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Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

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Today in History

375   Enraged by the insolence of barbarian envoys, Valentinian, the Emperor of the West, dies of apoplexy in Pannonia in Central Europe.
1558   Queen Elizabeth ascends to the throne of England.
1558   The Church of England is re-established.
1636   Henrique Dias, Brazilian general, wins a decisive battle against the Dutch in Brazil.
1796   Napoleon Bonaparte defeats an Italian army near the Alpone River, Italy.
1800   The Sixth Congress (2nd session) convenes for the first time in Washington, D.C.
1842   A grim abolitionist meeting is held in Marlboro Chapel, Boston, after the imprisonment of a mulatto named George Latimer, one of the first fugitive slaves to be apprehended in Massachusetts.
1862   Union General Ambrose Burnside marches north out of Washington, D.C., to begin the Fredericksburg campaign.
1869   The Suez Canal is formally opened.
1877   Russia launches a surprise night attack that overruns Turkish forces at Kars, Armenia.
1885   The Serbian Army, with Russian support, invades Bulgaria.
1903   Vladimir Lenin's efforts to impose his own radical views on the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party splits the party into two factions, the Bolsheviks, who support Lenin, and the Mensheviks.
1913   The first ship sails through the Panama Canal, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
1918   Influenza deaths reported in the United States have far exceeded World War I casualties.
1918   German troops evacuate Brussels.
1931   Charles Lindbergh inaugurates Pan Am service from Cuba to South America in the Sikorsky flying boat American Clipper.
1941   German Luftwaffe general and World War I fighter-ace Ernst Udet commits suicide. The Nazi government tells the public that he died in a flying accident.
1951   Britain reports development of the world's first nuclear-powered heating system.
1965   The NVA ambushes American troops of the 7th Cavalry at Landing Zone Albany in the Ia Drang Valley, almost wiping them out.
1967   The American Surveyor 6 makes a six-second flight on the moon, the first liftoff on the lunar surface.
1970   Soviet unmanned Luna 17 touches down on the moon.
1980   WHHM Television in Washington, D.C., becomes the first African-American public-broadcasting television station.
1986   Renault President Georges Besse is shot to death by leftists of the Direct Action Group in Paris.

Non Sequitur


Taliban uses CC instead of BCC, exposes identity of 400+ contacts

A Taliban spokesperson sent out a press-release and used CC instead of BCC, exposing a long list of Taliban press-contacts, as well as several parties friendly to Taliban communiques.
The list, made up of more than 400 recipients, consists mostly of journalists, but also includes an address appearing to belong to a provincial governor, an Afghan legislator, several academics and activists, an l Afghan consultative committee, and a representative of Gulbuddein Hekmatar, an Afghan warlord whose outlawed group Hezb-i-Islami is believed to be behind several attacks against coalition troops.

House repugicans release watershed copyright reform paper

Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it (PDF) is a position paper just released by House repugicans, advocating for a raft of eminently sensible reforms to copyright law, including expanding and clarifying fair use; reaffirming that copyright's purpose is to serve the public interest (not to enrich investors); to limit statutory damages for copyright infringement; to punish false copyright claims; and to limit copyright terms.
This is pretty close to the full raft of reforms that progressive types on both sides of the US political spectrum have been pushing for. It'll be interesting to see whether the Democrats (who have a much closer relationship to Hollywood and rely on it for funding) are able to muster any support for this.
Mike Masnick's got good analysis of this on TechDirt, and notes that this is a huge shift from the House that, 10 months ago, was ready to pass SOPA.
This document really is a watershed moment. Even if it does not lead to any actual legislation, just the fact that some in Congress are discussing how copyright has gone way too far and even looking at suggestions that focus on what benefits the public the most is a huge step forward from what we've come to expect. In many ways, this is the next logical step after the completion of the SOPA fight. Rather than just fighting bad policy, it's time for Congress to recognize that existing copyright law is bad policy and now is the time to fix it. It comes as a surprise, but kudos to the repugican Study Committee -- and specifically Derek Khanna, the policy staffer who wrote the document -- for stepping up and saying what needed to be said, but which too many in Congress had been afraid to say for fear of how the entertainment industry lobbyists would react.
House repugicans: Copyright Law Destroys Markets; It's Time For Real Reform

Not Impressed

Hey, repugicans, get used to this look ...
U.S. Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney visited the Oval Office on Thursday, along with other members of the gold-medal-winning U.S. team. Here, Maroney shows the president how to do that face that made her a meme right after the 2012 Olympics.

