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Thursday, October 31, 2013

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Today is Samhain Day 


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Today in History

1517 Martin Luther nails his 95 Theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg in Germany. Luther's theories and writings inaugurate Protestantism, shattering the external structure of the medieval cult and at the same time reviving the religious consciousness of Europe.
1803 Congress ratifies the purchase of the entire Louisiana area in North America, adding territory to the U.S. which will eventually become 13 more states.
1838 A mob of about 200 attacks a mormon camp in Missouri, killing 20 men, women and children.
1864 Nevada becomes the 36th state.
1941 After 14 years of work, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial is completed.
1952 The United States explodes the first hydrogen bomb at Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific.
1968 The bombing of North Vietnam is halted by the United States.
1971 Saigon begins the release of 1,938 Hanoi POW's.
1984 Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated in New Delhi by two Sikh members of her bodyguard.
1998 Iraq announces it will no longer cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors.
1999 EgyptAir Flight 990 crashes into Atlantic Ocean killing all 217 people on board.
2000 Soyuz TM-31 launches, carrying the first resident crew to the International Space Station.
2002 Former Enron Corp. CEO Andrew Fastow convicted on 78 counts of conspiracy, money laundering, obstruction of justice and wire fraud; the Enron collapse cost investors millions and led to new oversight legislation.

Non Sequitur


Celebrating Samhain

by Selena Fox 
As October turns to November, thousands of Witches, Wiccans, Druids, and other Pagans across America, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere observe the sacred time of Samhain. Samhain is a festival of the Dead. Meaning "Summer's End" and pronounced saah-win or saa-ween, Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest and the start of the coldest half of the year. For many practitioners, myself included, Samhain also is the beginning of the spiritual new year.
Originating in ancient Europe as a Celtic Fire festival, Samhain is now celebrated worldwide. The timing of contemporary Samhain celebrations varies according to spiritual tradition and geography. Many of us celebrate Samhain over the course of several days and nights, and these extended observances usually include a series of solo rites as well as ceremonies, feasts, and gatherings with family, friends, and spiritual community. In the northern hemisphere, many Pagans celebrate Samhain from sundown on October 31 through November 1. Others hold Samhain celebrations on the nearest weekend or on the Full or New Moon closest to this time. Some Pagans observe Samhain a bit later, or near November 6, to coincide more closely with the astronomical midpoint between Fall Equinox and Winter Solstice. Most Pagans in the southern hemisphere time their Samhain observances to coincide with the middle of their Autumn in late April and early May, rather than at the traditional European time of the holiday.
Samhain also has been known by other names. Some Celtic Wiccans and Druids call it Calan Gaeaf, Calan Gwaf, Kala-Goanv, or Nos Galan Gaeof. In Welsh, it is Nos Cyn Calan Gaual. It also is known as Oie Houney. A medieval book of tales, the Yellow Book of Lecan, reports that common folk called it the "Feast of Mongfind," the legendary Witch-Queen who married a King of Tara in old Ireland. In the ancient Coligny Calendar, an engraved bronze dating from the first century C.E.and dug up in 1897 in France, Samhain is called Trinouxtion Samonii, or "Three Nights of the End of Summer." Variant spellings of Samhain include Samain, Samuin, and Samhuinn.
With the growth and spread of Christianity as the dominant religion throughout Europe, Samhain time took on Christian names and guises. All Saints' Day or All Hallows on November 1 commemorated Christian saints and martyrs. All Souls' Day on November 2 was a remembrance for all souls of the dead. With the coming of Christian Spaniards to Mexico, the indigenous customs of honoring the dead at this time of year mixed with Roman Catholicism and gave birth to the Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos, in early November. Samhain shares the ancient spiritual practice of remembering and paying respects to the Dead with these related religious holidays of Christianity.
Halloween, short for All Hallow's Eve, is celebrated on and around October 31. Although occurring at the same time of year and having roots in end-of-harvest celebrations of the ancient past, Halloween and Samhain are not the same, but two separate holidays that differ considerably in focus and practice. In contemporary America and elsewhere, Halloween is a secular folk holiday. Like its cousin, Thanksgiving, it is widely and publicly celebrated in homes, schools, and communities, large and small, by people of many paths, ethnic heritages, and worldviews. Furthermore, Halloween has evolved to be both a family-oriented children's holiday as well as an occasion for those of all ages to creatively express themselves and engage in play in the realm of make-believe and fantasy through costumes, trick-or-treating, storytelling, play-acting, pranks, cathartic scary place visits, and parties.
DSC 8619In contrast, Samhain and its related Christian holiday counterparts continue to be religious in focus and spiritually observed by adherents. Although observances may include merry-making, the honoring of the Dead that is central to Samhain is a serious religious practice rather than a light-hearted make-believe re-enactment. Today's Pagan Samhain rites, while somber, are benevolent, and, although centered on death, do not involve human or animal sacrifices. Most Samhain rituals are held in private rather than in public.
Samhain's long association with death and the Dead reflects Nature's rhythms. In many places, Samhain coincides with the end of the growing season. Vegetation dies back with killing frosts, and therefore, literally, death is in the air. This contributes to the ancient notion that at Samhain, the veil is thin between the world of the living and the realm of the Dead and this facilitates contact and communication. For those who have lost loved ones in the past year, Samhain rituals can be an opportunity to bring closure to grieving and to further adjust to their being in the Otherworld by spiritually communing with them.
There are many ways to celebrate Samhain. Here are a few:
      • Samhain Nature Walk. Take a meditative walk in a natural area near your home. Observe and contemplate the colors, aromas, sounds, and other sensations of the season. Experience yourself as part of the Circle of Life and reflect on death and rebirth as being an important part of Nature. If the location you visit permits, gather some natural objects and upon your return use them to adorn your home.
      • Seasonal Imagery. Decorate your home with Samhain seasonal symbols and the colors of orange and black. Place an Autumnal wreath on your front door. Create displays with pumpkins, cornstalks, gourds, acorns, and apples. Set candles in cauldrons.
      • Ancestors Altar. Gather photographs, heirlooms, and other mementos of deceased family, friends, and companion creatures. Arrange them on a table, dresser, or other surface, along with several votive candles. Kindle the candles in their memory as you call out their names and express well wishes. Thank them for being part of your life. Sit quietly and pay attention to what you experience. Note any messages you receive in your journal. This Ancestors Altar can be created just for Samhain or kept year round.
      • Feast of the Dead. Prepare a Samhain dinner. Include a place setting at your table or at a nearby altar for the Dead. Add an offering of a bit of each beverage being consumed to the cup at that place setting, and to the plate, add a bit of each food served. Invite your ancestors and other deceased loved ones to come and dine with you. To have this as a Samhain Dumb Supper experience, dine in silence. After the feast, place the contents of the plate and cup for the Dead outdoors in a natural location as an offering for the Dead.
      • Ancestor Stories. Learn about family history. Contact one or more older relatives and ask them to share memories of family members now dead. Record them in some way and later write accounts of what they share. Give thanks. Share what you learned and have written with another family member or friend. Add names of those you learned about and wish to honor to your Ancestors Altar.
      • Cemetery Visit. Visit and tend the gravesite of a loved one at a cemetery. Call to mind memories and consider ways the loved one continues to live on within you. Place an offering there such as fresh flowers, dried herbs, or a libation of water.
      • Reflections. Reflect on you and your life over the past year. Review journals, planners, photographs, blogs, and other notations you have created during the past year. Consider how you have grown, accomplishments, challenges, adventures, travels, and learnings. Meditate. Journal about your year in review, your meditation, and your reflections.
      • Renovate. Select an area of your home or life as a focus. Examine it. Re-organize it. Release what is no longer needed. Create a better pattern. Celebrate renewal and transformation.
      • Bonfire Magic. Kindle a bonfire outdoors when possible or kindle flames in a fireplace or a small cauldron. Write down an outmoded habit that you wish to end and cast it into the Samhain flames as you imagine release. Imagine yourself adopting a new, healthier way of being as you move around the fire clockwise.
      • Divinatory Guidance. Using Tarot, Runes, Scrying, or some other method of divination, seek and reflect on guidance for the year to come. Write a summary of your process and messages. Select something appropriate to act upon and do it.
      • Divine Invocations. Honor and call upon the Divine in one or more Sacred Forms associated with Samhain, such as the Crone Goddess and Horned God of Nature. Invite Them to aid you in your remembrance of the Dead and in your understanding of the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. If you have lost loved ones in the past year, ask these Divine Ones to comfort and support you.
      • Transforming Expressions. If you encounter distortions, misinformation, and/or false, negative stereotypes about Paganism and Samhain in the media, contact the source, express your concerns, and share accurate information. Help eradicate derogatory stereotyping with courteous, concise, and intelligent communications.
      • Community Connections. Connect with others. Join in a group ritual in your area. Organize a Samhain potluck in your home. Research old and contemporary Samhain customs in books, periodicals, on-line, and through communications with others. Exchange ideas, information, and celebration experiences. Regardless of whether you practice solo or with others, as part of your festivities, reflect for a time on being part of the vast network of those celebrating Samhain around the world.

