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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.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Daily Drift

A fresh face ...

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Today in History

269   Diocletian is proclaimed emperor of Numerian in Asia Minor by his soldiers. He had been the commander of the emperor's bodyguard.
1695   Zumbi dos Palmares, the Brazilian leader of a 100-year-old rebel slave group, is killed in an ambush.
1700   Sweden's 17-year-old King Charles XII defeats the Russians at Narva.
1903   In Cheyenne, Wyoming, 42-year-old hired gunman Tom Horn is hanged for the murder of 14-year-old Willie Nickell.
1914   Bulgaria proclaims its neutrality in the First World War.
1928   Mrs. Glen Hyde becomes the first woman to dare the Grand Canyon rapids in a scow (a flat-bottomed boat that is pushed along with a pole).
1931   Japan and China reject the League of Council terms for Manchuria at Geneva.
1943   U.S. Army and Marine soldiers attack the Japanese-held islands of Makin and Tarawa, respectively, in the Central Pacific.
1945   The Nazi war crime trials begin at Nuremberg.
1947   Princess Elizabeth (future Queen Elizabeth II) marries Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in Westminster Abbey.
1950   U.S. troops push to the Yalu River, within five miles of Manchuria.
1955   The Maryland National Guard is ordered desegregated.
1962   President John F. Kennedy bars religious or racial discrimination in federally funded housing.
1967   U.S. census reports the population at 200 million.
1971   The United States announces it will give Turkey $35 million for farmers who agree to stop growing opium poppies.
1974   The United States files an antitrust suit to break up ATT.
1978   In Jonestown, Guyana, American Rev. Jim Jones leads his followers in a mass suicide.
1982   South Africa backs down on a plan to install black rule in neighboring Namibia.

Non Sequitur


The unforgettable experience for once in a lifetime

Mercury, Venus and Saturn will just stay above the three great Pyramids and this happen on December 3rd, 2012  
It's only every 2737 years!  
That's a once in a life-time event!

Marco Rubio on earth’s age: “It’s one of the great mysteries” (yeah, if you’re an idiot)

Oh, how, repugican Senator Marco Rubio desperately wants to be president in 4 years.
Yeah, Good luck with that.

In an interview with GQ, repugican Senator, and 2016 presidential candidate wannabe, Marco Rubio, who has a history of being factually challenged, says he don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ earth babies:
GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?
Marco Rubio: I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.
Uh, no it’s really not, man.
And it’s pretty easy to find out. Here, try for yourself. Go to Google. Type in “how old is the earth?” And it takes Google all of .3 seconds to tell you:
It’s not that difficult and you don’t need to be a scientist.

Of course, Marco Rubio knows that.  But he’s too busy sucking up to the “the ancient Egyptians had dinosaurs as pets” crowd to worry about the truth.  Keep in mind that 1/3 of Texans, for example, think that dinosaurs and humans lived together.
These folks even believe that Noah had dinosaurs on the ark (that’s a good, T-Rex):
The idea of millions of years of evolution is just the evolutionists’ story about the past. No scientist was there to see the dinosaurs live through this supposed dinosaur age. In fact, there is no proof whatsoever that the world and its fossil layers are millions of years old. No scientist observed dinosaurs die.
[D]inosaurs must have lived within the past thousands of years….
Evolutionists declare that no man ever lived alongside dinosaurs. The Bible, however, makes it plain that dinosaurs and people must have lived together. Actually, as we will soon see, there is a lot of evidence for this….
Some people think that dinosaurs were too big, or there were too many of them, to go on this Ark. However, there were not very many different kinds of dinosaurs. There are certainly hundreds of dinosaur names, but many of these were given to just a bit of bone or skeletons of the same dinosaur found in other countries.
Yeah, some pretty big MoFo bones, bucko.
Burt remember class, according to these folks, kids used to hang out with velociraptors.  Really.  Who can forget this little image from the infamous Creationist Museum:

Nice little girl hanging out with her friend, the neighborhood velociraptor.
Screen shot from The Thinking Atheist‘s visit to the Creationist Museum.
And here’s a video of the Rubio kids in science class:
I hope Marco Rubio’s kids are competing against some Blue State kids some day to get into Harvard. And let them write that dinosaur garbage on their SATs and see how far it gets them. They’ll all end up going to Jerry Falwell U, where they’ll learn that 2+2 equals whatever God wants it to.

The scary turth

The repugican 2016 hopeful Marco Rubio did “not” just compare Obama to Castro, again. Really.

