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Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Daily Drift

Yeah, it's going to be one of those kind of days ...

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Today in History

585 BCE   Thales of Greece makes the first known prediction of a solar eclipse.  
1085   Alfonso VI takes Toledo, Spain from the Muslims.  
1787   The Constitutional convention opens at Philadelphia with George Washington presiding.  
1810   Argentina declares independence from Napoleonic Spain.  
1851   Jose Justo de Urquiza of Argentina leads a rebellion against Juan Manuel de Rosas, his former ally. 1911   Porfirio Diaz, President of Mexico, resigns his office.  
1914   The British House of Commons passes Irish Home Rule.
1925   John Scopes is indicted for teaching Darwinian theory in school.  
1935   Jesse Owens sets six world records in less than an hour in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  
1946   Jordan gains independence from Britain.  
1953   The first atomic cannon is fired in Nevada.

Non Sequitur


Did you know ...

That German scientists use off-shore windfarms to replenish lobsters

About cutting social security and not taxing wall street

Can Chris Christie get the repugican cabal's nomination? Joe Gandelman wonders aloud

That young people taking Alzheimers drugs to boost brain power

DC cop says threat to assassinate Michelle Obama was “just a joke”

A DC police officer, who allegedly made a threat, in front of five other officers, to shoot First Lady Michelle Obama – and who allegedly showed another officer a photo on his phone of the gun he was going to use – now says it was just a joke.Interestingly, another police officer who was present says it sounded to her like a threat.  And that’s kind of her expertise, judging threats.
But it gets better.  The officer who allegedly made the threat works motorcycle escorts for the President, Vice President, and other dignitaries.
He’s now undergoing a disciplinary proceeding after the Secret Service determined no charges would be filed.
Judging by my experience with the Metropolitan Police Department, good luck punishing this guy.  There are a lot of great cops in the MPD, and a lot of horrifically lazy slackers.  The former don’t get much praise, and the latter rarely get punished, let alone booted.
The same DC cop also wrote on his Facebook page in 2009 that he “felt like taking a rifle to a tall building,” because the DC city council cut pension benefits.  His attorney said, in his defense, that the Facebook post was old.  Uh huh.  Four years ago.  It was a youthful discretion.
The Washington Post walks us through more details:
Testimony indicated that the conversation turned to heavy traffic during a recent escort for Michelle Obama and then about her threat level. An officer at the table explained that “a lot of people want to kill her.”
Clark, a 24-year veteran still with the special operations division, said she expressed surprise at that statement, and Picciano said, “Yeah, because I want to kill her.” Clark said she twice asked if he meant it, and that he said yes, and then showed her the picture of the gun on his phone.
Pressler and another officer gave a different account, saying that Clark asked who would kill the first lady. Picciano answered, “I guess I would.” At that moment, Picciano was talking with a colleague about a birthday gift of a .40-caliber handgun, and he was calling up a picture of it on his smartphone. The other officer said the picture came up just as Picciano made the comment about Obama and was handing the phone across the table to the other officer, Pressler said.
I guess I would?  Who talks like this?  Especially a cop? And especially someone who’s on the detail to protect the President?  You joke about assassinating his wife?  Imagine keeping your job in the private sector if you “joked about” killing your boss’ wife.  Even better, imagine keeping your job if your job was to protect the boss’ wife.  I’d fire your ass in a millisecond.
Now, the officer is a 17 year MPD veteran.  So, you don’t want to just ruin someone’s career without significance due process.  The problem with the MPD is that there’s usually a lot of process, and not a lot of resolution.  Regardless of the outcome, I can’t imagine this person being permitted anywhere near the President, or any kind of security detail, in the future.

