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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.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

Americans begin shelling British troops in Boston.
Maryland ratifies the Articles of Confederation. She is the last state to sign.
The Directory of Great Britain authorizes vessels of war to board and seize neutral vessels, particularly if the ships are American.
To put an end to robberies by the Barbary pirates, the United States declares war on Algiers.
Texas declares independence from Mexico on Sam Houston's 43rd birthday.
The Territory of Washington is organized.
President Abraham Lincoln rejects Confederate General Robert E. Lee's plea for peace talks, demanding unconditional surrender.
The first Reconstruction Act is passed by Congress.
Rutherford B. Hayes is declared president by one vote the day before the inauguration.
Congress passes the Indian Appropriations Bill, proclaiming unassigned lands in the public domain; the first step toward the famous Oklahoma Land Rush.
Bone Mizell, the famed cowboy of Florida, is sentenced to two years of hard labor in the state pen for cattle rustling. He would only serve a small portion of the sentence.
Congress passes the Platt amendment, which limits Cuban autonomy as a condition for withdrawal of U.S. troops.
An international conference on arms reduction opens in London.
Gabriel Lippman introduces the new three-dimensional color photography at the Academy of Sciences.
Congress passes the Jones Act making Puerto Rico a territory of the United States and makes the inhabitants U.S. citizens.
In Italy, Mussolini admits that women have a right to vote, but declares that the time is not right.
Novelist D.H. Lawrence dies of tuberculosis in a sanitarium in Vence, France, at the age of 45.
The center of Berlin is bombed by the RAF. Some 900 tons of bombs are dropped in a half hour.
MacArthur raises the U.S. flag on Corregidor in the Philippines.
Ho Chi Minh is elected president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
The U.S. Navy launches the K-1, the first modern submarine designed to hunt enemy submarines.
Claudette Colvin refuses to give up her seat in Montgomery, Alabama, nine months before Rosa Parks' famous arrest for the same offense.
France grants independence to Morocco.
More than 150 U.S. and South Vietnamese planes bomb two bases in North Vietnam in the first of the "Rolling Thunder" raids.
The siege of Khe Sanh ends in Vietnam, the U.S. Marines stationed there are still in control of the mountain top.
Federal forces surround Wounded Knee, South Dakota, which is occupied by members of the militant American Indian Movement who are holding at least 10 hostages.
A grand jury in Washington, D.C. concludes that President Nixon was indeed involved in the Watergate cover-up.
Czech pilot Vladimir Remek becomes the first non-Russian, non-American in space.
The United States plans to send 20 more advisors and $25 million in military aid to El Salvador.

Non Sequitur


The True-Life Horror that Inspired Moby-Dick

vIn November of 1820, a seafaring expedition went all wrong when a whale repeatedly attacked and sank the whaling ship the Essex. The young captain, George Pollard Jr. and the crew were stranded on three 20-foot boats for months. A few of them survived.
Pollard had told the full story to fellow captains over a dinner shortly after his rescue and to a missionary named George Bennet, and to Bennet it seemed like a confession. Certainly, it was grim: 92 days and sleepless nights at sea in a leaking boat with no food, his surviving crew going mad beneath the unforgiving sun, eventual cannibalism and the harrowing fate of two teenage boys, including Pollard’s first cousin, Owen Coffin. “But I can tell you no more—my head is on fire at the recollection,” Pollard told him. “I hardly know what I say.”
The story of the Essex crew inspired Herman Melville to write a novel about a whale hunter, which was not well received and only sold a few thousand copies in his lifetime. Read the whole story at Smithsonian's Past Imperfect blog.

Did you know ...