Marco Rubio, the New “It Girl” of repugican Extremism
Someone needs to have a chat with Miss Thang.
In an interview with GQ that just keeps on giving, repugican Senator, and 2016 presidential hopeful, Marco  Rubio, in addition to claiming that no one knows the true age of the earth (hint: it’s 4.5 billion years old), compares President Obama to Cuba’s communist dictator Fidel Castro.
First, the quote, then a few words about Marco Rubio’s utter lack of understanding of communism, Cuba, or America.
marco rubio

GQ: One of the poignant moments in your book is when you’re hanging out with your grandfather on the porch. If he were with you now, what are some things you would ask him?
Marco : My sense is that he would be troubled by the promise that more government can deliver. I’m not making any comparison between Barack Obama and Castro from Cuba—but I was raised in a community of people who were told that if government had more power it could equalize things and it could give them more than others, and at the minimum undo some of the unfair things that had been done to them, and they were very skeptical of that given the experience that they had had.
And I’m not making any comparison between Marco Rubio and a political closet case who’s trying so hard to appease the far right of his own party that it’s almost as if his extreme political views are some kind of political beard meant to hide some secret that he’s deeply afraid, even ashamed, of, but….
See what I did there?  I told you that I’m not suggesting, in a sotto voce manner that gives me absolute plausible deniability, that Marco Rubio, like so many of the anti-gay religi-o-wingnuts of the repugican cabal, sets off my gaydar, big time. And I’m not telling you that the first time I ever saw what Rubio looks like, acts like, sounds like, while watching the repugican convention this summer at my parents’ house, and before Rubio’s name even popped up on the screen, I said to myself, “who’s that queen?”
Just so we have that straight.  I mean, clear.

Rubio 2016 = Romney 2012

He’s a piece of work, that Rubio, and he’s going to be the downfall of the repugican cabal, again, in four years.  Because that’s just what the repugicans need.  Another nominee who thinks that the only road to the presidency is embracing his inner Neanderthal (and in the case of Rubio, his inner Neanderthal had a pet dinosaur, just like the Flintstones).
It’s hard to know if Rubio is sincere in his extremism, or whether he’s another phony like Romney.
But considering Rubio’s clear vacillation as he tried to not-explain his wacky notion that the age of the earth is “one of the great mysteries” – Rubio in essence embraced creationism and didn’t embrace it in the same sentence – and his weird vacillation about whether President Obama is or isn’t another Castro – clearly Marco Rubio thinks that the only way to become the repugican cabal's presidential nominee in 2016 is to portray himself as a far right nut.  And that’s the same advice New Jersey Governor Chris Christie got from Faux’s Rupert Murdoch.

You have to be pretty nutty – or stupid – to compare President Obama to Fidel Castro

You have to be pretty ignorant about the history of Cuba, and the history of communism, and about America and what it stands for, to make such a dumb, un-American statement as to compare the President of the United States to a communist dictator who has killed thousands.
Then again, Marco Rubio’s knowledge of Cuban history, particularly as it pertains to Castro, has been shown to be about as accurate as his knowledge of science.  So it’s no wonder that Rubio thinks Obama is like Castro, a brutal dictator who killed thousands of people, and who, up until recently, was closer to Rubio in his views on gay civil rights than to Barack Obama.

How do you say “47%” in Spanish?

My larger concern isn’t that Marco Rubio is either a liar or an idiot.  It’s that Marco Rubio, in attempting to rewrite the history of communism, dishonors the memory of every single person who died under communist regimes in Europe, in Cuba, in China, and in Korea.
If you rewrite, and water down, the crimes of history, and suggest that passing a ban on insurance companies denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, or telling Big Pharma that Medicare is no longer going to pay their exorbitant mark-up on drug prices, is the same thing as Castro’s firing squads, you mock America as well as history.
After all, 51% of us voted for the man you just compared to Castro, Mr. Rubio, so you must think a majority of America is also like Castro since we like Obama.  And in that case, what are you even doing here, if you hate America so much as to think that the majority of the population sympathizes with communism?

Marco Rubio Mocks Every Victim of Communism

But there’s an even greater crime that Marco Rubio commits, greater than mocking America.
Marco Rubio mocks the memory of every single Cuban, Chinese, Korean, Greek, Romanian, German, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Pole and every other person on the planet who gave their life fighting to save their country from brutal communist dictators in the last century.  If what they fought against, if what they gave their lives for, was nothing more than the Cuban, or East German, or Romanian equivalent of the Affordable Care Act, then their deaths were wasted.
I’m not Cuban.  I’m also not Russian.  But I did study the Soviet Union and communism, in depth in the 1980s. And for Marco Rubio to attempt to dumb down the history of Soviet communism, and its puppet regimes, in the 20th century is not simply insulting to those who gave their lives fighting those regimes (and those who survived), it’s downright dangerous as well.
What goes on in Marco Rubio’s mind that he thinks passing a stimulus bill that saved our country from depression, or the auto bailout that saved Detroit and millions of American jobs, is the moral equivalent of, or at the very least the political precursor to, lining up political dissidents up to be shot?
We can reasonably agree to disagree about the wisdom of the stimulus or the bailout.  So is Marco Rubio now saying that we can reasonably agree to disagree about executing those who disagree with our politics; reasonably agree to disagree about the evil committed by communist dictators in the last 90-some years?
It sure sounds like the logical conclusion of a rather illogical young man who wants to be president of a cabal that’s become so extreme, it deserves him.

