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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.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Daily Drift

a rare White Raven in British Columbia.
It's not everyday that you find a blog like Carolina Naturally. 
But in Life ... Every once and a while comes along a White Raven to guide the way.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Fermont, Canada
Cape Town, South Africa
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Karachi, Pakistan
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Rostov, Russia
Haifa, Israel
Warsaw, Poland
Islamabad, Pakistan
Cairo, Egypt
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Bangkok, Thailand
Manila, Philippines
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Alor Setar, Malaysia
Macau, Macao
San Juan, Philippines
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Ankara, Turkey
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Kajang, Malaysia
Belgrade, Serbia
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Kuantan, Malaysia
San Jose, Costa Rica
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Shah Alam, Malaysia
Al Khubar, Saudi Arabia
Lahore, Pakistan
Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Today in History

1540   The Society of Jesus, a religious order under Ignatius Loyola, is approved by the Pope.
1669   The island of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea falls to the Ottoman Turks after a 21-year siege.
1791   Jews in France are granted French citizenship.
1864   Confederate guerrilla Bloody Bill Anderson and his henchmen, including a teenage Jesse James, massacre 20 unarmed Union soldiers at Centralia, Missouri. The event becomes known as the Centralia Massacre.
1869   Wild Bill Hickok, sheriff of Hays City, Kan., shoots down Samuel Strawhim, a drunken teamster causing trouble.
1916   Constance of Greece declares war on Bulgaria.
1918   President Woodrow Wilson opens his fourth Liberty Loan campaign to support men and machines for World War I.
1920   Eight Chicago White Sox players are charged with fixing the 1919 World Series.
1939   Germany occupies Warsaw as Poland falls to Germany and the Soviet Union.
1942   Australian forces defeat the Japanese on New Guinea in the South Pacific.
1944   Thousands of British troops are killed as German forces rebuff their massive effort to capture the Arnhem Bridge across the Rhine River in Holland.
1950   U.S. Army and Marine troops liberate Seoul, South Korea.
1956   The U.S. Air Force Bell X-2, the world's fastest and highest-flying plane, crashes, killing the test pilot.
1964   The Warren Commission, investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, issues its report, stating its conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole gunman.

Female Mega-Donors Are Starting to Make It Rain This Election Cycle

by Doug Barry 

A reproductive rights super-PAC called Women Vote! is seeing a boost in donations from a group that's generally underrepresented in the great vote-purchasing telethon that is the American democratic process: women. Thanks to the emphasis certain politicians have placed on reproductive rights this election cycle, female mega-donors are starting to throw their financial weight around a little bit, dropping huge sums of money in the super-PAC kitty.
According to Mother Jones, a pretty significant gender gap persists in political donations, with men accounting for 70 percent of donors so far during the 2012 cycle. However, some very wealthy women are starting to make it rain, as the kids say, all over the political landscape. EMILY's List, a political action committee dedicated to electing pro-choice women and affiliated with Women Vote!, told Mother Jones that women such as Barbara Stiefel, a Florida philanthropist who'd previously donated $1 million to the Obama-supporting super-PAC Priorities USA, wrote a $250,000 check to Women Vote!, and Laura Ricketts, a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs, gave $200,000. Meanwhile, New York philanthropist Shelley Rubin gave $150,000 in August, and two other women, Mitzi Henderson and Barbara Fish Lee, gave a cool $100,000 each.
In addition to donations from wealthy individuals, Women Vote! notched several big hauls from progressive organizations like the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and America Votes, which gave $325,000 and $151,000 respectively. A big catalyst behind this sudden burst of funding has been, according to EMILY's List, that many women are starting to realize, as the election draws nigh upon us, that many GOP candidates are totally deadpan, pencils-for-trick-or-treaters serious about curtailing reproductive freedom. Said EMILY's List president Stephanie Schriock,
Finding out that Republicans want to roll back the clock that far for women has been a shock-and folks are absolutely waking up to the need to have more Democratic women in government at every level.
It's like Sigourney Weaver's been telling everyone — "Business as usual isn't working. A female's needed to stir things up, get our country moving again. This stalemate in Washington can be broken by a woman."
Female Mega-Donors Emerging This Election Year

Did you know ...