Repugicans want stuff

Repugican voters want stuff.Once again, much like farmers and other repugican voters, the hypocrisy is palatable  If I didn’t know any better, I might come to the conclusion that race is a big part of this. Could it be – as shocking as it sounds – that repugican voters are more than happy to accept stuff for themselves, but find it unacceptable when the stuff magnet is a minority?
Red Staters and their allies in Congress and at Faux News are often aggressively, and racist-ly, ignorant about just who in America are the givers and who are the takers:

Of the 32 states which receive more than they contribute [from the federal government], 27 states (84%) are republican.Of the 18 states which contribute more than they receive, 14 states (78%) are Democratic.
guy with money
Just as it’s annoying to hear repugicans reject repugican ideas when they are proposed by Obama (the individual mandate comes to mind, or pretty much anything Mitt Romney once claimed to believe in), it’s annoying to whine about other people getting stuff, when there are plenty of people across the board getting stuff, and a lot of it necessary stuff in a time of economic turmoil.
Look in a mirror Red voters, because j’accuse:
Seventy percent of counties with the fastest-growth in food-stamp aid during the last four years voted for the Republican presidential candidate in 2008, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data compiled by Bloomberg. They include repugican strongholds like King County, Texas, which in 2008 backed repugican John McCain by 92.6 percent, his largest share in the nation; and fast-growing Douglas County, Colorado.
That means Romney is counting on votes from areas where lower-income people have become more reliant on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as food stamps. Mark Baisley, who heads Douglas County’s repugican cabal, said many recipients will back Romney in hopes he’ll improve the economy.

Why Coke Cost A Nickel For 70 Years

Coca-Cola began to be sold in glass bottles in the last years of the 19th century -for five cents, the same price the fountain servings had been for years. Those bottled Cokes sold for a nickel until 1959! Oh, it wasn't because the company just wanted to keep the price all that time, but circumstances made raising the price difficult.
The Coca-Cola vending machines were built to take a single coin: a nickel.

Levy says the folks at Coca-Cola thought about converting the vending machines to take a dime. But doubling the price was too much. They wanted something in between.

So they asked the U.S. Treasury to issue a 7.5-cent coin. At one point, the head of Coca-Cola asked President Eisenhower for help. (They were hunting buddies.) No luck.  
There were other factors involved, which you can read about at WEKU.

In financial ecosystems, big banks trample economic habitats, spread fiscal disease

Like the impact of an elephant herd grazing on grassland, multinational banks shape the financial environment to an extent that ...
Continue Reading 

