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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.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Daily Drift

Somewhere back in time ...

Some of our readers today have been in:
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Sampaloc, Philippines
Caracas, Venezuela
Tienein, Belgium
Jakarta, Indonesia
Cape Town, South Africa
Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Makati, Philippines
Gaborone, Botswana
Warsaw, Poland
Abuja, Nigeria
Belgrade, Serbia
Johannesburg, South Africa
Marikina, Philippines
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Bridgetown, Barbados
Lima, Peru
Santa Cruz, Philippines
Phuket, Thailand
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Davao, Philippines
Bangkok, Thailand
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Beirut, Lebanon
Pathum Thani, Thailand

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Today in History

1620   Leaders of the Mayflower expedition frame the "Mayflower Compact," designed to bolster unity among the settlers.
1783   Jean de Rozier and the Marquis d'Arlandes make the first free-flight ascent in a balloon to over 500 feet in Paris.
1789   North Carolina ratifies the Constitution, becoming the 12th state to do it.
1855   Franklin Colman, a pro-slavery Missourian, guns down Charles Dow, a Free Stater from Ohio, near Lawrence, Kansas.
1864   From Georgia, Confederate General John B. Hood launches the Franklin-Nashville Campaign into Tennessee.
1904   Motorized omnibuses replace horse-drawn cars in Paris.
1906   In San Juan, President Theodore Roosevelt pledges citizenship for Puerto Rican people.
1907   Cunard liner Mauritania sets a new speed record for steamship travel, 624 nautical miles in a one day run.
1911   Suffragettes storm Parliament in London. All are arrested and all choose prison terms.
1917   German ace Rudolf von Eschwege is killed over Macedonia when he attacks a booby-trapped observation balloon packed with explosives.
1918   The last German troops leave Alsace-Lorraine, France.
1927   Police turn machine guns on striking Colorado mine workers, killing five and wounding 20.
1934   A New York court rules Gloria Vanderbilt unfit for custody of her daughter.
1934   Cole Porter's musical Anything Goes premieres at New York's Alvin Theatre.
1949   The United Nations grants Libya its independence by 1952.
1967   President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the air quality act, allotting $428 million for the fight against pollution.
1970   U.S. planes conduct widespread bombing raids in North Vietnam.
1986   The Justice Department begins an inquiry into the National Security Council into what will become known as the Iran-Contra scandal.

Non Sequitur


Editorial Comment

We just checked in on the figures for our readership thus far in 2012 and we are over half a million readers.
The actual number at the time we counted was 562,997, but by the time we publish this it will be higher.
That is not too shabby for a blog that who's only advertisement is the 'word-of-mouth' of our readers recommending us to their friends - which in turn sets us up higher on the search-engines people use for finding what the want on the web.
What makes these numbers even more astounding to us here at Carolina Naturally is that we were basically off line the first five months of 2012 with technical issues compounded by some personal life issues of staff and friends.
Thank you to our readers for making this one of the most read blogs not advertised on the net with around 100,000 readers a month for the past five months. Imagine what the numbers could have been if we hadn't had the forced hiatus from December 2011 to May of 2012.

Did you know ...

Karl Rove's 'Crossroads' never filed legally required registration ... and this is a surprise, how?