That raising the minimum wage is a step towards economic freedom

About the neo-confederate supreme court

That under gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin private sector job growth has slowed markedly

Why taxes have to go up

That univision beat NBC in February sweeps

House repugicans Congratulate Themselves On Killing a Million Jobs

It is customary to give one’s good wishes, or praise, when something special or pleasant has happened to someone, or for a particular achievement they persevered and worked hard to accomplish. For eight long years, shrub repugicans ran up the deficit with two unfunded wars, an unfunded Medicare prescription plan, and then bailed out banks as the economy tanked, and witnessed their handiwork eviscerate millions upon millions of Americans’ jobs and had the temerity to run against Barack Obama promising more of the same economic malfeasance. Apparently, they wanted the nation to give them a hearty “job well done” and “please continue” taking the economic life out of the people in 2008. After President Obama bailed the country out of the shrub repugican economic disaster, they swept into power in the House and directly proceeded attempting to return to their old ways of killing jobs and retarding growth, and yesterday they finally accomplished their goal.
Doubtless, repugicans are congratulating themselves for allowing the dreaded sequester to take effect knowing full well that in the first year of a ten year plan, about a million Americans will lose their jobs, the economy will contract, and hundreds-of-thousands of children, seniors, and the poor will be kicked off safety nets, because that has been their goal for four years. However, repugicans cannot expect many Americans not in the upper 1% of income earners to congratulate them for finally imposing their precious Draconian austerity on America, and with little options to avoid the certain economic hardship most American families are going to feel, it safe to say repugicans will be cursed from one end of the nation to the other and they deserve much worse. If they had a conscience, or morality, repugicans might be bothered that the people are going to pay for the repugican cabal’s austerity economic strategy, but they will collect their bloated salaries, and corporate contributions, and hit the talk shows to tell Americans that killing jobs and retarding GDP growth was the best way to build a vibrant economy; for the wealthy and their corporations.
One might be inclined to excuse the feckless repugican drive to send the nation back into a recession if there were no living examples of the devastation austerity wreaks on a recovering economy, but after most European nations suffered slow or no growth and double dip recessions as a result of severe austerity measures, and reduced GDP growth in the fourth quarter in America on account of spending cuts, they cannot be excused. Their austerity measures served one purpose and one purpose only; damage the economy and make the people suffer to protect the rich and for re-electing President Obama.
The repugicans did pass a bill in the House to replace the sequester in the last session of Congress, but it would have kept all the domestic cuts and replaced the defense cuts with yet more domestic cuts to anti-poverty programs. The repugicans hate programs that combat poverty, so they must be celebrating the sequester cuts to WIC, food stamps, meals on wheels, Head Start, and reduced school lunch programs, but they will not be getting kudos from half-a-million working-poor families deciding how to provide their hungry children with at least one daily meal. Seniors too, will not be singing the repugican cabal’s praises as their food stamps dry up and those luxuries like Meals on Wheels stop bringing food to shut-ins, but they can rest assured repugicans fought diligently to  continue big oil subsidies, corporate tax breaks, and tax loopholes for the richest 1% of Americans while complaining America’s broke and cannot afford to assist the generation that built the infrastructure the wealthy depend on to post record profits as middle class families face declining wages and job losses.
While most Americans are desperately looking for ways to survive another repugican economic onslaught, a million workers nervously await notice their job was eliminated due to spending cuts, and as 11,000 special education teachers await pink slips, and tens-of-thousands of others began receiving notices their jobs face elimination, it is safe to say educators and students will not be sending congratulatory notes to repugicans. The list of affected Americans includes 99% of the population in some way or another, and any American can peruse a comprehensive list to see precisely how they will be affected by austerity-drunk repugicans responsible for reductions in law enforcement, healthcare, disaster relief, aviation safety, and regulators keeping the food and medicine supply safe. One thing is assured, repugicans succeeded in adversely affecting every American negatively and they are quite pleased with themselves, but if they expect to be congratulated for deliberately and with malice aforethought damning Americans to unnecessary harm, they will be disappointed at the silence.
The repugicans know, and promised faithfully in 2010, that creating jobs was the surest way to maintain President Obama’s economic recovery, and yet over two full years later, they have not created one job and deliberately attempted to kill millions, and on Friday they succeeded with the sequester. They may be congratulating each other, but they owe their success, in part, to Progressives and Liberals who sat home during the 2010 midterm elections to punish the President for not exceeding the authority of his office and not waving a magic wand to repeal DADT, DOMA, or close Guantanamo without Congressional approval, and although many liberal and professional left pundits took pride in “teaching Obama a lesson,” they are to be congratulated for handing the House to teabaggers and repugicans running on a pro-poverty platform. Good job!
Yesterday President Obama said, “At a time when our businesses have finally begun to get some traction, hiring new workers, and bringing jobs back to America, we shouldn’t be making a series of dumb, arbitrary cuts to things that businesses depend on and workers depend on like education and research and infrastructure and defense,” but the President was not being honest. “We” didn’t make dumb arbitrary cuts, repugicans did, and in all honesty, they were not “dumb” or “arbitrary.” They were calculated cuts repugicans yearned, and fought, for from the day the President took office and they were imposed because repugicans love poverty and hate the poor, thrive on ignorance and hate education, love the rich and hate taxing them, but most of all, they hate America and only traitors congratulate America’s enemies, but a Secular Humanist damns them to their proverbial Hell, and may they rot there for eternity.