The truth be told

Friday, May 24

Why only ‘special’ people think Paul Krugman is wrong about austerity

Paul Krugman has a great blog post on the sloppiness of both Michael Kinsley and Charles Lane in their attacks on Krugman’s opposition to austerity.Kinsey and Lane both wrote long and rather tedious articles predicated on the belief that they had noticed an economic principle the Nobel prizewinner in economics had not considered. You won’t be surprised to hear that both are wrong.
Kinsley’s argument merely confirmed Krugman’s longstanding hypothesis that the austerians think economic policy is a morality play, and that the poor must suffer for the sins of Wall Street.
Lane argued that economic stimulus is easier to start than to stop, an argument Krugman had addressed two weeks earlier in the New York Times. This sloppiness leads Krugman to ask:
Whence cometh this epidemic of sheer sloppiness?
I’m not really sure, but in these cases I suspect it has a lot to do with the famed TNR/Slate premium on being “counterintuitive”, which in practice meant skewering supposed liberal pieties. (Kinsley himself joked that TNR should be renamed “Even the liberal New Republic”).
Paul Krugman on MSNBC.
Paul Krugman 
There is actually a very good reason that journalists value counterintuitive thinking more than (say) academics. Journalists are paid to be interesting rather than right. An ingenious argument that the reader hasn’t seen before is much more interesting than a simple rehash of conventional platitudes.
As usual though, Krugman sticks the knife in, but leaves it to the reader to do the actual twisting. Kinsley and Lane are merely rehashing the smalltalk of the beltway folk, their arguments are only ‘counterintuitive’ in their own minds.
But why stop at journalism? It seems to me that the fetish for counterintuitive thinking is actually at the root of a lot of policy blundering as well. Here is how it happens…
When people get elected (or appointed) to positions of high power there is a natural tendency for them to ask ‘why me?’ This naturally leads them to the conclusion, ‘because I am very special’. Which in turn leads to the question, ‘why am I so special?’ And the answer, ‘because only people like me understand that common wisdom might be wrong.’
And so, the very fact that everyone thinks something is right only provides more evidence to the ‘counterintuitive’ thinker that it is wrong. If you have ever wondered why it is so hard to convince a repugican that climate change is a fact, it’s because you don’t understand that only such a special person as they could see through all that ‘sciency stuff’.
The idea that they are so special is of course pure conceit: The real reason the shlub got to where they are is pure luck, or if I am to be generous, both are ‘special’ at running for state office.  Neither did terribly well at the federal level. And in any case, their skill at winning state elections says nothing about their intellect or the wisdom of their positions. Yet both think that they are special because only they dare to think what others dare not.
This is how the Reagan junta ended up supplying Iran, designated as a state sponsor of terrorism, with spare parts for its planes and other military equipment, and illegally using the proceeds to fund terrorists attempting to topple the government of Nicaragua. Reagan must have told himself that only a really innovative, counterintuitive thinker could have ever thought up such a special plan.
This is also how the shrub junta ended up in the torture chambers of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. The fact that they could compass such extraordinary measures was to the Bushies simply proof that they were extraordinary men.
And it is how Margaret Thatcher ended up begging Gorbachev to send in the tanks to put down the protests in East Germany in 1989. While everyone else thought that the end of Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe was a good thing, the Iron Lady knew that she was special because she could see that change might be bad.
In each case the conventional wisdom was completely correct, and the self-styled ‘extraordinary thinkers’ were proved wrong. The reunification of Germany did not threaten NATO security as Thatcher feared, the security of NATO was strengthened. Use of torture did not assist the war on terror, it gave the terrorists their main recruiting call. And Iran-Contra damaged US interests in both Iran and Nicaragua.
Apologists for the shrub and Reagan have always maintained that the Iran-Contra and Abu-Ghraib scandals were the work of subordinates acting beyond their authority. And the schemes were so contrary to common sense that it seems only common sense that the likes of Lynndie England and Oliver North must have imagined such things, rather than Dick Cheney and Caspar Weinberger.
But whatever else their faults, Lynndie England and Oliver North were not the sort of people who had to ask themselves what extraordinary qualities had put them in their current position, and find a clever answer. Only people at the very top of an organization have the special kind of conceit necessary for grasping at the dumbest answer around, and anointing it the most brilliant.