Hey, are libertarians stupid, or just really stupid?

About the 14 most pornographic astronomical terms

Employee group files suit against Murray energy for making them attend Romney rally

These 7 famous people who missed the Titanic

That Bank of America steals from child actors

About Mitt Romney's "them" problem

That a musician released album that changes every time you listen to it

These 10 key charts about inequality

Why misinformation sticks - and how to fix it

Daily Comic Relief


And I Quote

“Mitt Romney reminds me of the guy in high school who
  only has friends because his parents have a swimming pool.
  I agree with Ann Romney. We are VERY lucky to have Romney
  as the GOP candidate. It could have been someone competent."

       ~  Chris Rock, knocking 'em dead   

Mitt Romney's "blogger" talks about Obama being kneecapped, hates Romney

Romney publishes this on his campaign site.

It's the exact same blog as this at conservative site Townhall.com.

It's written by "professional blogger" John Hawkins.

Hawkins run RightWingNews, an outfit whose slogan is "Kneecapping Barack Obama at every opportunity." A bit violent for the Romney campaign to be endorsing about the President of the United States.  This is on their Web site right now:

Seriously, Mitt, this guy is your campaign blogger?
Oh but it gets better.  Mitt Romney's "blogger" wrote what many consider the most scathing anti-Romney piece on a top conservative Web site.  It's still up on Townhall - not anymore!  Townhall pulled the story down and replaced it with a pro-Romney story!  Holy Stalin, Batman.  Seriously, the largest conservative Web site is now pulling down stories that have been up there forever criticizing Romney, in the hopes they simply disappear down the memory hole?  Geez.
Wait, it's back!  Though maybe this will disappear too.  This time I have a copy.
And here's two of the best grafs that I grabbed before they pulled it:
If you were trying to come up with the most atrocious candidate imaginable to go toe-to-toe with Barack Obama in 2012, you couldn't do much better than Mitt Romney. He was an unpopular moderate governor who lost 2 out of the 3 major elections he's run in and whose signature issue Romneycare is an enormous failure. Moreover, he's so uninspiring that he makes Bob Dole look like Ronald Reagan and that's before you consider his incessant flip-flopping that makes it impossible to really know where he stands on any issue.
If you don't want to spend the better part of the next year trying to drag this sad sack of Mitt across the finish line so he can disappoint us for the next four years, then stand up, speak out, and stop letting the mainstream media and a bunch of Beltway conservatives tell you that the race has to be over with just 1.8% of the delegates needed for a victory awarded. The Tea Party didn't rise up, fight Barack Obama, and help the GOP have its best year in half a century just to see the Republican Party ideologically slide all the way back to the pre-Reagan years as a reward. If the establishment manages to grease the wheels for Mitt to such a degree that it turns out he's unstoppable, then it's still better to go down brawling instead of supporting a candidate you know is a mediocrity because you think he's "probably going to win the nomination." Given the type of man he is, whether Mitt wins or loses, you're unlikely to look back at fighting like hell to get another nominee with anything other than pride.
It gets worse from there. Please do read the entire thing.

And, Hawkins even launched a Web campaign to stop Romney from getting the repugican nomination.

The truth hurts

Romney in free fall in Gallup poll

Steven Dennis, White House reporter for Roll Call tweets:
LAST night on Hannity, Sununu says only 2 polls he trusts are Rasmussen & GALLUP. Gallup 7-day tracker blows open overnight to 50-44. Note Gallup is a 7-day tracker. That means yesterday likely sucked even more for Romney than 50-44.
Gallup 7-day tracking poll

Six in ten think Romney is running a bad campaign

Mitt Romney sure knows how to win over the public. Americans are liking him less by the day.
Public criticism of Mitt Romney's race for the White House has risen sharply, with six in 10 Americans expressing a negative opinion of how he's handling his campaign and a majority responding unfavorably to his comments on people who don't pay income taxes.

Sixty-one percent in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll hold an unfavorable view of how Romney's handling his presidential campaign, up by 12 percentage points since mid-July. Far fewer, 35 percent, rate Romney's performance positively, essentially unchanged.