Aerial photography ban proposed for all but government

AGBeat: "Neal Kurk (r), member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives since 1986 has recently sponsored HB 619-FN to make aerial photography illegal in their state."
The proposed bill states:
A person is guilty of a class A misdemeanor if such person knowingly creates or assists in creating an image of the exterior of any residential dwelling in this state where such image is created by or with the assistance of a satellite, drone, or any device that is not supported by the ground. This prohibition shall not apply where the image does not reveal forms identifiable as human beings or man-made objects. In this paragraph, “dwelling” means any building, structure, or portion thereof which is occupied as, or designed or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one or more individuals.
This bill would forbid you from tossing a camera two feet into the air with the shutter-timer feature activated. And Kite aerial photographers will have to switch to pole cams, I guess.

US Trade Rep orders Canada to comply with the dead-and-buried ACTA treaty, Canada rolls over and wets itself

Do you remember ACTA? It was a broad, Internet-destroying copyright treaty, negotiated with unprecedented secrecy (even Congress and the European Parliament were not allowed to know what was going on in the negotiations -- though CEOs of beer and fertilizer companies were kept apprised on a running basis). Well, ACTA died when the people of the world rejected it, marching by the thousands in the streets, and governments refused to ratify it.
But now it's back. The US Trade Representative gave marching orders to Canada's Harper government, and it has introduced a bill that would force Canadians to obey the provisions in ACTA, even though ACTA no longer exists. From EFF's Maira Sutton:
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) posted its 2013 Trade Policy Agenda and 2012 Trade Policy Report, which covers all of its ongoing negotiations over trade agreements. It reports that the US is working with Japan and other negotiating parties “to ensure that ACTA can come into force as soon as possible,” and encourages Canada “to meet its [ACTA] obligations.”
Canada did not miss a beat to satisfy this demand. The Canadian government introduced a bill today to make Canada compliant with provisions of ACTA, paving the way for its eventual ratification. Among the provisions outlined within the 52-page bill are increased criminalization of copyright and trademark law as well as a new authority for Canadian customs officials to seize and destroy goods they can determine to be “counterfeit or pirated goods” without any judicial oversight.

Chad says soldiers in Mali kill al Qaeda's Belmokhtar

Veteran jihadist Mokhtar Belmokhtar speaks in this undated still image taken from a video released by Sahara Media on January 21, 2013. REUTERS/Sahara Media via Reuters TV  
Chadian soldiers in Mali have killed Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the al Qaeda commander behind a bloody mass hostage-taking at an Algerian gas plant in January, Chad's military said on Saturday.
His death would be a major blow to Islamist rebels in northern Mali who have been pushed into their mountain strongholds by French and African forces.
"On Saturday, March 2, at noon, Chadian armed forces operating in northern Mali completely destroyed a terrorist base (...) The toll included several dead terrorists, including their leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar," Chadian armed forces spokesman General Zacharia Gobongue said in a statement read on national television.
Belmokhtar claimed responsibility for the seizure of dozens of foreign hostages at the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria in January in which more than 60 people were killed.
The report of his death comes days after Chad's President Idriss Deby said soldiers in Mali had killed another leading al Qaeda commander in the Sahara, Adelhamid Abou Zeid.
French officials said they could not confirm the killing of either Abou Zeid or Belmokhtar.
Chad is among several African nations that have contributed forces to a French-led military intervention in Mali aimed at ridding its vast northern desert of Islamist rebels who seized it nearly a year ago following a coup in the capital.
Western and regional nations are worried that al Qaeda will seek to use the zone as a launchpad for international attacks and strengthen ties with homegrown African Islamist groups like al Shabaab in Somalia and Boko Haram in Nigeria.
In a speech on Friday, French President Francois Hollande said the operation in Mali was in its final stage.
"Terrorist groups have taken refuge and are hiding in an especially difficult zone," he said. "Information is out there. I don't have to confirm it because we must reach the end of the operation."
A U.S. official and a Western diplomat, however, said the reports about Abou Zeid's death appeared to be credible.

