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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Daily Drift

Ah, it's a dog's life!
Some of our readers today have been in:
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Haifa, Israel
Manila, Philippines
Vancouver, Canada
Jakarta, Indonesia
Cape Town, South Africa
Quito, Ecuador
Bangkok, Thailand
Ankara, Turkey
Moscow, Russia
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Katowice, Poland
Murcia, Spain
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Athens, Greece
Kedzierzyn-Kozle, Poland
Santiago, Chile
Doha, Qatar
Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Surabaya, Indonesia
Gurgaon, India
Davao, Philippines
Podgorica, Montenegro
Panama City, Panama

Also we were real popular in Malaysia with readers in:
Kota Kinabalu
Kuala Lumpur
Petaling Jaya
Bayan Lepas

And don't forget we have thousands of readers from across the USA from places such as:

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Today in History

1189   After the death of Henry II, Richard Lionheart is crowned king of England.
1260   Mamelukes under Sultan Qutuz defeat Mongols and Crusaders at Ain Jalut.
1346   Edward III of England begins the siege of Calais, along the coast of France.
1650   The English under Cromwell defeat a superior Scottish army under David Leslie at the Battle of Dunbar.
1777   The American flag (stars & stripes), approved by Congress on June 14th, is carried into battle for the first time by a force under General William Maxwell.
1783   The Treaty of Paris is signed by Great Britain and the new United States, formally bringing the American Revolution to an end.
1838   Frederick Douglass escapes slavery disguised as a sailor. He would later write The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass, his memoirs about slave life.
1855   General William Harney defeats Little Thunder's Brule Sioux at the Battle of Blue Water in Nebraska.
1895   The first professional American football game is played in Latrobe, Pennsylvania between the Latrobe Young Men's Christian Association and the Jeannette Athletic Club. Latrobe wins 12-0.
1914   The French capital is moved from Paris to Bordeaux as the Battle of the Marne begins.
1916   The German Somme front is broken by an Allied offensive.
1918   The United States recognizes the nation of Czechoslovakia.
1939   After Germany ignores Great Britain's ultimatum to stop the invasion of Poland, Great Britain declares war on Germany, marking the beginning of World War II in Europe.
1939   The British passenger ship Athenia is sunk by a German submarine in the Atlantic, with 30 Americans among those killed. American Secretary of State Cordell Hull warns Americans to avoid travel to Europe unless absolutely necessary.
1943   British troops invade Italy, landing at Calabria.
1944   The U.S. Seventh Army captures Lyons, France.
1945   General Tomoyuki Yamashita, the Japanese commander of the Philippines, surrenders to Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright at Baguio.
1967   Lieutenant General Ngyuen Van Thieu is elected president of South Vietnam.
1969   Ho Chi Minh, the leader of North Vietnam, dies.

Happy Labor Day?

Just in case you are a bit fizzy about the details.

N.Y. probing equity firms, including Bain

An official familiar with the probe says New York's attorney general is investigating some of the nation's largest private equity firms, including Bain Capital, founded by repugican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

The Truth Be Told

And I Quote

Poor repugicans can't have a party- they don't know how.
Meanwhile the Democrats are having a real party