Hostess Twinkies CEO tripled salary to $2.5m while preparing to file bankruptcy

Hostess Twinkies’ CEO tripled his salary to $2.55 million while the company was preparing to go into bankruptcy.And nine top executives saw massive pay raises, some nearly doubling their salary.
Ah, another greedy CEO who courageously blamed the union for his failure, while omitting the part about tripling his own pay while preparing to go under. Damn unions, indeed.
Is this what they teach in business school these days? As popular as “peer group compensation benchmarking” is in the corporate world, there’s a distinct lack of evidence that higher compensation delivers results. (Case in point: Hostess. Second case in point: Wall Street.)
There’s an odd myth in the corporate world that paying more for a CEO and executive team will mean Steve Jobs-like earnings results. In reality, that’s not the case. Just ask the US airline industry how that worked out for them as they went through bankruptcy after bankruptcy. The rate of executive pay keeps going up, and according to one study, it’s even higher than many of us realize.
Hostess products twinkies
These horror stories are striking a nerve with many Americans these days because they’re so much more common than they were in the past. The media loves to idolize these CEOs (think about CNBC and their regular slobbering over the loony Jack Welch), yet more and more of us have been on the losing end of these deals.
I’ve mentioned before that I had the opportunity to work with a tea party crazy who sold the company, just in case his taxes would increase after Obama was elected. Many of us lost our jobs almost immediately so that he might save a few percentage points on taxes, which of course, never happened.
I don’t expect the government to get involved much in these obscene salary cases, but I still hope that public opinion might build enough to start making this less acceptable. The high pay is still acceptable enough to investors who are asking for more voting rights, though still go along with the game.
Mitt Romney with someone’s cash
Something needs to give, and hopefully it will happen soon. We’re all tired of the 1% living by one set of rules. and then blaming the rest of us for their problems, when we keep giving and they keep taking. Whether it’s Faux News’ O’Reilly accusing non-white voters of “wanting things,” or the failed Hostess CEO blaming his own failings on “the unions,” I’m tired of it, and I know that I’m not alone.
Is the guy who tripled his pay seriously suggesting the collapse is the fault of union workers?
Over the past eight years since the first Hostess bankruptcy, BCTGM members have watched as money from previous concessions that was supposed to go towards capital investment, product development, plant improvement and new equipment, was squandered in executive bonuses, payouts to Wall Street investors and payments to high-priced attorneys and consultants.
BCTGM members are well aware that as the company was preparing to file for bankruptcy earlier this year, the then CEO of Hostess was awarded a 300 percent raise (from approximately $750,000 to $2,550,000) and at least nine other top executives of the company received massive pay raises. One such executive received a pay increase from $500,000 to $900,000 and another received one taking his salary from $375,000 to $656,256.
Over the past 15 months, Hostess workers have seen the company unilaterally end contractually-obligated payments to their pension plan. Despite saving more than $160 million with this action, the company continues to fall deeper and deeper into debt. A mountain of debt and gross mismanagement by a string of failed CEO’s with no true experience in the wholesale baking business have left this company unable to compete or survive.
So remember, in his bizarre world, the people who produce the products that the management team created are all to blame. Forget about failed market research, or high executive pay, or poorly financing the company — it’s completely the fault of the union workers. Got it?

Ain't that the truth

Pornoscanner vendor accused of fraud, jailarity may ensue

Rapiscan, makers of the naked-scanner technology used in many US airports, are in a lot of trouble. The TSA has accused them of falsifying their tests results on the software that supposedly protects flier privacy by rendering them as cartoon characters with suspicious blobs wherever the scanner's image-processor thinks they belong. If convicted, the execs at Rapiscan could go to jail, and the company would be assessed for stiff fines and be barred from any future government contracting. Here's more from Wired's Kim Zetter:
DHS has spent about $90 million replacing traditional magnetometers with the controversial body-scanning machines.
Rapiscan has a contract to produce 500 machines for the TSA at a cost of about $180,000 each. The company could be fined and barred from participating in government contracts, or employees could face prison terms if it is found to have defrauded the government.
It’s not the first time Rapiscan has been at the center of testing problems with the machines. The company previously had problems with a “calculation error” in safety tests that showed the machines were emitting radiation levels that were 10 times higher than expected.
It turned out the company’s technicians weren’t following protocol in conducting the tests. They were supposed to test radiation levels of machines in the field 10 times in a row, and then divide the results by 10 to produce an average radiation measurement. But the testers failed to divide the results by 10, producing false numbers.
Maker of Airport Body Scanners Suspected of Falsifying Software Tests