House repugicans Pass Unconstitutional Bill Hijacking Obama’s Power Over Keystone XL

As America continues making the transition from a representative democracy to a corporate-controlled fascist state, it is becoming more difficult to have any faith that the minority party in power has any regard whatsoever for this nation or its people, but that is to be expected from repugicans whose raison d’être is empowering corporations. There are few areas of government and policy repugicans have not ceded to their corporate handlers, but none is as blatant and damaging as allowing the corporate oil industry to dictate energy and environmental policy that is having acutely deleterious effects on the people and health of the environment. Part of the problem is a corporate-controlled press that advances the oil industry agenda without opposition, and part is allowing oil industry sycophants to serve in Congress that emboldened them to stage a coup d’état to seize power from the President and warn him to toe the oil industry line or else. A major share of the blame lies solely with the Founding Fathers and their pathetic Constitution that has failed miserably to protect the people from corporate oligarchs even when they are from a foreign nation.
Two events over the past two days inform that repugicans are employed by a foreign nation’s prime minister and one of its corporations that promises to enrich the repugican cabal’s primary campaign donors’ bottom line regardless the existential threat to the environment and the health and welfare of the American people. On Wednesday, House repugicans took the unprecedented, but not wholly unexpected, step to wrest power from the President of the United States by passing a bill that circumvents the President’s executive power and approved the environment-killing Keystone XL pipeline at the direct order of a foreign corporation and Canada’s prime minister. The Harper junta has exerted its power over repugicans to subvert the Constitution to advance a Canadian corporation’s intent to pump 830,000 barrels per day of tar sand bitumen to American refineries en route to South America, China, and Europe.
Following the repugican practice of blatant lying to enrich and empower corporate control of energy policy, TransCanada spokesman, Shawn Howard, said, “We appreciate the continued support from many members of Congress, who understand the importance of Keystone XL to the American economy,” and that “Keystone XL will be the safest oil pipeline, and it will help make America less reliant on more expensive oil from countries that do not share its interests and values.” TransCanada has reported that the KeystoneXL pipeline will regularly spill tar sand bitumen on American soil, as well as touted contracts already in place to sell every drop of refined tar sand on the foreign export market. Americans will never see or use any of the refined tar, but they will pay more for gas as TransCanada predicted the pipeline will increase the price of fuel at the pump by at least 20-cents per gallon. In fact, the pipeline is so hazardous to the environment that the Canadian government will not allow TransCanada to build the pipeline over Canadian soil to West coast refineries, so they charged repugicans to ignore the Constitution and pass a bill to approve the pipeline’s construction regardless it is the purview of the President of the United States.
Yesterday, a group of Senate repugicans sent a stern warning to President Obama to approve the pipeline forthwith, and forbade him from including any measures to address climate change the pipeline is certain to exacerbate on a massive scale. Two dozen Senate repugicans cautioned the President that he had better not link one single climate change policy to approval of the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, and that he dare not “tether its fate to wholly unrelated and economically disastrous new regulatory policies.” Every climate scientist on the planet has warned that developing Canada’s tar sands will increase CO2 emissions to a point it will be “game over for the climate” in spite of the Koch brothers and ExxonMobil report to the State Department that building the pipeline is an environmentally sound endeavor with “manageable” consequences to the environment. Two weeks ago, carbon dioxide (CO2) reached the 400ppm milestone for the first time in at least 800,000 years according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and  climate scientists agree the evidence is conclusive the strong growth of CO2 emissions is from burning coal, oil, and natural gas. 400 ppm is 50 ppm over the threshold scientists claim demands immediate steps to curb fossil fuel emissions or it is game over for the climate; repugicans and their corporate masters could not care less.
The real issue is not just the devastation inherent in pumping tar bitumen through the pipeline, or that the climate is going to be decimated to expand Canada’s tar industry, but that repugicans have no regard for anything but corporate interests; even  a corporation’s interests. It is true they successfully put the oil industry in charge of energy policy, but they have also given corporations power to dictate policy on every issue affecting the American people and there is little anyone can, or will, do to stop the corporate takeover. The media is wholly owned and operated by corporations pushing agendas hostile to democracy and the American people, and repugicans dutifully enact laws written by corporations through the American Legislative Exchange Council. The recent Senate vote on background checks prior to gun purchases is the perfect example of repugicans giving corporate interests power to subvert the will of 91% of the population to maintain their profits, and it was a portent of democracy’s end and corporate control of government.
The Founding Fathers could have prevented America’s spiral into corporate fascism, but they likely never imagined Americans would sit idly by and allow their elected representatives to cede the government to corporations. Perhaps the Constitution’s framers believed a free press would inform the people of the impending corporate coup d’état, but corporations own the media and successfully concealed democracy’s demise. It is prescient that the media has never informed the people that Keystone is dangerous and will not provide any oil for Americans, and they will be as guilty as repugicans and the oil industry for climate Armageddon as well as America’s continued slide into corporate oligarchy. It is apropos the corporate oil industry and repugicans will be the undoing of the climate,  because long before they despoil the climate and environment that will make Earth uninhabitable, their effort to destroy American democracy will have reached fruition.

