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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.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Daily Drift

Yeah, it's one of those days ...

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Today in History

515 BC The building of the great Jewish temple in Jerusalem is completed.
241 BC The Roman fleet sinks 50 Carthaginian ships in the Battle of Aegusa.
49 BC Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon and invades Italy.
1656 In the colony of Virginia, suffrage is extended to all free men regardless of their religion.
1776 "Common Sense" by Thomas Paine is published.
1785 Thomas Jefferson is appointed minister to France.
1806 The Dutch in Cape Town, South Africa surrender to the British.
1814 Napoleon Bonaparte is defeated by an allied army at the Battle of Laon, France.
1848 The treaty of Guadeloupe-Hidalgo is signed which ends the United States' war with Mexico.
1876 Alexander Graham Bell makes the first telephone call to Thomas Watson saying "Watson, come here. I need you."
1893 New Mexico State University cancels its first graduation ceremony, because the only graduate was robbed and killed the night before.
1902 The Boers of South Africa score their last victory over the British, capturing British General Methuen and 200 men.
1910 Slavery is abolished in China.
1924 The U.S. Supreme Court upholds a New York state law forbidding late-night work for women.
1927 Prussia lifts its Nazi ban, Adolf Hitler is allowed to speak in public.
1933 Nevada becomes the first U.S. state to regulate drugs.
1941 Vichy France threatens to use its navy unless Britain allows food to reach France.
1943 Adolf Hitler calls Field Marshall Erwin Rommel back from Tunisia in North Africa.
1944 The Irish refuse to oust all Axis envoys and deny the accusation of spying on Allied troops.
1945 American B-29 bombers attack Tokyo, killing 100,000.
1947 The Big Four meet in Moscow to discuss the future of Germany.
1948 Author Zelda Fitzgerald (wife of F. Scott) dies in a fire at Highland Hospital.
1953 North Korean gunners at Wonsan fire on the USS Missouri, the ship responds by firing 998 rounds at the enemy position.
1954 President Dwight Eisenhower calls Senator Joseph McCarthy a peril to the Republican Party.
1966 The North Vietnamese capture a Green Beret camp at Ashau Valley.
1969 James Earl Ray pleads guilty to the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King and is sentenced to 99 years in jail.
1971 The Senate approves a Constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to 18.
1975 The North Vietnamese Army attacks the South Vietnamese town of Ban Me Thout, the offensive will end with total victory in Vietnam.
1980 Iran's leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, lends his support to the militants holding the American hostages in Tehran.
1982 The United States bans Libyan oil imports, because of the continued support of terrorism.
1987 The Vatican condemns surrogate parenting as well as test-tube and artificial insemination.

Non Sequitur


Did you know ...

That a thin snowpack in west signals drought-stricken summer

The wealth gap between white and African-American households tripled in the last 25 years

About the new, improved civil war that's infecting the repugican cabal

The NYPD lied under oath to prosecute occupy activist

That Cleveland city lawyers want to join the teamsters, citing low pay

An art gallery project creates a record store that only stocks the white album

That Florida in considering springing forward and never falling back

The truth be told

A question that has not been answered
Appearing at a Senate Banking Committee hearing Thursday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) grilled officials from the Treasury Department over why criminal charges were not filed against officials at HSBC who helped launder hundreds of millions of dollars for drug cartels.

The HSBC scandal resulted in the Department of Justice and Treasury announcing a record $1.92 billion fine after finding that the international bank repeatedly helped the world’s most violent drug gangs move at least $881 million in ill-gotten gains through numerous countries the U.S. has economic sanctions against.

“HSBC paid a fine, but no one individual went to trial, no individual was banned from banking, and there was no hearing to consider shutting down HSBC’s activities here in the United States,” Warren said. “So, what I’d like is, you’re the experts on money laundering. I’d like an opinion: What does it take — how many billions do you have to launder for drug lords and how many economic sanctions do you have to violate — before someone will consider shutting down a financial institution like this?”..

Warren reiterated her question and still got nowhere. “We at the Treasury Department… don’t have the authority to shut down a financial institution,” Cohen said...