Barack Obama's ratings for handling his campaign are substantially better, 54-43 percent, favorable-unfavorable. And while ratings of Romney's campaign have grown more negative, favorable ratings of Obama's campaign efforts have gained 8 points since July.

The truth be told

Romney's Staples closing 60 stores around the world

Romney is a jobs creator, you know. As a vulture capitalist, surely you can't expect him to be more concerned about jobs for working families over his own wallet. This brings us back to what I wrote about the other week. The skills that made Romney a successful CEO would make him a terrible president. Romney's core focus is not about, nor has it ever been, about creating jobs. Romney's focus has been on making money and lots of it.
Again, he is an awful candidate for president but it wasn't a fluke that he built a fortune of up to $378 million. If chopping jobs could make him a few more dollars, Romney would and has consistently taken the money. As the CEO of Bain Capital, his exclusive focus was money. Period. For a person like Romney that lacks empathy, it was the perfect job.

Anyone who thinks Romney can suddenly change and show compassion or care about jobs is kidding themselves. Running a country where you have to care about everyone and not just the select few is radically different from running a venture capital firm. Ten times out of ten, Romney would chop jobs the way Staples is doing now.
The chain expects the U.S. store closings will result in a charge of about $35 million in the fourth quarter. For fiscal 2012, it anticipates about 30 U.S. store closings. Staples also expects 30 stores will be scaled down and stores being relocated.

In Europe, the store closures are expected to occur before the end of fiscal 2012. The company has also tapped John Wilson to serve as president of Staples Europe. Wilson succeeds Rob Vale, who is retiring.

More authority means less stress

“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown” is that rare thing – a Shakespearean quote embraced by the world ...
Continue Reading

The Classics

Police checking out Hoffa tip in Detroit suburb

By Corey Williams
People photograph the driveway in Roseville, Mich., Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012 where police plan to take soil samples f Friday after a tipster said it could be the final resting place of missing Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa. Roseville Police Chief James Berlin says a man claims to have seen a body buried there approximately 35 years ago. Berlin says the man believes it could be Hoffa. Hoffa disappeared in suburban Detroit in 1975, and his remains haven't been found. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Investigators will take soil samples from the ground beneath a suburban Detroit driveway after a man told police he believes he witnessed the burial of missing Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa about 35 years ago, police said Wednesday. Roseville Police Chief James Berlin said his department received a tip from a man who said he saw a body buried approximately 35 years ago and "thinks it may have been Jimmy he saw interred."
"We are not claiming it's Jimmy Hoffa, the timeline doesn't add up," Berlin said. "We're investigating a body that may be at the location."
Hoffa was last seen on July 30, 1975, outside a suburban Detroit restaurant where he was supposed to meet with a New Jersey Teamsters boss and a Detroit Mafia captain. His body has not been found despite a number of searches over the years.
Innumerable theories about the demise of the union boss have surfaced over time. Among them: He was entombed in concrete at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, ground up and thrown in a Florida swamp or obliterated in a mob-owned fat-rendering plant. The search has continued under a backyard pool north of Detroit
in 2003, under the floor of a Detroit home in 2004 and at a horse farm northwest of Detroit in 2006.
After Roseville police received the most recent tip, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
used ground penetrating radar on a 12-foot-by-12-foot patch beneath the driveway, said agency spokesman Brad Wurfel.
It found "that the earth had been disturbed at some point in time," Berlin said.
The environmental quality department on Friday will take soil samples that will be sent to a forensic anthropologist at Michigan State University
to "have it tested for human decomposition," Berlin said.
Results are not expected until next week.
The FBI had no immediate comment on the new effort in Roseville. Andrew Arena, who recently retired as head of the FBI in Michigan, told Detroit TV station WDIV that all leads must be followed, but he would be surprised if Hoffa is buried there.

Looking for a good doctor?

Good luck!
By Sharon Begley
Patient Eilleen Corrigin has blood drawn at an anti-coagulation clinic at the Staten Island University Hospital in Staten Island, New York in this May 7, 2012, file photograph. REUTERS/Allison Joyce/Files
When Dr. Marty Makary was a medical student, staffers at the Boston hospital where he was training had a nickname for one of its most popular surgeons: Dr. Hodad.

