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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.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Daily Drift

September happens to be the month we celebrate Apple Month, National Honey Month, Chili Peppers and Figs Month, National Chicken Month, National Mushroom Month, National Prime beef Month, National Rice Month, Passion Fruit and Peach Month, Peas and Radish Month as well as Shameless Promotion Month so you know what we'll be doing this month.

Today, September1st happens to be National No Rhyme (nor reason) Day and Emma M. Nutt Day so here we go ...

Some of our readers today have been in:
Gurgaon, India
Athens, Greece
Podgorica, Montenegro
Vancouver, Canada
Bogota, Colombia
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Santiago, Chile
Cape Town, South Africa
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Fermont, Canada
San Jose, Costa Rica
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Sampaloc, Philippines
Riga, Latvia
Miri, Malaysia
Bandar Seri, Begawan, Brunei
Warsaw, Poland
Kluang, Malaysia
Medan, Indonesia
Subang Jaya, Malaysia
Pereira, Colombia
Panama City, Panama
Port-Of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Kuching, Malaysia
Lima, Peru
Manila, Philippines
Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Today in History

1676 Nathaniel Bacon leads an uprising against English Governor William Berkeley at Jamestown, Virginia, resulting in the settlement being burned to the ground. Bacon's Rebellion came in response to the governor's repeated refusal to defend the colonists against the Indians.
1773 Phillis Wheatley, a slave from Boston, publishes a collection of poetry, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, in London.
1807 Aaron Burr is arrested in Mississippi for complicity in a plot to establish a Southern empire in Louisiana and Mexico.
1821 William Becknell leads a group of traders from Independence, Mo., toward Santa Fe on what would become the Santa Fe Trail.
1836 Protestant missionary Dr. Marcus Whitman leads a party to Oregon. His wife, Narcissa, is one of the first white women to travel the Oregon Trail. The Oregon Trail emigrants who chose to follow Stephen Meek thought his shortcut would save weeks of hard travel. Instead, it brought them even greater misery.
1864 Confederate forces under General John Bell Hood evacuate Atlanta in anticipation of the arrival of Union General William T. Sherman's troops.
1870 The Prussian army crushes the French at Sedan, the last battle of the Franco-Prussian War.
1876 The Ottomans inflict a decisive defeat on the Serbs at Aleksinac.
1882 The first Labor Day is observed in New York City by the Carpenters and Joiners Union.
1894 By an act of Congress, Labor Day is declared a national holiday.
1902 The Austro-Hungarian army is called into the city of Agram to restore the peace as Serbs and Croats clash.
1904 Helen Keller graduates with honors from Radcliffe College.
1905 Alberta and Saskatchewan become Canadian provinces.
1916 Bulgaria declares war on Rumania as the First World War expands.
1923 An earthquake levels the Japanese cities of Tokyo and Yokohama, killing 300,000.
1939 Germany invades Poland, beginning World War II in Europe.
1970 Dr. Hugh Scott of Washington, D.C. becomes the first African-American superintendent of schools in a major U.S. city.

Non Sequitur


Weak and Feeble Robots Make The Best Teachers

The secret to learning from a robot, as discovered by two Japanese researchers, is to have it appear weak and feeble:
Shizuko Matsuzoe and Fumihide Tanaka at the University of Tsukuba, Japan, set up an experiment to find out how different levels of competence in a robot teacher affected children's success in learning English words for shapes.
They observed how 19 children aged between 4 and 8 interacted with a humanoid Nao robot in a learning game in which each child had to draw the shape that corresponded to an English word such as 'circle', 'square', 'crescent', or 'heart'.
The researchers operated the robot from a room next to the classroom so that it appeared weak and feeble, and the children were encouraged to take on the role of carers. [...]
When the robot got a shape wrong, the child could teach the robot how to draw it correctly by guiding its hand. The robot then either "learned" the English word for that shape or continued to make mistakes.

Cheating Scandal in a Harvard Government Class

A cheating scandal has rocked the venerated Harvard University:
Harvard University is investigating allegations that almost half the students in an undergraduate class last spring may have plagiarized or "inappropriately collaborated" on their final exams, the school announced Thursday.
Following an initial investigation, Harvard's administrative board, which enforces academic regulations, undertook "a comprehensive review of the more than 250 take-home final exams" submitted at the end of a course, the school said in a statement.
The Harvard Crimson, the school's flagship student-run newspaper, identified the class in which the cheating allegedly occurred as Government 1310: Introduction to Congress.
Cheating in a Government class about Congress? Sounds like proper job training to me!
Julia Talanova and Jason Kessler of CNN's Schools of Thought explain: here.