Three men get prison in failed Ohio bridge bomb plot

FILE- This combo image made of undated file photos provided by the FBI shows, from left, Brandon Baxter, Douglas Wright and Connor Stevens. The three men, who pleaded guilty in an unsuccessful plot to bomb a highway bridge in Ohio, face sentencing before a judge who agreed with prosecutors that they should be punished as terrorists on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012. A fourth defendant will be sentenced on Wednesday and a fifth is undergoing a psychiatric exam. (AP Photo/FBI, File)
Three men were sentenced Tuesday to years in prison after admitting to taking part in an unsuccessful plot to bomb a highway bridge in Ohio with what turned out to be a dud device provided by a government informant.
The father of one of the defendants, 20-year-old Connor Stevens, complained to the judge that his son had been entrapped.
"My son is guilty," James Stevens said, "and so is the government."
Prosecutors had described the suspects as self-proclaimed anarchists who acted out of anger against corporate America and the government.
All three defendants — Stevens, 26-year-old Douglas Wright and 20-year-old Brandon Baxter — apologized in court. Their attorneys said the sentences would be appealed.
Wright, an Indianapolis man authorities called the ringleader, received the toughest sentence, 11 1/2 years. He apologized to his family and the community, saying he was an addict and needed help for substance abuse, not just prison.
Baxter, of Lakewood in suburban Cleveland, was given nearly 10 years in prison. Connor Stevens, of Berea, the least involved of the trio, was sentenced to more than eight years.
U.S. District Judge David Dowd had ruled last week that the men should be sentenced as terrorists, making them subject to harsher prison terms. After leaving prison, all three will be on supervised release for the rest of their lives.
A fourth defendant is being sentenced Wednesday, and a fifth is undergoing a psychiatric exam.
Stevens' mother, Gail, broke into tears and stopped reading a prepared statement. She portrayed her son as a gentle soul who shooed flies out of the house instead of killing them.
Brandon Baxter's father, Andy Baxter, challenged the government's case and mentioned his own battle with alcohol abuse. He told the judge his son had "a heart of gold, and please make this as light as possible."
Stevens, Baxter and Wright pleaded guilty to conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction, knowingly attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to damage property with explosives. There was no plea deal that would have reduced their sentences.
Last week, Dowd backed a government request to consider stricter sentences based on a "terrorist enhancement" for the trio. The ruling that the three were trying to intimidate the government expanded possible sentences from five or six years to 15 to 30 years or more.
The men were arrested by the FBI and had targeted a bridge over Cuyahoga Valley National Park between Cleveland and Akron. The FBI has said that the public was never in danger and that the device was a dud provided by an informant.
The defense called the case entrapment, with the informant guiding the way, and said the plot was more an act of vandalism than anti-government terrorism. They asked for sentences in the range of five years.
The government said the plot "was meant to convey a message to the civilian population, the corporate world, the financial system, and all levels of government."