"Hodad" is an acronym for "hands of death and destruction": Despite his Ivy League credentials and board certification, the surgeon had an unfortunate tendency to botch operations so badly that patients often suffered life-threatening complications.
But he was also one of the surgeons most requested by patients, including celebrities, thanks to his charming bedside manner and their lack of understanding about what caused their post-op problems.
Makary, 42, aims to end the professional code of silence that allows colleagues like Dr. Hodad to thrive. Now a cancer surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Makary
has just published the book "Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won't Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care."
It outlines the extent to which doctors and hospitals suppress objective data about how patients fare in their hands and argues for clear, publicly accessible statistics to help people make the best choices when it comes to treatment. Hospitals and physicians, he argues, should collect "outcomes data" on everything from how many knee-replacement patients walk without a limp to how many prostatectomy patients become incontinent.
Without that, "patients are walking in blind" every time they choose a hospital, Makary said in an interview. With rare exception they have no way of knowing whether they will receive appropriate care or be one of the 100,000 patients killed or 9 million harmed every year in the United States because of medical mistakes.
"There is terrible guilt about keeping quiet, but there are strong social forces against speaking up when you think something doesn't look right: It can get you fired," said Makary. (HealthGrades, a Denver company that develops and markets quality and safety ratings of healthcare providers, rates Makary a "recognized doctor" based on his training and record of no disciplinary actions or malpractice claims.) "You realize as a young doctor that you've walked into an industry with a very dark side."
In no U.S. state can patients find out what a surgeon's rate of complications is, how many mistakes a hospital makes, how many avoidable deaths it has or almost anything else about a provider's record of care.
Most ratings, from magazines to websites, reflect softer metrics. In the closely watched hospital rankings issued by U.S. News & World report, "reputation," or what specialists think of a hospital, counts 32.5 percent toward overall scores. Patient volume, number of nurses, use of advanced technologies and 30-day mortality rates also count.
The federal government collects and makes public some measures, such as hospitals' rates of complications and mortality after certain procedures, on the Hospital Compare website. About half the states require hospitals to make public what percentage of patients develop infections. While that's better than nothing, says Dr. John Santa of Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, providers have largely succeeded in hiding their records.
"Despite the best efforts, if hospitals don't have to report something they don't," said Santa.
For example, a regular survey by Johns Hopkins asks staffers at 60 hospitals about safety and teamwork. Studies show that hospitals scoring high on the surveys have fewer surgical complications and better patient outcomes. But hospitals participate "under the condition that the results remain top secret," said Makary.
Specialist groups also gather data, including the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, which tracks national heart-surgery outcomes. Only one-third of hospitals have agreed to post their results on the society's website.
Santa believes patients should have far more data on outcomes, such as what fraction of hip-replacement patients develop infections and what fraction of heart-bypass patients survive, not just currently available information on whether providers follow medical guidelines.
The reason? Good practices may not be a reliable proxy for good safety. A hospital's rate of providing antibiotics after surgery, for instance, does not always correlate with patients' infection rate, said Santa.
The Joint Commission, an independent non-profit that certifies and accredits hospitals and other providers, last week released its annual report summarizing how well 3,300 hospitals did on measures of quality and safety.
Patients can see that a particular hospital was a "top performer" in pneumonia care, meeting criteria such as taking blood cultures in the intensive care unit. But unless a hospital was specifically cited for exceptional care, patients have no way of knowing how good or bad relative to others it is.
More outcomes measures - whether that knee replacement patient walks again, or even dies on the operating table - will be made public in coming years, said Nancy Foster, vice president for quality and patient safety policy at the American Hospital Association. Patients typically choose a hospital
based on what their doctor or friends recommend, she notes, adding, "I think there is a lot of opportunity to enrich that process with hard data. The measures currently available are not as consumer-friendly as most of us would like."