Security makes Southern hospitality more difficult

By Rick Bonnell

When thousands of visitors show up in your city, pretty much all at once, and security is already on high alert for the Democratic National Convention, you’re going to have some travel hassles.
Based on Twitter comments from various delegates Sunday, some were charmed by Southern hospitality and others were peeved that streets leading to their hotels were closed much of the afternoon. As Massachusetts delegate Elaine Almquist commented, “We’re in Charlotte, but it doesn’t want us.”
Well, not exactly. The road closures and the 8-foot fences make it hard for Charlotte to show its best face, but that happens anywhere these national political conventions are held, particularly in a post 9/11 world.
The Tampa Tribune illustrated that well in a Sunday story that wrapped up last week’s Republican convention. The newspaper quoted Chris Heimburger of Houston as saying, “Tampa is beautiful, but with all the police and barricades and security, it also felt like an occupied country.”
Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn responded that his first responsibility was public safety, “even if we had to miss some of our better pictures.”
Not everyone had complaints. Delegate Keri Lorenzo, also from Massachusetts, had this to say on Twitter: “Amazing hospitality by residents of Charlotte in helping a tired pregnant lady make it to hotel after security shut down!”
Any soccer fans? CNN talk-show host and British soccer fan Piers Morgan scoped out where to watch Arsenal’s match against Liverpool early Sunday, but he was all by himself at Ri-Ra, the Irish Pub uptown.
Morgan tweeted at 8:25 a.m. that the bar was open for the match, but he was the only soccer fan in attendance. He included a picture to illustrate the point.
Pathetic, you said? Tommy Johnson, a political blogger out of Minnesota, is already a big fan of Charlotte before the actual convention convenes: “It’s big enough, but not too big – and the Host Committee is making the rnc in Tampa look pathetic already.” Based on the rest of his post, Johnson was won over by the media reception held Saturday at the North Carolina Music Factory.
We do ’Cue: Predictably, visitor tweets include dozens of questions and comments about that North Carolina delicacy, barbecue.
Philadelphia Inquirer political reporter Tom Fitzgerald asked, “So the air in Charlotte smells like pit barbecue - or is that just my imagination? (No, we pump it through the air-conditioning ducts to make visitors drool.)
Alex Horton of Virginia isn’t such a fan of Carolina ’Cue: “Best bet? Drive southwest for a couple days, then cross the Texas state line.”
Windy City view: The Chicago Tribune recommends these Charlotte bars to delegates looking for a drink: The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, Connolly’s On Fifth, Alexander Michaels, VBGB, Courtyard Hooligans and The Dunhill Hotel.
Life is a Segway: A blogger for the Business Insider website took a different spin on learning Charlotte, signing up for a Segway tour of uptown Sunday run by CharlotteNCTours. It sounded like tour guide Luke was pretty entertaining. Among his observations:
Bank of America Corporate Center is “a weird thing that’s become kind of a landmark.” … Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan lives in a penthouse atop the Trust Building … The Knight Theater is occasionally used to film scenes from Showtime series “Homeland,” and … Charlotte’s last legal brothel closed in the 1950s.

Changing demographics leave South’s political future in flux

Race, poverty and education all factors in a changing landscape

By Ann Doss Helms
  • Judy Woodruff, senior correspondent PBS NewsHour moderates the University of North Carolina roundtable discussion titled "The South and Presidential Politics 2012 Red States and Purple States" at The Charlotte Observer on Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012.