Four California men charged in alleged terror plot

This provided photo taken Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, by Jenny Collins from her neighbor's window shows law enforcement and FBI agents during a raid at the home of 21-year-old Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales of Upland, Calif. Santana was one of four Southern California men charged with plotting to kill Americans and destroy U.S. targets overseas by joining al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan, federal officials said Monday. In one online conversation, Santana told an FBI undercover agent that he wanted to commit jihad and expressed interest in a jihadist training camp in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Jenny Collins)
Three California men excited at the prospect of training in Afghanistan to become terrorists prepared, authorities say, by simulating combat with paintball rifles, wiping their Facebook profiles of any Islamic references and concocting cover stories.
Just two days before they were going to board a plane bound for Istanbul — and then onto Afghanistan — FBI agents thwarted plans that officials said included killing Americans and bombing U.S. military bases overseas.
The arrests last week in the U.S. and of the man said to be the ringleader, 34-year-old American Sohiel Omar Kabir, in Afghanistan was laid out in a 77-page affidavit, which included references to the group's online video conversations and audio recordings.
While authorities don't believe there were any plans for an attack in the U.S., Kabir had intended to go on a suicide mission earlier this month but got sick, according to the court documents unsealed in federal court Monday.
Kabir indicated he would wait for the group, which included a confidential FBI informant, before staging an attack, according to the affidavit.
Along with Kabir, Ralph Deleon, Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales and Arifeen David Gojali are facing charges of providing material support to terrorists. The charges can carry a maximum 15-year prison sentence.
Defense attorneys did not immediately returned calls for comment.
Federal investigators said Kabir introduced Deleon and Vidriales to the radical Islamist doctrine of the U.S.-born extremist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed last year in an American airstrike in Yemen.
Kabir, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Afghanistan, served in the Air Force from 2000 to 2001, helping to prepare forces for deployment. He was administratively separated for unknown reasons and was given an honorable discharge, the military said.
According to the court documents, Deleon said meeting Kabir was like encountering someone from the camps run by al-Awlaki or Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a U.S. raid last year on his compound in Pakistan.
Kabir was "basically a mujahid walking the streets of LA," Deleon said, using the term for holy warrior, according to court documents. "He was just waiting to get his papers. And I met him at the point of his life where he was about to go."
Authorities said that in video calls from Afghanistan, Kabir told the trio he would arrange their meetings with terrorists. Kabir added they could sleep in mosques or the homes of other jihadists once they arrived in Afghanistan.
Stateside, Deleon and Santana were eager about the prospects of being terrorists. When asked by the FBI informant if both men had thought about how it would feel to kill someone, Santana responded, "The more I think about it, the more it excites me."
Santana said he was easily influenced by people growing up and spent time around gangs. He said converting to Islam was a good move for him because he could fit in and "actually fight for something that's right," according to court documents.
Santana was born in Mexico, while Deleon was born in the Philippines. Both are lawful, permanent U.S. residents.
Jen Collins, who lives two doors down from Santana's apartment in Upland, east of Los Angeles, said at least a dozen FBI agents swarmed his unit early Friday. "It was like something coming out of the movies or TV," Collins said.
The apartment was shuttered on Tuesday, but someone inside removed a sign that read "Don't burn the Qur'an, READ IT!" from a shuttered upstairs window as reporters gathered outside.
Court documents show the men talked about their propensity for violence.
Santana, who claimed he went to Mexico to learn how to shoot different kinds of guns and how to make explosives, wanted to be a sniper. Deleon said he hoped he could be on the front lines or use C-4, an explosive, in an attack.
Gojali, a U.S. citizen, was recruited in late September and he said he would be willing to kill. "I watch videos on the Internet, and I see what they are doing to our brothers and sisters. ... It makes me cry, and it gets like I'm, like, so angered with them," Gojali said.
This past summer, plans to travel to Afghanistan became clearer for the group.
They talked about how they would avoid detection. They talked about opening an Afghan orphanage or possibly posing as cologne salesmen. They finally devised a cover story that they were going to attend Kabir's fictional wedding.
It's unclear whether Kabir actually made contact with Taliban or al-Qaida fighters, but in an August video conversation with Deleon, Kabir was with a shiekh or an imam, the complaint said.
Before leaving Deleon said he was going to leave parents a farewell letter. Asked by the informant if Deleon could lie about his true intentions in the letter, Deleon said, it's OK to lie in war. "I believe right now ... we are in a state of war," he said.
Using the informant's debit card, Deleon bought four tickets for a flight from Mexico City to Istanbul scheduled to leave this past Sunday. Had the men made it to Afghanistan, federal authorities believe they would have initially joined the Taliban and then inducted into al-Qaida.
Even if he failed in a terrorist training camp, Santana said, he would continue trying.
"If for some weird reason, if I can't handle it, I'm not going to give up," he said, according to court documents. "Like, because, this is my strong intention. This is what I desire of doing in this life."