Makary notes several models of transparency that have shown promise. New York, Oregon and California require hospitals to report death rates from heart bypass surgery, adjusted for how sick patients were and other factors to make the comparisons fair.
Transparency has benefited patients. After New York made its data public in 1989, hospitals scrambled to improve, and death rates from heart surgery fell 41 percent in four years.
Vitals.com, a doctor-reviews site launched in 2008, recently began incorporating outcomes for cancer and orthopedic surgery from a number of large hospitals into its ratings, said chief executive and co-founder Mitch Rothschild.
"Individual facilities recognize that if they don't weed out bad practitioners, they'll get creamed as Medicare starts penalizing hospitals for poor performance, so they collect these metrics and share them with us," he said.
For other outcome data that hospitals chose not to share, Vitals filed a Freedom of Information Act request to access the government's Medicare health program for the elderly.
"After a year and a half, as legal fees mounted, we gave up," Rothschild said. The government maintains the data cannot be made public for reasons of privacy and others.
In the meantime, the pitfalls for patients are many. When Makary looked Dr. Hodad up years later, he was still thriving and had a five-star rating on a popular review website.
Makary regrets keeping quiet during a residency at a university-affiliated community hospital that boasted of its "comprehensive breast cancer center" and "No. 1 ranking."
Both statements were inventions of the hospital's marketing department, which can make all sorts of claims as long as they are vague enough not to fall afoul of truth-in-advertising laws. The assertion that patients "may" or "often" do better at a particular hospital is allowed, for instance, as are subjective terms like "comprehensive."
Based on such claims, a young patient Makary calls "Gretchen" who needed breast-cancer surgery believed she would get superb care.
In reality, the small hospital did only a few dozen such surgeries per year compared with hundreds at major hospitals. It did not have the expertise to do breast-conserving and -reconstruction surgery, nor were its surgeons adept at the latest procedures.
Makary said he was bothered at the time by the hospital's disingenuous claims and worried for Gretchen, though he did not warn her. He did ask if she'd considered other hospitals, but even that placed him "on thin ice with my own job."
The operation was horribly botched, leaving Gretchen deformed. Not knowing any other outcome was possible, Makary said, she considered herself "very blessed" just for being alive.

All the Best For the Kids

Probably every parent wants his/her child to have a nice playground at their house. However, sometimes, they build such playgrounds which will make you think twice if you should let your kid appear nearby. More

How the Football Field Was Designed

Have you ever wondered how the American football field came to be the way it is? I didn't, either, but the way it evolved from the soccer and rugby fields it was based on is more interesting than I expected.
The origin of American football is surprisingly complex, but here’s the abridged version: professional football was formally organized in 1920, from loosely affiliated professional organizations that evolved out of college football, which was born out of rugby, which, of course, has its origins in soccer – also known as football to everyone else in the world. While American football bears little resemblance to these earlier games, the fields are vaguely similar large, green rectangles that connote their shared history. However, American football is unique in that the field exists independently of the ball. That is to say, the field does not need to be a perfectly flat or consistent surface in order to accommodate the rolls or bounces of a ball. Football is a battle for territory as much as points, and so the field primarily serves as a way to measure the progress of this battle. And it also cushions tackles. Well, it mostly cushions tackles – but more on that in a minute.
The basic field design has been tweaked and changed over the years, with the biggest change being the introduction of AstroTurf. Read all about it at Design Decoded

A Computer Built in 1784

In the 1780s, Johann Helfrich Müller, a German engineer, was tasked with checking tables of data on the volumes of trees. To make the work go faster, he designed this machine:
Müller's calculating machine is very similar to the machine of Hahn and was based on the Stepped Drum of Leibniz, but it is larger (285 mm diameter, 95 mm height, weight 15.4 kg). It was in the form of a round box with a handle placed centrally and the number wheels concentrically arranged around the handle. It could calculate with 14 figures and its number and gear wheels could be altered to enable it to operate with non-decimal number systems. 

