tagged w/ Editor's Picks
The pants were down but so was the size of the crowd for a bizarre ritual in Southern California.
It's the annual "Moon Over Amtrak" event in the Orange County community of Laguna Niguel in which people line up to moon passing commuter trains.
It began as a bar bet in 1979 and has continued ever since.
Sheriff's Lt. Ted Boyne says as many as 400 people showed up for Saturday's mass mooning. Last year, about 8,000 showed up, mostly out-of-towners. And deputies shut it down after things got ugly, with traffic jams, drinking and public nudity.
This year's crowd in contrast is described as mellow. A couple of cars got towed, but deputies say nobody got drunk and there were no arrests...The pants were down but so was the size of the crowd for a bizarre ritual in Southern... more
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is considering using money from the $700 billion financial bailout fund to provide further assistance to the nation's struggling small businesses, in a continuing attempt to find a way to make up for clogged credit.
Officials said Friday that no plan had emerged although small business has been a subject of staff level talks in Obama's economic team.
But the officials stressed that the plans underscore that the White House and Treasury Departments, together with the Small Business Administration, are aware of the problems confronting main street America.
Three officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing internal administration deliberations in which no decisions have yet been announced.
One idea under consideration is using a program that helps banks lend to small businesses at low rates.
end of excerpt
SourcE: MSNBCWASHINGTON - The Obama administration is considering using money from the $700 billion... more
Musicians often forget that their art is a commodity.
This article goes into some great detail about the history of the Beatles art portfolio and where it eventually ended up. You should definately take the time to read it if you're an artist or involved with one.Musicians often forget that their art is a commodity.
This article goes into some... more
The giant Palouse earthworm has taken on mythic qualities in this vast agricultural region that stretches from eastern Washington into the Idaho panhandle — its very name evoking the fictional sandworms from "Dune" or those vicious creatures from the movie "Tremors."
The worm is said to secrete a lily-like smell when handled, spit at predators, and live in burrows 15 feet deep. There have been only a handful of sightings.
But scientists hope to change that this summer with researchers scouring the Palouse region in hopes of finding more of the giant earthworms. Conservationists also want the Obama administration to protect the worm as an endangered species, even though little research has been done on it.
The worm may be elusive, but there's no doubt it exists, said Jodi Johnson-Maynard, a University of Idaho professor who is leading the search for the worm. To prove it, she pulled out a glass tube containing the preserved remains of a fat, milky-white worm. One of Johnson-Maynard's graduate students found this specimen in 2005, and it is the only confirmed example of the species.
The worm in the tube is about 6 inches long, well short of the 3 feet that early observers of the worms in the late 1890s described. Documented collections of the species, known locally as GPE, have occurred only in 1978, 1988, 1990 and 2005.
The farmers who work the rich soil of the Palouse — 2 million acres of rolling wheat fields near the Idaho-Washington border south of Spokane — also have had little experience with the worm.
Gary Budd, who manages a grain elevator in Uniontown, said no farmer he knows has talked about seeing the worm. He compared the creature to Elvis.
"He gets spotted once in awhile too," Budd joked.
Johnson-Maynard and her team of worm hunters are working this summer at a university research farm and using three different methods to try and find a living worm.
One involves just digging a hole and sifting the soil through a strainer, looking for any worms that can be studied.
The second involves old-fashioned chemical warfare, pouring a liquid solution of vinegar and mustard onto the ground, irritating worms until they come to the surface.
The third method is new to this search, using electricity to shock worms to the surface.
"The electro shocker is pretty cool," said Joanna Blaszczak, a student at Cornell who is spending her summer working to find the worm alongside Shan Xu, a graduate student from Chengdu, China, and support scientist Karl Umiker.
The shocker can deliver up to 480 volts. That makes it dangerous to touch, and it could potentially fry a specimen.
On a recent day, Umiker drove eight 3-foot-long metal rods into the ground in a small circle and connected them to batteries. Then he flipped the switches. The only sound for several minutes was the hum of a cooling fan.
"I'm kind of bummed we haven't seen anything yet," Umiker said.The giant Palouse earthworm has taken on mythic qualities in this vast agricultural... more
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has signed into law the "Students Religious Liberties Act", giving public school students new rights to express their religious convictions. The act ostensibly prohibits schools from discriminating against students or parents on the basis of religious viewpoint or expressions. Yet critics express concern the law leaves open the possibility for a school's anti-harassment, anti-bullying or non-discrimination policies to be invalidated.
Under the bill students are to be allowed to "pray or engage in religious activities or religious expression before, during and after the school day in the same manner and to the same extent that students may engage in nonreligious activities or expression." The bill was sponsored in part by the Center for Arizona Policy, a conservative Christian nonprofit.
Is this too much liberty, or is there no such thing as too much liberty?Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has signed into law the "Students Religious Liberties... more
Telecom carriers Sprint and Verizon have said they will ensure all key cellphones from the two companies in the future will have Wi-Fi capability, a feature that has been missing in many of its recent devices.