Federal judge overturns Ohio law

Restores in-person early voting in 3 days leading to Election Day  
A federal judge has overturned a recent Ohio state law and restored in-person, early voting for the final three days leading up to Election Day.

The lawsuit was brought by President Barack Obama's campaign and the Ohio Democratic Party which sought to overturn a new law that would have shutdown early voting after 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2 until the polls opened on Tuesday, Nov. 6, (except for military personnel - in other words the law struck down ... told Blacks and Latinos they need not bother to vote, now they can and should - the repugicans don't like it when Blacks and Latinos vote).

Did you know ...

That the majority of Americans think rich people don't pay enough in taxes

That the birthers are going to hold their own convention

That satellites show arctic sea ice at a record low

Go ahead, tell the consumer protection board what you think of mortgage servicing

The truth be told

Mitt Romney 'accidentally' called America a "company" Friday morning

Doesn't that just sum it up.

CNBC's Kudlow: Romney didn't make the sale

Yikes. Kudlow is a big repugican too. And obviously influential.
Did Mitt Romney make the economic sale at the repugican national cabal? Did he convince people who are living at the margin or unemployed and discouraged that he has the answers to the economy? Frankly, I don’t think so.
It concerns me that in the economic zone, he didn’t make the sale to the independents, so-called Reagan Democrats, or to Clinton Democrats. I didn’t hear anything new. I didn’t hear anything specific, and it troubles me.
Again, on the economic front I don’t think he made the sale; I don’t think he convinced the independent voters and I don’t think he’s going in the right direction in tax policy.

Workers Paid Below Minimum Wage at the repugican national cabal

Rnc Convention Workers
During the four days at the rnc convention, janitors have worked around the clock picking up after delegates, conservative stars like Ann Coulter and Rep. Allen West (r-Fla.), and the thousands of reporters in cavernous filing rooms. And many are doing so making less than minimum wage.
Carolyn Walker said she has been cleaning the convention center for 13 years. She had been making $8 per hour until a few years ago, when the cleaning contract went to another company, Cleanevent USA. The new company meant a new, downsized paycheck. She's now making minimum wage -- $7.67 per hour. But that wasn't the only hit to her wallet.
Walker said the company charges her $6 per week for uniforms. "It stinks to tell you the truth," she said. "We work very hard." It effectively means she's making less than Florida's minimum wage.
Larry Gilmore, 32, and Jean Baptiste, 27, recounted similar hits to their paychecks by Cleanevent. Baptiste said he's charged $11 per week for uniforms -- a thin blue short-sleeve shirt and dark pants.
As Rep. Paul Ryan delivered his acceptance speech on Wednesday night, Baptiste wheeled his giant can through the convention center, picking up trash left by reporters from The New York Times, CBS, The Huffington Post and other media outlets. All you heard in the massive room was Ryan's speech and the wheels on Baptiste's plastic trash can. He said he had only one complaint about the work. "It's good," he explained. "I just wish they paid more. I can't keep up with the rent."
Baptiste's rent in Tampa is $575. His electric bill can be as high as $160 per month. If he wants to park near the convention center for work, he -- and the others -- said they would be charged for the privilege. Baptiste said he does not use that parking garage.
Asked about the details of his paycheck, one worker, who refused to give a name, replied "So much money for the haves and so little money for the have-nots. I want you to note that distinction."

Advice to the poor, from world's richest woman: "spend less time drinking"

Are you broke? Can't pay the bills or feed your family, despite holding down one or more jobs you hate? Can't get a job because there are no jobs to be gotten?

Australian mining tycoon Gina Rinehart, the richest woman in the world, has advice for you: "spend less time drinking."
The longer quote: "There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire. If you're jealous of those with more money, don't just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself -- spend less time drinking or smoking and socializing, and more time working. Become one of those people who work hard, invest and build, and at the same time create employment and opportunities for others."
Rinehart, it should be noted, inherited her wealth. Her current net worth is about USD$30 billion.