Why Smart Students Cheat

"Why do students cheat?" is a silly question, because the answer is obvious: to pass the test. Indeed, a lof of kids cheat because they couldn't pass the test otherwise, no matter how hard they study, but that's not the case in New York City's flagship public school Stuyvesant, where most kids are already very, very, very smart.
No, they have their own calculus on why they should cheat:
At Stuyvesant, the alma mater of four Nobel laureates, students say the social currency is academic achievement.
Although students enter the school knowing they are among the best in the city, they must compete with hundreds just like them. And, they say, the pressures only grow: they are convinced that they are bound for bright futures, yet not all are equipped for the work that entails. They are trained to hand in every assignment without always believing in its value. They described teachers as being relatively sympathetic, discouraging cheating, but not always punishing it as severely as school policy dictates.
All this makes for a culture in which many students band together, sharing homework and test advice in a common understanding that they simply have to survive until they reach their goals: dream colleges and dream jobs.
“I’m sure everybody understood it was wrong to take other people’s work, but they had ways of rationalizing it,” said Karina Moy, a 2010 graduate of the school. “Everyone took it as a necessary evil to get through.”
Vivian Yee of The New York Times has the story: here.

The Children Who Live in the Garbage Dump of Mae Sot

The refugee scavengers of the Mae Sot dumpsite in Thailand live in appalling conditions, but they still consider it an improvement on life in their homeland of Burma. More

The First Russian Submarine

The first submarine appeared in Russia in the times of Peter the Great, in 1721. It used to be called "a hidden vessel". The submarine was tested in presence of the emperor himself not far from St. Petersburg. It was the place where appeared a new city - Sestroretsk which is a big resort today. Until recently nothing had reminded of the first Russian submarine tests. But everything has changed. More

Tuscany's Creepy Abandoned Mental Asylum

The compound known as Villa Sbertoli in Pistoia, Italy, has a creepy history. It was a home turned into an asylum by Professor Augustine Sbertoli in 1868, then was used as a political prison under the Fascist government, then an asylum again. It was emptied over twenty years ago, and now has that eerie feeling of nothing left but stories to tell. The perfect spooky place to fuel your imagination and/or nightmares. Read about it and see more pictures at Environmental Graffiti.

Retro Photo

Prohibition Era Illegal Alcohol Flood in 1929 Detroit

Village engulfed in sea foam

Storms have been battering parts of Scotland causing flooding, road closures and closing some schools. The high winds sweeping the country forced foam from the North Sea onto land at Aberdeen's Footdee area at the beach on Tuesday morning.

The spume left cars, streets and houses looking as if they had been hit by a sudden snow storm. "The sea is acting like a washing machine," said Prof Christopher Todd, marine ecologist at the Scottish Oceans Institute at the University of St Andrews.

He said the easterly gales battering the Aberdeenshire coast had led to an "incredible amount of wave action". Prof Todd said that the air had "piled into the water" and mixed up with organic material. He said: "It is likely there are phytoplankton cells and they produce a lot of mucus which when whipped up can form this foam."

YouTube link.

Most phytoplankton are too small to be seen but they can form an algal bloom in the spring and, to a lesser extent, in the autumn. The sea foam - or spume - can be quite "stable" when formed and can last a significant period of time, Prof Todd said.

Faux News and WSJ overwhelmingly wrong about climate change

Remind me again what the common denominator is again between Faux News and the Wall Street Journal?
Rupert Murdoch may have bought his way into US nationality but he certainly doesn't understand traditional American values. Believing in science and facts used to be a matter of pride in America but Murdoch's distorted view has been a radical and unhealthy addition to the American way.

This trend of promoting lies by the Murdoch empire has to change. It's hurting America, but Murdoch's mission has nothing to do with helping the country. Much like Mitt Romney, Murdoch's mission is to make money. It's sick, but for him, the best way to accomplish that goal appears to be distorting reality.

Why does Rupert Murdoch hate America?
Primetime coverage of global warming at Fox News is overwhelmingly misleading, according to a new report that finds the same is true of climate change information in the Wall Street Journal op-ed pages.

Both outlets are owned by Rupert Murdoch's media company News Corporation. The analysis by the science-policy nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) finds that 93 percent of primetime program discussions of global warming on Fox News are inaccurate, as are 81 percent of Wall Street Journal editorials on the subject.

"It's like they were writing and talking about some sort of bizarre world where climate change isn't happening," study author Aaron Huertas, a press secretary at UCS, told LiveScience.