Man plotted attack during 'Twilight' movie

This undated photo provided by the Polk County, Mo. Sheriff's Department shows Blaec Lammers, 23, who is accused of plotting to open fire inside a movie theater during a screening of the new "Twilight" film. Lammers, of Bolivar, Mo., was charged Friday, Nov. 16, 2012 with three felony counts, including making a terrorist threat. Bolivar police say his mother contacted authorities Thursday, saying she was concerned her son had purchased weapons similar to those used in the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. (AP Photo/Polk County Sheriff's Department)
A southwest Missouri man accused of plotting to shoot up a movie theater during the new "Twilight" film was charged Friday after his mother contacted police, telling them she worried her son had purchased weapons similar to those used during the fatal Colorado theater shooting.
Blaec Lammers, 20, of Bolivar, is charged with first-degree assault, making a terroristic threat and armed criminal action. He was jailed in Polk County on $500,000 bond.
"Thankfully we had a responsible family member or we might have had a different outcome," Bolivar Police Chief Steve Hamilton told The Associated Press. He said Lammers is under a doctor's care for mental illness, and court documents said he was "off of his medication."
A phone message left by The Associated Press at Lammers' home wasn't returned Friday. No attorney is listed for him in online court records.
His mother contacted authorities Thursday, saying she worried that with this weekend's opening of the final film in the popular Vampire movie series, her son "may have intentions of shooting people at the movie," police wrote in the probable cause statement.
She said she thought the weapons — two assault rifles and hundreds of bullets — resembled those used by a gunman who opened fire inside a theater in Aurora, Colo., during the latest Batman movie in July. That attack killed 12 people.
Lammers was questioned Thursday afternoon and told authorities he bought tickets to a Sunday "Twilight" screening in Bolivar and planned to shoot people inside the theater. The town of roughly 10,000 people is about 130 miles southeast of Kansas City.
According to the probable cause statement, Lammers also planned to "just start shooting people at random" at a Walmart store less than a mile away. He said he'd purchased two assault rifles and 400 rounds of ammunition, and if he ran out of bullets, he would "just break the glass where the ammunition is being stored and get some more and keep shooting until police arrived," investigators wrote.
Lammers stated he wanted to stab a Walmart employee to death and followed an employee around a Walmart store before officers got involved in 2009, according to police.
When asked about recent shootings in the news, Lammers told police "he had a lot in common with the people that have been involved in those shootings," the probable cause statement said. Investigators also wrote that Lammers said he "was quiet, kind of a loner, had recently purchased firearms and didn't tell anybody about it, and had homicidal thoughts."
Police said Lammers bought one firearm Monday and another Tuesday. He then went to the Missouri town of Aldrich to practice shooting because he "had never shot a gun before and wanted to make sure he knew how they shot and how they functioned," the probable cause statement said.
Hamilton said it appeared that Lammers obtained the firearms legally but that police were continuing to investigate "to determine how in fact he was able to obtain a permit."
Ashley Miller, who lives in a nearby town, said she has known Lammers for about a year and described him as "one of the sweetest guys I had ever met" but "very emotional," noting he would periodically stop talking to her.
She said he told her that he had bounced between relatives growing up. As an adult, he bounced between girlfriends, she said.
"He was never actually happy," she told the AP in a phone interview. "I think he had depression or something."
Polk County prosecutor Ken Ashlock said Lammers' first court appearance likely will happen Wednesday. He said his office would file a motion asking for a mental exam of Lammers. He said he wasn't aware of any charges in the 2009 Walmart incident.
Like the police chief, the prosecutor credited Lammers' mother for contacting police.
"It was a good thing they found what they found and took care of it," Ashlock said. "Everything was there as far as the weapons. He did have the weapons; he did have the ammunition ... Those things were all there, and then he made the statements to the officer about what his plans were."

Man asked judge if he could smoke one more joint for old time's sake before going clean

Judge Melba Marsh admitted the request shocked her. Damaine Mitchell, 19, of Westwood, Ohio, was before her on Wednesday charged with trafficking in marijuana, a crime that carries a maximum prison sentence of 1 1/2 years. He is accused of selling marijuana on June 12 in a parking lot. The Hamilton County, Ohio, Common Pleas Court judge stressed to Mitchell that she was willing to work with him - offering him a treatment program that, if successful, would not only prevent him from going to jail but also erase the crime from his record.
All he had to do was give up smoking pot. "That's going to be hard for me to do, to be honest with you," Mitchell told the judge. She told him he would have to stop smoking marijuana for months, maybe until April, and she would drug test him to make sure he was living up to his end of the deal. Mitchell replied very honestly. "That's going to be a challenge," Mitchell told the judge. "I like smoking weed. I have been smoking weed since I was, like, 10 years old."

Marsh then started listing potential deadlines for him to stop smoking pot. Easter? Mitchell couldn't do it. Valentine's Day? "I won't want to," Mitchell told her. New Year's Day? Christmas? Thanksgiving? "If I put my mind to it I can, (but) I won't want to," he said. Then Mitchell made the unusual request. He'd be willing to try to quit - if she would approve of what amounted to government-sanctioned drug use.