Faux News Claims That US Government Rigged The 2012 Election For Obama

Faux News has invented a new reason why Mitt Romney lost the election. They are claiming that government bureaucrats unfairly tilted the playing field for Obama in the 2012 election.
Video courtesy of Media Matters:
On Faux and Friends Stuart Varney said, “It’s bigger than the IRS. There’s a suspicion here that the machinery of government has been used to suppress conservatives. That the election in fact was not a level playing field. There was a tilt, and it was orchestrated by government bureaucrats. You just mentioned the EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, almost always when liberal groups apply for a waiver of document fees, they were granted that waiver. Wingnuts groups had to pay. Now that’s a form of financial pressure on wingnut groups. Then you’ve got disaster relief funds. Four states, red states run by repugican governors, were denied disaster relief funds. Then you’ve got the IRS. It’s not just the tax exempt office. Conservative supporters, supporters of conservative groups, they were audited. The repugican donors, audited. And there’s a consistent pattern here. So repugicans, wingnut are looking back over the last four years and saying there is a pattern. There is a pattern of going after wingnuts which affected the election. The government bureaucracy was used as a hammer in a way that it was not supposed to be used.”
Brian Kilmeade claimed that it was hard to argue with these examples because there are actual living breathing people that have proof of it.
It is really easy to argue with Varney’s examples, because they are either not true or come from dubious sources. The claims about the EPA come from the Koch and Scaife funded Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). CEI’s mission is to shill for some of the biggest polluters in the country through climate change denial. In the 1990′s CEI was funded by the tobacco industry, and spearheaded tobacco disinformation campaigns. CEI opposes automobile fuel efficiency standards. CEI is anti-regulation, and is also funded by corporate giants like Ford and Coca-Cola. The source on Faux’s claims of EPA right wing persecution has a definite political agenda.
The claim that four red states have been denied disaster relief funds is dubious at best. These states were denied a disaster relief declaration but they received aid and support from FEMA in other ways. To make it sound as if they got nothing because they were conservative is not true. It is likely that the IRS audited or questioned more wingnut donors, because wingnut groups that received non-profit status outnumbered liberal ones 34 to 1. The odds of repugicans being audited are also higher because repugicans/wingnut groups have a smaller donor base. The repugicans rely on a few wealthy individuals to fund the majority of their activities. These individuals were donating heavily to dark money groups, which raised the suspicion of the IRS.
This was another example of Faux News trying to make excuses for Mitt Romney’s loss while building their factless case for Obama impeachment. Mitt Romney didn’t lose because Barack Obama used the government to rig the election. Romney lost because he was a terrible candidate who alienated everyone who wasn’t a wingnut with his 47% comments.
Obama didn’t cheat to win reelection. He won despite numerous repugican efforts rig the election by suppressing the vote in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Faux News knows how to tap into their audience’s paranoia, and that’s exactly what they were doing here. Paranoia about government oppression is almost as old as American conservatism itself. The repugicans can never accept the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency, so they continue to invent reasons for their defeat.