North vs South: Polar Sea Ice At The Extremes

Antarctic sea ice is growing slightly in extent, even as Arctic sea ice decreases.
What gives?  
Read more
North vs South: Polar Sea Ice At The Extremes

Random Photo

Ancient Buddha Carved From Meteorite

A hefty Buddha statue brought to Europe by the Nazis was carved from a meteorite that fell 15,000 years ago along the Siberia-Mongolia border. Read more
Ancient Buddha Carved From Meteorite

NYC auction offers 125 meteorites for sale

By Ula Ilnytzky

A New York City auction will offer 125 meteorites for sale, including a large chunk of the moon and a 179-pound iron cosmic rock that evokes Edvard Munch's iconic painting "The Scream."
The sale, one of the largest of its kind, is being held by the Dallas-based Heritage Auctions on Oct. 14.
The sale also includes a large piece of the Peekskill meteorite, famous for puncturing a Chevy Malibu in 1992 about 50 miles north of Manhattan, and the largest complete slice of the most famous meteorite in the world, the Willamette, a huge specimen that is housed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The moon rock has the highest pre-sale estimate of $340,000 to $380,000; less than 0.1 percent of all meteorites recovered are lunar in origin. The 18-inch-tall meteorite, dubbed "The Scream," is estimated at $175,000 to $225,000.
"When I first saw this meteorite, I saw the resemblance in a heartbeat," said Darryl Pitt, who has consigned the piece to the auction. "It is sculpted in part by atmospheric entry and most significantly by its exposure to the elements on earth over millennia."
Three of the concave hallows are evocative of Munch's image of a man holding his head and screaming under a streaked sky. It is classified a Gibeon and was discovered in the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa.
More than half of the meteorites in the sale come from the Macovich collection, the world's largest grouping of aesthetic iron meteorites — specimens that are considered desirable for display.
Specimens from the collection are found at the natural history museums in London, >New York
and Paris and The Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., among others. Its principal owner is Pitt, who said that 20 years ago all meteorites were selling for the same price irrespective of their aesthetic attributes.
"That has radically changed with the introduction of the first natural history auction in the mid-1990s," he said in an interview. "I was on a mission to popularize meteorites. I knew that the only way I would be able to attract interest on the part of the public was to offer objects that were more visually captivating."
"The overwhelming majority of meteorites are not aesthetic," he said.
The cover lot in the sale is of an iron meteorite with naturally formed holes that resemble a mask. The catalog says it is "arguably the most exotically aesthetic" and was discovered by indigenous tribesmen in Namibia
with a metal detector. It is estimated to bring $140,000 to $180,000.
The Peekskill piece has a pre-sale estimate of $47,500 to $55,000.
There are others that have lower estimates but come with interesting stories, like a small portion of a meteorite estimated at about $4,000 that fell from the sky in 1492. It was later chained up in a church so it couldn't fly back into orbit.
Meteorite prices today depend on many variables. But there are two main markets: one of aesthetic iron meteorites and the other is of samples whose value is predicated on attributes other than aesthetics, like a piece of the planet Mars.
About two dozen of the meteorites in the sale have museum provenance and have no reserve.
"The point is I wanted to create a sale that had something for everyone," Pitt said.

Science News from a British perspective

Quakes point to seafloor break-upPeople run for higher ground in Aceh, Indonesia (11 April 2012)

The sequence of huge earthquakes that struck off the coast of Sumatra in April may signal the creation of a new tectonic plate boundary, say scientists.

Fragment of XDFAmazing view of Universe captured

The Hubble Space Telescope has produced one of its most extraordinary views of the Universe to date - an extreme deep shot that captures galaxies as they were just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang.

Fenland Black Oak lifted from a farmer's field in Methwold Hythe, NorfolkGiant 5000-year-old oak unearthed

The trunk of a giant oak-tree thought by experts to be more than 5000 years old has been unearthed from a field in west Norfolk.

The Deepest-Ever Image Of The Universe

Like photographers assembling a portfolio of best shots, astronomers have assembled a new, improved portrait of mankind's deepest-ever view of the universe. Called the eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, the photo was assembled by combining 10 years of NASA Hubble Space Telescope photographs taken of a patch of sky at the center of the original Hubble Ultra Deep Field.