Our Low-Wage Recovery

How McJobs Have Replaced Middle Class Jobs
When we think about what the economy has lost since the Great Recession, we tend to consider it in terms of simple addition and subtraction.
We said goodbye to more than eight million jobs in the downturn; we've added around four million back. It's easy and dismal math.
But there's another painful dimension to this recovery that's gotten far less attention than the lingering jobs deficit. It's the fact that most of the jobs we lost offered decent pay, while the ones we're adding are mostly low-level, service sector positions. Middle class jobs have been replaced by McJobs.

Awesome Pictures

Patriot convicted on Yahoo! data released in China

Yahoo! and other Western businesses can say "it's just business" but there are human costs to their actions. A ten year prison sentence in China because a company turned over information is serious stuff.

Wang Xiaoning was freed early on Friday morning, his wife, Yu Ling, told the BBC by telephone.

Mr Wang, who was detained in 2002, served his 10-year sentence in a Beijing jail.

Yahoo drew widespread criticism for providing information linking him to emails and political writings.

Ms Yu said her husband was in "good health and fine spirits" but was not allowed to give media interviews under the conditions of his release.

LAPD Body Slams a Nurse

The videotaped confrontation between two Los Angeles Police Department officers and a woman was disturbing and will be fully investigated, Police Chief Charlie Beck said.

“I have serious concerns about this incident," Beck said. "Every Los Angeles police officer, regardless of rank, will be held accountable for their actions."

The commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department's Foothill Division was reassigned Wednesday, a day after video was broadcast showing two of his officers twice body-slamming a 34-year-old nurse to the pavement, once while she was in handcuffs.

The move to reassign Capt. Joseph Hiltner, as well as bump him from his current Captain III rank to a lower pay grade of Captain I, was announced by Beck at a news conference Wednesday evening at LAPD headquarters.

Hiltner, a 34-year LAPD veteran, could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

Beck said Internal Affairs detectives have launched a criminal and administrative investigation into the Aug. 21 use-of-force incident, which began after the officers pulled over Michelle Jordan at a Del Taco restaurant in Tujunga because she was holding a cellphone while driving.

LAPD brass didn't find out about the incident until the department was contacted by a KNBC reporter asking for comment Tuesday about the incident and black-and-white security surveillance footage that captured the officers' actions, police officials said.

As the 5-foot 4-inch Jordan left her vehicle, she allegedly failed to comply with officers' commands to get back into the car and was slammed to the ground by the male officers and placed in handcuffs, according to police officials.

While handcuffed, she was led to the officers' patrol car. Moments later, she was slammed again to the pavement, apparently with more force, by one of the officers, who was much larger than Jordan, the officials said.

The video footage appears to show the two officers exchanging high fives after Jordan was taken down.

The surveillance video was recovered by an LAPD supervisor from the Foothill Station who canvassed the area after the incident, law enforcement officials told The Times.

Beck said he ordered the video shown at roll calls when officers begin their shifts.

Anyone with information is asked to call Internal Affairs detectives at (213) 485-1486 or the Foothill Division watch commander at (818) 756-8861.

On Thursday, the LAPD revealed that least five Los Angeles police officers are under investigation in the death of a woman who stopped breathing during a struggle that included an officer stomping on her genital area and the use of additional force by others to take her into custody.

More LAPD Brutality

Five Cops Under Investigation for Stomping a Woman To Death
At least five Los Angeles police officers are under investigation in the death of a woman who stopped breathing during a struggle that included an officer stomping on her genital area and the use of additional force by others to take her into custody, police officials confirmed Thursday.

The altercation in front of her South Los Angeles apartment was captured by a patrol car's video camera.

When asked by The Times about the incident, LAPD Cmdr. Bob Green confirmed that one officer, while trying to get Alesia Thomas [pictured] into the back of a patrol car, threatened to kick Thomas in the genitals if she did not comply, and then followed through on her threat.

After officers forced Thomas into the back seat of the police car, she is seen on the video breathing shallowly; she eventually stopped breathing.

"I take all in-custody death investigations very seriously," LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said in a statement late Thursday. "I am confident we will get to the truth no matter where that leads us."

The incident came to light a day after Beck announced he was transferring a captain from his command after a separate videotaped incident in which officers were shown slamming a handcuffed woman to the ground. Beck said that video raised concerns and that the department was investigating the officers.