Why were the repugicans shellshocked?

Was it due to the fact they thought they had stolen another election? Could Anonymous been the hero of the year?
....just two days after election day, as the repugican cabal was in full-blown despair and Karl Rove was trying to figure out what went wrong, Anonymous released a press statement claiming it did indeed prevent an attempt by rove to steal the election for Mitt Romney. - More

Telling it like it is ...

Warren Buffet: "I could end the deficit in 5 minutes."

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:

"I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible
for re-election.

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified!
The people demanded it.
That was in 1971 - before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year or less to become the law of the land - all because of public pressure.

Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.

Congressional Reform Act of 2012

1. No Tenure / No Pension.

A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 12/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women.

Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. Don't you think it's time?


The big banks vs. Elizabeth Warren

Their war against her...is back on.
Lobbyists and trade groups for wall street and other major banking players are pressuring lawmakers to deny Warren a seat on the powerful senate banking committee. with the impending departures of Senators. Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin) and Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Democrats have two spots to fill on the committee before the 113th congress gavels in next year. Warren has yet said whether she wants to serve on the committee. But she would be a natural: she's a bankruptcy law expert, she served as Congress' lead watchdog overseeing the $700 billion bank bailout from 2008 to 2010, and she conceived of and helped launch the consumer financial protection bureau (cfpb). - More

The Nine Most Unbelievable Tax Deductions

For the honest amongst us, claiming a tax deduction is usually a non-event. There are those, however, who will run the risk of ridicule and a visit from the tax man just to save a few dollars. Here's a list of some of the more bizarre tax deductions; some that were passed, some that were not.

New Employment Perk: Unlimited Paid Vacation

beach chairs
Only 1% of employers in the US offer this perk, but the number is growing. In some firms, employees can take as much paid time off as they feel they need:
By showing that they trust their workers, these employers say, they are cultivating a culture of even deeper trust. Though the practice is still experimental, these companies say they've seen little abuse of the system so far. [...]
Dov Seidman, chief executive officer of advisory-services firm LRN, acknowledges that since the company implemented unlimited vacation three years ago, some workers have "made the wrong decision" and missed meetings to take time off. Still, such mistakes are rare, he says, and "no one's ever gone for four weeks."
Mr. Seidman says his roughly 300 employees have become more thoughtful and considerate about taking time off as a result of the policy. Many of them now feel compelled to check in with their peers before scheduling vacations, he says.
This is a brilliant idea--one that will surely be adopted by farsighted, ingenious corporate visionaries.

American Association of Publishers trying to sabotage copyright treaty for blind and disabled people

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Carolina Rossini is at the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, where American-led copyright industry trade groups are prepared, once again, to sabotage a treaty guaranteeing access to blind people and people with other disabilities. At the forefront of stopping blind people from having access to reading is the Association of American Publishers. What a ghastly grotesquery.
The blind should not be treated like second-tier citizens and considered as an afterthought. The protection of liberties online includes making sure that all people, regardless of ability, can participate in the digital world. As technology advances and more books move from hard-copy print to electronic formats, people with print disabilities deserve the opportunity to enjoy access to books on an equal basis with others. For this reason, EFF has supported a binding international instrument, a treaty, on this matter since the beginning of such discussions at WIPO.
In one of the corridor conversations at WIPO, the publishers’ lobbyists have said they do not want to give a “trophy” treaty for those that fight for access to knowledge. The concept that a treaty that would significantly help the blind participate in the literary world would be considered a “trophy” is offensive on the merits. The entertainment and publishing industry has already gotten many such trophy-treaties themselves: They got the WIPO Internet treaties, they got the Performers Treaty, and a couple of decades ago they got TRIPS. It’s time for them to stop kidding themselves and for us to square the deal and get some balance in copyright.