Is it deja vu all over again

Rwanda-Congo deja vu? A Congolese army tank overlooking Munigi and the road to Rutshuru where fighting between the M23 and the Congolese army has been taking place in the past days near Goma, Congo, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. Rebels believed to be backed by Rwanda fired mortars and machine guns Monday in a village on the outskirts of the provincial capital of Goma and threatened to attack the city which is protected by ragtag Congolese government troops backed by United Nations peacekeepers. The gunfire and explosions erupted in the early afternoon, hours after the M23 rebels said they were halting fighting in order to negotiate with the government of Congo. (AP Photo/Melanie Gouby)  
History is repeating itself yet again in eastern Congo. Rebels supported by Rwanda are on the march. Civilians are fleeing. And higher powers appear to be taking sides. Congo and Rwanda have been at this stage before. First in 1996, then in 1998. Also in 2004 and 2008. The first two conflicts had their roots in Rwanda's 1994 genocide, but now the fighting is mostly over mineral wealth — including minerals used in the world's smart phones and laptops.
Congo is rich in diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt and tungsten. The provincial capital of Goma, which lies on the Rwandan border and which fell to the M23 rebel group on Tuesday, is a major processing point for minerals coming out of eastern Congo.
Rwanda insists it is not aiding the M23 rebels, though a U.N. group of experts report written this year said both Rwanda and Uganda were doing exactly that.
Many M23 commanders were formerly with the rebel group known as CNDP, which carried out the same military tactics, with Rwanda's backing, in 2007-08, experts say.
"I'm just getting a sense of deja vu right now," said Carina Tertsakian, a Rwanda researcher for Human Rights Watch, who ticked off the five Congo-Rwanda conflicts. "On each of those occasions the Rwandan military has actively and significantly supported Congolese rebel groups who were extremely violent and committed very serious crimes against civilians."
What do the rebels — and by extension, Rwanda — want?
To acquire political, military and economic control over eastern parts of Congo, Tertsakian says. After peace talks, the rebels can land plum spots in the military and can end up controlling Congo's rich natural resources. Rwanda transships many of the minerals while taking a cut.
Land may also be at stake. Rwanda's 10 million people are densely congregated at 980 per square mile compared to Congo's 60 million, who average 66 per square mile.
Rwanda's 1996 and 1998 incursions into Congo were driven by Rwanda's troubled ethnic past. Rwanda justified the invasions on the basis that its security was being threatened by a rebel group called the FDLR, a group of ethnic Hutus. Extremist Hutus killed more than 500,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the country's 1994 genocide. But the FDLR today is nowhere near as powerful as it once was, and the Hutu threat is not such a concern to Rwandan President Paul Kagame, a Tutsi.
Rwanda has suffered little in the international community for its support of Congolese rebels over the years. Many observers suggest that the West has turned a blind eye because of lingering guilt that it did nothing to stop the 1994 genocide. But criticism is mounting.
Amnesty International said in July that M23 rebels were using Rwandan recruits and weapons supplied by Rwanda. The group documented violations of humanitarian law and human rights abuses, including the forced recruitment of children.
The U.N. group of experts report, which will be released publicly on Friday, spurred a negative international reaction. The U.S. suspended its military aid — albeit only $200,000 — to Rwanda after parts of the preliminary report were leaked. Other European countries followed suit, suspending humanitarian aid to Rwanda.
The International Crisis Group on Tuesday called for sanctions by the U.N., U.S., EU, U.K. and France against the M23's leader and their "external supporters."
"The past week has shown history repeating itself in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with the same tragic consequences for civilians in the region," the International Crisis Group said.

Catalans will vote on secession

For the past several weeks, residents in several U.S. states have threatened secession, a prospect that is totally unlikely, but in Spain there is real concern about the possibility of Catalonia breaking away from the rest of Spain.  These excerpts from The Guardian:
The Catalan separatist campaign will come to a head this weekend in an election that will in effect serve as a plebiscite on the region's future in Spain.

It is a long-running affair, borne of historical and cultural factors that have persisted for centuries. But you do not have to scratch too hard before you get to the principal bone of contention in crisis-ridden Spain: money.

Spain is suffering its most agonising economic decline in decades. Catalonia has not been spared. But it still claims it subsidises the rest of Spain to the tune of €16bn a year. This money, equivalent to 8% of regional GDP, would dig Catalonia out of a debt and deficit hole and provide greater investment and a better welfare state, many believe...

Millions of Spaniards view the increasingly strident calls for self-determination in Catalonia with alarm. This is a country with form. When the region last declared its own state in 1934, Madrid answered by declaring a state of war. Separation would provide an ominous precedent in a nation where the increasingly weak centre has spent decades handing new powers to its headstrong regions...