The rich colors of a cosmic seagull

Nebulae are among the most visually impressive objects in the night sky. They are interstellar clouds of dust, molecules, hydrogen ...
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Awesome Picture

Coral Hotspots Found in Deepwater Canyons off Northeast US

For the first time in decades, researchers have conducted an extensive exploration for deep-sea corals and sponges in submarine canyons ...
Continue Reading

Tiger killed by poachers inside Indian zoo

Tiger killed by poachers inside Indian zoo

A tigress was killed and hacked into pieces in her enclosure by poachers at Itanagar zoo in India's north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh .

The poachers broke in and killed the six-year-old tigress between 8 pm and 10 pm on Monday night taking advantage of the absence of the three guards on duty. The guards had gone for their dinner and found the hacked tigress carcass in the enclosure.

"The poachers cut the tigress into pieces but could not take them away as the guards had returned," Zoo chief Zoram Dopum said. He also said the animal was among the six big cats in the zoo. The post-mortem was done on Tuesday and a report was lodged at Itanagar police station.

An investigation is underway to catch the culprits, he said, adding the forest department was also initiating a separate departmental inquiry into the matter. Itanagar zoo, 8 km from the town and established in 1987, is spread over 250 hectares.

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Urban Coyotes Are 100% Monogamous

coyoteFidelity may not be a virture found in every species, but it is in coyotes. During a study of 236 of them in the Chicago area over six years, researchers found no evidence of a coyote straying from its mate:
"I was surprised we didn't find any cheating going on," said study co-author Stan Gehrt, a wildlife ecologist with Ohio State's School of Environment and Natural Resources. "Even with all the opportunities for the coyotes to philander, they really don't. [...]
The loyalty of coyotes to their mates may be a key to their success in urban areas, according to Gehrt.
Not only does a female coyote have the natural ability to produce large litters of young during times of abundance, such as when living in food-rich cities, she has a faithful partner to help raise them all.
"If the female were to try to raise those large litters by herself, she wouldn't be able to do it," said Gehrt, who holds appointments with the university's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and Ohio State University Extension. "But the male spends just as much time helping to raise those pups as the female does."
Unlike the males of polygamous species, a male coyote "knows that every one of those pups is his offspring" and has a clear genetic stake in helping them survive, Gehrt said.

Dog adopts abandoned kitten

The tiny kitten, its eyes still shut, was only a couple of days old when Pat Weber's teenage grandson found it on the cold floor of a barn at their Jordan, Minnesota, home. "He brought her into the house and said 'I think she's dead,' " Weber recalled. "But I held her in the palm of my hand, and I could tell she was moving." The kitten, nothing more than a "little fur ball," had apparently been abandoned by its mother, who was nowhere to be seen. That's when Mittens, Weber's 4-year-old Pekingese dog, took over.

As Weber put the kitten on the carpeted floor to call a veterinarian, Mittens approached, nuzzled the kitten and let her suckle, even though the dog wasn't pregnant or nursing a litter of her own. She had given birth to puppies, but that was two years ago. Three days after their first encounter, Mittens began producing milk, becoming the kitten's sole source of sustenance. "She decided that little kitten needed a mother," Weber said. Now called Bootsie, the charcoal-grey kitten with white paws has become a lively, meowing addition to the Weber household.

"I couldn't believe it at first," Weber said.  "Later I took some pictures and took them to church and told people I had a miracle to share. The miracle was that after three days my dog had milk to feed the kitten with, and I didn't have to get up every two hours to feed her formula out of bottle." Stephen Lavallee, the New Prague veterinarian who has examined Mittens and Bootsie, said both animals are healthy and the kitten is gaining weight at a normal rate. Lavallee had not previously encountered a case of a dog nursing a cat, but he said it is not unheard of.

John King, a Le Sueur veterinarian and executive director of the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association, agrees. "There's a strong maternal instinct in many animals, and they will foster other species. It depends on the temperament of the individual animals, both the baby and particularly the mother," he said. Weber said her dog is affectionate by nature and loves babies such as her 9-month-old great-grandson. Even so, she marvels at the interaction between Mittens and Bootsie, even when the kitten isn't nursing. They play and cuddle, and the dog licks and cleans and the kitten. "Hormones will do strange things, that's about all the vet said," Weber said.

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Mad Snap! (Explored) (by Ammar Al-Fouzan)