"I know this is probably not the right question to ask, (but) can I get a little time at least (to) get one more joint in?" he asked the judge. The judge refused. "No. You can't have one more joint for old time's sake," she said. Marsh ordered him to return to her court on  Monday, after he has a trespassing charge in another court dealt with, before she determines how she will handle his case. "That's the first time I've ever had a request for marijuana while they're serving time in jail," an astonished Marsh said.

Police stop man with office in car

Forget texting while driving.
German police say they nabbed a driver who had wired his Ford station wagon with an entire mobile office.


... the abandoned island
The mysterious abandoned island featured as Silva's lair in Skyfall is a real place, Hashima. Once the world's most densely-populated company town, it's been in ruins for a generation.
The island was populated from 1887 to 1974 as a coal mining facility. The island's most notable features are the abandoned and undisturbed concrete apartment buildings and the surrounding sea wall. The island has been administered as part of Nagasaki city since 2005; it had previously been administered by the former town of Takashima. ... As petroleum replaced coal in Japan in the 1960s, coal mines began shutting down all over the country, and Hashima's mines were no exception. Mitsubishi officially announced the closing of the mine in 1974, and today it is empty and bare, which is why it is called Ghost Island. Travel to Hashima was re-opened on April 22, 2009 after 35 years of closure.

Energy from a Single Orange

Every time you bite into an orange, you are tasting the results of the sunshine that went into the plant. The same sensation comes with other fresh ripe fruits and vegetables. In the orange battery, citric acid reacts with the zinc in nails inserted in an orange to release light energy. But the glow you see is not all that bright -photographer Caleb Charland, who made the battery, said the photograph required 14 hours of exposure! Still, this beautiful picture was worth it. More

Temper tantrums considered for addition to DSM

The American Psychiatric Association is set to add "disruptive mood dysregulation disorder" to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM), the bible of psychiatric disorders. A kid has "DMDD" if she or he has "severe recurrent temper outbursts that are grossly out of proportion in intensity or duration to the situation... at least three times a week."
As Wired's David Dobbs notes, this describes basically all kids ("No, I don't want to wear my rain boots!") at some time or another. So why is this being considered? Here's Neuroskeptic's explanation:
DMDD seems to be nothing to do with mood, but instead covers a pattern of misbehavior which is already covered by not one but two labels already. Why add a misleadingly-named third?
Well, the back-story is that in the past ten years, many American kids and even toddlers have got diagnosed with ‘child bipolar disorder‘ – a disease considered extremely rare everywhere else. To stop this, the DSM-5 committee want to introduce DMDD as a replacement. This is the officially stated reason for introducing it. On the evidence of this paper and others it wouldn’t even achieve this dubious goal.
The possibility of just going to back to the days when psychiatrists didn’t diagnose prepubescent children with bipolar (except in very rare cases) seems to not be on the table.
Psychiatry Set to Medicalize Hissy Fits

The text in the "square" is NOT magnified

First of all, there really isn't a "square" in the upper left part of the image.  Your brain creates a white square by extending the margins of the four black  three-quarter-circles.  But that's not the main point of the illusion, as explained at Mighty Optical Illusions:
When the brain sees an image like this, it interprets depth relationships to perceive the square as set on top of black disks – as a result, the inside of the square is perceived as being closer to your eyes than its surroundings, ultimately creating visual illusion that makes you think the area within the square is enlarged!

Eleven Weirdly Spelled Words

... And How They Got That Way

Why is English spelling so messed up? We get the same sounds spelled different ways (two, to, too), the same spellings pronounced different ways (chrome, machine, attach), and extra letters all over the place that don't even do anything (knee, gnu, pneumatic).

There aren't always good reasons for these inconsistencies, but there are reasons. Here's a brief look at the history of English spelling told through 11 words.