“You know, if you’re caught with an ounce of cocaine, the chances are good you’re going to go to jail,” Warren said. “If it happens repeatedly, you may go to jail for the rest of your life. But evidently, if you launder nearly a billion dollars for drug cartels and violate our international sanctions, your company pays a fine and you go home and sleep in your own bed at night, every single individual associated with this. I think that’s fundamentally wrong.”
Extended excerpt from The Raw Story.  Can any reader justify not sending any bankers to prison?

Alan Grayson: Social Security benefit cuts will prompt civil disobedience

>I don’t think the Bigs (and the congressional faces who do their bidding) understand the amount of rejection in the country for benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Benefit cuts to any of these programs is hugely unpopular. In fact, huge majorities support increasing benefits, not lowering them, even if it means that everyone pays higher FICA taxes (click to see the stunning data on that).
And yet Mr. Hope-and-Change Obama, his Robert Rubin–friends, and his billionaire partner-in-crime Pete Peterson persist in trying to ram some kind of benefits cuts bill through Congress — confusingly and misleadingly tying to the deficit, or the budget, or lost kittens, or something.
I’ve been warning for weeks that if they succeed in passing a bipartisan benefits bill, most of the Congress types who vote for it will lose … their … jobs. My message to them has been consistent:
I’m doing you a favor, folks. Think before you act. Thinking after you act will be too late.
There aren’t enough K Street lobbying positions for all of you, if all of you hit the resale market on the same day. I don’t want to say “I told you so.” I want to tell you now — this will not end the way Barack Obama (who will never face election again) and Steny Hoyer are telling you it will end. It will end ugly, for you.
Now here’s Alan Grayson to say it will get uglier than that. Benefits cuts will lead to real “civil disobedience.” And it won’t be just hippies with student loans and pup tents out there this time. It will be you and me — and also our parents, carrying walkers and two-by-fours, looking for congressional faces to talk seriously to.
Listen as Alan Grayson talks with David Shuster and Daniel Marans on WeActRadio:
Grayson (at 2:42 in the clip): “If they come through with cuts, people will come pouring into the streets … And what’s the point? Under current law, benefits will be paid out for the next 25 years. Minor tweaks would make that forever.”
Yep. And the most effective of those minor tweaks? Removing the salary cap — not raising it, removing it — so Pete Peterson’s salary is FISA-taxed at the same rate as his janitor’s. How simple is that?