The Thomas case occurred in the early morning hours of July 22 after she left her 3-year-old and 12-year-old children at the LAPD's Southeast Area station, according to a department account released the following day. Green, who oversees the Southeast Area station, confirmed that Thomas tried to surrender custody of the children to police because she was a drug addict and felt she could not care for them.

Officers went in search of Thomas, finding her at her home in the 9000 block of South Broadway. After questioning her briefly, the officers attempted to arrest her on suspicion of child endangerment, the department's account said.

Thomas "began actively resisting arrest" and one of the officers took her to the ground by sweeping her legs from beneath her, the LAPD's official account said. Two others handcuffed Thomas' hands behind her back and attempted to lead her to a patrol car while a supervising sergeant observed, according to the department's version.

Two more officers were summoned as Thomas continued to struggle. Green confirmed that Thomas was a large woman. A "hobble restraint device" — an adjustable strap — was tightened around Thomas' ankles to give the officers more control and she was eventually placed in the back of the patrol car, the LAPD account said.

The official account, however, made no mention of what Green confirmed was a female officer's questionable treatment of Thomas.

The department's account said officers immediately notified paramedics. It is unclear whether the officers attempted to resuscitate her and how much time passed before paramedics arrived. Thomas died shortly after being transported to a hospital.

A neighbor who witnessed part of the incident told The Times he did not see officers do anything wrong and described Thomas as the aggressor.

Gerald McCrary Sr., 55, said he was awakened by the commotion and saw police wrestling with Thomas, who managed to break free from plastic handcuffs. The officers secured her with metal handcuffs and tried to calm her down as she sat against a wall, McCrary said.

"They were talking to her, asking her to calm down, that everything will be all right," he recalled. They brought Thomas some water to drink.

"My heart hurts. I can't walk anymore," he recalled Thomas telling police.

Two officers escorted her down the stairs in her apartment complex, one on each arm. McCrary eventually followed and said he saw Thomas in a patrol car "shaking her head against the back seat." Some time later, he saw her sprawled out on the sidewalk without a blouse. Paramedics had just arrived.

McCrary said police interviewed him on two separate occasions about the incident but never mentioned that Thomas was dead.

Charmaine Hood, McCrary's live-in caregiver, also witnessed Thomas' encounter with police. She said officers were trying to help Thomas.

"I didn't see them try to harm her in any shape or fashion," Hood said. "I seen them protect her from hurting herself."

How tracking down a stolen computer triggered a drug bust

Over at MAKE, we've got an interesting story about computers stolen from a MAKE employee's car during Maker Faire Detroit, which led to a drug bust.
Have you ever had something stolen? Your heart sinks, your mind races, and you become increasingly paranoid about the vulnerability of your personal property. I know because this is a picture of my coworker’s (let’s call him Steve) rental car, a Chevy Impala, after lunch at Slow’s Bar-B-Q in Detroit (amazing food, don’t park on a side street), the Monday after Maker Faire Detriot. There was nothing significant in the front of the car to entice thieves to break in, but we both had computers in backpacks in the trunk. One quick jab from a screwdriver unlocked the car, allowing the thief to pop the trunk and liberate the bags.
We didn’t see the hole at first, so we both thought we were crazy when we found the trunk empty at the hotel. We texted the rest of our team, who were on their way to the airport, and retraced our steps. When were the bags last seen? Who had access to the car? As I said, your mind races. Steve and I drove to the Henry Ford Museum, where the car had been most of the day, and parked in the same spot to see if it was in view of a video camera. The car was visible from two. After reporting this to Henry Ford Security and asking them to review the tapes for that day, we started examining the trunk for any telltale marks. That’s when we noticed the puncture under the driver’s door handle. That would have made noise. Noise we would have heard from the tent. Now what? Steve and I were planning to see Batman at the Henry Ford’s IMAX theater at 9:40pm. Reluctantly, at around 8pm, we headed back to Slow’s, a 25 minute drive. The trip was filled with talk about what was in the bags, and how screwed we were. “Screwed” was probably the most polite word uttered. Steve’s ThinkPad was locked and encrypted. My Macbook Pro was in hibernation and was wide open. Even then, my harddrive was not encrypted. Fortunately, I don’t save history, usernames, or passwords.

Thirteen bearded men trying to raise money for breast cancer research detained by police

Police in Portland, Oregon, shut down the Burnside Bridge and detained 13 bearded men who said they were headed to a photo shoot to raise money for breast cancer research on Wednesday evening.