The US, Mexico rewrite rules on sharing Colorado River

The United States and Mexico are rewriting rules on how to share water from the Colorado River, capping a five-year effort to form a united front against future drought in their western states. The far-reaching agreement to be signed Tuesday gives Mexico rights to put some of its river water in Lake Mead, which stretches across Nevada and Arizona, giving it badly needed storage capacity. Mexico will forfeit some of its share of the river during shortages, bringing itself in line with western U.S. states that already have agreed how much they will surrender in years when waters recede.
Water agencies in California, Arizona and Nevada also will buy water from Mexico, which will use some of the money to upgrade its infrastructure.
The agreement, coming in the final days of the administration of Mexican President Felipe Calderon, is a major amendment to a 1944 treaty that is considered sacred by many south of the border. The treaty grants Mexico 1.5 million acre-feet of river water of water each year — enough to supply about 3 million homes — making it the lifeblood of Tijuana and other cities in northwest Mexico.
Mexico will surrender some of its allotment when the water level in Lake Mead drops to 1,075 feet and reap some of the surplus when it rises to 1,145 feet, according to a summary of the agreement prepared by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which will buy some of Mexico's water.
The agreement expires in five years and is being billed as a trial run, potentially making it more palatable in Mexico.
"These are big political steps for Mexico to take," said Jeffrey Kightlinger, Metropolitan's general manager. "Chances are we won't have a surplus and we won't have a shortage but, if we do, we'll have the guidelines in place on how we're going to handle it."
In 2007, facing an eight-year drought, California, Arizona and Nevada agreed on how much each state should sacrifice during shortages on the 1,450-mile river that flows from the Rocky Mountains to Mexico. That same year, the U.S. and Mexico promised to work on ways to jointly address shortages.
The negotiations gained a sense of urgency for Mexico in 2010 after a magnitude-7.2 earthquake damaged canals and other infrastructure, forcing it to store water temporarily in Lake Mead.
"They have some storage but it's not enough for drought and emergencies," said Halla Razak, Colorado River program director at the San Diego County Water Authority.
Roberto Salmon, Mexico's representative to the International Boundary and Water Commission, was scheduled to attend a signing ceremony in Coronado, near San Diego. He didn't respond to a phone message left at his office after business hours Monday.
U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was expected to attend. The Colorado River is also a key source of water for Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

The 'Good' and 'bad' Salvador Dali finally meet

 Was Salvador Dali — who proclaimed himself a genius and "divine" — one of the world's greatest artists or one of the world's biggest showoffs?
For years art critics wrestling with this problem were forced to carve up his 70-year career into the "good" Surrealist years and the embarrassing "bad" decades — when the mustachioed eccentric was accused of megalomania, catering to dictators and selling out through his numerous TV stints. In France in the late 1960s, Dali was more known as the face of a chocolate ad than as a painter.
But a landmark exhibit at Paris' Pompidou Center — featuring more than 120 paintings including the melted clocks of his famed 1931 work "The Persistence of Memory" alongside film work and TV appearances — aims to rewrite the art history books. It shows how his mass-media period, shunned by critics, was in fact extremely influential and must be reconciled with his early work to fully understand the scope of his genius.
"The surrealists said that we shouldn't like his 'bad' years... But we can no longer ignore their influence on art in the 50s, 60s and 70s," said curator Jean-Michel Bouhours.
"We are not babies," said contemporary artist Orlan, who viewed some of Dali's later work for the first time at a preview of the exhibit. "We must see Dali warts-and-all for ourselves, and make up our own minds independently. Yes he was a show-off, but so are many artists. Why have we censored him?"
Organizers of the exhibit use reels of Dali's theatrical TV appearances to show the influence of his obsession with mass media, which began when he moved to the U.S. at the outbreak of World War II.
One famed appearance, for Lanvin chocolate in 1968, shows an exuberant Dali biting into a large chocolate bar, and proclaiming "I am mad" before his mustache curls up.
"Dali evolved with TV and cinema, and was the first to embrace mass media," said Bouhours, calling the artist "the initiator of the pop-art (movement)."
Works featured in the exhibit invoke the celebrity-obsessed themes of pop art. One piece from 1934, the sprawling exhibit's best, features a huge construction of Hollywood siren Mae West's face, with bright yellow hair, and bright red lips transformed into a couch. Its similarity to Andy Warhol's printed image of Marilyn Monroe, made some 30 years later, is striking.
So if Dali was the precursor to something as major as pop art, which catapulted Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein into the spotlight, why has it been swept under the carpet for so long?
One of the reasons, the exhibit organizers suggest, is political.
In 1948, Dali moved back to his homeland, Spain, which was still under the iron fist of dictator Francisco Franco.
Dali, a former Communist, was criticized for courting Franco, painting a picture of his niece to win the fascist's favor to get permission to found a museum dedicated to Dali's work in Spain.
"Dali always had an obsession with dictators. But in Spain it got dangerous," said co-curator Thierry Dufrene. "In 1975, when the old Franco was already very frail, he ordered the execution of Basque activists. Dali responded on the radio, saying 'It's very good — we should kill even more of them.' This is part of the reason his reputation was tarnished in his later years."
The exhibit is the first to seek to show how Dali — who died in 1989 aged 84 — was a genius because of, not despite, his contradictions.
Why has this not been possible before?
"A lot has changed. It's 2012 and Dali is dead. In the last retrospective in 1979, he was still alive, it was too soon," said Pompidou Center Director Alfred Pacquement. "We are for the first time in the realm of history. The first time we can clearly see beginning to end."
Dali once said: "At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven, I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since."
The show can be seen until March 25.