The Koch Brothers Are Spending Millions to Deny Poor Americans Healthcare

One should be wary of assigning the word evil to another human being because it means they are profoundly immoral and guilty of not conforming to conduct established as consistent with principles of personal and social ethics. Evil, or immoral, people would likely cause pain, suffering, and even death to another human being for pleasure, or withhold assistance to a person in distress regardless it would be of no consequence or cost to them. Unfortunately, America is home to two of the most evil men on the planet. It is difficult to imagine any American spending their money to deny medical care to an infirm American they have no connection to or personal hatred for, but Charles and David Koch are spending money to deny poor Americans healthcare for no readily apparent reason except the Kochs are genuinely evil, immoral men devoid of personal or social ethics.
Recently there has been encouraging news for residents of states with repugican governors because they are accepting the Affordable Care Acts’ Medicaid expansion provisions to provide the poorest Americans with healthcare. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is the latest repugican to accept the Medicaid expansion plan that takes effect on January 1, 2014 and is fully funded by the federal government for three years. After three years federal funding begins phasing down to no less than 90% by 2020. States would be left with a minimal investment (10%) after 2020 to provide healthcare for hundreds-of-thousands of poor Americans who would be without medical care without the expansion.
Brewer, who is not normally recognized for her compassion, spoke at a rally to garner support for her decision and cited her reasons for embracing expansion that include, broadening eligibility for the poor saves taxpayer money, saves lives, and eases the burden on hospitals caring for uninsured patients. She warned that without expansion, 50,000 Arizonans would lose healthcare coverage after January 1 “even if they’re in the middle of their treatment; the human cost of this tragedy can’t be calculated.” Despite the cost to the state of not expanding Medicaid, one might wonder why Brewer had to rally support to avert an incalculable human tragedy, because any Arizona resident with a modicum of morality would embrace a program providing healthcare to 50,000 poor Arizonans.
Regardless there is no cost to Arizona until at least 2017, and no cost to Charles and David Koch ever, they instructed their front group, Americans for Prosperity, to organize a campaign to oppose Brewer’s attempt at Medicaid expansion. Apparently, the Kochs are not amused when their Republican surrogates oppose their agenda, and especially when they have spent millions to eliminate the ACA and defeat its main proponent, President Obama. The Kochs’ front group Americans for Prosperity organized a campaign to enlist Arizona citizens to fight against their own self-interests to defeat Medicaid expansion, which is also underway in Pennsylvania and Florida courtesy of Americans for Prosperity. In Pennsylvania, for example, AFP intends to deny 542,000 uninsured and poor residents health care coverage, and in Florida, AFP convinced a Republican subcommittee to block Governor Rick Scott’s decision to expand Medicaid leaving Scott with a decision to either obey the Koch brothers, or provide poor Floridians with healthcare using his veto power.
Americans for Prosperity supplied Arizona residents with a typical screed decrying the benefits of providing healthcare to the poor such as “Governor Brewer and powerful lobbyists are pushing Arizona to impose statewide taxes to fund an expansion of Medicaid (AHCCCS) under ObamaCare.  It is vitally important for Arizona to stop the proposed Medicaid expansion, because the human and fiscal costs of that expansion would be enormous;” the cost to Arizona is zero for three years and only 10% after 2020. The letter also cited the human costs they claim will “railroad at least 250,000 Arizonans into a low-quality, government-managed health insurance system.  Medicaid patients not only have worse medical outcomes than patients with private insurance, but often have worse medical outcomes than low-income persons without insurance.” So, according to Americans for Prosperity, a poor person with no healthcare insurance has better outcomes than patients with medical coverage, and Arizonans who can afford private healthcare insurance will be “railroaded” into Medicaid coverage? These are the same scare tactics opponents of the Affordable Care Act have parroted since 2009, and they are as illogical and false in 2013, as they were nearly four years ago.
A prescient question is; what benefit do the Koch brothers get from preventing Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Florida (among others) from participating in the Medicaid expansion program? Poor people cannot afford private healthcare insurance, so the insurance industry is not losing potential policy holders, and people with private coverage will not qualify for Medicaid coverage so they will not abandon their private policies for no coverage. With no apparent profit motive, it is possible the Kochs are nervous that another government program like Social Security and Medicare will be popular with the people making their “government is a failure” propaganda hard to sell to voters, but it is most likely the Koch brothers are just sheer evil; and greedy. The Koch philosophy is that if government spends any money at all, it should be to enrich the wealthy whether it is in the form of tax breaks for the one-percent, or direct payments to Koch Industries.
It is impossible to find any socially redeeming value in the Koch brothers’ existence, and the damage they wreaked on this nation and its people is immeasurable. They were the driving force behind the Citizens United decision, spend millions promoting climate change denial, celebrated and congratulated repugicans for enacting sequestration cuts, fund the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and fund anti-union efforts in all fifty states. They are connected to every anti-American and anti-democracy effort in the nation, and are hell-bent on controlling and profiting from every aspect of American society whether it is education or politics, and by any measure are evil incarnate. That they actively deny poor Americans basic healthcare, although despicable, is just another aspect of their malicious existence.

The truth is ...

Senate repugicans Plan to Shut Down the Government Unless Healthcare Reform is De-funded