The truth hurts

Friday, May 24

Vermont passes anti-patent-troll law

Vermont has passed a state-level law that allows companies to sue patent trolls who make deceptive claims in legal threats against them, and has used it to sue the notorious trolls at MPHJ, who say that anyone who scans a document over a network owes them $1000. However, it's not clear that the law will stand, as this is arguably federal jurisdiction.
The new law, believed to be the first in the nation, allows courts to consider if a claim is deceptive, specifies factors that can be considered as evidence, and provides for damages or relief to Vermont companies wrongly pressured into paying licensing fees or a settlement. The Vermont attorney general also can conduct civil investigations and bring civil action against violators.
"This bill will help to protect our good Vermont businesses from unscrupulous patent trolls who take advantage of them through bad faith claims of patent infringement. It will help us grow jobs," the governor said...
...Coinciding with the new law, the state filed a lawsuit Wednesday accusing a Delaware company of patent trolling. The attorney general's office sued Wilmington-based MPHJ Technology Investments and its 40 subsidiary companies operating in Vermont.
The office alleged that MPHJ claimed to have a patent on the process of scanning documents and attaching them to emails via a network and that MPHJ sent letters making deceptive statements to small businesses in Vermont, demanded money, and threatened litigation over licensing fees

Abercrombie's Hollister in Trouble Over The Disabled

Remember the brouhaha over the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch public dissin' of fat women? Well, it seems that they don't like disabled people, either. A judge in Colorado is considering forcing Hollister, a clothing company owned by Abercrombie, to make their stores more accessible to the disabled:
Lawyer Amy Robertson, who represents the disabled in the lawsuit, compared the case with the fight against racial segregation in the 1960s.
She said that in one case, Julie Farrar, who is confined to a wheelchair, had trouble when she tried to go with her daughter through a side door of one the Colorado stores because there was no access to the front door. She and several other disabled patrons filed a lawsuit in 2009. [...]
The stores put signs on the sides of the doors, one for "Dudes" and the other for "Bettys," and argued that they were complying with federal regulations because the side doors were accessible to the able-bodied and disabled alike, Robertson said.
"In the Jim Crow era, you had a white entrance and a colored entrance off to the side. These stores put up signs for Dudes and Bettys and called it integrated," she said Wednesday.
Abercrombie's lawyers argue that changing the elevated entrance to the stores would cause "immense ... loss in sales and revenue" and "permanent damage to the Hollister brand."

Mother has son arrested for stealing her Pop-Tarts

A woman from Charlotte, North Carolina, had her son arrested for stealing her Pop-Tarts earlier this week.

According to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police report, the mother, Latasha Renee Love, 37, called investigators to report her Pop-Tarts had been stolen, naming her own son, who is a juvenile, as the culprit.

The report said that the boy was placed under juvenile arrest and was charged with larceny/misdemeanor. Police valued the missing Pop-Tarts at $5.

Love, who police say had discipline issues with her child in the past, decided to have him arrested this time. The misdemeanor case against the boy will be handled in juvenile court.

No More Tablet Reading Before Bed

We're staying up longer and waking earlier, in part because of technology.

Caffeine, the World's Most Popular Psychoactive Drug

Caffeine isn't just in coffees, teas, and sodas anymore - it's in energy drinks, food, and even chewing gums. But what's the cumulative impact of all that stimulant?
Caffeine is, according to New Scientist, the planet's most popular "psychoactive drug." In the United States alone, more than 90% of adults are estimated to use it every day.
But now even the US - home of Coca-Cola, Starbucks and the 5-Hour Energy shot - is questioning the wisdom of adding it to everyday foodstuffs like waffles, sunflower seeds, trail mix and jelly beans.
In a statement, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) highlighted the "unfortunate example" of Wrigley chewing gum producing packs of eight sticks which each contained as much caffeine as half a cup of coffee. Subsequently, Wrigley said it would "pause" production of the product.
The agency is also looking at highly-caffeinated energy drinks, and said it was concerned about the "cumulative impact" of adding stimulants to products.
According to the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the number of people seeking emergency treatment after ingesting energy drinks doubled to more than 20,000 in 2011.
Jon Kelly of BBC News Magazine has the post that'll go perfect with that cup of coffee: Here.