Journalists took secret money for critical pieces about Malaysian opposition candidate

The government of Malaysia hired a US PR firm to pay wingnut journalists to write articles critical of a opposition leader running on a pro-democracy platform for The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The National Review, The San Francisco Examiner, Red State, and The Washington Times. The writers who took the money then wrote for their usual places, but didn't disclose that they were getting money from a third party to criticize Anwar Ibrahim.
The payments to conservative American opinion writers — whose work appeared in outlets from the Huffington Post and San Francisco Examiner to the Washington Times to National Review and RedState — emerged in a filing this week to the Department of Justice. The filing under the Foreign Agent Registration Act outlines a campaign spanning May 2008 to April 2011 and led by Joshua Trevino, a conservative pundit, who received $389,724.70 under the contract and paid smaller sums to a series of wingnut writers.
Trevino lost his column at the Guardian last year after allegations that his relationship with Malaysian business interests wasn't being disclosed in columns dealing with Malaysia. Trevino told Politico in 2011 that "I was never on any 'Malaysian entity's payroll,' and I resent your assumption that I was."
According to Trevino's belated federal filing, the interests paying Trevino were in fact the government of Malaysia, "its ruling party, or interests closely aligned with either." The Malaysian government has been accused of multiple human rights abuses and restricting the press and personal freedoms. Anwar, the opposition leader, has faced prosecution for sodomy, a prosecution widely denounced in the West, which Trevino defended as more "nuanced" than American observers realized. The government for which Trevino worked also attacked Anwar for saying positive things about Israel; Trevino has argued that Anwar is not the pro-democracy figure he appears.

What do a prosthetic leg, a bra and an ass have in common?

Police found cocaine in prosthetic leg, morphine in bra and hypodermic needle hidden in ass during traffic stop 

A Charlotte County man was arrested on drug charges on Tuesday after deputies said he was found with a small bag of cocaine in his prosthetic leg. One woman who was traveling with him was also arrested after authorities said she had morphine and Hydromorphone pills hidden in her bra and a second woman was reportedly found with a hypodermic needle hidden in her ass.
A Charlotte County Sheriff's deputy stopped a car in Port Charlotte for not having brake lights. The car was driven by Alexis Ann Clancey, 20, of Englewood, and carried Bradley Jordon Greus, 23, and Donald Carlo Acquarelli, 25, of Port Charlotte, and Teal Lee Thomson, 22, of Rotonda. Deputies searched the vehicle and asked Greus if he had anything hidden in his prosthetic leg. Greus said he had a small bag of cocaine in it and handed it to a deputy.

Deputies found a plastic bag with pills in Thomson's bra. Clancey said she had a Hydromorphine pill in her wallet left on the driver's seat. While searching Acquarelli, Clancey jumped in the car, grabbed her wallet, quickly pulled out a pill and swallowed it. Deputies attempted to stop her from swallowing but were unsuccessful. Authorities said they found five hypodermic needles with a liquid that tested positive for opiates. Clancey also told deputies she had another hypodermic needle hidden in her bottom; she was removed from the patrol car and produced a needle from her ass and gave it to the deputy.

The four were arrested and taken to the Charlotte County jail. Greus and Acquarelli were both charged with possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Thompson was charged with possession of morphine, possession of hydromorphone and possession of drug paraphernalia. Clancey was charged with possession of opiates, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting an officer.

Nepalese police crackdown against long hair sparks outrage

Police authorities in Kathmandu are facing flak from residents following a drive targeting youths and a few girls for having long hair and wearing earrings.
On Monday police detained 711 people including three girls as part of a campaign to bring down incidents of theft, looting and other criminal activities. But instead of taking action based on past records of those detained, the main criterion behind the action was the length of their hair and their appearance.