In the recording industry it is fairly common knowledge that regardless which artist, producer, arranger or record label puts out a bad song, it
was destined to fail because it was a bad idea. A highly-regarded, big-name artist can re-record the song, use a different arrangement, and record label, but they will not have any more success than the original artist because the song itself was a bad idea. In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama likened John McCain’s alleged “change” to the same failed shrub-repugican ideas and said “You can put lipstick on a pig. It’s still a pig,” and the same principle applies to repugicans today who claim they are a changed party after their defeat in November, but are still adhering to the same bad ideas and strategies with enhancements that make them worse.
For four years, repugicans obstructed and attempted to block every effort by the Obama Administration and Democrats to jumpstart the economy, and held recovery hostage to achieve more tax cuts for the rich, eviscerate the public sector workforce, and slash spending to keep the private sector in a perpetual hiring slump. However, President Obama and Democrats foiled repugican’s strategy with the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (stimulus) and payroll tax reduction that bore fruit the economy is still benefitting from. The repugicans began the 113th Congress with the same agenda and tactics they used throughout the last session, and their goal is the same; halt recovery, kill jobs, and resort to hostage taking to fulfill their anti-government austerity mission as the economy is improving.
The repugican cabal message coming out of their post-election defeat was a friendlier group not beholden to the richest one-percent of income earners, and strong advocates for the middle class, but regardless cosmetic changes, they are the same repugicans. Thus far, instead of growing the economy and creating jobs, John Boehner pledged the repugican cabal’s primary mission in 2013 is ending abortion, Senate repugicans plan to withhold funding to keep the government running as hostage for a ransom of defunding the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), and House repugicans for ending the contraception coverage mandate to satisfy religious extremists promoting theocracy. Paul Ryan is expected to reveal a House budget proposal that gives the wealthy tax cuts, privatizes Medicare, and enacts severe austerity measures to impact hiring and create deeper poverty among already struggling Americans. Last week, repugicans celebrated the Koch brothers’ sequestration cuts that guarantee to slow growth, kill jobs, and take food out of the mouths of children, seniors, and the working poor that repeats the entire agenda of the 112th repugican Congress.
There was good news yesterday when the government reported that unemployment fell to a four-year low of 7.7% with better-than-expected gains in the private sector courtesy of the President’s stimulus, payroll tax reduction, and low tax rates for businesses that repugicans opposed because they knew consumer’s having additional money to spend would spur private sector hiring and create new jobs. The report also put to rest the absurd repugican notion that the only way to create jobs was through deep spending cuts that takes money out of the economy. However, the good news was tempered with a warning that the improved jobs numbers would be short-lived because the repugican sequester cuts will impact hiring and kill anywhere from 400,000 to one million jobs later in the year as a result of the abridged first year of sequestration. The next nine years of sequester cuts will increase by approximately 20% and have a profound effect on jobs and economic growth.
Economists expect the sequestration’s effects to begin in the April jobs report as businesses will be discouraged from hiring in expectation of reduced consumer spending, and warn that the full effects of reduced hiring will be manifest later in the year once austerity cuts have had time to contract economic growth, but repugicans were well aware that enacting austerity during a tepid recovery would kill jobs and retard growth.
The report was good news for the private sector, but public jobs are still decreasing as repugicans have cut federal and state government middle class jobs that drive real economic prosperity and growth. In fact, if public sector jobs like teachers, law enforcement, and federal employees were maintained at the same levels as at the end of 2008, last month’s jobless rate would be 7.2 percent. The public sector workforce has been ravaged over the past four years, and last month 10,000 more jobs were eliminated as spending declined in the never-ending debt and deficit reduction crusade to cut the government.
In the Senate, teabagger hero Ted Cruz promised to shut down the government unless the Affordable Care Act is defunded, and repugican 'savior' Marco Rubio concurred with Cruz that unless the health law is eliminated by defunding, he too will vote against any continuing resolution to keep the government running. House repugicans have their own ransom to keep the government operational to satisfy evangelicals desperate to end contraception coverage in conjunction with Paul Ryan’s Sanctity for Human Life Act that grants personhood to a single-celled organism. It is the same repugican agenda that Americans suffered through for the past two years and it is predicated on wasting time on issues unrelated to growing the economy and creating jobs, and shutting down the government unless the healthcare law and contraception are eliminated.
The repugicans have failed at governance at epic proportions, and are repeating every foul tactic to subvert the economy and kill economic growth they used during the 112th Congress. Defunding the ACA will not create one job any more than criminalizing contraception, privatizing Medicare, or deliberately killing hundreds-of-thousands of jobs through sequestration cuts, but creating jobs was never a repugican priority and they have made it clear that during the 113th Congress their plans and despicable tactics remain unchanged. The repugicans can tell Americans they are nicer, working for the middle class, and working to grow the economy, but regardless their self-portrayal as altruists toiling to change their image, they are still pigs, hostage takers, job killers, anti-government religious fanatics, and devout woman-haters and no amount of phony makeup will change who they continue proving they are; enemies of the people.