The South’s relationship with the Democratic Party is in flux, and its future is entwined with race, poverty, immigration and education, a panel of UNC Chapel Hill experts told journalists on Sunday.
“The South is no longer either Mayberry RFD or the booming sunbelt,” said professor Jesse White, who specializes in growth and economic development.
He was one of eight speakers who talked about what the South is and what it’s becoming at a forum on “The South and Presidential Politics 2012: Red States and Purple States.”
About 120 people attended the forum at The Charlotte Observer, hosted by the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Most were journalists covering the Democratic National Convention, along with a smattering of local guests, including Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and former Mecklenburg County commissioner Parks Helms.
The event, which journalism school Dean Susan King introduced as “a wonk parade,” featured a battery of data about political and demographic trends in Southern states.
Ferrel Guillory, a journalism professor who wrote an analysis for Saturday’s Observer, showed one map of repugican dominance and another charting Democratic gains in the 2008 election.
“I think that the big question facing us in this election is which map prevails,” Guillory said.
Scott Keener of the nonpartisan Pew Research Center said white voters in the South are much more likely than their white counterparts elsewhere to vote repugican and support repugican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Black voters inside and outside the South are strongly aligned with Democrats and President Barack Obama, while the growing Hispanic minority in the South could take a much stronger role in future elections, as children reach voting age, he said.
“This is really a ticking time bomb, in some respects, for the repugican party,” Keener said.
Some panelists said poverty has been ignored by both parties, even as it has grown more prevalent in the South.
“We have more poor people and more political leaders who are untroubled by it than other parts of the country,” said law professor Gene Nichol, director of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity.
Several speakers said the South’s economic boom has been stalled by the recession and increased global competition, especially for low-wage jobs. Creating a better-educated work force is a key to the future, they said.
“Southern workers have to become more skilled, and whether or not there’s the political will to bring this about is a key question,” said Peter Coclanis, a history professor who specializes in economics and business.
Kareem Crayton, an associate law professor who studies race and politics, said North Carolina is unique among Southern states in maintaining a significant Democratic presence and in “racial coalition building,” though he questioned whether those coalitions will prove lasting.
History professor Jacquelyn Hall said she thinks today’s racial rifts come not from the legacy of slavery and racism in the South but from “deliberate policies and deliberate propaganda” that have been part of the repugicans’ Southern strategy.
“Part of that strategy had to do with demonizing the policies that came out of the civil rights movement,” Hall said, citing affirmative action, busing “and, of course, ‘the welfare queen.’ ”
King said the panel was designed to be nonpartisan, though some remarks were more tilted toward the Democrats’ view than she expected. The forum was linked to the convention but not sponsored by it.
Besides the Observer and the UNC journalism school’s board of advisers, sponsors were Ken Eudy, a marketing consultant who was once an Observer political reporter and later executive director of the N.C. Democratic Party, and Cathy Roche, a retired Duke Energy communication executive.

More Information

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/09/02/3498928/unc-panel-changing-demographics.html#storylink=cpy

Obama to voters: Don't let the repugicans get you down

President Barack Obama has a warning these days for young voters: Mitt Romney and the repugicans want to keep you away from the polls.
Nothing illegal (well, nothing proven illegal, yet anyway. Although it's only a matter of time.). More like suppression by depression. 
President Obama correctly asserts that the repugican presidential nominee and the outside political machinery supporting him want to get voters so down and disillusioned that they will decide their votes don't matter. 

"But understand, over the next two months, the other side is going to spend more money than we've ever seen in our lives with an avalanche of attacks ads and insults, and making stuff up, just making stuff up," Obama told roughly 13,000 students packed into a quad at the University of Colorado on Sunday.
"And what they're counting on is that you get so discouraged by this that at a certain point you say, 'You know what, I'm going to leave it up to someone else.' ... I'm counting on something different. I'm counting on you."

Did you know ...

That anonymous billionaires are stealing your election

A Constitution expert says : tea partiers are getting the Constitution wrong

The wife of a Wisconsin repugican legislator & photo id advocate committed voter fraud

That some repugicans were worried that hologram Reagan would upstage Romney's convention speech

The Problem With Men Explaining Things

by Rebecca Solnit
Yes, guys like this pick on other men’s books too, and people of both genders pop up at events to hold forth on irrelevant things and conspiracy theories, but the out-and-out confrontational confidence of the totally ignorant is, in my experience, gendered. Men explain things to me, and other women, whether or not they know what they’re talking about. Some men.
Every woman knows what I’m talking about. It’s the presumption that makes it hard, at times, for any woman in any field; that keeps women from speaking up and from being heard when they dare; that crushes young women into silence by indicating, the way harassment on the street does, that this is not their world. It trains us in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises men’s unsupported overconfidence.
I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the trajectory of American politics since 2001 was shaped by, say, the inability to hear Coleen Rowley, the FBI woman who issued those early warnings about Al Qaeda, and it was certainly shaped by a Bush administration to which you couldn’t tell anything, including that Iraq had no links to Al Qaeda and no WMD, or that the war was not going to be a “cakewalk.” (Even male experts couldn’t penetrate the fortress of their smugness.)