Charlie Chaplin Hat and Cane goes for $62k

Charlie Chaplin's iconic bowler hat and cane were auctioned off for $62,500 this weekend, as part of an auction which also includes a John Lennon nude drawing of himself and Yoko Ono.  
  Charlie Chaplin Hat and Cane $62k: DNews Nugget

Random Celebrity Photo

Jane Fonda 1958 by Railroad Jack on Flickr.

New coronavirus related to viruses from bats

The virus that is causing alarm among global public health authorities after it killed a man in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia ...
Continue Reading 

Is Facebook a Factor in Psychotic Symptoms?

As Internet access becomes increasingly widespread, so do related psychopathologies such as Internet addiction and delusions related to the technology ...

Continue Reading 

Humans Have Been Getting Stupider for Thousands of Years

Idiocracy wasn't a movie, but a documentary. Gerald Crabtree, the leader of a genetics laboratory at Stanford University, argues that humans evolved to be hunter/gatherers--a high risk occupation that tended to keep the gene pool tidy. We have departed from that self-correcting lifestyle:
Life as a hunter-gatherer was probably more intellectually demanding than widely supposed, he says. “A hunter-gatherer who did not correctly conceive a solution to providing food or shelter probably died, along with his or her progeny, whereas a modern Wall Street executive that made a similar conceptual mistake would receive a substantial bonus and be a more attractive mate,” Professor Crabtree says.
But are there any data to back this up?
A comparison of the genomes of parents and children has revealed that on average there are between 25 and 65 new mutations occurring in the DNA of each generation. Professor Crabtree says that this analysis predicts about 5,000 new mutations in the past 120 generations, which covers a span of about 3,000 years.
Other scholars are skeptical of Crabtree's hypothesis. Steve Jones of University College London thinks that trying to tie intelligence to mutation count is a stretch:
“I could just as well argue that mutations have reduced our aggression, our depression and our penis length but no journal would publish that. Why do they publish this?” Professor Jones said.

Martian Radiation Low Enough for Humans to Survive

Curiosity rover
One of the challenges of living beyond the Earth's atmosphere for long periods of time is the danger of cosmic radiation. But discoveries made by the scientists running the Curiosity rover indicate that this won't be a problem on Mars:
"The astronauts can live in this environment," Don Hassler, principal investigator on Curiosity's Radiation Assessment Detector instrument (RAD), told a news conference.
"Basically, we're finding that the Mars atmosphere is acting as a shield for the radiation on the surface and as the atmosphere gets thicker, that provides more of a shield and therefore we see a dip in our radiation dose," Hassler said.
The findings mark the first time that cosmic rays have been measured on the surface of another planet, and come 100 years after Victor Hess discovered cosmic rays on Earth by using a hot-air balloon.

NASA discovers 'super-Jupiter'


It's a massive discovery that's out of this world. NASA scientists say they've found what could be a huge planet outside of our solar system. They're calling it a "super-Jupiter."
They say it orbits a star 170 light years away, and is about 13 times the size of Jupiter.
NASA says there's also the possibility the "super-Jupiter" could actually be a brown dwarf star.
Brown dwarf stars are able to generate energy by fusion, while massive planets are only able to slowly radiate the heat leftover from their own formation.

Rare image of Super-Jupiter sheds light on planet formation
An infrared imaging search with the Subaru telescope has captured a rare image of a "Super-Jupiter" around the massive star Kappa Andromedae (K And). The gas giant has a mass about 13 times that of Jupiter, while the host star has a mass 2.5 times that of the Sun.

Random Photo


This is the lovely Miss Bo,who deserves some credit on her pictures <3 

Twinkies maker Hostess lives at least another day

FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, file photo, Twinkies baked goods are displayed for sale at the Hostess Brands' bakery in Denver, Colo. Hostess Brands Inc. and its second largest union will go into mediation to try and resolve their differences, meaning the company won't go out of business just yet. The news came Monday, Nov. 19, 2012, after Hostess moved to liquidate and sell off its assets in bankruptcy court citing a crippling strike last week. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)   
Twinkies will live to see another day. 