The problem is not just Catalonia. Elections were held in October in the northern Basque country, where the blood spilt by Eta over four decades kept separatism in the headlines but stopped many peaceful Basques supporting it. The vote produced a landslide victory for nationalist and separatist parties, who jointly took two-thirds of the seats...
"The problem for Spain, which is what limits the ability of the prime minister to be flexible, is the dynamics of the breakdown. Once Catalonia is out, the burden on the other rich regions increases, and they will want out," says Luis Garicano of the London School of Economics. "So for Spain the prospect, without Catalonia, is complete disintegration of the country."

What it takes to be a one percenter

In fact, it took a little less than $370,000 in adjusted gross income in 2010 to make it into this elite group, according to newly released data from the Internal Revenue Service.

Goldman’s multi-billion dollar bailout queen CEO insists on Social Security, Medicare cuts

Of course, another super rich white guy, who is set for life, wants to gut Social Security and Medicare because “we can’t afford it.”Why is it that the people howling the most about ripping apart the social system, who complain the loudest about us being unable to afford Social Security and Medicare, are those who profited so heavily from the public’s largesse?
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein is an extreme example since his own firm (like the rest of Wall Street) required billions of taxpayer money to stay alive, but let’s not forget about the destructive duo, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles.
Alan Simpson spent his life working as a politician, followed by going on the speaking circuit or whatever it is that he does when he talks about butchering Social Security and Medicare while promoting tax cuts. It must be nice knowing that he’s set for life with the best health care plan, and a retirement plan unknown to most working Americans. And our friend, fellow “Democrat” Erskine Bowles also did well working in finance followed by the White House, then a large state university followed by his own speaking circuit gigs.
One does wonder how much they intend to give up from their own fat government benefits, as part of our “common sacrifice.”
Many of us have completely had it with rich, white guys like this proudly speaking to the media about how much gutting and shredding they think is necessary to “save the system,” while refusing to budge on their own massive tax cuts. They’ve all lived high on the hog at our expense, and now we’re giving them an easy forum for promoting this rich-guy assault on the system.
When is enough enough for these people? Much like sending a bill to Texas as the cost of seceding, let’s send a bill to these pampered fat cats for everything we’ve given them, and tell them all to shove off. They’ve cost us enough — quite literally trillions — and now they want to cost us more, by ripping apart the social fabric of America.
No thanks.
CBS News:
BLANKFEIN: You’re going to have to undoubtedly do something to lower people’s expectations — the entitlements and what people think that they’re going to get, because it’s not going to — they’re not going to get it.
PELLEY: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid?
BLANKFEIN: You can look at history of these things, and Social Security wasn’t devised to be a system that supported you for a 30-year retirement after a 25-year career. … So there will be things that, you know, the retirement age has to be changed, maybe some of the benefits have to be affected, maybe some of the inflation adjustments have to be revised. But in general, entitlements have to be slowed down and contained.
PELLEY: Because we can’t afford them going forward?
BLANKFEIN: Because we can’t afford them.
Someone please help me refresh my memory, but how did we afford to give away trillions of dollars to Wall Street, to save their lifestyle, so they could continue giving themselves huge bonuses while the rest of us lost our business and our homes?
I don’t recall any complaints back in 2008 and 2009 about the middle class not being able to afford the bail out of people like Blankfein, do you?  Or any talk during the Bush years of the entire country not being able to afford his massive tax cuts that broke the budget?
Some thanks.

Random Photo

Married Life

One evening a man arrived home from work and found his wife waiting for him at the front door.

"I want you to take me somewhere expensive tonight," she said.

"No problem, honey," the man replied. "I know just the place."

"So," his wife asked as they were pulling out of their driveway, "where are we going?"

"The gas station up the street," he replied.

Online access linked with uptick in doctor visits

Patient online access to doctors and medical records was associated with increased use of almost all in-person and telephone medical services, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Not-exactly-near-death experiences

In 1990, researchers investigated the stories of 58 people who had had a near-death experience during surgery. Turns out, 30 of those people were never actually near-death, at all. They just thought they were.