Consumer sentiment up again

Three months in a row is a good sign. We're a long way from recovery but a bit of optimism doesn't hurt.
Consumer sentiment climbed to a three-month high in August as households made progress paying down debt, but future expectations remained grim, a survey on Friday showed.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's final reading on overall consumer sentiment this month rose to 74.3, its highest since May and above economists' expectations of 73.6. In July, the number stood at 72.3.

Buying was bolstered by price discounts and low interest rates, the survey found. But the biggest source of optimism was tied to success in trimming debt.

Barclays bank made nearly $800 million speculating on food

When central bankers talk about more quantitative easing to help spur markets, remember this. While millions around the world go hungry or pay more for food, the bankers are cashing on enormously on the crisis. Barclays is being named here but don't forget that both Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley also operate in this space.
There used to be rules against profiting from items like food but that became old fashioned and required modernization by the political class. If they can't make a single case out of losing trillions of dollars during the banking crisis, it's obvious at this point that the political class won't be interested in reforming this revolting business.

How's that modernization working for everyone?
Oxfam's private sector adviser, Rob Nash, said: "The food market is becoming a playground for investors rather than a market place for farmers. The trend of big investors betting on food prices is transforming food into a financial asset while exacerbating the risk of price spikes that hit the poor hardest."

The World Development Movement report estimates that Barclays made as much as £529m from its "food speculative activities" in 2010 and 2011. Barclays made up to £340m from food speculation in 2010, as the prices of agricultural commodities such as corn, wheat and soya were rising. The following year, the bank made a smaller sum – of up to £189m – as prices fell, WDM said.

The revenues that Barclays and other banks make from trading in everything from wheat and corn to coffee and cocoa, are expected to increase this year, with prices once again on the rise. Corn prices have risen by 45 per cent since the start of June, with wheat jumping by 30 per cent.

Random Celebrity Photo


Former cardinal: catholic cult "200 years out of date"

From the excerpts, it sounds as though at least one person in the cult had a clue. Not being a knuckle-dagger must have made him highly unpopular inside the Vatican.
Martini, once favored by Vatican progressives to succeed John Paul II and a prominent voice in the church until his death at the age of 85 on Friday, gave a scathing portrayal of a pompous and bureaucratic church failing to move with the times.

"Our culture has aged, our churches are big and empty and the church bureaucracy rises up, our rituals and our cassocks are pompous," Martini said in the interview published in Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

"The Church must admit its mistakes and begin a radical change, starting from the pope and the bishops. The paedophilia scandals oblige us to take a journey of transformation," he said in the interview.

Sun Myung Moon Dies At 92

The world is a better place today ... he is dead
Sun Myung Moon was a self-proclaimed messiah who built a global business empire.

Toddler's karaoke tantrum ends in a bloodbath

A Chinese toddler's refusal to give up the microphone during a family karaoke evening started a quarrel that left two men hacked to death with a meat cleaver.
The evening began jovially enough when Mr Yun, the owner of a noodle shop in the central Chinese city of Xi'an, invited his family to celebrate Qixi, China's Valentine's Day, with a singing session at a local karaoke parlour.

But by 11pm, there was discord in the room. Mr Yun's four-year-old son was hogging the microphone and his parents were indulging him. Two of the boy's uncles began chastising Mr Yun and his wife for having raised a spoilt child; a "Little Emperor", as the Chinese say.

According to the Xi'an police, the argument became heated to the point where the two uncles began pushing, and then punching, Mr Yun. Finally, Mr Yun's nephew, who also worked in the noodle shop, ran back to the restaurant and fetched a meat cleaver. The man, named as Mr Hui, hacked the two uncles to death, inflicting at least ten wounds on each uncle. He has since been arrested.

Armed robbers frighten themselves off with fireworks

Arlington County Police have released surveillance video from the botched armed robbery of a 7-Eleven store. The robbery attempt happened at about 3:25 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 19.
An approximately 5’8″ tall white male enters the store wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a bandana over his face, while pointing a handgun at the store clerk.