Hostess Brands Inc. and its second largest union agreed on Monday to try to resolve their differences after a bankruptcy court judge noted that the parties hadn't gone through the critical step of private mediation. That means the maker of the spongy cake with the mysterious cream filling won't go out of business yet.
The news comes after the maker of Ho Ho's, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread last week moved to liquidate and sell off its assets in bankruptcy court. Hostess cited a crippling strike started on Nov. 9 by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, which represents about 30 percent of Hostess workers.
"Many people, myself included, have serious questions as to the logic behind this strike," said Judge Robert Drain, who heard the case in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York in White Plains, N.Y. "Not to have gone through that step leaves a huge question mark in this case."
The mediation talks are set to take place Tuesday, with the liquidation hearing set to resume on Wednesday if an agreement isn't reached. Jeff Freund, an attorney for the bakers union, said any guess as to how the talks will go would be "purely speculative."
In an interview following the hearing, Hostess CEO Gregory Rayburn said that there is enormous financial pressure to come to an agreement with the union by the end of the day Tuesday.
He noted that it's costing Hostess about $1 million a day in payroll costs alone to stay alive, with the money mostly going toward management to unwind the company. About 18,000 workers were sent home Friday after the company shuttered its 33 plants, meaning no sales are being generated.
"We didn't think we had a runway, but the judge just created a 24-hour runway," said Rayburn, who added that even if a contract agreement is reached, it's unclear whether all Hostess plants will get up and running again.
Hostess, weighed down by debt, management turmoil, rising labor costs and the changing tastes of Americans, decided on Friday that it no longer could make it through a conventional Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring. Instead, the company, which is based in Irving, Texas, asked the court for permission to sell its assets and wind down its business.
The company, which is in its second bankruptcy in less than a decade, had said that it was saddled with costs related to its unionized workforce. It brought on Rayburn as a restructuring expert in part to renegotiate its contract with labor unions.
Hostess, which had been contributing $100 million a year in pension costs for workers, offered workers a new contract that would've slashed that to $25 million a year, in addition to wage cuts and a 17 percent reduction in health benefits. The baker's union rejected the offer and decided to strike.
By that time, Hostess had reached a contract agreement with its largest union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which urged the bakers union to hold a secret ballot on whether to continue striking. Although many workers in the bakers union decided to cross picket lines this week, Hostess said it wasn't enough to keep operations at normal levels.
Rayburn said that Hostess was already operating on razor thin margins and that the strike was the final blow. The bakers union said the company's demise was the result of mismanagement, not the strike. It pointed to the steep raises executives were given last year as the company was spiraling down toward bankruptcy.
The company's announcement last week that it would move to liquidate prompted people across the country to rush to stores and stock up on their favorite Hostess treats. Many businesses reported selling out of Twinkies within hours and the spongy cakes turned up for sale online for hundreds of dollars.
Even if Hostess goes out of business, its popular brands will likely find a second life after being snapped up by buyers. The company says several potential buyers have expressed interest in the brands. Although Hostess' sales have been declining in recent years, the company still does about $2.5 billion in business each year. Twinkies along brought in $68 million so far this year.

N.Y. police officer says not guilty of plan to cook, eat women

Sketch artist Jane Rosenberg shows reporters her drawing of Gilberto Valle III, 28, when he pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, in New York October 25, 2012. REUTERS/Keith Bedford  
A New York City police officer pleaded not guilty on Monday to conspiring to kidnap, torture, cook and eat women. Gilberto Valle, 28, of Forest Hills, Queens, was charged and arrested in October with conspiring to cross state lines to kidnap the women and with illegally accessing a federal database.
Prosecutors said some of the women were acquaintances of Valle but it was not clear if he knew or had met all of them. Valle, who an official said had no prior criminal record, was not charged with carrying out any of his suspected plans.
At a brief hearing Monday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Valle's attorney, Julia Gatto, told the judge she would again seek to have her client freed on bail after two other judges previously denied her request.
Investigators uncovered a file on Valle's computer containing the names and pictures of at least 100 women, and the addresses and physical descriptions of some of them, according to the criminal complaint. It said he had undertaken surveillance of some of the women at their places of employment and their homes.
Gatto argues that Valle, a 6-1/2 year NYPD veteran, was all talk and should be released on bail.
The charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The case is U.S. v. Gilberto Valle, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 12-cr-847.