Top 13 Scariest Haunted Houses in the U.S.

These haunted houses will bring the horror fun, for those who can stand the fright.

Seven Weird Reasons You're Tired All the Time

You can't (always) blame sleep deprivation. If you spend your days in a fog, one of these surprising culprits may … 
By Cindy Kuzma
You stayed up late binge-watching Homeland. Then you woke up extra early to beat the boss to the office. Some days, there's no mystery as to why you need an extra shot of espresso.
But sometimes, the root of your fatigue isn't so obvious, and everything from a hidden health issue to your gym habits could be to blame. "It's like asking a pediatrician why a baby is crying; the answer could be any number of things," says Tanvir Hussain, MD, a preventive cardiologist in Los Angeles.
A challenging puzzle, yes, but your fatigue is a mystery you can solve. Here are 7 reasons you could be dragging--and how to regain more energy than you ever remember having.
You're dehydrated
Healthy women who failed to replace a mere 1.5% of their water weight experienced mood swings and low energy levels, according to a 2012 study in The Journal of Nutrition. The study authors suspect neurons in your hypothalamus--the brain region responsible for controlling things like hydration and body temperature--send mood-altering messages to the rest of your brain as an early warning to drink more water.
Your fix:
Drink up, and and ditch that 8-glasses-a-day guideline: A one-size-fits-all water measurement won't work since your hydration needs vary based on things like the weather and your workouts. In general, you should have to pee at least once every three hours and your urine should have a light lemonade-colored tint, says Gina Sirchio, DC, CCN, a chiropractic physician and nutritionist at the LaGrange Institute of Health in Chicago.
You're low on B12
Your body needs vitamin B12 to make red blood cells and keep neurons functioning properly. Deficiency decreases the amount of oxygen your blood can carry through your body, leaving you with that sleeping-with-your-eyes-open feeling. As you age, you produce less of a protein called intrinsic factor, which helps you process the nutrient.
Because only animal foods naturally contain B12, vegetarians and vegans face an elevated risk of running low, as do people who've had stomach or intestinal surgeries (these procedures often alter the tissue where B12 absorption takes place, Dr. Sirchio says). Even low or borderline levels--not necessarily full-blown deficiency--can wear you down.
Your fix:
If your fatigue comes along with forgetfulness, restless legs, or numbness and tingling, consider B12 deficiency as a potential culprit. Ask your doctor or nutritionist for a blood test of your levels. If you're low, you may need supplements. Your doctor will tell you how much to take, but typical doses range from 100 to 500 mcg. Choose a formula labeled "methylcobalomin" instead of "cyanocobalamin," Dr. Sirchio says--it's easier for your body to use. Note that supplements will only boost your energy if you're low to begin with; unlike caffeine, B vitamins won't give you an added oomph if you already have ample stores.
You're overwhelmed with stress
Trying to do it all comes with a huge downside. Normally, your levels of the stress hormone cortisol run highest in the morning and dip down at night, helping you maintain a normal daily rhythm. But chronic stress throws this pattern out of whack in either direction, says Marc Bubbs, ND, CSCS, founder of Naturopathic Sports Medicine in Toronto. If your body remains on constant alert, your cortisol levels may never fall off at night, disrupting your sleep. Or, your adrenal glands may eventually fall behind in cortisol production, leaving you sleepwalking through your morning.
Your fix: You can't always control the sources of stress, but you can change your reaction. Mindfulness practices have been shown to ease stress and fatigue in people with chronic medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, and they work for healthy people, too.
You have hidden heart disease
In a study in the journal Heart & Lung, half of women who had heart attacks said they had trouble sleeping and felt unusually fatigued in the weeks beforehand. Weariness and shortness of breath when you exercise, climb stairs, or otherwise exert yourself should also raise a red flag, Dr. Hussain says. Blocked arteries or a weak heart muscle reduce blood flow, preventing your muscles and tissues from getting the oxygen they need to function properly.
Your fix: Get to the doctor, especially if you've suddenly lost your get-up-and-go or if you have other strange symptoms, such as chest pain, anxiety, or trouble concentrating. He or she may recommend a stress test or an echocardiogram to screen for heart disease, Dr. Hussain says.
Your iron levels are too low--or too high
Most women know anemia leads to fatigue. But don't assume popping iron supplements will pep you up. Yes, low iron levels lead to poorly formed red blood cells that deprive your body of refreshing oxygen. However, getting too much iron can wear you down as well. Your body uses vitamins, minerals, and energy to rid your system of the excess, leaving you with little left to run on, says Dr. Sirchio.
Your fix: Consider your risk factors: Iron deficiency often strikes vegetarians and vegans, people with digestive diseases or thyroid problems, women on hormonal birth control, and those with a very heavy menstrual flow. On the flip side, high levels can run in families or result from taking supplements, and often cause other signs that include feeling cold, thinning hair and nails, or dizziness when you stand up. Striking the right balance is important, so don't take iron pills on your own, Dr. Sirchio warns--talk with your doctor about yearly blood tests to check your levels. If they're abnormal, have them checked monthly until they level off, then every three to six months until you steadily see normal readings.
You're not working out