A second suspect, a 5’7″ tall black male in a white v-neck t-shirt, then enters the store behind the first suspect and appears to throw a firework.

The fireworks made a loud bang and startled the suspects and the two men ran from the scene empty-handed. Arlington police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspects.

Chestnut eats record 191 wings in 12 minutes

Organizers of the National Buffalo Wing Festival say competitive eater Joey Chestnut has devoured a record 191 chicken wings in 12 minutes.

Dateline - China: 770 pounds of eggs spilled from truck cause mad scramble

China: 770 pounds of eggs spilled from truck cause mad scramble (video)

From Beijing Cream blog:

In Zhengzhou, Henan province on Thursday morning, a man in a motorized three-wheel wagon was a bit eager at a yellow light, according to a witness, and crashed into another vehicle, causing him to lose his cargo of 700 jin of raw eggs. We’re not talking about a restaurant server dropping a stack of plates here — 1 jin equals approximately 500 grams, so what we have is 770 pounds of eggs, if you choose to believe it. That amount could serve an entire block of restaurants for a week, and would cost — for some — a month’s salary. (Assuming an egg weighs 2 ounces — it might if it were large and you rounded up — we’re looking at more than 6,000 eggs.)
While some helped the man collect his spillage, others came with plastic bags for their own benefit.

Ziegfeld Girls


(via Parfume for Phantoms | Le blog de SoVeNa)

Ziegfield Girls

Forget Marcus Welby: Today's docs want a real life

Don't call today's young doctors slackers. True, they may shun a 24/7 on-call solo practice and try to have a life outside of work. Yet they say they're just as committed to medicine as kindly Marcus Welby from 1970s TV, or even grumpy Dr. House.

Twenty Things You Didn't Know About Autopsies

An autopsy is a highly specialized surgical procedure that consists of a thorough examination of a corpse to determine the cause and manner of death and to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present. It is usually performed by a specialized medical doctor called a pathologist.

Until the Renaissance, understanding of human anatomy was based on the dissection of animals, with human autopsies considered an affront in virtually all cultures.

Jantar Mantar

The Immense Astronomical Instrument Of The Maharajahs
These remarkable constructions appear to all intents and purposes as if they could have been built to create the set for a new science fiction blockbuster set on a planet light years away from Earth. Yet these are centuries old instruments, designed and used in Jaipur, India, to explore the heavens. Their production was ordered by a great Maharaja in the early decades of the 18th century and they have been in constant use ever since.

The name is derived from Yantra, instrument, and Mantra, for formula or, in this context, calculation. Therefore Jantar Mantar means literally calculation instrument.

Street View Comes to Town - on a Tricycle!

gCambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada, isn't the northernmost place mapped by Google Street View, but it is one of the most inaccessible. There are no cars there, just a few trucks. The citizens get around on snowmobiles, and traffic in and out of the community of 1,477 people is by plane. Everyone there know how to find their way around. But an Inuit geographical-information-systems coordinator invited Street View to come map the area anyway.
The Inuit man, Chris Kalluk, said he approached Google with the idea of bringing Street View to the Arctic last year as a way to educate the rest of the world about the region. "People that have never been in the North, past trees, in communities you can only get to by airplanes; they just don't know," Kalluk said by telephone from Cambridge Bay, where he has lived most of his life.

"They wonder if we live in igloos and travel by dog team. I spoke with an elder the other day who said that the land belongs to all the people, so everyone should be able to see it."

Fishing and hunting trips, often covering long distances, remain an important part of life for the Inuit in Cambridge Bay, or Ikaluktutiak as it's known in the native Inuinnaqtun language. But because magnetic compasses do not work in the far north, paper maps were rarely used for navigation in the past.
So Street View went to Cambridge Bay, and Google geostrategist Karin Tuxen-Bettman photographed the area with cameras mounted on a human-powered tricycle. Local kids followed on their own bikes. In just a few months, we will all be able to see the village up close. More

Hearing Music for the First Time

hearing aidAustin Chapman is profoundly deaf, but with new hi-tech hearing aids he recently received, he was able to hear music for the first time in his 23-year life.
That night, a group of close friends jump-started my musical education by playing Mozart, Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Elvis, and several other popular legends of music.