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The Ten Most Bizarre Looking Sharks on Earth

That we know of ... that is!
Forget outer space; there are aliens far closer to home! These bizarre looking and strangely fascinating sharks look like they’re from another world. And from poisonous flesh and electrical sensors to sneaky ambushes and the impaling of prey, their methods of attack and self-defense are just as extraterrestrial seeming. Without further ado, then, we list the 10 most bizarre looking sharks on planet Earth.
10. Cookiecutter Shark
The brilliantly named Cookiecutter sharks only grow up to 17 to 22 inches long, but what they lack in size they make up for with pure nastiness (as well as one weird looking profile!). You see, these cigar-shaped sharks hover in the water, waiting for larger prey to approach. Their bodies are luminescent, except for a dark collar behind their heads, and this dark section is thought to mimic the silhouette of a small fish, acting as a lure.
Although cookiecutter sharks can eat a squid whole, they’re best known as parasitic feeders. First, they attach themselves to a large creature by pressing their suctorial lips against the animal’s flesh. Then, once they have a tight seal, the sharks stab their teeth into the host. The upper teeth act as anchors, while the lower teeth vibrate back and forth like an electric carving knife. Next, the sharks twist and rotate, until they have scooped out a chunk of flesh around two inches wide and 2.8 inches deep.
Cookiecutters feed on practically every medium-to-large creature that shares their tropical-water habitat. Whales, dolphins, sharks, seals and bony fish have all been spotted with cookiecutter injuries. These fearsome little critters have also been known to bite into submarines, undersea cables, and even people.
9. Hammerhead Shark
Although hammerheads are better known than some of the other sharks on this list, no roll call of weird looking sharks would be complete without them. With eyes set on either side of their gigantic cephalofoils, or hammers, hammerheads have 360-degree vertical vision – which means they can see what’s above and below them at the same time.
The cephalofoil also gives hammerhead sharks a heightened sensitivity to electrical fields emitted by their prey – stingrays, for example, which often bury themselves in the sand. And although they have small mouths and teeth compared to other sharks, hammerheads are very flexible and can pivot in the water at high speeds.
Another unusual feature peculiar to hammerheads is that they form schools during the day. There are very strict hierarchies within these groups, and the sharks communicate with one another through complicated body maneuvers.
8. Longnose Sawshark
Take a look at this next odd-looking fellow! The longnose sawshark is one of six species of sawsharks, and it grows to up to four and a half feet long. Incredibly, its long, serrated snout, or rostrum, is lined with sharp teeth and accounts for a third of its entire body size.
Longnose sawsharks also have long barbels that hang down on either side of their rostrums – rather like mustaches – and these are used to search for food. The barbels can move around quite freely, and they sense vibrations and bioelectricity, similar to the hammerhead’s way of picking out its favorite stingray snack. What’s even more fascinating is that the barbels are sensitive to touch and taste – which makes them perfect for discovering delicious delicacies hidden in the sand!
When the longnose sawshark finds its prey, it slashes its rostrum around, injuring, and sometimes even impaling, its unfortunate victims. The shark shakes its head violently until the prey falls off its toothy snout, and then it sucks the food into its mouth and crunches it up with thorny teeth.
7. Frilled Shark
Frilled sharks look more like massive eels or strange, deep-sea lizards than sharks. This rare species of shark can be found in various locations in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans but is most common in the waters off Japan. Frilled sharks’ main claim to fame is their weird shape and a whopping gestation period of up to 42 months (the longest of any vertebrate).
They also have 300 wickedly sharp forked teeth, which they bury into their slippery prey. And what’s more, their mouths can distend, which allows them to swallow prey up to half their size!
For a long time, scientists thought these critters moved by wriggling, since their fins are quite small. Later, however, it was discovered that the shark’s oily liver keeps it buoyant in water, allowing it to stay afloat and hover at depths of between 160 and 660 feet.
Although frilled sharks have never been caught feeding, it’s believed that they lie in ambush for their prey. When something tasty gets close, the sharks are thought to brace themselves against their fins and launch forward like a striking snake, teeth ready to bite.
6. Basking Shark
Check out the chops on this next chap! Weighing in at over five tons and measuring up to 33 feet long, basking sharks are the second largest sharks in the ocean (after whale sharks). These gentle giants troll through the water with their cavernous mouths wide open, using 5,000 gill rakers to filter plankton out of 1.5 million liters of water every hour.
Basking sharks have to swim in order to feed, because the swimming action pushes the water out through their gills. Although they travel at the leisurely pace of 3 miles per hour, they migrate thousands of miles and are known to dive to depths of almost 3,000 feet.