After rounding them up from all corners of the city the police took down names, fingerprints and photos of the detainees before handing them over to their parents and guardians. Some unlucky ones also had their hair cut by the police in presence of their guardians and were warned not sport long hair in future.

“Is it against the law that I want to keep my hair long? Are we being ruled by the Taliban,” said one unidentified youth who was forced to cut his hair short. The police action has sparked an online outrage with many accusing the authorities of trampling on personal liberty of residents and some demanding an apology from Inspector General of Nepal Police, Kuber Singh Rana.

Iran bans Buddhist statues from stores in its capital

Buddha statues have joined Barbie dolls and characters from "The Simpsons" TV cartoon as banned items in the backward nation.

Random Celebrity Photo

Gene Tierney, 1944
Gene Tierney, 1944

British sell French wine to pay off drinks tab

Belinda Goldsmith at Reuters: "Britain's government is selling vintage French wine at around 5,000 pounds a bottle ($7,500) in a bid to make its wine cellar self-funding."

Beef Rainbow

I would've answered "fleshy deliciousness" (sorry, vegetarians!). That, or magic. But the folks at the USDA spoiled the fun by explaining it with science.
From Taylor Orci's post over at The Atlantic:
According to the USDA, "When light hits a slice of meat, it splits into colors like a rainbow." This is something called a "diffraction grating," essentially what happens when light waves bend or spread around a surface and create a pattern. It's the same thing that happens to make rainbows on the surface of a DVD. It's understandable that folks mistake diffracted light as a sign of spoilage, especially since the main color created by meat diffraction gratings is green. There is a reason why in Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham, the central conflict of the protagonist is his strong apprehension against eating green meat.

Six Things Worse Than Horse Meat In Your Burger

An unintended hunk of horseflesh is one of the less alarming things that the meat processing industry can put in your ground beef. What about drugs, chemicals, pesticides, poop, bugs and germs?