According to spokesman Robert King, police received a report that a man on the bridge had an assault rifle. Officers shut down the bridge just after 7:30 p.m. while they investigated. Police found 13 bearded men, many of whom wore military style uniforms. One of the men had an assault rifle, King said. They were taken to the Central Precinct. It's unclear if the assault rifle was loaded.

Several of the men said they were on their way to take a photo under the "Portland, Oregon" sign near the Burnside Bridge to raise money for breast cancer research. The men said the photo was going to be part of a Beards for Breasts calendar. "It's from Seattle," said Jedediah Aacker. "This girl, Sugar June, does it. She puts together a calendar for all the beard clubs around the nation. Beards for breasts." Someone called police when they saw one of the men holding a rifle on the bridge.

"We were wearing camo gear and stuff walking up to do the shoot and sure enough police show up, boom, arrested us," said Aacker. "We were just a bunch of dudes walking across the bridge wearing camo getting rad." King said two of the men were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for handling the rifle. It's unclear if any of the other men were charged with a crime. The men said there were 10 of them. Police said 13 were detained. The bridge was opened at around 8:15. "We didn't mean to shake up the community or shut down the Burnside Bridge," said Matthew Jenkins. "Just trying to save boobs, you know?"

Man facing charges after family fight over baked not fried chicken

Dinner time at a Pennsylvania home got out of hand when the man of the house decided that he didn’t like what was served. It was probably not just the baked rather than fried chicken that set George Rhome off. “He’s usually an easygoing guy,” says Rhome’s mother, Carolyn Rhome.

The dispute started in the kitchen of a home on Morgantown Street in Point Marion. Rhome’s daughter-in-law was cooking dinner. “They didn’t do it right and George got mad,” Rhome’s girlfriend, Anna Jaggi says. Rome’s mother says he was unhappy beginning with the peas and corn.

“It started over the vegetables because they usually put them in a bowl in the microwave,” Carolyn says. After the chicken was served, Rhome cried foul. “I think he was already mad about something. He said the chicken was dry,” Carolyn says. This is when matters got physical. “She picked up a chair and threw it at him and that’s what made him mad because she hit him,” Carolyn says.

The food fight spilled from the kitchen to the sidewalk drawing neighbors and police. Rhome was arrested and so were Jason and Dottie Jaggi, Rhome’s son and daughter-in-law. Rhome is in the Fayette County jail on charges of simple assault and harassment. Jason and Dottie Jaggi are now housed in the Greene County jail on charges unrelated to the incident. No one was hurt in the incident.

There's a news video here.

New life for decades-old Wisconsin cheddar blocks

A recently discovered block of eastern Wisconsin cheddar cheese that dates back to the Nixon presidency will be sold for $10 per ounce.

Antioxidant-Rich Foods

10 of them
Antioxidants can be found as vitamins, minerals or phytochemicals. They help repair cell damage caused by free radicals, which can mess with your immune system. Some researchers also believe that free-radical damage may be involved in promoting chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.

If you're thinking about picking up an 'antioxidant-rich' supplement - don't be fooled. Each fruit and veggie has their own unique combination of various antioxidants - you won't find any of these specialized combos isolated in a pill. Your best bet is to eat a variety of seasonal produce so you can reap all the benefits.

Chemical exposure in the womb from household items may contribute to obesity

Pregnant women who are highly exposed to common environmental chemicals – polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs) – have babies that are smaller ...
Continue Reading

Man stole doctor's ID, treated 500

A man stole a physician's identity and pretended to be a doctor for a year in South Carolina, and now investigators are combing through medical records to see whether he harmed any of the hundreds of patients he treated, authorities said.

The case of the upside-down woman in the emergency room

Click here to find out more!
A 7-foot-man walked into an emergency room dangling a 5-foot-woman by her feet. She told the staff that if she was upright, she'd pass out. She was only able to maintain consciousness while upside down. No, this isn't a joke. This is a true story that her attending physician, cardiac electrophysiologist Louis F. Janeira, recounts in Discover Magazine. Spoiler: The tip of her newly-installed pacemaker had become disconnected from her heart muscle. When she was upside down, the lead reconnected and stimulated her heart. From Discover:
“You’ll need to go back to surgery to reattach the lead,” I said to Mary. “Let’s page your electrophysiologist stat.” I looked at Jason and sighed. “Meanwhile, keep her upside down.” We inserted an iv in Mary’s arm and hooked her up to an external pacing device. But pacing her heart through her chest wall gave her severe discomfort and was not a good option, even in the short term. Moreover, it turned out that Mary’s slow beat did not respond at all to medications, including intravenous epinephrine. So she was quickly transported to the electrophysiology laboratory, dangling by her ankles, carried by the only man around with enough strength to do it. And my ER shift continued.
The next day I was back on duty. As I came out of a room after examining a small child with a fever, I heard a familiar voice behind me.
“Dr. Janeira, it’s me, Mary. I’m all fixed up.”