Sadly, these cool, harmless sharks have been dangerously overfished for their flesh, their gigantic oily livers, and their fins. At least they are protected in several places, including the Gulf Coast of the USA, Malta, and the UK.
5. Megamouth Shark
From one big mouth to another! Megamouth sharks are incredibly rare and are so strange that they have their own family classification: Megachasmidae. These flabby-bodied sharks are slow swimmers, with soft fins and asymmetrical tails. And because they are so uncommon, not a whole lot is known about them.
What we do know is that they are filter feeders and that they can grow to up to 18 feet long. Also, their huge mouths are surrounded by light-emitting organs (photophores), which are thought to attract plankton. Megamouths stay in deep water during the day and come up closer to the surface at night, following their food source.
Remarkably, there have only been 54 recorded sightings of these sharks since their discovery off the coast of Hawaii in 1976, when one got tangled up in the anchor of a U.S. Navy ship. They have been spotted in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
4. Ghost Shark
From their funny plow-shaped snouts to their silvery underbellies, ghost sharks are strangely beautiful from end to end. These ethereal creatures also go by the names elephant shark, makorepe, whitefish, and plownose chimaera. But although they’re called sharks, technically, ghost sharks aren’t actually sharks at all.
Like other sharks, ghost sharks share the name Chondrichthyes and are considered cartilaginous fish, but ghost sharks are in the subclass known as Holocephali.
Ghost sharks grow to about four feet in length and are most recognizable by their trademark snouts. These distinctive “noses” are covered in pores that help the sharks find food by sensing motion and electrical currents.
Ghost sharks have three tooth plates. The plates on their bottom jaws are perfect for crushing, while the plates on the upper jaw are sharp and serrated. Oh, and these fish live in temperate waters off the coasts of Australia and New Zealand.
3. Greenland Shark
With an average speed of less than 1 mile per hour (and a top speed of 1.6 mph), Greenland sharks are among the slowest moving fish in the ocean. Not only that, but it takes them a full seven seconds just to move their tails back and forth. Yet, despite their gentle speed, these comical-looking sharks somehow manage to catch much faster prey. So how do they do it?
Well, scientists think that the sharks sneak up on seals while they’re sleeping. Fortunately, they don't have to snap up the whole seal in one bite. Instead, they use a sucking motion that draws their prey in. Still, that doesn’t explain how they catch polar bears and even reindeer!
Once their prey has been secured, Greenland sharks bury their top, dagger-like teeth into their victims. These hold the flesh in place while the jagged bottom teeth cut the food into bite-sized pieces.
Greenland sharks can grow to up to 21 feet long and weigh up to 2,250 lbs. They live at depths of between 600 and 2,400 feet, further north than any other shark species – and where the water temperature can be as low as 28 °F! Finally, unlike many sharks, their flesh is poisonous and smells like urine. Strange to taste as well as to look at, then!
2. Wobbegong Shark
Depending on the species, these strange, shaggy looking sharks can measure between four and just less than ten feet long. Wobbegongs, or “carpet sharks,” are masters of disguise, making good use of their speckled skin and whiskery barbs to blend in with the ocean floor and set up ambushes for prey. When an unsuspecting fish, crab, octopus, or even another shark swims close enough, the wobbegong attacks at speed, opening its large mouth and snapping its jaws closed.
Wobbegongs can also dislocate their jaws for a wider bite, and their teeth point backwards, making it nearly impossible for their prey to slip free. “With enough time,” says researcher Daniela Ceccarelli, “they can dismember and consume prey larger than themselves.”
Some wobbegongs have even been known to attack humans – although this usually only happens if they are stepped on by accident. These sharks are most common around Australia and Indonesia, and their name is thought to originate from the Aboriginal word for “shaggy beard.” Australians enjoy eating wobbegong meat, known as flake, with fries. Us? We’d rather spend time looking at these suckers than eating them.
1. Goblin Shark
Goblin sharks are as rare as they are hideous and inhabit the dark depths of the ocean – below 820 feet. These fascinating sea creatures have huge shovel-shaped snouts, which help them to sense food. But the most unusual feature of the goblin shark is its protrusible jaw.
Mostly, goblin sharks keep their jaws “folded” back at eye level. However, when food comes along, the jaws, armed with razor-like teeth, snap forward – a bit like a pair of tongs. At the same time, the shark uses its tongue to suck its hapless prey into its terrifying mouth.
Another odd and un-shark-like characteristic of goblin sharks is their pink skin and blue highlights. Capillaries that lie close to the surface of their bodies show through their translucent skin, giving them their distinctive coloring.
First discovered by fishermen in Japan, goblin sharks have since been found all over the world – from Australia to the Gulf of Mexico.

Animal Pictures