Brad Pitt's Forgetting Faces Disease: For Real?

Brad Pitt says he can't put a name with a face. Is 'face blindness' a real condition?

A Linguistic Dissection of 7 Annoying Teenage Sounds

This is what you get when a linguist's children reach middle school. Linguist James Harbeck gives us the phonetic analysis of the things teenagers say WAY too much, mainly to annoy parents, teachers, and even their best friends. A sample:
1. Breathy-voiced long low back unrounded vowel with advanced tongue root
This is usually spelled something like auuggghhh. It's the classic teenage sound of utter exasperation. The eyes are usually angled upwards, sometimes in contrast with a downward movement of the shoulders. "Breathy-voice" means that the vocal folds are wide apart, giving a very "chesty" sound. "Advanced tongue root" means that the back of the tongue is moved forward to make a larger resonating cavity behind it. "Low back" means the tongue doesn't rise anywhere in the mouth (compare this with "eee," which is high front). "Unrounded" means the lips aren't rounded.
If that makes no sense to you, it will when you hear him reproduce this and all the analyzed sounds in the accompanying video at The Week.

What It's Like to be Struck by Lightning

vJason Marlin of ars technica was struck by a bolt of lightning. He was apparently okay enough to write about it right away.
Yesterday, I was sitting in my studio office—basically a converted garage—while a thunderstorm brewed outside. After wrapping up a conference call with some of Ars' finest, I was getting ready to dive back into work when the storm really picked up. "Ahhhh," I thought as I leaned back in my chair to stare out at the strange greenish light against a purple-clouded backdrop. "So beautiful!"

At that moment—and this part is a little foggy—a bright arc of electricity shot through the window and directly into my chest. I'm not sure whether the arc originated from the sky or the ground, but it knocked me out of my chair. I hit the concrete floor and bounced back up to my feet, which were shuffling at top speed into a bookshelf. I remember thinking, "OK, going to die now. Do not fall down. Do not pass out."

I've read that being struck by lightning is akin to a being hit by a huge defibrillator. I'm not sure about that—but it did feel magnitudes worse than the time I touched an electric fence as a kid.
The paramedics urged him to go to a hospital for tests, but he declined. Read the rest of his first-hand account and the aftermath. More

Tourist Rescued After Dining on Iceberg

vSunday afternoon, four American tourists in Iceland decided to picnic on an ice floe in the Fjallsárlón glacial lagoon. But that was not a great idea, as they discovered when the ice they were sitting on started floating away!
According to Páll Sigurður Vignisson, member of the Hornafjörður rescue team and employee at Jökulsárlón, the tourists, who were from the United States, had set up a table and chairs on an ice floe with the plan of eating dinner when a gust of wind suddenly pushed the ice away from land, leaving them stranded about 10 meters from the shore.

One of the tourists managed to jump to shore before the ice drifted too far and called 112 for help. "When we arrived it was quite comical to see them sitting on chairs and with a table on an iceberg ... Yes the dinner was over," Páll told Iceland Review, adding that he had not noticed what they had been eating as he was too busy getting life vests to them.

An 80-Year Old Man Becomes the Oldest to Climb Mount Everest

Yuichiro Miura
At the age of 80, Japanese mountain climber and adventurer Yuichiro Miura reached the summit of Mount Everest on Thursday. But he may not hold that title for long:
There are reports that Nepalese climber Min Bahadur Sherchan, 81, is planning an assault on the world’s highest peak next week, despite some recent intestinal problems.
Sherchan frustrated Miura’s record-setting ambitions once before when, in May 2008, Miura conquered the mountain at the age of 75, only to arrive a day after Sherchan's ascent at age 76 years and 340 days.
This is Miura’s third ascent of the 29,028-foot peak. He also earned the oldest climber title in 2003, at age 70, a milestone broken four years later when fellow Japanese climber Katsusuke Yanagisawa ascended at age 71.
But at least for now, Miura is expressing nothing but satisfaction at his accomplishment.
"This is the best feeling in the world,” an entry said on his Facebook page. “How could I have come so far at the world's oldest age of 80, I’ve never felt like this in my life. But I've never been more exhausted than this." [...]
The veteran adventurer also hit the spotlight in 1970 when he became the first person to ski down Everest with help from a parachute, a feat documented in the 1975 Academy Award-winning documentary "The Man Who Skied Down Everest."