A 14 y.o. invents water purification method to address global problem

14 year old Deepika Kurup has invented a water purification method to address the global problem of a lack of accessible drinking water.What a great kid and an inspiration for many others.
Until you’ve witnessed the lack of easily accessible drinking water in person, it can be difficult to understand how big this issue really is for many people around the world.
Thankfully, 14 year old Deepika Kurup witnessed the problem, then focused on finding a solution. Where most of us who read the site live, we take clean drinking water for granted but that’s far from reality for many in poorer countries.
The world will be a much better place with more smart kids like this doing things for others rather than the usual route of joining Wall Street and becoming just another rent-seeker with wads of cash.

Physicists create real-world tractor beam

NYU physicists have created a tractor beam capable of pulling particles micrometers in size. This so-called optical conveyor tractor beam ...
Continue Reading 

Big news from Mars coming soon, maybe

The Curiosity rover comes complete with a mini chemistry lab. It's designed to analyze the composition of Martian soils and Martian air. And, right now, that particular piece of equipment is at the center of a giddy storm of activity. Curiosity has turned up something important — big enough for Curiosity's principal investigator to tell NPR, "This data is gonna be one for the history books."
What is it? NASA's not telling just yet. Right now, researchers are in the process of verifying said exciting data, in order to make sure they aren't deceiving themselves into thinking they've spotted something that isn't really there. That's pretty good policy, given the recent flap around over-hyped studies about Earth-like planets and arsenic-based life.
On the other hand, if you're trying to avoid overhyping something, might I suggest that "We have groundbreaking, world-changing data that we can't tell you about yet," is maybe not the best way to do it.
Stay tuned.

Dark matter detector nearing activation in SD mine

In this July 31, 2012 photo provided by Sanford Lab researchers work on the top floor of the Large Underground Xenon experiment at a shuttered gold mine in Lead, S.D. The experiment, known as LUX, could begin collecting data on dark matter as early as February _ and, if all goes as planned, that data could answer age-old questions about the universe and its origins, scientists said Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Courtesy Sanford Lab, Matt Kapust) Scientists hoping to detect dark matter deep in a former South Dakota gold mine have taken the last major step before flipping the switch on their more than $300 million experiment and say they may be ready to begin collecting data as early as February.
What's regarded as the world's most sensitive dark matter detector was lowered earlier this month into a 70,000-gallon water tank nearly a mile beneath the earth's surface, shrouding it in enough insulation to hopefully isolate dark matter from the cosmic radiation that makes it impossible to detect above ground.
And if all goes as planned, the data that begins flowing could answer age-old questions about the universe and its origins, scientists said Monday.
"We might well uncover something fantastic," said Harry Nelson, a professor of physics at University of California, Santa Barbara and a principal investigator on the Large Underground Xenon experiment. "One thing about our field is that it's kind of brutal in that we know it's expensive and we work hard to only do experiments that are really important."
This one's definitely been costly, but like the discovery of the Higgs boson — dubbed the "God particle" by some — earlier this year in Switzerland, the detection of dark matter would be a seismic occurrence in the scientific community.
Scientists know dark matter exists by its gravitational pull but, unlike regular matter and antimatter, it's so far been undetectable. Regular matter accounts for about 4 percent of the universe's mass, and dark matter makes up about 25 percent. The rest is dark energy, which is also a mystery.
The search in South Dakota began in 2003 after the Homestake Gold Mine in the Black Hills' Lead, S.D., shuttered for good. Scientists called dibs on the site, and in July, after years of fundraising and planning, the LUX detector moved into the Sanford Underground Research Facility, 4,850 feet below the earth's surface. It took two days to ease the phone booth-sized detector down the once-filthy shaft and walkways that originally opened for mining in 1876 during the Black Hills Gold Rush.
There, the device was further insulated from cosmic radiation by being submerged in water that's run through reverse osmosis filters to deionize and clean it.
"The construction phase is winding down, and now we're starting the commissioning phase, meaning we start to operate the systems underground," said Jeremy Mock, a graduate student at the University of California, Davis who has worked on the LUX experiment for five years.
Carefully submerging the delicate detector into its final home — a water-filled vat that's 20 feet tall and 25 feet in diameter — took more than two months, Mock said.
Scientists are currently working to finish the plumbing needed to keep the xenon as clean as possible. The xenon, in both liquid and gas form, will fill the detector and be continuously circulated through a purifier that works much like a dialysis machine, pulling the substance out to remove impurities before pushing it back into the detector.
Keeping the water and xenon pristine will help remove what Nelson called "fake sources" — or stuff that scientists have seen before, such as radiation, that could serve as false alarms in their efforts to detect dark matter.
Nelson likens the experiment to Sherlock Holmes' approach to discovering the unknown by eliminating the known.
Once the data start to flow, it'll take a month or two before the detector is sensitive enough to claim the "most-sensitive" title, Nelson said.
After that, the scientists involved hope to start seeing what they covet most: something they've never seen before.