Being able to hear the music for the first time ever was unreal.

When Mozart's Lacrimosa came on, I was blown away by the beauty of it. At one point of the song, it sounded like angels singing and I suddenly realized that this was the first time I was able to appreciate music. Tears rolled down my face and I tried to hide it. But when I looked over I saw that there wasn't a dry eye in the car.
Chapman asked redditors to recommend music he should listen to, and got 14,000+ responses. Read his account of the experience at Art of the Story.

Rebecca Rosen at The Atlantic wanted to find out how Chapman's musical journey is coming along.
I exchanged emails with Chapman to get more of a sense of what music he is enjoying and what he hasn't quite warmed to. The first and clearest thing that comes across: Taste does not take long to develop. Right from the get-go Chapman had a very strong (and, in my personal estimation, very good) sense of what he liked and did not. Top of the like list? Classical music, which he said was "the most beautiful genre to listen to." Country was, so far, his least favorite. "It's very heavy on vocals and since I can't clearly understand the words, the story is lost on me. Instead it just sounds like a man or woman crying for a couple minutes."

Teddy Roosevelt's chest xray

While Roosevelt was campaigning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on October 14, 1912, a saloonkeeper named John Schrank shot him, but the bullet lodged in his chest only after penetrating his steel eyeglass case and passing through a thick (50 pages) single-folded copy of the speech he was carrying in his jacket.  Roosevelt, as an experienced hunter and anatomist, correctly concluded that since he was not coughing blood, the bullet had not completely penetrated the chest wall to his lung, and so declined suggestions he go to the hospital immediately. Instead, he delivered his scheduled speech with blood seeping into his shirt.  He spoke for 90 minutes. His opening comments to the gathered crowd were, "Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose."  Afterwards, probes and x-ray showed that the bullet had traversed three inches (76 mm) of tissue and lodged in Roosevelt's chest muscle but did not penetrate the pleura, and it would be more dangerous to attempt to remove the bullet than to leave it in place. Roosevelt carried it with him for the rest of his life.
According to documents found on [John] Schrank after the attempted assassination, Schrank had written that he was advised by the ghost of William McKinley in a dream to avenge his death, pointing to a picture of Theodore Roosevelt.
The bullet, designated by the arrow in the lower left of the image, overlies the anterior end of the right fourth rib.

This 100 Year Old Bulb Still Works

Created in 1912, this 230-volt 55-watt DC Osram lightbulb illuminates the entrance of a British house in Pakefield. 

Ancient coins

A set of ten gold coins from the Harborough Museum, in Leicestershire:
As the museum puts them on public display, curators have dated the coins to around 50 or 60 BC, made of a style symbolic of north-west France and the Low Countries, which were given the Latin name of Gallo Belgica during their Roman occupation at the time.

These origins suggests that the inhabitants of Leicestershire, known as the Corieltavi, had French connections, although the lucrative value of each piece would have made them the stuff of elite tribe members...

“You don’t normally find imported coins this far north – this is the most northerly example so far. They are usually found in the south-east of England, maybe because the area is closer to the continent, or perhaps because they had strong trade links with the Gallo-Belgic tribes.

“We think they may have been considered special because they were imported. They may have been hoarded because they were better quality gold than local coins.”

Science and Environmental News from a British perspective

Wyoming wolves lose US protectionWyoming wolf file pic

The US government ends its protection of gray wolves in Wyoming, allowing the western state to shoot wolves on sight in most areas.