Especially when paired with chronic stress, too much time spent sedentary drains your fuel tank even though you're merely idling, Dr. Bubbs says. Picture it: A stressful day at work cranks up your cortisol and blood glucose levels, triggering your knee jerk reaction to fight or flee. But when you spend your afternoon and evening barely moving between your computer screen and your couch, you never release that energy and tension. This can keep your engine revved and disrupt your sleep at night--or burn out your body's cortisol factory so much that you're dragging the next morning.
Your fix: Start moving if you're sedentary. Women who get the government-recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week report less fatigue and more energy and vigor than those who don't, according to a recent study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. If you're using exercise to help you sleep better, give your new regimen time to take hold-another study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found you'll need to move consistently for a few weeks or even months to reap the restful benefits.
You're exercising too much

On the flip side, you can have too much of a good thing. If you're sweating every day or doing heavy-duty training for an event like a triathlon, fatigue and trouble sleeping can serve as a sign that you're pushing your body beyond its limits. Workouts--and especially endurance sports like long-distance running and cycling--also cause a spike in cortisol. If you're not striking the right balance between activity and rest, you can overload your system with physical stress just as you can with emotional or mental pressure, Dr. Bubbs points out.
Your fix: If you're exercising regularly but suddenly tire more easily, you may be overreaching. Try taking a few days of complete rest. Then ease back into your routine, doing about 25% of your usual activity for a week and adding another 25% each week until you're back up to speed, advises Tom Holland, MS, CSCS, 21-time Ironman Triathlete and author of The Marathon Method.
You have a urinary tract infection

If you've had a UTI before, you know the burning urgency that comes when you pee. But about half of women who show up with UTIs also report fatigue and a general sense of illness, and the rate increases among those 40 or older, says Ashley Carroll, MD, an assistant professor of urogynecology at Virginia Commonwealth University. "Basically, it's your body's way of forcing you to rest in order to focus energy on fighting the infection," Dr. Carroll says.
Your fix: Head to the doctor if you suspect a UTI. Prescription antibiotics can banish the bacteria. All your symptoms, including fatigue, should subside within seven to 10 days of completing treatment. As you're healing, get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, and eat a healthy diet, Dr. Carroll advises. If you're prone to frequent UTIs (more than a couple per year) talk with your doctor--long-term prophylactic antibiotics can ward off future infections.

Not Happy With Work?

Wait Until You're 50 or Older 
AGING AMERICA: Older workers report resounding satisfaction; benefits of work rise with age 
by Matt Sedensky
 In this photo taken Sept. 20, 2013, Oscar Martinez, 77, center, greets diners at the Carnation Cafe at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. The chef is the park’s longest-tenured employee, beginning as a busboy nearly 57 years ago. He says he loves his job, and a new poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs finds he’s not alone: Nine out of ten workers 50 and older say they’re satisfied with their work. (AP Photo/Matt Sedensky) 
Not happy with your job? Just wait.
A study by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 9 in 10 workers who are age 50 or older say they are very or somewhat satisfied with their job. Older workers reported satisfaction regardless of gender, race, educational level, political ideology and income level.
Consider Oscar Martinez.
If Disneyland truly is the happiest place on earth, Martinez may be one of its happiest workers.
Never mind that at 77, the chef already has done a lifetime of work. Or that he must rise around 3 a.m. each day to catch a city bus in time for breakfast crowds at Carnation Café, one of the park's restaurants. With 57 years under his apron, he is Disneyland's longest-serving employee.
"To me, when I work, I'm happy," said Martinez, who's not sure he ever wants to retire.
Though research has shown people across age groups are more likely to report job satisfaction than dissatisfaction, older workers consistently have expressed more happiness with their work than younger people have.
The AP-NORC survey found significant minorities of people reporting unwelcome comments at work about their age, being passed over for raises and promotions, and other negative incidents related to being older. But it was far more common to note the positive impact of their age.
Six in 10 said colleagues turned to them for advice more often and more than 4 in 10 said they felt they were receiving more respect at work.
Older workers generally have already climbed the career ladder, increased their salaries and reached positions where they have greater security, so more satisfaction makes sense, says Tom Smith, director of the General Social Survey, one of the most comprehensive polls of American attitudes.
"It increases with age," said Smith, whose biannual survey is conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. "The older you are, the more of all these job-related benefits you're going to have."
Looking at the 40-year history of the GSS, the share of people saying they are very or moderately satisfied with their jobs rises steadily with each ascending age group, from just above 80 percent for those under 30 to about 92 percent for those 65 and older.
But as in the AP-NORC survey, the age gap grows among those who derive the greatest satisfaction from their work, as 38 percent of young adults express deep satisfaction compared with 63 percent age 65 and up.
Smith says earlier in life, people are uncertain what career path they want to take and may be stuck in jobs they despise. Though some older workers stay on the job out of economic necessity, many others keep working because they can't imagine quitting and genuinely like their jobs.
Eileen Sievert of Minneapolis can relate.
The French literature professor at the University of Minnesota used to think she would be retired by 65. But she's 70 now and grown to love her work so much, it became hard to imagine leaving. She's instead just scaled back her hours through a phased-retirement program.
"I just like the job," she said. "And you don't want to leave, but you don't want to stay too long."
Walter Whitmore, 58, of Silver Springs, Ark., feels the same. He says he has plenty of things to occupy him outside of his account representative job at a grocery distributor, but having a reason to get out of the house each day brings a certain level of fulfillment. He sees working as keeping him vibrant.
"It wasn't a goal to live to do nothing. You live to accomplish things," he said. "You have to maintain that functionality or you turn into Jell-O."
Robert Schuffler, 96, still reports for work most days at the fish market he opened in Chicago decades ago. He has turned over ownership to a longtime employee, but he can't imagine not seeing the customers he has known so long, and who still show up with a warm smile, a kiss for Shuffler and a shopping list. His job does more than just keep him feeling young: It keeps him happy.
"It's like some guy would make a million dollars today," he said. "He's very happy with the day. I'm very happy being here."

