese but healthy lose weight?
A new study questions whether being obese but "metabolically healthy" is enough.

Culinary DeLites

Culinary DeLites
The winner in a test "tastes like Mexican restaurant chips," says one voter.  

The 10 healthiest ethnic cuisines

When it comes to the diet benefits of their foods, certain cultures rise above the rest. 

Carrots Used to Be Purple Before the 17th Century

Before the 17th century, almost all carrots cultivated were purple.  The modern day orange carrot wasn’t cultivated until Dutch growers in the late 16th century took mutant strains of the purple carrot, including yellow and white carrots and gradually developed them into the sweet, plump, orange variety we have today.

Before this, pretty much all carrots were purple with mutated versions occasionally popping up including the yellow and white carrots.  These however were rarely cultivated and lacked the purple pigment anthocyanin, which gave carrots back then their distinctive purple color.

It is thought that the modern day orange carrot was developed by crossing the mutated yellow and white rooted carrots as well as varieties of wild carrots, which are quite distinct from cultivated carrots.

Some think that the reason the orange carrot became so popular in the Netherlands was in tribute to the emblem of the House of Orange and the struggle for Dutch independence.  This could be, but it also might just be that the orange carrots that the Dutch developed were sweeter tasting and more fleshy than their purple counterparts, thus providing more food per plant and being better tasting.

Bonus Factoids:
  • It is actually possible to turn your skin a shade of orange by massively over consuming orange carrots.
  • Orange carrots get their bright orange color from beta-carotene.  Beta-carotene metabolizes in the human gut from bile salts into Vitamin A.
  • The origins of the cultivated carrot is rooted in the purple carrot in the region around modern day Afghanistan.
  • When cultivation of the garden style orange carrot lapses for a few generations, the carrots revert back to their ancestral carrot types, which are very different from the current garden variety.
  • In ancient times, the root part of the carrot plant that we eat today was not typically used.  The carrot plant however was highly valued due to the medicinal value of its seeds and leaves.   For instance, Mithridates VI, King of Pontius (around 100BC) had a recipe for counteracting certain poisons with the principle ingredient being carrot seeds.  It has since been proven that this concoction actually works.
  • The Romans believed carrots and their seeds were aphrodisiacs.  As such, carrots were a common plant found in Roman gardens.  After the fall of Rome however, carrot cultivation in Europe more or less stopped until around the 10th century when Arabs reintroduced them to Europe.
  • British gunners in WWII were able to locate and shoot down German planes at night due to the invention of radar, which the Germans knew nothing about.  To cover up the invention and extreme effectiveness of radar, the British spread about an urban legend that said that they massively increased the night vision of their pilots by having them consume large amounts of carrots.  This lie not only convinced the Germans, but also had a bonus effect of causing many British people to start planting their own vegetable gardens, including planting carrots.  This urban legend has persisted even to this day.
  • The largest carrot every grown was 19 pounds; grown by John Evans in 1998 in Palmer, Alaska.
  • The Vegetable Improvement Center at Texas A&M recently developed a purple-skinned, orange fleshed carrot called the Beta Sweet.  This carrot is specialized to include substances that prevent cancer.  It also has extremely high beta-carotene content.
  • Almost one third of all carrots distributed throughout the world come from China, which is the largest distributor of carrots in the world.  Following them on gross production is Russia and then the United States.
  • Although the orange carrot was not cultivated before the 16th and 17th centuries, there is a reference in a Byzantine manuscript around 512AD which depicts an orange rooted carrot, suggesting that at least this mutant variety of carrot could be found at this time.



Your dog can't talk, but he can Tweet

Social networking has become the rage even for Fido. He may not be able to type, and has no opposable thumbs to hold a smartphone either, but with a little help from an electronic dog tag that attaches to his collar, he can still Tweet.

Will The Wolf Survive

Senators from four states unite to try to strip the iconic predator of its protected status.

Amazing Stories of Animals Rescuing Humans

beluga saves woman opener photo

Animals have a knack for saving other animals, but they've also been known to put themselves in the line of danger for humans -- and we're not just talking about pet dogs that protect their homes from burglars.
From dolphins that rescued a surfer from sharks and a whale that helped a drowning athlete to an elephant that protected a young girl from a tsunami, these amazing, selfless animal heroes remind us once again of the unique species we co-habitat with that we need to protect.
10 Amazing Stories of Animals Rescuing Humans  slideshow

Now you can swim with a tiger

There's swimming with stingrays or dolphins, but just imagine what your friends would say if you took a dive with a tiger. It can happen. "No one else I know does it," smiled Kathy Stearns, director of the Dade City Wild Things animal sanctuary in Florida.

A couple of months ago, a zoo in Oklahoma City donated a three week old white tiger to the sanctuary. Stearns picked up the tiny animal she named Diamond and flew her back to the Bay area. From the very beginning, Stearns says she was very hands on with Diamond. "She's one of those rare things. She's real sweet natured, gentle. She's a talker. She loves to talk, she does a lot of grunting noises," smiled Stearns.

Like most tiger cubs, Diamond likes to eat and play, but she's also got another love... the water! "It's really great, she loves it. She thinks it's a lot of fun," said Stearns. The 20-pound tiger cub has mastered the art of "tiger" paddling in the sanctuary's backyard pool. "She's so great about keeping her claws in. She doesn't extend, even when she's reaching up to you, so she's really gentle in the water," explained Stearns.

If you're over 18 and have $200 to spare, the opportunity to take a half hour dive with Diamond is yours. Stearns says the money will go back into the sanctuary to help care for Diamond and her new animal family. The opportunity is not going to last forever, because once Diamond hits 40 pounds, law forbids the public from interacting with animals like her.

Small Tigers


Tigers roaming the famous mangrove forests of Bangladesh are nearly half the weight of other wild Bengal tigers in South Asia, a study finds.

Animal News

A dragonfish with teeth on both jaws and tongue is pictured in this image provided by the Census for Marine Life. even has teeth on its tongue. Though terrifying in appearance, the fish are only about the size of a banana.

Time to revisit ...

What Colors Were Dinosaur Feathers?

Dinosaur books have become more colorful affairs of late, with the dull greens, browns and grays of yesteryear replaced by vivid hues, stripes and patterns. While fossils, up until now, haven't provided any information about color, that is starting to change.

The fossils of some small meat-eating dinosaurs were covered in filaments that are widely thought to be the precursors of feathers. And among these filaments, a team of Chinese and British scientists have found the distinctive signs of melanosomes, small structures that are partly responsible for the colors of modern bird feathers.

Re-Calculating Dinosaur Heights

Weird Science realizes it can't dunk on the raptors
Weren't they big enough already?

Figuring out how tall a dinosaur is would seem to be a fairly simple matter: line the bones up and figure out what its posture was like. But that's ignoring a rather significant factor, namely the cartilage that sits between the joints. In alligators, that cartilage accounts for about 10 percent of the hindlimb's length, leading to speculation that the dinosaurs might be significantly taller than their skeletons alone would suggest. How substantially isn't entirely clear, though. Birds, the only living dinosaurs, have less cartilage than alligators, but the immense bulk of dinosaurs might have required much more.