LHC Spots Mysterious Y(4140) Particle

Dubbed Y(4140), this subatomic particle was first spotted in 2009. 
Now it has appeared in LHC data. 
But what is it? 
  LHC Spots Mysterious Y(4140) Particle

NASA's Least-Crazy Rubber Room

Buried beneath Pad A at Kennedy Spaceflight Center is one of the safest places in the world. 
  NASA's Least-Crazy Rubber Room

Astronomical Picture of the Day

 "Orionid Meteors over Aspen Highlands and Pyramid Peak," by Thomas O'Brien,

Ancient petroglyphs ripped from stone at California rock art site

Four petroglyphs carved into volcanic rock more than 3,500 years ago have been hacked out and stolen by thieves who also damaged other engravings at a historic site in California, U.S. authorities said on Tuesday.
The petroglyphs in the Volcanic Tablelands east of Yosemite represented a "pristine example of Great Basin rock art" that portrayed the daily hunter-gatherer activities that took place in the area, the Bureau of Land Management said.
"The individuals who did this have destroyed an irreplaceable part of our national cultural heritage," Bernadette Lovato, Bureau of Land Management field office manager, said in a statement.
"We have increased surveillance of our sites and are working with other agencies to bring the responsible parties to justice and to recover the petroglyphs," Lovato said.
It was not immediately clear when the petroglyphs, or rock engravings, were removed from the site near California's border with Nevada. A volunteer monitor first spotted the damage on October 31, bureau spokesman David Christy said.
"This is terrible. This place is on the National Register of Historic Places," Christy told Reuters. "Among the rock art community, it's known as one of the outstanding examples of rock art."
Christy said the thieves would have needed ladders, concrete cutting saws and power generators to cut out the petroglyphs - not a fast or easy job.
"This wasn't casual, somebody walking around picking up arrowheads. This was a serious effort," he said.
No suspects have been identified so far. Christy said the petroglyphs had not yet surfaced on the black market for stolen antiquities.
The Volcanic Tablelands are described by the Bureau of Land Management as a vast volcanic landscape formed more than 700,000 years ago by materials spewing from the Long Valley caldera to the northwest.
The high-desert site and its volcanic rock outcroppings are listed in the National Register of Historic Places, protected under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act and still used by local Paiute Indians for ceremonies.
"The location of archaeological materials, feature remains and the rock art clearly portray the activities that occurred at the site during the last 3,500 years," Greg Haverstock, an archaeologist for the Bureau of Land Management's field office in Bishop, California, said in a statement.
The Bureau of Land Management has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the people responsible for the theft.
According to the Bureau of Land Management, first-time violators of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act can be imprisoned up to one year and fined $20,000.