As It Turns Out Rand Paul’s Filibuster Was a Pre-Planned Scam for Cash

As itt turns out Rand Paul’s filibuster was big scam. Sen. Paul has wasted little time implementing the second part of his planned filibuster. He is now trying to cash in with a fundraising letter.
The true story behind Rand Paul’s filibuster is starting to come out. According to the National Journal, Mitch McConnell and Senate repugicans knew the filibuster was coming, “But the day wasn’t entirely unplanned. Paul, often accused of being a lone wolf on Capitol Hill, had laid some of the groundwork to win over the GOP establishment. McConnell and Co. knew the filibuster was coming, even if they did not know when precisely or what exactly it would look like.”
This fact contradicts the myth that Paul floated that he decided to come to the Senate floor and start speaking. Sen. Paul has been suggesting that everybody just showed up, “We probably had 15 congressmen come over to the Senate floor,” he said this morning in a radio interview with Glenn Beck. Paul pointed out that House members are allowed to come to the Senate floor but are barred from speaking or coming forward, so they were presumably there just to lend support with their presence. “I’ve never seen that happen before. And they came spontaneously. Nobody called them. They just showed up.”
Sen. Paul’s claims of spontaneity are dubious at best. Now we have come to learn that Paul is trying to cash in on his planned stunt.
Paul sent out this fundraising letter,
Dear Patriot,
My 13-hour filibuster yesterday is being called one of the longest in U.S. history.
I had been trying for more than a week to get a straight answer on whether or not the Obama administration believed it had the authority to use drones to target and kill American citizens on American soil – without due process.
And after receiving a letter from Attorney General Eric Holder claiming they DO have that authority, I could no longer sit silently at my desk in the U.S. Senate.
So I stood for thirteen-straight hours to send a message to the Obama administration, I will do everything in my power to fight their attempts to ignore the Constitution!
Millions of Americans chose to stand with me and put President Obama, Attorney General Holder, and Congress in the spotlight…
And the good news is, it worked!
Just hours ago, I received a letter from Attorney General Holder declaring the President DOES NOT have the authority to use drones to kill Americans on U.S. soil.
Patriot, this shows what we can do when stand together and fight.
So won’t you help me continue the fight to protect our Constitutional liberties today?
Paul’s fundraising letter is flat out false and wrong.
Sen. Paul invents a response from Attorney General Holder that bears no resemblance to what he actually said. Paul didn’t force a change in policy. Holder’s second letter was a two sentence smack down that repeated the original point that the AG made to the Kentucky senator in his first letter.
After making a complete fool out of himself by filibustering against something that won’t ever happen, Rand Paul threw his arms up in the air and declared victory. Now, Rand Paul wants money for his raging fail.
After successfully duping his marks, it’s time to get paid. Getting paid and raising his profile for 2016 is what this filibuster was all about. Since his father retired Rand Paul is now in charge of the family business, which he apparently intends to use to separate fools from their money.
Sen. Paul pulled of a giant con, and got the country to buy into his first filibuster for cash stunt. Despite these facts wingnuts everywhere will be emptying their pockets, and readying themselves for Rand’s next big con.

The truth hurts

Eight Weird And Wonderful Dining Experiences

New York is a place where seemingly anything is possible. Craving chocolate chip cookies at 3am? Get them delivered straight to your door. Need to get your dog a pedicure? A doggy spa service will take care of it.

Residents of the Empire State have seen it all and aren't easily surprised, but even the most hardened New Yorkers will be delighted by some of these weird and wonderful restaurants. From eating in the dark to dining in a haunted house, here's a list of some of the most inventive and exciting dining experiences.

Hot Tips For Growing Your Own Veggies in Greenhouses

With increasing discontent surrounding the food industry, people are finding their own grassroots solutions. Here are some helpful tips for growing your own vegetables. More

Gluten-Free: Is it a Fad, or a Healthy Diet?