Song thrush with a red berry (c) John Harding / BTOBirds and berries to be surveyed

A British Trust for Ornithology study will aim to discover if the berry-eating habits of garden birds impact on the countryside. BBC Nature

Kinect sensorScanning plan to aid home robots

Humans are being asked to help domestic robots recognise the multitude of objects found in the average home.

An airship boom in Southern California

Photo: the Aeroscraft in a hangar in CA. Image: Worldwide Aeros, Inc.
In the Los Angeles Times, an article about an aerospace industry boom of sorts in Southern California, involving new twists on an old technology: airships. Who's buying? The military, and other government agencies, primarily for defense and surveillance purposes.
[I]n recent years, the affordability of airships as well as developments in high-definition cameras, high-powered sensors and other unmanned technologies have turned these oddball aircraft from curiosities of a bygone era to must-have items for today's military. And airships increasingly are being used for civilian purposes.
The federal government is buying blimps, zeppelins and spy balloons, and many of these new-generation hybrid "lighter than air" aircraft are taking shape across California.
"So much is going on with airships in California now," Pasternak said. "It wasn't this way 10 years ago."
Of note, the difference between airships, blimps, and zeppelins:
Although these steerable aircraft are sometimes known casually as blimps, there are differences. A blimp is shaped by the gas inside of it, whereas a zeppelin has a rigid skeleton inside. The helium-filled sky balloons, or aerostats, used over Afghanistan are neither blimps nor zeppelins. But they all fall under the term "airship."
Read the rest here. One of the companies profiled is Worldwide Aeros, makers of the Aeroscraft, a 500-foot long, 160-foot wide carrier that combines aircraft and airship qualities and can haul more than 134,000 pounds of military or commercial cargo. There's a non-embeddable video at the LA Times article, and lots more at the company's YouTube channel.

Hydrogen-Powered Plane

A hydrogen-powered plane that could go from Los Angeles to New York City in under an hour. But not any time soon. And only if you're in the military. The Boeing X-51 is an experimental plane that can go up to 3,600 mph - three times faster than the Concorde. And this week, it will be tested in the real world.

The unmanned plane, which looks like it emerged from a vintage sci-fi novel, is 'airbreathing' - meaning it operates using onboard hydrogen fuel and oxygen pulled from the atmosphere. The compression of the two gases gives the plane enough thrust to travel at hypersonic speeds.

Hurricane Isaac 'drove the Mississippi River backwards'

Bank of the Mississippi river
Extreme weather can cause coastal rivers such as the Mississippi to reverse their flow

The storm surge ahead of Hurricane Isaac made the Mississippi River run backwards for 24 hours.
US Geological Survey (USGS) instruments at Belle Chasse in Louisiana recorded the flow of the river, finding it running in reverse on Tuesday.
The flow reached nearly 5,200 cubic meters per second (182,000 cubic feet per second) upriver, with a height of nearly 3m (10ft) above average.
Normal flow is about 3,540 cubic meters per second in the opposite direction.
But in rare cases, strong winds and the waves that they create can drive water up the mouths of coastal rivers.
As the hurricane carried on across land, instruments from the USGS' national network at Baton Rouge, Louisiana - 150km (100mi) upriver - recorded a 2.5m (8ft) rise above normal height.
"This reversal of flow of the mighty Mississippi is but one measure of the extreme force of Isaac," said USGS director Marcia McNutt.
"While such events are ephemeral, they are yet another reminder of why we need to respect hurricane warnings."
The reversal of flow on the Mississippi - the world's fourth-longest river - has been seen before, notably during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when the river reached a height of 4m (13ft) above normal.
But it is not just extreme weather that can cause the effect; an earthquake near the New Madrid fault in Missouri in 1812 also reversed the river's flow for several hours.

Supercells are the ultimate in storms

By Chris Cappella

The largest, strongest and longest-lasting thunderstorms have an appropriate name: "supercells."

They are capable of producing tornadoes, large hail, dangerous bursts of wind or flash floods as well as lightning, which is a danger in all thunderstorms. These storms are characterized by rotating winds rising into the storm called a "mesocyclone."