Did you know ..

The LA Times will no longer print letters from climate change deniers

The Koch brothers are spending millions to deny Americans healthcare

10 reasons the tea party is unpopular

The NYPD thinks jolly ranchers are meth

That a pot-bellied pig terrorizes Des Moines neighborhood

That mathematicians discover the universal law of mammal urination

The problem with taking too many vitamins

Motorists failed to see giant chicken crossing the road

A police officer in Lake Elsinore, California, donned a chicken costume on Thursday and crossed roads in an effort to catch drivers who failed to yield for pedestrians.

The police department conducted the crosswalk enforcement operation at five different locations in the city; two spots were located in close proximity to Lake Elsinore schools.
Police said 31 drivers were cited for failing to give way to a pedestrian - and many said they didn't even see the giant chicken. One driver was cited for speeding.

"Even though the decoy was wearing a bright yellow costume, most drivers stated they did not see him crossing the road," said the department's Sgt. Peter Giannakakos.

Police seek man who stole 384 pounds of marinated meat

Chicago police are looking for a man who stole nearly 400 pounds of marinated meat last month from a restaurant on the city's North Side.The heist happened at around 2am on Sept. 16 in the basement of JK Kabab House.
Restaurant manager Majid Mustafa said someone entered through the alley and slipped through an iron gate to gain entrance to the basement and the walk-in cooler where the restaurant's chef marinates the meat overnight.

Surveillance video from the alley shows the suspect unsuccessfully trying to haul the food away on a bicyle. He then finds a shopping cart and takes off with the cargo in tow.
The meat, which the restaurant purchases daily, is left in spices overnight and gets used the next day. In all 384 pounds of beef, chicken and lamb were stolen, Mustafa said. It adds up to a loss between $800 and $900, plus revenue lost when the restaurant had to open a few hours late.

The repugican Complaints About ObamaCare Make the Argument for Single Payer

The repugicans are so lost in their blind ObamaCare rage that they are now unwittingly making arguments for single player.…
single payer
The new wingnut nasty-gasm, post revival tent cries of “Benghazi!”, is mocking ObamaCare. This has only gotten worse after repugicans charged us 24 billion dollars so that they could make global fools of themselves. They are so lost in their blind rage that they are now unwittingly making arguments for single payer.
Wingnuts are screaming that ObamaCare is costing more money for individuals and sneering that the website is a total fail. They are even selling 404 error stickers, because if there is one thing the repugican cabal knows, it’s errors.
An alternative to insurance costing more money individually is single payer, a point I’ve been making on Twitter for a few days now. The more repugicans complain about individual costs and the failure of the website for the exchanges, the more they are making the argument for Medicare for everyone.
John Nolte at Breitbart is now making some odd argument that we could have just expanded Medicaid without touching the insured:
I guess that’s a “no” to funding the expansion then, and isn’t this Single Payer? If we are going to expand Medicaid so that everyone has insurance and the lucky can keep their private insurance, then we would basically be offering Medicare for all. I’d have thought wingnuts would have issues with this since they worry so much about the deficit when they aren’t in charge, but whatever.
Wingnuts even believe that the “disastrous rollout” was a deliberate effort so that we would move to Single Payer. They don’t seem to get the idea that they are the ones who perpetrated the narratives that ObamaCare is such a disaster because it costs money for some individuals and that the website is such a disaster maybe we should leave off exchanges all together, because the Medicaid expansion is going much more smoothly. DERP.
Wingnuts are claiming to be upset that individuals have to pay more now. While this overall claim is based on a widely debunked Hertiage study, it’s true for some people. Some of this is due to the repugican legislators in some states, like Scott Walker in Wisconsin, whose ideology is going to raise the cost of insurance by up to 99%.
CNN explained how some states that allowed discrimination in the past would now be paying more (those states against regulation, a repugican position):
“In some states, insurance markets were already regulated to not allow insurers to discriminate against the sick. In those states, premiums will fall, like in New York, where premiums will fall by as much as 50%,” said MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who helped design the law. “In other states insurers were freely allowed to discriminate against the sick. In those states, by ending the discrimination, we’re going to raise premiums in states like Wisconsin, or some of the Southern states.”
Heritage’s wingnut study failed to factor in the tax rebates as well. Dylan Scott at Talking Points Memo broke that down, concluding, “That leaves only 10 percent of uninsured Americans who make above 400 percent of the poverty level and, as the law was conceived, would be paying the premiums that Heritage highlights in its analysis.”
All of the wailing you’re hearing from wingnuts about paying more actually only applies to 10% of the population. But it’s reliable that the very poor repugican base always imagines themselves to be millionaire “makers” in these scenarios.
But for that 10% who are paying more, it’s called paying as you go — something repugicans know little about when they are in power (Medicare Part D was unfunded, unlike ObamaCare). Yes, funding things does cost money and it has to come from somewhere other than Dick Cheney’s feverish belief that deficits don’t matter (apparently he meant this to apply only when a repugican is in office).
The repugicans claim ObamaCare is unfair because it makes the “makers” pay for the poor, but people with private insurance were already paying for the uninsured.
Amanda Carpenter, Ted Cruz’s speechwriter and communications adviser, spent days wailing about losing her socialist government insurance and having to go on the exchanges. She was very upset about the lack of stability, not knowing who her doctor would be. It was all too much to ask a working person to bear.
She even retweeted a Krugman article this morning, writing “Shorter Krugman: single-payer would be so much easier “. I’m sure she meant this ironically but given the loss of any recognizable wingnut principle behind repugicans screaming about ObamaCare, it failed.
Yes repugicans, citizens having to pay more for healthcare insurance sucks and it is totally the tend of the world that some people experience glitches when trying to sign up on Healthcare.Gov! We can fix all of that by passing Medicare for all.
Thanks for this chat, it’s been great.