If you’re not sensitive to gluten, banning it may hurt more than help.

New Beauty Treatment: Setting Your Face on Fire

Do you want to give your eyes that extra sparkle? Huǒ liáo is the perfect beauty treatment for you. Soak a towel in a special elixir, add some alcohol, then set it off:
Huǒ liáo involves a specially prepared “secret elixer” which is soaked into a towel and placed on a problem area. Then some alcohol is added as a starter fluid. When everything’s set, they light it up. After a few seconds the flame is put out.
You can watch a video of the procedure at the link.

Researchers grow teeth from cells

smileResearchers grow teeth from cells

Dentists could one day be able to replace missing teeth with ones newly grown from gum cells, say British researchers.

Classic Bettie

Should You Feel Guilty About Wearing Vintage Fur?

It's undeniable: Fur is back. At New York Fashion Week last month, this extravagant, expensive material was so abundant, it might have been everyday wool. But this trend is causing dismay among animal-rights activists, who've spent the past three decades campaigning against the use of fur in fashion.

For fashionistas who both love animals and wearing fur, going vintage seems like a simple solution. Old furs don't directly contribute to the profits of modern fur farms, and they're less toxic to the environment than faux furs, which are made from petroleum.

Ten Lesser-Known U.S. Coins

vIn the history of the United States, plenty of coins and monetary denominations have come and gone. Just ask anyone who's old enough to know that a Susan B. Anthony is worth the same as a Sacajawea! Each of the bygone coins has a story behind it. Have you ever heard of the twenty-cent piece?
The shortest-lived circulated coin in U.S. history, the twenty-cent piece only lasted from 1875 to 1878. Once again, this was America attempting to keep parity with Europe—France, in particular. Their twenty-franc piece was approximately the same size and material as the twenty-cent piece, and so the two could, in theory, be exchanged equally.

In reality, this was almost never done. Though francs were a popular reserve currency at the time, the average citizen didn’t have much of a need for a twenty cent coin, especially since quarters were already well-established.
Some of the coins on the list of ten lesser-known U.S. coins were never in circulation, and some are still legal -although you probably won't see them. More

Static Electricity Doomed the Hindenburg

A new waterproof coating and a fateful spark may have triggered one of history's greatest tragedies.

The Early Days of the Parachute

vThe parachute, an innovation that has saved so many lives, was not invented by an aerospace engineer. Rather, the modern backpack parachute was patented by a Russian actor in 1911. Gleb Kotelnikov felt compelled to do something after he saw a pilot die during an air show in St. Petersburg.
Kotelnikov’s innovation came with the realization that for a parachute to save lives, it had to meet two primary qualifications: it had to always be with the pilot –ideally, it would be attached to him in some way– and it had to open automatically – presumably to protect the pilot if he lost consciousness. He developed several prototypes that met these qualifications, including a parachute helmet, a parachute belt, and a parachute attached to several points of the body via an elaborate harness. Eventually he came up a working model for a stable parachute in a hard knapsack that would be attached to the pilot by a harness. He dubbed the invention the RK-1 (Russian Kotelnikov 1). The RK-1 was attached to the plane by static line that would pull the chute open once the pilot reached the proper distance from the aircraft, but it could also be opened manually by pulling a cord.
But the Russian military resisted using Kotelnikov's invention, because they thought it would encourage pilots to abandon malfunctioning planes -which would be a waste of planes! But eventually, the innovation spread all over the world. Read how it happened at Design Decoded.

Anthropologists Uncover All the Ways We’ve Wiped

vMentions of toilet paper don't appear in historical archives until the 16th century. However, cleaning one's posterior is a custom that goes back …no one knows how far. And there is documentation of the different ways they did it in different eras. According to French anthropologist and forensic medicine researcher Philippe Charlier, in ancient Greece, they sometimes used pessoi, or pieces of broken ceramic.
Some pessoi may have originated as ostraca, pieces of broken ceramic on which the Greeks of old inscribed the names of enemies. The ostraca were used to vote for some pain-in-the-well-you-know to be thrown out of town—hence, “ostracized.” The creative employment of ostraca as pessoi allowed for “literally putting faecal matter on the name of hated individuals,” Charlier and company suggest. Ostraca have been found bearing the name of Socrates, which is not surprising considering they hemlocked him up and threw away the key. (Technically, he hemlocked himself, but we could spend hours in Socratic debate about who took ultimate responsibility.)