Mesocyclones help give supercells their destructive power and also help the storms hold together for hours as they create a path of destruction along the ground.

Supercells spawn most of the USA's killer tornadoes. They can also bring hail more than three quarters of an inch in diameter and non-tornado winds faster than 57 mph.

Some supercells produce little rain, others, downpours that can cause flash floods. Supercells are most common on the Great Plains, but also occur in other parts of the USA.

Mesocyclones within supercells can be detected using the National Weather Service's Doppler weather radar. These state-of-the-art detection units allow forecasters to peek inside a supercell and look for a Tornado Vortex Signature, or TVS.

A Cloud Covers Litla Dimun Island

Litla Dimun is a small island between the islands of Suouroy and Stora Dimun in the Faroe Islands. It is the smallest of the main 18 islands, being less than 100 hectares (250 acres) in area, and is
the only one uninhabited. One of the most striking feature of this island is that it often remains covered in clouds. This type of cloud is known as Lenticular clouds,

so called because it is shaped like a lens. Lenticular clouds are always stationary and when formed over mountain peaks or islands, like Litla Dimun, looks like a majestic hat.

World’s oldest olive tree

Estimated by the scientists from the University of Crete to be between 3,500 and 4,000 years old, the Olive Tree of Vouves is 15 feet thick at the base.
The ancient olive tree is visited by approximately 20.000 people every year. It is located in the village of Ano Vouves, Crete.

Awesome Pictures

Cuties of the Pacific

Meet pretty and sweet sea lions inhabiting the Sea of Okhotsk and northern waters of the Pacific ocean. One of the largest colonies of the animals is located next to Moneron Island. This is where we'll go today. More

Six Terrifying Spiders That Will Haunt Your Dreams

They're bite-sized and terrified of us, and they keep the mosquito population from obliterating mankind. In return, we rank them somewhere between bears and serial killers on the list of things you don't want to see in your home. We're speaking, of course, about spiders.
That's not to say we're overly sympathetic, though. After all, if spiders didn't want us to be terrified of them, they wouldn't run around looking so damn terrifying. Here are six terrifying spiders that will haunt your dreams ...

#6. Scorpion-Tailed Spider

The scorpion-tailed spider is so named for the weird, elongated abdomen of the female, which may not sting like a scorpion, but can wiggle and curl around to presumably confuse its predators. You don't have to do the whole routine, honey, we were already confused enough.

#5. Ravine Trapdoor Spider

Looking like its body was sliced off and tattooed with some kind of satanic gateway, Cyclocosmia truncata actually uses its manhole-cover backside like, well, a manhole cover, sealing off its burrow from potential predators.
You know we're dealing with one hardcore fucker when its instinctive response to an attack is to present its ass.

#4. Blind Cave Huntsman

Sinopoda scurion was discovered only this year, and is considered the first known example of a "huntsman" spider completely losing its eyes. It doesn't need eyes to hunt in the perpetual darkness of its subterranean world, but we're not entirely convinced it doesn't at least want eyes.
What's to stop them from coming after ours?

#3. Tree Stump Spider

What "tree stump spider"? Is it behind the stick? Is it inside the stick? Is it behind the camera, photographing sticks? We don't under-
Oh. Oh no. How is this even a thing? This isn't a spider. It's a wang with a whole spider for testicles. Kill it dead. Now.

#2. Horned Spider

So it's a spider that wears a Satan mask? Seems about right to us. And it also comes in a variety of terrifying shapes ...
... and colors, you say?
Fantastic. Now if you could please see to it that we don't wake up next to one ever, that would be great. It's bad enough that we'll have them in our nightmares for time eternal.

#1. Ladybug Mimic Spider

Oh, hey there, adorable little ladybug. It sure is nice seeing you after this nonstop parade of terror. Let's get a look at your pretty face.
Damn you, Mother Nature. Damn you.

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