Seven Things You Should Know About Sign Language

If you don't know sign language, you might not realize that it's far more than translating spoken or written words. Sign language has its own grammar and rules, and it employs more than just hands. And it's different in different countries. See the picture?
This is the sign for the word “math” in two different sign languages—American Sign Language on the left, and Japanese Sign Language on the right. Why should there be more than one sign language? Doesn’t that just complicate things? This question would make sense if sign language was a system invented and then handed over to the deaf community as an assistive device. But sign languages, like spoken languages, developed naturally out of groups of people interacting with each other. We know this because we have observed it happen in real time.
Read more about sign language here .

‘Shit Southern Women Say’ is YouTube sensation

By Alicia W. Roberts

Katherine Bailess, Delaine Yates, Julia Fowler, Sheila Hawkins

It’s been nearly 20 years since she left the South, but Julia Fowler still says her husband’s name with at least two syllables, and sometimes three – Say-a-um. (That’s Sam to those who don’t speak drawl.)
She still stage whispers, “bless her heart” for reasons both sympathetic and snide.
And, just like her mom and her grandmother before her, she blurts out “dern” several times a day.
Fowler, born and raised in Gaffney, S.C., glorifies Southern sayings in “S--- Southern Women Say,” a new viral video she wrote, directed and stars in. Consider it her way of cherishing the stuff of her childhood – and chunkin’ a rock (do proper Southern ladies do that?) at the Hollywood people who advise her to drop her drawl.
“My agents and acting coaches have kept telling me that I have to lose my accent or I’ll never work,” she said in a telephone interview from her home in Venice Beach, Calif. “But it’s part of who I am. It kind of defines me.”
Truth be told, her accent isn’t so strong. She lilts more like, say, Dixie Carter in “Designing Women” than she spits and sneers like, say, Jaime Pressley in “My Name Is Earl.”
But she wants you to know that all things Southern are worth listenin’ to and lookin’ at – hence her video.
She starts with “Hey, y’all” and ends with “Can you believe that b---- didn’t write a thank-you note?” In between, it’s one laugh after another – and it earned more than 1.5 million views in one week, plus a slew of comments. (From CourtneyBeans13: “I am from North Carolina and just about all of it is true and NONE of it is offensive. I guess what I’m trying to say is … THAT FOOL STOLE MY BUGGY AT THE PIGGLY WIGGLY.”)
That quote comes from Sheila Hawkins, a Spartanburg native who moved to Los Angeles after attending Fowler’s wedding; she’s a producer and had never acted before “S--- Southern Women Say.” The other two belles in Fowler’s video are Katherine Bailess, a Mississippi native who has appeared in “One Tree Hill” and begins shooting a VH-1 series called “Bounce” in January; and Delaine Yates, a New Orleans transplant whom Fowler met in acting class.
Fowler made the video on fumes – begging and borrowing the actors, the equipment and the locations. She filmed and edited it in between her own acting gigs (you’ll see her in “Vegas” Dec. 18) and what she calls her “survival job” as a Pilates instructor.
And, though “S--- Southern Women Say” has helped her make a point, Fowler also hopes it has made people laugh.
“What I love about the South is the South has the ability to laugh at it self,” she said. We know we’re funny, we know we’re special. To strike the right tone is difficult, and I didn’t know if I would or not. I’m sure I offended people. I’m sure some people love it.”
Fowler ended up in L.A. through New York, where she went to pursue her dream of acting in musical theater after graduating from the University of South Carolina in 1994. In New York, she performed in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “Annie Get Your Gun,” among other shows. Her success in L.A. has come slower. She says she stumbled around for a few years after moving there in 2000, and then she decided to take control of her career.
She wrote a script for a romantic comedy set in South Carolina – about the competitive clog-dancing world. Fowler’s mother competed, and the two even ran a dance studio in Gaffney where they trained young cloggers.
New Line Cinema bought the rights to the script and she worked on it for a year – casting actors (she was to play the lead) and setting up locations. Musician and producer T-Bone Burnett even signed on as music supervisor.
“I thought this is it, this is my big break,” she said. “I’m going end up making it with my clogging movie.”
And then New Line dropped it.
That’s the way it goes in Hollywood, she said.
“It’s incredibly difficult to your spirit and your soul,” she said. “I hung on because I was raised by steel magnolias. (But I have decided) I don’t have to become the perfect blond girl. Does that mean I don’t get to work as much? Absolutely.”
With the attention “S--- Southern Women Say” has received, Fowler’s phone has started ringing. She’s planning the next episode, plus she has some ideas for expanding it for television.
She has two producers raising money to take another shot at “The Possum Trot Cloggers.”
“I want to grow this audience,” she said, “and keep finding things that connect with it.”
Bless her heart.