Speaking in Iowa, Ted Cruz Ridiculously Implies Government Shutdown Was a Success

by Allen Clifton

The more I read about Ted Cruz and some of the comments he makes, the more I honestly believe he’s completely delusional.  Sure, when you’re a politician you use a lot of hyperbole and rhetoric, but Cruz just takes it to a whole other level.
Even before the shutdown began, many within his own party (and basically anyone with any level of common sense) said that trying to defund or delay “Obamacare” by way of a government shutdown was completely pointless and had no chance at being successful.
Yet despite every piece of evidence saying that there was absolutely no chance at defunding or delaying “Obamacare,” it still didn’t sway Ted Cruz’s obsession with his futile attempt to try to defeat the health care law.
Then once the shutdown began, carrying on for over two weeks, Cruz never once backed off his stance that the government should remain closed until “Obamacare” is defunded.  Even as nearly every national poll showed Americans strongly disapproving of the government shutdown to try to “defund Obamacare,” and blaming repugicans for the shutdown—Cruz still seemed to believe that repugicans were “winning.”
And while he seems to believe that, most of the American people would strongly disagree—as would many members of his own party.
But that didn’t stop him from speaking in Iowa recently to some influential repugicans in that state, implying that the government shutdown was worth it and a success because it got people talking.
Yeah, it sure did—it got people talking about what an imbecile he is and how the repugican cabal is headed toward a “civil war” within the cabal.
Nothing “good” came out of this shutdown.  It was embarrassing not just for our government, not just for the repugican cabal or Congress—but for our entire nation.
And the only thing people are talking about negatively as it relates to the healthcare law are the issues going on with the website.  Issues which have nothing to do with the idiocy Ted Cruz has been babbling about for months.
Issues which don’t “prove Obamacare is a failure.”  They just prove the handling of the website was done very poorly.  While the website is linked to the law, the website is not the law.
But the more time that goes on, and the more repugicans embrace the fact that “Obamacare” isn’t going anywhere, the more Ted Cruz shows himself to be utterly clueless about the world around him.  He seems to literally blame everything that’s going on in this country on the healthcare law.  I wouldn’t be shocked when then inevitable blizzard hits the northeast this winter if you don’t see Ted Cruz saying it was caused by “Obamacare.”
He’s become that ridiculous.  Luckily for our nation, most Americans aren’t buying what he’s selling.  Sure, hardcore wingnuts are, but you’re not going to become President of the United States by pandering to the lunatic fringe reaches of your cabal.  Ask Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney how that worked out for them.
In fact, you’re already seeing more “moderate” repugicans starting to distance themselves from Ted Cruz. As evidenced by the Governor of Iowa barely acknowledging Cruz during his speech at the same event.
So, while I believe Ted Cruz will unfortunately be a fixture in our national headlines for quite a few years to come, I honestly believe his star is going to quickly fade as the repugican cabal is realizing that his “brand of wingnut” will ultimately push their entire cabal to the brink of extinction.
But I know that won’t stop Ted Cruz from blabbering on about “Obamacare” like some raving buffoon, because he’s living in a world all his own.  A world that seems to only exist in his delusional mind.