Random Photo

Budget cuts force Yellowstone to delay opening

A car travels the newly plowed east entrance road over Sylvan Pass in Yellowstone National Park shortly after the park opened in this photo taken in May 2011. REUTERS/Ruffin Prevost 
During the first full week of March every year, the mountain passes of Yellowstone National Park rumble with the sounds of hulking snow plows operated by two dozen, mostly seasonal workers. This month, the plows will be silent. The costly and complex road-clearing operation that was scheduled to start on Monday will be postponed this year because of the U.S. government's across-the-board budget cuts known as the "sequester," which took effect on Friday.
Park managers have to trim $1.75 million from Yellowstone's $35 million annual budget, which will delay the opening of most entrances to America's first national park by two weeks. Park managers will give more details on Monday.
Local tourism industry leaders are not happy with the decision. A delay in the park's traditional early May opening and other service reductions could mean millions of dollars in lost tourism and tax revenues for small, rural towns in Montana and Wyoming.
"I think it's counterproductive, and I expect a lot of people to be raising hell," said Mike Darby, whose family owns the Irma Hotel in downtown Cody, Wyoming, at the east gate of Yellowstone.
Built in 1902 by frontier showman Buffalo Bill Cody, the hotel is decorated with bison heads and hunting rifles. The business survives the lean winter months by drawing local customers to its restaurant and Silver Saddle Lounge, where cowboys meet for a beer on weekends.
A two-week delay in Yellowstone's opening means Cody will miss out on more than 150,000 visitors spending an estimated $2.3 million, according to figures released by the Cody Country Chamber of Commerce. Similar shortfalls in four other gateway towns around the park could put total losses from a two-week delayed opening at more than $10 million.
Beyond Yellowstone, the National Parks Conservation Association has warned that a $110 million cut to the National Park Service budget will result in job losses and reduced services at the country's 398 national parks.
For example, the U.S. spending cuts could lead to a 20 percent reduction in spring student education programs at Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania, affecting 2,400 students; a two-week delay in the reopening of Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road, which could cost $1 million in lost revenue daily to surrounding communities and concessions; and a delay in the opening of the Grand Canyon National Park's East and West Rim Drives, according to the NPCA.
"It's alarming that this very avoidable threat could become a reality. From Yellowstone to Cape Cod, the Grand Canyon and Great Smoky Mountains, our national heritage and local economies are at risk," NPCA President Tom Kiernan said in a statement on Thursday.
Yellowstone and neighboring Grand Teton National Park each attracts roughly 3 million annual visitors who come to see grizzly bears, geysers and wide-open spaces. The two parks generated a total of $766 million in tourism spending in 2011, supporting 11,438 jobs, according to a Michigan State University analysis released last month.
If the budget cuts roll on through the summer, local business owners fear that families may decide to vacation elsewhere, which could mean disastrous losses in local tax collections for gas, food, lodging and merchandise.
"They could end up losing more in taxes over the season than what they saved with budget cuts," Darby said. "It's ridiculous."
Some tourism leaders in Wyoming are working on their own plans to raise money to plow the roads at Yellowstone, in an effort to honor the spring opening dates that many families have already planned their vacations around.
With a budget focused largely on fixed costs like fuel and salaries for key employees, there are no easy cuts to be made in Yellowstone's operating expenses.
"We really do have very few places that we can go" to cut costs, said Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash. "Our workforce is made up of a lot of seasonal employees, so that's certainly a major area where we can make changes."
Plowing more than 300 miles of high-altitude paved roads in Yellowstone takes weeks, and burns through as much as $10,000 worth of diesel fuel each day.
Waiting for warmer weather to help clear some of that snow is expected save about $250,000 in plowing costs, Superintendent Dan Wenk told Darby and other gateway community business leaders this week in a conference call to outline planned cuts.
A further $1 million in savings will come from not hiring replacements for some departing permanent workers. Wenk expects to save an additional $500,000 by reducing the seasonal workforce and through travel and training reductions.
In Jackson, Wyoming, at the southern boundary of Grand Teton National Park, business owners are pushing to get the word out that the parks and surrounding areas will be open for business this summer, despite the cuts.
But budget cuts mean that three popular visitor centers in Grand Teton will not open at all this summer, said park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs.
Since many maintenance workers and other seasonal employees carry out double duties as on-call firefighters, paramedics or search-and-rescue workers, payroll reductions will mean fewer emergency responders in the park this summer.
"We will do our best not to allow those reductions to impact the safety of our visitors and employees," Skaggs said. "But the reality is our response capabilities will be reduced."
In staunchly conservative Wyoming — where legislators just cut most state agency budgets by 6.5 percent despite virtually no state debt and more than $15 billion in savings — the across-the-board federal cuts are raising questions.
Residents who depend on tourism for a living are already complaining to the state's all-Republican congressional delegation, which is on record as supporting the cuts if it means the alternative is raising taxes.
"I'm sorry, but in how this is affecting us, it doesn't seem to me like it's fiscally responsible," Darby said. "Somebody needs to refigure this, or we need to get better advocates."

Milan's Vertical Forest Towers

Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) is an ambitious eco project in Milan, Italy, designed by architect Stefano Boeri. The project is comprised of two towers with giant cantilevered staggered balconies that permit fairly big trees to be accommodate, since there is a minimum of two storeys over every balcony. Basically, it's a vertical forest in the heart of a blooming metropolis.

The Forest Towers have a height of 364 feet (111 meters) and 256 feet (78 meters) and will host more than 900 trees on terraces. The structure was completed in the first quarter of 2012 and the project is currently proceeding with the construction of facades and facilities.

Poo as Radiation Shielding

Bazillionaire Dennis Tito's Inspiration Mars mission to send a man and a woman to the Red Planet has got 99 problems, but radiation from cosmic rays ain't one. Why? Because it's just been solved ... by poo.
... their greatest health risk comes from exposure to the radiation from cosmic rays. The solution? Line the spacecraft's walls with water, food and their own faeces.
"It's a little queasy sounding, but there's no place for that material to go, and it makes great radiation shielding," says Taber MacCallum, a member of the team funded by multimillionaire Dennis Tito, who announced the audacious plan earlier this week.
McCallum told New Scientist that solid and liquid human waste products would get put into bags and used as a radiation shield – as well as being dehydrated so that any water can be recycled for drinking. "Dehydrate them as much as possible, because we need to get the water back," he said. "Those solid waste products get put into a bag, put right back against the wall."