Ten WWII Stamp Forgeries Used as Psychological Warfare

While the concept of war may conjure images of armed men, espionage and heavy weaponry, psychological warfare has also played a crucial part in the conflict between nations. Being able to sow dissent and discontent among both the opposing forces and civilians can have a powerful effect.

The messages spread can cover a wide range of objectives, from pointing out the perceived evil of the enemy, to positive representation of one's own faction or mockery of a foe. In World War Two, this led to the practice of forging postage stamps - something everyday yet significant, aimed at ultimately undermining the enemy.

What's This Giant Mysterious Structure Under the Sea of Galilee?

Archaeologists are baffled with the discovery of a large, mysterious structure under the waters of the Sea of Galilee:
The mysterious structure is cone shaped, made of "unhewn basalt cobbles and boulders," and weighs an estimated 60,000 tons the researchers said. That makes it heavier than most modern-day warships.
Rising nearly 32 feet (10 meters) high, it has a diameter of about 230 feet (70 meters). To put that in perspective, the outer stone circle of Stonehenge has a diameter just half that with its tallest stones not reaching that height. [...]
Researcher Yitzhak Paz, of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Ben-Gurion University, believes it could date back more than 4,000 years. "The more logical possibility is that it belongs to the third millennium B.C., because there are other megalithic phenomena [from that time] that are found close by," Paz told LiveScience in an interview, noting that those sites are associated with fortified settlements. 
Owen Jarus of LiveScience has more: Here.

The Killer Mobile Device For Victorian Women

Adrift in a sea of digital apps, we often feel our needs are met better today than in any previous era. But consider the chatelaine, a device popularized in the 18th century that attached to the waist of a woman's dress, bearing tiny useful accessories, from notebooks to knives.

In many ways chatelaines provided better access to such objects than we have today: How often have you searched for your keys or cell phone at the bottom of a cavernous bag? Like a customized Swiss Army knife, a chatelaine provided its wearer with exactly the tools she needed closest at hand.

Why our early ancestors took to 2 feet

A new study by archaeologists at the University of York challenges evolutionary theories behind the development of our earliest ancestors from tree dwelling quadrupeds to upright bipeds capable of walking and scrambling. The researchers say [...]

Random Photo


Kathryn Grayson

Astronomical News

NASA may not be going to the moon anytime soon, but private companies plan to do so.
In brand new observations made by Hubble of the famous Ring Nebula, astronomers have discovered its true shape.
NASA on Thursday posted a “For Lease” sign on one of its space shuttle launch pads, as it continues to downsize and revamp the Kennedy Space Center following the program’s retirement. 
Future space observatories could detect biological tracers in exoplanetary atmospheres, but we won't be able to definitively find life until we physically visit those alien worlds.
The venerable Mars rover Opportunity, the older and smaller cousin of Curiosity, has discovered another water-weathered rock hinting that the Red Planet could have supported life in its ancient past.
The first topographic map of the surface of Titan gives a fascinating new insight into Saturn's giant moon.



Lyre Sponge

Meet the Lyre Sponge, a large harp- (or lyre-) shaped carnivorous sponge in the deep waters of the northeast Pacific Ocean off the coast of California. The vertical branches, capped with a balloon-like ball, maximize the surface area of the sponge for capturing planktons.
See that and 9 other neat new species discovered just last year over at LiveScience's Top 10 New Species of 2013 (don't miss the monkey with the blue butt!): Here. | Image Gallery

Animal News

From blue-balled monkeys to a meat-eating sponge, these new creatures show that Mother Nature hasn't forgotten how to amaze us.
The Magazine Mountain shagreen snail won the race to become the first invertebrate in United States history to escape the Endangered Species List. 
Homes with dogs have more bacteria than those without -- but that's not necessarily bad news.

Animal Pictures