If you Want To Understand How Wrong repugicans Are Look At California

If Americans want to understand just how wrong Republicans are, they should look to California for a model the entire country should follow.…
After eight years of shrub-repugican malfeasance that decimated the world’s economy, many voters learned that repugicans were incompetent, and dangerous, but it is likely voters in California were more observant than the rest of the nation. In 2010 when angry racists sent teabaggers and extremist repugicans to Congress and several governorships, California voters still remembered the shrub disaster and when presented with a clear choice between a dangerous shrub-surrogate and a centrist Democrat, they chose wisely and rejected the shrub clone. The repugicans are wont to tell Americans that Democratic governance will bring about economic and social apocalypse, but if Americans want to understand just how wrong repugicans are, they should look to California for a model the entire country should follow.
In the 2010 midterm elections, an ALEC-Koch repugican and job-destroying corporatist ran for governor of California, and voters clearly understood a victory by Meg Whitman would have made the rape and pillage agenda of Scott Walker, John Kasich, and Rick Snyder look tame in comparison. Throughout Whitman’s campaign, she was not remiss to publicly and frequently boast about her intent to explicitly follow an ALEC-Koch agenda and it is likely because she was certain she could buy the governorship with her vast fortune. Fortunately for California, voters had just suffered two terms of another repugican and fully understood that their environment, economy, and residents could hardly survive a tax-cutting, deregulating, and privatization-mad repugican following a scripted Koch-ALEC agenda with no regard for anything but handing the state to corporations and the Koch brothers.
California voters rejected the Koch-acolyte and in 2012 helped Democrats raise taxes on the rich and corporations, protect union labor, raise the minimum wage, protect the environment, and sought out and punished two Koch associates for campaign finance malfeasance. Despite the voters, legislature, and Democratic Governor Jerry Brown doing the polar opposite of what repugicans say will destroy America, California’s sky did not fall and for the first time in ages there is a budget surplus, the state’s credit rating was raised, and is adding jobs with private-sector employment up by 0.8 percent. Americans should take heed that regardless what repugicans claim; raising taxes on the wealthy, raising the minimum wage, and protecting union labor will not eviscerate the economy or spell the end of America.
First, when voters sided with Governor Jerry Brown and raised taxes on the rich and corporations after multi-billion dollar shortfalls under a repugican governor (Arnold Schwarzenegger), California expects to take in $2.4 billion more in revenue than it spent. In fact, after paying off the previous year’s shortfall and setting aside funds for future obligations, California will have enough money available to increase funding for education, pay down its debt, and still have enough left over to set aside $1 billion in a rainy day fund. It prompted Governor Brown to boast that, “For the next four years, we’re talking about a balanced budget. We’re talking about living within our means. This is new. This is a breakthrough.” It is also a blueprint for the entire nation that President Barack Obama has proposed for four-and-a-half years and repugicans dismissed as doomsday for the economy.
President Obama has also pleaded with repugicans in Congress to raise the federal minimum wage, but they claim doing so is a proven job killer; except in California. Last month, Governor Brown signed a bill approving a $2 minimum wage increase. The state Senate President pro tem, Darrell Steinberg said, “For millions of California’s hardworking minimum wage employees, a few extra dollars a week can make a huge difference to help them provide for their families. They deserve a modest boost and after six years, an increase in California’s minimum wage is the right thing to do.” According to the Economic Policy Institute, about 3 million California workers are currently earning minimum wage and struggling to survive from paycheck to paycheck.
A Walmart employee pleased with news of the minimum wage increase who lives in a garage with his wife and two children (and a third on the way) said “If I had a higher wage, we would be able to rent an apartment, right now we’re living in poverty. I want to be able to buy my kids shoes without waiting for our income tax return to do it, and I want to give my wife money for maternity pants and underwear. I really don’t want to depend on food stamps. I’m a hardworking person; I want to be a proud, working American that’s not on public assistance.” Although the wage increase is not large enough to be considered as a decent living wage, it is huge improvement and with private sector employment rising, the repugican claims that raising the minimum wage hurts business is laid to rest as a blatant lie.
What Californians should be happiest about is last week’s news that two Koch brother affiliates were hit with substantial fines for their dirty dark money the Kochs spent to defeat Governor Brown’s tax increases, and to support a ballot proposition meant to cripple labor union organizing along the lines of what Koch-whore Scott Walker did in Wisconsin. The Kochs have interfered with California politics in the past primarily spending dirty money to put initiatives on the ballot to eliminate environmental regulations, and it can be frustrating to get regulators to police and enforce campaign finance rules. But with valuable assistance from Democratic Attorney General Kamala Harris who “provided additional legal resources and clout to the Political Practices Commission,” the day before Election Day the Koch’s front group was forced to disclose the origin of their funds. It has taken nearly a year after California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) filed their complaint, but California’s regulators fined two Koch-backed groups $1 million each and two campaign committees in California will pay $15 million to the state. A repugican governor would have quashed the investigation and likely obstructed the FPPC for challenging the Kochs.
It would be premature and foolish to say California is thriving and completely recovered from the shrub and Schwarzenegger economic malfeasance, but it is on the road to full recovery with its first balanced budget in eons, increased funding for education, a higher minimum wage, and a billion dollars in a reserve fund. Why? Because voters rejected a Koch-ALEC lackey for governor and voted to raise taxes, protect union organizing, raise the minimum wage, and protect environmental regulations the Kochs were spending untold sums to destroy. Through it all there was no economic melt-down repugicans promised would come to pass with Democrats in power, and it is a portent of America’s economic recovery with a Democratic Congress to assist President Obama because he has championed every last worthwhile move California voters approved and Democrats enacted. If Americans really need to see what President Obama’s economic agenda holds in store for the nation, they can look to California as the model of success.

Texas Treats Pigs Better Than Prisoners

The state of Texas has been the subject of multiple lawsuits over its insistence on killing state prisoners with heat stroke as they sit in jails without air conditioning. It turns out that Texas would not even subject actual swine to the same conditions.

A new lawsuit from the mother of a Texas prisoner who overheated and died says that 14 Texas prisoners have died that way since 2007 in the dozens of state prisons that lack air conditioning in the prisoner housing areas. Summer temperatures routinely climb over 100 degrees indoors. Now, even prison guards are complaining. With good reason. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Union officials said corrections officers have complained to Texas prison officials that the heat index inside facilities is often as high as 130 degrees Fahrenheit, but haven't been able to persuade them to make changes. They said they were driven to speak out after learning that the state spent $750,000 in June to buy six new barns with exhaust fans and misters to cool pigs raised for inmate consumption.

Were you aware ...

The Red Menace

Anti-Communist Propaganda Of The Cold War
Every age has its bogeyman. If you grew up in 1950s and 60s America you would have been bombarded with anti-communist propaganda. In hindsight it is perhaps easy to raise a wry eyebrow. Yet at the time the threat was taken very seriously indeed. Here, hysteria intact, are a few of the stranger messages delivered to the American people.

Who Was Dr. Frankenstein?

Was there a real Dr. Frankenstein? Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus is considered by many to be the first science fiction novel. It was written in 1816-1817, during a time when bringing the dead back to life was a serious endeavor in scientific circles.

Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (later Shelley) wrote the book as an exploration of the ethics of such experimentation and brought the question to a wider audience. The model for the character of Dr. Frankenstein could have been any, or several, of a number of actual people.

What Makes A Boomerang Come Back?

The boomerang is one of humanity's oldest heavier-than-air flying inventions. King Tutankhamen, who lived during the 14th century BC, owned an extensive collection, and aboriginal Australians used boomerangs in hunting and warfare at least as far back as 10,000 years ago.

The first boomerangs were heavy projectile objects thrown by hunters to bludgeon a target with speed and accuracy and weren't intended to return to their thrower - that is, until someone unknowingly carved the weapon into just the right shape needed for it to spin. A happy accident, huh?

Daily Comic Relief

Double Shot

Science News

Boom, zap, pow! Who needs superheroes to move mountains, when lightning does the job just fine?
A recently identified atmospheric pattern may give people a two to three week warning that a deadly heat wave threatens to engulf the United States.
Scientists have used a new technique to identify the age and source of an eruption depicted in the world's first known landscape painting.
A veteran night sky observer captures a mesmerizing image over Maine's Moosehead Lake.