Going To Mars In 2018

A Concept Is So Crazy It Just Might Work
Millionaire space tourist Dennis Tito and his partners have had to tell questioners repeatedly that they're not 'crazy' to think they can launch a man and a woman to Mars and back - but if the Inspiration Mars Foundation's 'Mission for America' succeeds, it may well be because it's just crazy enough.

The plan doesn't involve landing on Mars. It will be a 501-day non-stop Mars flyby. The rocket and crew capsule will be ready to launch on January 5, 2018, when the planets literally align. A launch on or around that date would result in a straightforward, no-fuss trajectory that would come within 100 miles of Mars' backside, and bring the spacecraft back to Earth on May 21, 2019.

Twnety-Seven Beautiful Sunsets

Sunsets are amazing and beautiful. Here are 27 sunset pictures.

Five mental disorders share genetic links

The largest genetic study of mental illnesses to date finds five major disorders may not look much alike but they share some gene-based risks. The surprising discovery comes in the quest to unravel what causes psychiatric disorders and how to better diagnose and treat them.
The disorders — autism, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia — are considered distinct problems. But findings published online Wednesday suggest they're related in some way.
"These disorders that we thought of as quite different may not have such sharp boundaries," said Dr. Jordan Smoller of Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the lead researchers for the international study appearing in The Lancet.

How Many Languages is it Possible to Know?

vGraham Cansdale is a professional translator at the European Commission in Brussels. He is considered fluent in the 14 languages he uses in his work, but he has studied other languages. Cardinal Giuseppe Mezzofanti was a linguist who died in 1849; he was said to have known between 40 and 72 languages. Is this even possible?
There are millions of people, even in the mostly monolingual US, who speak more than one language at home. Competence in three languages is not unusual, and we've all heard stories of grandmas and grandpas who had to master four or five languages on their way from the old country to the new. In India it is common for people to go about their business every day using five or six different languages. But what about 10, 20, 30, 100 languages? What's the upper limit on the number of languages a person can know?

Michael Erard, in his fascinating book Babel No More, travels around the world in search of hyperpolyglots, people who study and learn large numbers of languages. He sheds light on the secrets of their success, and explains why it can be hard to put an exact number on language knowledge.
Mental_floss introduces us to seven hyperpolyglots, although how many languages they know depends on the meaning of "know," as there are different levels of fluency. Of course, only a polyglot would really understand how different those levels are. More

Where Does Our Sense Of Time Come From?

In 1905, Albert Einstein published his theory of Special Relativity - showing that wristwatches of two observers in motion relative to one another will measure time differently. Since then, our human concept of time has gotten slippery. It's no longer possible to think of time as ticking along at a constant rate since the universe was born, separate from our own human perceptions.

Studies have borne out the idea that we all perceive time differently. For example, in 2001, two scientists at University College London conducted research showing that our internal clocks don't always match either. Everyone's sense of time is different and, at least in part, dependent on what our senses are telling us about the external world.

Atlantis Found!

Atlantis Found: Giant Sphinxes, Pyramids In Bermuda Triangle

Two scientists, Paul Weinzweig and Pauline Zalitzki, working off the coast of Cuba and using a robot submersible, have confirmed that a gigantic city exists at the bottom of the ocean. The site of the ancient city — that includes several sphinxes and at least four giant pyramids plus other structures — amazingly sits within the boundries of the fabled Bermuda Triangle.

Atlantis found in Bermuda Triangle

Two scientists, Paul Weinzweig and Pauline Zalitzki, working off the coast of Cuba and using a robot submersible, have confirmed that a gigantic city exists at the bottom of the ocean. The site of the ancient city — that includes several sphinxes and at least four giant pyramids plus other structures — amazingly sits within the boundries of the fabled Bermuda Triangle.

According to a report by arclein of Terra Forming Terra, Cuban Subsea Pyramid Complex, the evidence points to the city being simultaneously inundated with rising waters and the land sinking into the sea. This correlates exactly with the Atlantis legend.

The disaster may have occurred at the end of the last Ice Age. As the Arctic icecap catastrophically melted it caused sea levels to rise quickly around the world, especially affecting the Northern Hemisphere. Coast lines changed; land was lost; islands (even island continents) disappeared.