Remember ... that time a German prince built an artificial volcano

Perrin Doniger of Smithsonian.com says: "When a 18th century German prince visited Mt. Vesuvius in Naples, he insisted on building a replica of it on his estate back home."
Leopold III Friedrich Franz, Prince and Duke of Anhalt-Dessau ... ruled a small kingdom near the modern-day town of Dessau in the 18th century. Born in 1740, Franz was an unusually enlightened ruler, even for the Age of Enlightenment. In his mid-20s, he went on a Grand Tour of Europe, a rite of passage for the continent's nobility.
Franz's travels took him to London, Paris, Marseilles, Rome, Venice and Naples, where the 27-year-old princeling was captivated by the smoldering Mount Vesuvius and the recent discovery of the buried Roman town of Pompeii.
"Vesuvius must have really impressed him, because 22 years later he came up with the idea to re-create the Gulf of Naples in flat Germany," says Uwe Quilitzsch, the Woerlitz Garden Realm's staff historian. "He saw himself as obliged to enlighten his subjects, and he saw this as a lesson for people who would never get to Naples."
That time a German prince built an artificial volcano

The Trestle

Unknown Fields (UF) is a design studio, originating in London’s Architectural Association, that "ventures out on annual expeditions to the ends of the earth exploring unreal and forgotten landscapes, alien terrains and obsolete ecologies." Right now, Mark Pilkington, author of Mirage Men and publisher of Strange Attractor, is leading this busload of architects, writers, filmmakers and artists in an exploration of the mythic landscape of the American Southwest, and the stories that it has inspired. Their trajectory takes them from Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque New Mexico to Black Rock City, Nevada, via sites of military, architectural and folkloric significance. Mark is sending us occasional postcards from the edge.
The Trestle, Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Constructed over four years in the late 1950s at a then-astronomical cost of $58 million, the Trestle is still the largest all-wooden structure in the world, comprising over 6 million feet of timber. Part of the Air Force’s research into the after effects of a nuclear blast, a range of aircraft, including huge B-52 bombers and Air Force One were hauled up onto the Trestle, where they would be bombarded with electromagnetic pulse waves (EMP) fired from an emitter on either side.
EMP waves travel long distances in a very short amount of time and can seriously disrupt electronic systems, as we also know from powerful solar emissions. Understanding how EMP might affect the functioning of retaliatory nukes, bombers or command and control aircraft was therefore an essential part of post-apocalyptic preparations.
Every element of the Trestle, right down to its oversized nuts and bolts, had to be wooden so that none of its own components would interfere with the effects of the EMP wave on the aircraft being tested (though apparently there are some small metal o-ring components deep in the mix). Inspecting all the joints took a dedicated team a whole year; as soon as they had finished it was time to start again.
A unique monument to Cold War rigor and ingenuity, reminiscent of a huge fairground ride, perhaps the Cyclone, Coney Island’s wooden roller coaster, or a wooden labyrinth, the Trestle is now a condemned structure, too unstable to use, too expensive to dismantle. Today it provides a home to local wildlife, including a colony of great horned owls who can be heard screeching from within its depths. Our guide tells us that she likes to collect the skulls of their prey, which they leave scattered around the base of the structure.

Life In The Middle Of A Lake

Lake Baikal is a wonderful place that looks mighty both in winter and in summer. It is the oldest lake in the world that was there 25 million years ago and is 744,4 m deep. No other deeper lake can be found in the world. Let us visit the place and enjoy its beauty. More

Extinct Human Genome Reveals Brown-Eyed Girl

Genetic analysis of a fossil up to 80,000 years old reveals it belonged to a little girl with dark skin, brown hair and brown eyes.  