Sauropods might have had trunks, but probably didn't

Imagine an apatosaurus with a long, elephant-like snout. Plenty of people have. That's because the nostril placement on sauropod dinosaurs is, in some ways, remarkably similar to that of trunked animals that live today. In both cases, the nostrils are large, and they're located up around what we'd call the forehead, kind of smack between the eyes.
On the one hand, this is one of those things that it's really hard to ever know for certain. We don't have preserved soft tissue, so when we make models of what dinosaurs might have looked like we're really going on clues from the bones and comparisons to living animals with similar bone structure. Because of that, it is somewhat reasonable to suggest that hey, maybe, sauropods really did look like grumpy diplodocus in the image above. It's fun to speculate.
But not all speculations are created equal. In a fascinating post at the Tetrapod Zoology blog, Darren Naish explains why a superficial similarity to trunked animals isn't enough to counteract the much-more prevalent evidence against sauropod trunks. One of the more interesting lines of evidence he points out is the fact that dinosaurs apparently lacked the facial which form the trunk in living animals. We know this partly because muscles leave their signature on bone, and Naish says there's no evidence sauropods had the right facial muscles. It's further bolstered by the fact that the animals most closely related to sauropods don't have those facial muscles, either.
Naish's piece reminds me of the last time we talked about sauropod biology here. That, too, dealt with the fact that superficial similarities aren't enough to infer that two animals must have identical biology. Only, in that case, we were talking about the differences between the long necks of giraffes and the long necks of sauropods.

Awesome Pictures

Just goes to show being a shutterbug isn't strictly a human thing!

Algae can draw energy from other plants

Flowers need water and light to grow. Even children learn that plants use sunlight to gather energy from earth and ...
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Bizarre muppet-like beast discovered

Namibian media report a strange muppet-like beast has been shot dead after a group stumbled across several of the creatures in dense jungle. Locals came across the bizarre being while they were escorting a shooting party in Namibia, local media reported.
beastWitnesses state that the creature was spotted apparently foraging for food, one of the shooting party wounded it with his rifle and it escaped into the thick brush.
The locals tracked it to a nearby lair or nest where they found three more creatures of similar size.
The wounded creature attacked one of the shooting party and it was shot dead, the others escaped into the brush
The body of the creature was taken back to the local camp, police later removed its corpse and a full forensics investigation is under way.

Into the Maw

The whale is coming up to scoop up a mouthful of herring (the small fish seen at the surface around the kayak).
The kayaker is a local Sitka Dentist. He apparently didn't sustain any injuries from the terrifying experience.
The whale was just around the corner from the ferry terminal, and all the kayaker could think at that moment
in time was: "Paddle Man--really fast!"
The whale's mouth is full
y open with the bottom half under the boat.
If the whale had closed his mouth before he furiously paddled away -
He might have been LUNCH!!!
Look at the picture again - He is in the whale’s MOUTH!

Pizzly bears, grolar bears, nanulak, and aknuk

Hybrid bears are described in Wikipedia:
A grizzly–polar bear hybrid (also pizzly bear, prizzly bear, or grolar bear) is a rare ursid hybrid that has occurred both in captivity and in the wild

On 8 April 2010, David Kuptana, an Inuvialuit hunter from the nearby community of Ulukhaktok on Victoria Island shot what he thought was a polar bear. After inspecting the bear and having its DNA tested, it was discovered that the bear's mother was a grizzly-polar hybrid and the father was a grizzly bear. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the NWT said that it "...may be the first recorded second-generation polar-grizzly bear hybrid found in the wild". The bear possesses physical characteristics intermediate between grizzlies and polar bears, such as brown fur on its paws, long claws and a grizzly-like head...

Since the 2006 discovery placed the hybrid into the spotlight, the media have referred to this animal with several portmanteau names, such as pizzly, grolar bear, and polizzly, but there is no consensus on the use of any one of these terms. Canadian wildlife officials have suggested calling the hybrid "nanulak", taken from the Inuit names for polar bear (nanuk) and grizzly bear (aklak). By one convention, the name of the sire comes first in such combinations: the offspring of a male polar bear and a female grizzly would be the suggested nanulak or a "pizzly bear", while the offspring of a male grizzly and a female polar bear would be a "grolar bear" or possibly an aknuk.

Animal Pictures