More Science News

Brief exposure to anabolic steroids may have long lasting, possibly permanent, performance-enhancing effects, shows a study published today [28 October] in The Journal of Physiology. Previously, re-acquisition of muscle mass – with or without steroid […]

When you look at the hands of a clock or the streets on a map, your brain is effortlessly performing computations that tell you about the orientation of these objects. New research by UCL scientists […]

Everybody’s experienced it: a miserable backup on the freeway, which you think must be caused by an accident or construction, but which at some point thins out for no apparent reason. Such “traffic flow instabilities” […]

While many football helmet and mouth guard manufacturers claim that their equipment will lessen impact forces and reduce concussion risk, neither a specific brand nor a higher cost were associated with fewer concussions in adolescent […]

Can gaining weight during pregnancy provide clues into the cause of autism spectrum disorders? New research from the University of Utah shows the answer to that question may be yes in some situations. Researchers have […]

Archaeology News

A record of Neanderthal archaeology, thought to be long lost, has been rediscovered by UCL scientists working in the Channel island of Jersey. The study, published in the Journal of Quaternary Science, reveals that a […]

Collapse of Bronze Age empires caused by drought

More than 3,200 years ago, the thriving civilizations in and around modern-day Israel suddenly collapsed for reasons that have long been a mystery.
Collapse of Bronze Age empires caused by drought
Analysis of pollen grains taken from sediment beneath the Sea of Galilee have pinpointed
the period of crisis that led to the Late Bronze Age collapse of civilization
[Credit: Yoray Liberman/The New York Times]
Now Prof. Israel Finkelstein and Dr. Dafna Langgut of the Dr. Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University and Prof. Thomas Litt of the University of Bonn in Germany have found an answer in the pollen at the bottom of Israel's lakes. In a study published Monday in Tel Aviv: Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University and reported in the New York Times, the researchers say it was drought that led to the fall of the ancient southern Levant.

As a result of this climate change, "in a short period of time the entire world of the Bronze Age crumbled," explains Prof. Finkelstein.

An unusually high-resolution analysis of pollen grains taken from sediment beneath the Sea of Galilee and the western shore of the Dead Sea, backed up by a chronology of radiocarbon dating, pinpointed the period of the crisis at between 1250 and 1100 BC. The study used a unique combination of technological, archaeological, and historical analysis to provide the fullest picture yet of the environmental disaster.

Several years ago, Prof. Finkelstein received a grant from the European Research Council to conduct research aimed at reconstructing ancient Israel. The project consists of 10 tracks, including ancient DNA and molecular archaeology. For the climate change part of the project, the researchers extracted about 60 feet of samples of gray muddy sediment from the center of the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel. Drills passed through 1,000 feet of water and into 65 feet of the lake bed, recovering evidence dating over the past nine millenia. At Wadi Zeelim in the southern Judean Desert, on the western margins of the Dead Sea, the researchers manually extracted eight cores of sediment, each about 20 inches long.

"Pollen is the most enduring organic material in nature," explains Dr. Langgut, a pollen researcher who carried out the actual work of sampling. "These particles tell us about the vegetation that grew in the vicinity of the lake in the past and therefore testify to the climatic conditions in the region."

The results showed a sharp decrease in the Late Bronze Age of Mediterranean trees like oaks, pines, and carobs, and a similar decline in the local cultivation of olive trees, which the experts interpret as the consequence of repeated periods of drought. The droughts were likely exacerbated by cold spells, causing famine and the movement of marauders from north to south.

Recent studies of pollen grains conducted by experts in southeast Anatolia, Cyprus, along the northern coast of Syria and the Nile Delta came up with similar results, indicating that the crisis was regional. After the devastation came a wet period of recovery and resettlement, according to the researchers, eventually giving rising to the kingdoms of biblical times, including ancient Israel and Judah.

For more, see the New York Times story at:

Surprises discovered in decoded kiwifruit genome

A new study that decoded the DNA sequence of the kiwifruit has concluded that the fruit has many genetic similarities between its 39,040 genes and other plant species, including potatoes and tomatoes. The study also has unveiled two major evolutionary events that occurred millions of years ago in the kiwifruit genome.
Surprises discovered in decoded kiwifruit genome
The recent decoding of the kiwifruit genome has discovered that the fruit has many genetic
similarities to other plant species, including potatoes and tomatoes, among
other surprises [Credit: Cornell University]
“The kiwifruit is an economically and nutritionally important fruit crop. It has long been called ‘the king of fruits’ because of its remarkably high vitamin C content and balanced nutritional composition of minerals, dietary fiber and other health-benefits,” says Zhangjun Fei, a scientist from the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell who contributed heavily to study, which was conducted by a team of plant scientists from the United States and China and published Oct. 18 in Nature Communications.

“The genome sequence will serve as a valuable resource for kiwifruit research and may facilitate the breeding program for improved fruit quality and disease resistance,” Fei says.

Kiwifruit originated from the mountains and ranges of southwestern China and was not really known to the world until the early 20th century, when farmers in New Zealand discovered the fruit and began breeding it as a commercial crop. It is a form of berry that grows on woody vines, much like grapes, and belongs to the order of Ericales, where blueberries, tea bushes and Brazil nuts are also classified.

One of the most remarkable findings of the study was uncovered when scientists observed a high percentage of similarities within the kiwifruit DNA. The data revealed two unusual mishaps that occurred in the process of cell division about 27 and 80 million years ago, when an extensive expansion of genes arose from an entire extra copy of the genome, followed by extensive gene loss.

Fei explains, “The kiwifruit genome has undergone two recent whole-genome duplication events.”

When genes are duplicated, the extra genes can mutate to perform entirely new functions that were not previously present in the organism. This process, called neofunctionalization, can occur with no adverse effects in plants and, in the case of kiwifruit, was quite beneficial.

“The duplication contributed to adding additional members of gene families that are involved in regulating important kiwifruit characteristics, such as fruit vitamin C, flavonoid and carotenoid metabolism,” says Fei.

For the sequencing, the scientists used a Chinese variety called “Hongyang,” which is widely grown in China, to produce the draft sequence. They then compared kiwifruit to the genomes of other representative plant species including tomato, rice, grape and the mustard weed Arabidopsis. They uncovered about 8,000 genes that were common among all five species. The comparison revealed important evolutionary relationships, including the development genes related to fruit growth, ripening, nutrient metabolism, and disease resistance.

Prior to the study, extensive research on the metabolic accumulation of vitamin C, carotenoids and flavonoids had been reported in kiwifruits, but genome sequence data, critical for its breeding and improvement, had never been available.