Astronomical Fact

Living on Mars Time

They still live on Earth, but David Oh and hundreds of scientists and engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have adopted such strange sleeping patterns that they might as well be living on Mars. You see, ever since the rover Curiosity landed on Mars, they've all switched to living on "Mars time."
Here's what the Oh family learned from living as if they were on the Red Planet:
A Mars day, called a sol, is 39 minutes and 35 seconds longer than a 24-hour day on Earth. That small difference adds up fast, so that noon becomes midnight after 2 1/2 weeks. As scientists wind up sleeping during the day and working through the night, their lives pull away from those of their families.
Not the Oh clan. For the first month, all five have stuck together, an idea championed by David's wife, Bryn.
"This project for six years has been so much a part of his life," she said at the family's tidy two-story home in La CaƱada Flintridge. "This was a way that I thought that we could be a part of it."
Amina Khan of The Los Angeles Times has the story: here.

The changing seasons of Saturn

New Cassini eye candy
Carolyn Porco, Cassini Imaging Team Leader and director of CICLOPS in Boulder, CO, writes:

For no other reason than that they are gorgeous, the Cassini imaging team is releasing today a set of fabulous images of Saturn and Titan...in living color...for your day-dreaming enjoyment. Note that our presence at Saturn for the last 8 years has made possible the sighting of subtle changes with time, and one such change is obvious here. As the seasons have advanced, and spring has come to the north and autumn to the south throughout the Saturn system, the azure blue in the northern winter Saturnian hemisphere that greeted Cassini upon its arrival in 2004 is now fading; and it is now the southern hemisphere, in its approach to winter, that is taking on a bluish hue.
[B]ack here on Earth, the Cassini mission was recently given rave reviews by a panel of planetary scientists and NASA program managers for its contributions to our understanding of the solar system, a circumstance that bodes well for a well-funded continuing mission over the next 5 years. Despite the fact that we can't know exactly what the next five years will bring us, we can be certain that whatever it is will be wondrous.
Photo above: "A giant of a moon appears before a giant of a planet undergoing seasonal changes in this natural color view of Titan and Saturn from NASA's Cassini spacecraft."
More beautiful images from Cassini here.

Let It Snow, Let It Snow ... CO2

Could giant chillers at the South Pole freeze our way out of global warming?
Some scientists think so.  
Read more
Could giant chillers at the South Pole freeze our way out of global warming?

Science News from a British perspective

Blind fish share common ancestorBlind cave fish Typhleotris madagascariensis

A family of eyeless, colourless cave-dwelling fish, separated millions of years ago, have turned up on either side of the Indian Ocean.

Hurricane Isaac satellite photoIsaac drove Mississippi backwards

Instruments measuring the flow and height of the Mississippi River find that it ran backward for 24 hours, driven by the storm surge of Hurricane Isaac.

Denisova cave in southern Siberia, RussiaCave girl's DNA gives up secrets

Scientists analyse the DNA of an 80,000-year-old Denisovan girl, shedding more light on her relation to our closest extinct evolutionary kin.

Tidbits of Science

Monogamy and the Immune System

In the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains two closely related species of mice share a habitat and a genetic ...
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Why Dogs Really Do Feel Your Pain

Comforting distressed humans may be hardwired in dogs' brains.
Read more
dog comfort

Rats nibbled on dead baby girl in Indian hospital

The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday suspended two doctors and seven other health workers for negligence on their part over an infant's death, whose face was allegedly nibbled by rats. Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa admitted lapse on part of the hospital authorities and asked the health department to initiate action against the culprits.

Reacting to the incident, Jayalalithaa said the infant's body should have been handed over to the family immediately. The hospital did not keep the body of the baby safely in the morgue, she said. The state government has also issued a set of guidelines, including shooing away stray animals and rodents from hospital premises, following the incident.

The chief minister has asked to put additional staff to maintain cleanliness in hospitals and prevent animals from entering its buildings. The state government has asked to appoint rat catchers for the hospitals. It has prohibited eating on hospital premises except in the canteens. The hospitals have been asked to allow visitors only during the visiting hours.

An 11-day-old premature baby girl had died of alleged negligence after battling for life in the incubator at Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for Women and Children in Chennai on Sunday. Her parents noticed grievous injuries on the face when the baby's body was handed over to them. They had alleged that the body was mauled by rats. The doctors had however claimed that the baby had developed septicemia soon after the premature birth. They had said that the baby's skin had peeled out due to septicemia.

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