What do Southern women say?
Excerpts from the video.
• “My momma is driving me crazy.”
• “My daddy is gonna kill me.”
• “My daddy is gonna kill you.”
• “I love Clemson. Go Clemson!”
• “I hate Clemson.”
• “They got propane on sale at the Wal-mart.”
• “Is my hair too big?”
• “You need me to make a cheese ball?”
• “More taters?”
• “You couldn’t pay me to live in New York.”

Random Photo


Nina Senicar

Scientists improve dating of early human settlement

A Simon Fraser University archaeologist and his colleagues at the University of Queensland in Australia have significantly narrowed down the ...
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Antarctic sea ice in 2012 has reached record levels

Record HIGH levels.

The information and the image come from NASA's Earth Observatory, which also offers this scatter plot depicts the relevant data from the past 30 years:

It's likely that this information will be used, rightly and wrongly, in the debate about climate change.  Here's an excerpt of the discussion at the NASA link:
Two weeks after a new record was set in the Arctic Ocean for the least amount of sea ice coverage in the satellite record, the ice surrounding Antarctica reached its annual winter maximum—and set a record for a new high... The yellow outline shows the median sea ice extent in September from 1979 to 2000. Sea ice extent is defined as the total area in which the ice concentration is at least 15 percent.

The graph of NSIDC data shows the maximum extent for each September since 1979 in millions of square kilometers. There is a lot of variability from year to year, though the overall trend shows growth of about 0.9 percent per decade...

“The year 2012 continues a long-term contrast between the two hemispheres, with decreasing sea ice coverage in the Arctic and increasing sea ice coverage in the Antarctic,” Parkinson added. “Both hemispheres have considerable inter-annual variability, so that in either hemisphere, next year could have either more or less sea ice than this year. Still, the long-term trends are clear, but not equal: the magnitude of the ice losses in the Arctic considerably exceed the magnitude of the ice gains in the Antarctic.”

Danish Astronomer Not Poisoned

It's more likely the metal-nosed Tycho Brahe died from a severe bladder infection, analysis shows. Read more
 Danish Astronomer Not Poisoned

Hubble May Have Spotted Most Distant Galaxy Ever

Light detected by the Hubble telescope and NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope is believed to have come from the most distant galaxy yet. The galaxy is called MACS0647-JD, and from our perspective, is seen between the Big and Little Dippers.
Scientists combined data from the Hubble space telescope with NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to make the discovery. MACS0647-JD would have existed about 13.3 billion years ago, or roughly 420 million years after the Big Bang. This would place it around 200 million years earlier than previous candidates for most distance object ever spotted.

The galaxy cluster in front of MACS0647-JD helped scientists to see it, since the gargantuan gravitational pull of the cluster bends light around it. This creates a gravitational lens that makes distant objects appear much brighter than they otherwise would. If the existence of MACS0647-JD is confirmed, it would help scientists understand how the universe appeared when the first stars and galaxies formed.  
Astronomers will have to crunch some serious numbers before the distance is confirmed. Read more about the findings at Wired.
See a video of the zoom at the Hubble site: here.

Animal News

Animal personhood

When does an animal count as a person? At io9, George Dvorsky reviews recent moves to secure legal protections for "highly sapient" animals such as great apes, elephants and cetaceans.

Jackass rejected as candidate 

Officials in Guayaquil, Ecuador, have denied Mr. Burro, a donkey, the right to run for office.

More Animal News

Tasmanian Devils to Get Their Own Island

Fourteen animals that do not suffer from a contagious facial tumor disease will be moved to a nature sanctuary. Read more
tasmanian devil

Lonesome George: Not Last of His Kind

It's too bad Lonesome George didn't live to see that he wasn't alone in the world after all. Read more
Lonesome George: Not Last of His Kind

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