Arclein observes: “At the time uplifted portions of the Mid Atlantic Ridge subsided also including Lyonese and the home islands and land mass around the Azores. Even if that had not happened, this subsidence was amply large enough

This would have produced an orthogonal pressure forcing subsidence to either East or West. Since the ridge between Cuba and Yucatan is the natural point of weakness between the Gulf subsidence basin and the Caribbean subsidence basin, it naturally subsided deeply. The driver for all this was the hydrostatic changes brought about by both the original crustal shift of 12,900 years ago that I have called the Pleistocene Nonconformity and the slow uplift of the Hudson Bay Basin brought about by the ending of the Ice Age.”

Cuban missile crisis stops research

According to journalist Luis Mariano Fernandez the city was first discovered decades ago, but all access to it was stopped during and after the Cuban Missile Crisis. (http://www.luismarianofernandez.com/AtlantidaEnCuba4.html) To view in other languages, use the google translate tool bar.

The U.S. government discovered the alleged place during the Cuban missile crisis in the sixties, Nuclear submarines cruising in the Gulf (in deep sea) met pyramid structures. They immediately shut down the site and took control of him and the objects, in order that it will not come to Russians hands.”

The science team of deep ocean experts, archaeologists and oceanographers found ruins of ancient buildings 600 feet below the ocean. They say the city is Atlantis.

Look carefully, in the muky water a giant pyramid is visible( http://i1260.photobucket.com/albums/ii567/riseearth/Atlantis_02.jpg )

Pyramids and sphinxes bigger than Egypt’s

Evidence that the island of Cuba is the vestige of a once mighty culture is supported by Zalitzki’s discovery on the island of extremely ancient symbols and pictograms identical to those seen on the underwater structures.

A second giant pyramid photographed by the ROV ( http://i1260.photobucket.com/albums/ii567/riseearth/Atlantis_01.jpg )

Using exploration submersibles, they discovered amazingly huge pyramid structures similar to (but larger than) the pyramids in Giza, Egypt. They estimate the Atlantis pyramids are constructed with stones weighing many hundreds of tons.

Speaking with a scientist about the possibility that the ruins are indeed Atlantis, Fernandez reports the expert replied:
“…in the Yucatan cultures today is possible that what still remains of the aborigines of those places perhaps the Olmecs or some very primitive civilization of Yucatan, the northern part of Central America—originated according to them on an island that sank by a cataclysm. This island is called AtlanticĂș.”
That too fits the stories about the sudden demise of the wondrous Atlantis.

AtlanticĂș. Atlantis. The aboriginal natives still call it that in their history.

During an interview about the exploration of the mega-city, Fernandez asked lead scientist Pauline Zalitzki about the civilaztion that built it.

“When we published the first news of this finding,” she said, “the University of Veracruz was interested in our work and we had recorded images of these structures on the seabed. Specifically, the Institute of Anthropology of the University excavations invited me. They were doing [studies] on parts and ruins of the Olmec civilization.

The Olmecs and other native peoples all have primary morphology marking the arrival of this continent. This mean coming from the direction of Cuba, and had to occur in a very large earthquake where their land sank. Morphologies indicate that they belong to three families who were saved. One of these families came to the coast of Veracruz, which are supposedly the Olmec. Others came to Central America and traveled to the Pacific coast, and these families created the civilization of the Americas as we know it today, because they distributed all their knowledge.

When these anthropologists saw underwater images of this city, and saw some stone monoliths, some symbol, and inscriptions, they identified with Olmec motifs. They were very surprised.” (
http://i1260.photobucket.com/albums/ii567/riseearth/Atlantis_06.jpg )

The Olmecs devolved from the survivors of Atlantis, a much superior culture destroyed aft the end of the Ice Age flooding. The world was reshaped and a super-civilization destroyed, remembered for millennia only in legend and a passing refernce by the philosopher Plato.

But Atlantis was real, is real: scientists Paul Weinzweig and Pauline Zalitzki have found it.

Sonar images of mega-structures on the seabed ( http://i1260.photobucket.com/albums/ii567/riseearth/Mega_structure.jpg )

Another image of an Atlantean mega-structure ( http://i1260.photobucket.com/albums/ii567/riseearth/inverted22.jpg )


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