Putting shards of a hard substance, however polished, in one's delicate places has some obvious medical risks. “The abrasive characteristics of ceramic,” the authors write, “suggest that long term use of pessoi could have resulted in local irritation, skin or mucosal damage, or complications of external haemorrhoids.”  
Scientific American gets to the bottom of things in an article from their March magazine tissue, I mean, issue. More

National Geographic: 'Found'

'Found' is a tumblr blog from National Geographic. It's a curated collection of photography from the National Geographic archives. In honor of their 125th anniversary, they are showcasing photographs that reveal cultures and moments of the past. Many of these photos have never been published and are rarely seen by the public.

Global Warning May Be Worse Than Expected

The Earth is on track to becoming the hottest it has been at any time in the past 11.3 millennia, a period spanning the history of human civilization.

Thirteen Ways to Hunt Intelligent Aliens

We have yet to detect a signal from an alien civilization -- so scientists are thinking up novel (and often extreme) ways we may make first contact.



The Extreme Lengths Zookeepers Have Gone to Care for Their Animals

Whether it's manually relieving constipation or dressing up like a panda bear, some zookeepers will do whatever it takes to provide the best care for their animal friends. At The Week, Lauren Hansen tells six stories of these caregivers, including zookeepers who had to remove eggs from a mother alligator:
Alligators are notoriously unsympathetic creatures, and while the reptiles care for their own offspring, they often can't protect them from lurking neighbors that would gladly feast on the young. This dire reality just means more work for the zookeepers at the Australian Reptile Park in Somersby, who often have to intervene to save alligator eggs and hatchlings. In a recent intervention, five zookeepers piled on a female alligator to restrain her, while another official collected fifteen eggs that were taken away to be incubated in a safe environment.

Human Brain Cells Make Mice Smarter

Mice raised with human brain cells produce faster learners -- and interesting ethical questions.

Mouse Fought Snake to Save Its Buddy

When a snake tried to eat its buddy, this mouse didn't run for cover. Instead, it bravely attacked the snake to save its friend:
A mouse at Hangzhou Zoo in China has been give its freedom after zookeepers witnessed it attack a venomous snake to save its friend. "We always give the snakes live food, and we put the two mice into the snake enclosure. But instead of trying to hide like they usually do, one of the mice attacked the snake when it saw it trying to eat the other mouse. I have never seen anything like that before," keeper Wen Shao said.
Sadly, the other mouse didn't make it. MSN Now has the larger pic: Here.

"Unclassified" Life Found in Pre-Historic Lake Vostok

After 20 years of drilling (20 years! Now that's dedication!), a team of Russian researchers have reached Antarctica's Lake Vostok, which has been trapped beneath more than 2 miles of ice for the last 14 million years. And they've found something:
A preliminary examination of water samples from the ancient subglacial Lake Vostok near the South Pole indicated that its inhabitants are not to be found anywhere else on Earth, a member of the research team told RIA Novosti.
The species of bacteria, whose traces were found in probes of water from Lake Vostok, do not belong to any of the 40-plus known subkingdoms of bacteria, said Sergei Bulat, a researcher at the Laboratory of Eukaryote Genetics at the St. Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute.
“After excluding all known contaminants…we discovered bacterial DNA that does not match any known species listed in global databanks. We call it unidentified and 'unclassified' life,” Bulat said.

Animal Pictures

The Shoebill, Balaeniceps rex, also known as Whalehead, is a very large stork-like bird. It derives its name from its massive shoe-shaped bill.
The adult bird is 115-150 cm tall, 100-140 cm long, 230-260 cm across the wings and weighs 4 to 7 kg. The adult is mainly grey while the juveniles are browner. It lives in tropical east Africa in large swamps from Sudan to Zambia.