“The kiwifruit genome sequence represents the first of a member in the order Ericales, thus providing a valuable resource for comparative genomics and evolutionary studies,” Fei says. “We expect to continue generating genome sequences from other kiwifruit varieties to investigate the genetic diversity of kiwifruit and elucidate regulatory networks of important biological processes.”

The sequence is accessible online at the Kiwifruit Genome Database.

New Hadrosaur in China

The origin of hadrosaurid dinosaurs is far from clear, mainly due to the paucity of their early Late Cretaceous close relatives. Compared to numerous Early Cretaceous basal hadrosauroids, which are mainly from Eastern Asia, only six early Late Cretaceous basal hadrosauroids have been found: three from Asia and three from North America.
New hadrosauroid dinosaur found in China
Photos of caudodorsal part of the skull of Yunganglong datongensis. A, right lateral view;
B, dorsal view; C, caudal view. Scale bar 10 cm [Credit: YOU Hai-Lu]
In a study published online October 18 in PLoS ONE 8(10), Dr. YOU Hai-Lu, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP), Chinese Academy of Sciences, and his collaborators from Shanxi Museum of Geological and Mineral Science and Technology, Shanxi Province of China described a new hadrosauroid dinosaur, Yunganglong datongensis gen. et sp. nov., from the early Late Cretaceous Zhumapu Formation of Shanxi Province in northern China. This find adds another record of basal Hadrosauroidea in the early Late Cretaceous, and helps to elucidate the origin and evolution of Hadrosauridae.

The new taxon is represented by an associated but disarticulated partial adult skeleton, including the caudodorsal part of the skull, two cervical vertebrae, partial dorsal neural arch and neural processes, two caudals, distal portions of both ischia, distal end of left femur, proximal portion of right tibia, and distal portion of left tibia with astragalus.
New hadrosauroid dinosaur found in China
Distal end of left femur of Yunganglong datongensis. A, cranial view; B, caudal view;
C, proximal view; D, distal view; E, Lateral view; F, medial view.
Scale bar = 10 cm [Credit: YOU Hai-Lu]
Hadrosauroids were facultative bipedal dinosaurs that dominated Cretaceous Laurasian megaherbivorous niches. During the Late Cretaceous, they gave rise to hadrosaurid dinosaurs, which are characterized by duck-like bills and complex grinding dentitions that rival those of horses and bovids.

Cladistic analysis and comparative studies show that Yunganglong represents one of the most basal Late Cretaceous hadrosauroids and is diagnosed by a unique combination of features in its skull and femur.

"Basal hadrosauroids are mainly known from the Early Cretaceous of Eastern Asia, and especially northern China. Therefore, the discovery of new early Late Cretaceous basal hadrosauroids has important phylogenetic and paleobiogeographical significance and can help elucidate the evolution of hadrosauroids, especially the origin of hadrosaurids", said Dr. YOU Hai-Lu, corresponding author of the study.

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Hundred Talents Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Department of Land and Resources of Shanxi Province.

"Lost World" Discovered in Remote Australia

Three new vertebrate species, isolated for millions of years, found in rugged Cape Melville terrain.

World of pigeon racing rocked by doping scandal after cocaine reportedly found in blood samples

Six racing pigeons in Belgium were found to have been doped with drugs such as cocaine and painkillers.
The doping was revealed when the Belgian pigeon-racing federation sent samples from 20 birds to the National Horseracing Authority of Southern Africa. The birds tested positive for numerous drugs. Pigeon racing in Belgium is a highly lucrative sport.

In May a Belgian racing pigeon called Bolt - named after Olympic gold-winning Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt - was sold to a Chinese businessman for a world record price of 310,000 euros (£260,000, $400,000). It was thought that the buyer wanted to use Bolt for breeding more birds.

Riches and glamor connected with racing pigeons have brought many problems, including thefts from breeders and racketeering. The doping of the birds was only unearthed in South Africa - tests carried out in Belgium did not reveal a problem. The sport revolves around specially bred and trained pigeons released from a specific location and racing back to their home loft.

Ducks invaded drugstore

A flock of ducks wandered into a CVS in Saratoga Springs, New York, on Thursday night.
Approximately 50 ducks waddled through two sets of automatic doors at about 7pm and made themselves at home.

It was only after an employee lured the ducks with a bag of popcorn that they ended their invasion.

Nothing was damaged by the ducks, though some mud was left behind by the army of waterfowl.

Asian countries make historic pledge to save the ‘ghost of the mountain’

Representatives from Kyrgyzstan and 11 other Central and South Asian countries made a historic pledge today to protect and conserve snow leopards and their habitat in the high-mountain landscapes of Asia.
Asian countries make historic pledge to save the ‘ghost of the mountain’
Research by WWF scientists shows that 30 percent of the endangered snow leopard's habitat in the Himalayas may be lost if greenhouse gas emissions continue their steady increase [Credit: © Klein & Hubert/WWF]
Joined by conservation experts from around the world and the international donor community, the 12 nations endorsed the Bishkek Declaration on Snow Leopard Conservation and the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program. The declaration marks the first time that governments and non-governmental organizations have teamed up to conserve snow leopards and their habitat.

Like many species, the snow leopard is vulnerable to poaching driven by the illegal wildlife trade. In addition, snow leopards are killed by farmers in retaliation for preying on livestock, and face a declining habitat range due to overgrazing, infrastructure development and the impacts of climate change.

It is estimated that fewer than 7,500 snow leopards remain in the wild. The goal of the initiative is to protect 20 snow leopard landscapes that have over 100 breeding adults by 2020, and to promote sustainable development in areas where the species lives.
Asian countries make historic pledge to save the ‘ghost of the mountain’
Snow leopard (Panthera uncia) [Credit: © David Lawson / WWF-UK]
The summit and work of the government of the Kyrgyzstan, the World Bank, range states and the other partners is bringing the plight of the snow leopard to the attention of the world. Saving snow leopards and managing the high-mountain landscapes of Asia also helps maintain water and food security for upland and downstream communities alike.

Moreover, the mountain landscapes of Asia are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Building adaptation measures for conservation, local communities and national economies into the plan will create for a more sustainable future.

“This is a monumental moment for snow leopards. It’s thrilling to see the brightest minds in the field of conservation team together to preserve this iconic cat, but also do it in a way that holds a positive impact beyond the snow leopard,” said WWF Program Manager John Farrington.

Animal Pictures

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Daily Drift

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