Sprint will “embrace” Wi-Fi in all its “major devices”, Jeff Clemow, director of business product marketing for Sprint told Fierce Wireless. The feature is a requirement for all of Sprint’s equipment suppliers now, says Clemow.
Verizon has also indicated that all devices the company releases, after the BlackBerry Tour next week, will include Wi-Fi.Telecom carriers Sprint and Verizon have said they will ensure all key cellphones from... more
Some swine flu cases in Michigan are raising questions about obesity's role in why some people with infections become seriously ill.
A high proportion of those who have gotten severely ill from swine flu have been obese or extremely obese, but health officials have said that might be due to the fact that heavy people tend to have asthma and other conditions that make them more susceptible. Obesity alone has never been seen as a risk factor for seasonal flu.
But in a report released Friday, health officials detailed the cases of 10 Michigan patients who were very sick from swine flu in late May and early June and ended up at a specialized hospital in Ann Arbor. Three of them died.
Nine of the 10 were either obese or extremely obese. Only three of the 10 had other health problems. Two of the three that died had no other health conditions.
This hardly settles the question of whether obesity is its own risk factor for swine flu. It's possible the patients had undiagnosed heart problems or other unidentified conditions.
Still the finding was striking, investigators acknowledged.
Also remarkable were that five of the patients developed blood clots in their lungs, and six had kidney failure. Those complications have been seen in some swine flu patients before, but not usually in such a high proportion.
"Clinicians need to be aware that severe complications can occur in patients with the novel H1N1 virus, particularly in extremely obese patients," said Dr. Tim Uyeki, a flu expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Uyeki was a co-author of the report, released by a CDC publication, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Also on Friday, the CDC said the number of U.S. swine flu cases has surpassed 37,000 and deaths have risen to 211.
The numbers rose from the 170 deaths and nearly 34,000 confirmed and suspected swine flu cases reported last week.
Those are lab-confirmed and probable infections. CDC officials believe those cases — which sought treatment and underwent testing — are just the tip of the iceberg. They estimate more than 1 million Americans have been infected with the virus so far, though many probably had only a mild illness.
Swine flu is the predominant flu type circulating currently, with nine states reporting widespread cases, down from 10 a week ago.
The pandemic was first identified in California in April. Since then a total of more than 94,000 cases have been reported in more than 100 countries, according to the World Health Organization...Some swine flu cases in Michigan are raising questions about obesity's role in... more
Coordinated attacks in at least eight Mexican cities killed three federal police officers and two soldiers and injured 18 police officers Saturday in what officials are calling an unprecedented onslaught by drug gangs.
The capture of Arnoldo Rueda Medina a member of La Familia gang set off the attacks. The gang targeted the police station where Medina and a 17 year old who worked for him were held. Following his arrest Saturday morning in Morelia, Michoacan, men armed with high-powered rifles and grenades attacked the police station where he was being held.
The series of coordinated attacks in at least eight cities kills 3 federal officers, 2 soldiers and injured 18 officers.
Saturday's attacks came just days after a drug gang in Tijuana declared they were at war with police, threatening to kill five officers every week until Police Chief Julian Leyzaola resigns.Coordinated attacks in at least eight Mexican cities killed three federal police... more
3 years ago
What Barack Obama hailed as a “historic consensus” on climate change at this week’s G8 summit in Italy has been greeted with widespread disappointment, and even outrage, by environment and development campaigners.
Greenpeace activists on inflatable boats yesterday painted a coal ship in Civitavecchia, near Rome, with the message “G8: FAILED” at the end of a week of protests in Italy and elsewhere calling on world leaders to set a more ambitious agenda.
More than 100 activists occupied, painted, blocked and hung off cranes at five Italian coal-fired power stations, pointing to coal as “the world’s worst climate killer”. They ended these protests yesterday after G8 and other leaders left L’Aquila.
“G8 inaction has brought the world one step closer to catastrophic climate change. They are hiding their lack of leadership behind hollow words and empty gestures,” said Julien Vincent, of Greenpeace Australia, from on top of the Brindisi coal plant chimney.
“We call on all people to take whatever peaceful action they can to compel their leaders to deliver strong targets for cutting greenhouse gases before the new climate treaty is negotiated in December.” He was referring to the UN climate summit in Copenhagen.
By agreeing to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, but with no interim targets to be achieved much earlier – by 2020 – Greenpeace said the G8 leaders had “abdicated action on climate change to future generations”. “They had an historic opportunity but have squandered it, by failing to commit to mid-term emissions cuts and deferring discussion on money to enable the developing world to tackle climate change”, said Guruswamy Ananthapadmanabhan, its international director.
Christian Aid said G8 leaders needed to demonstrate “much greater political courage on climate change” – otherwise their commitment to take measures to limit the increase in average global temperatures to two degrees would be “little more than hot air”.
Dr Alison Doig, climate policy expert at Christian Aid, said the G8 had undermined its credibility by failing to adopt an emissions target for 2020, or indicating how they will help developing countries meet the proposed temperature goal and global emissions target.
UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, who was at the summit, also criticised G8 leaders for failing to make more substantive commitments. “The policies that they have stated so far are not enough, not sufficient enough,” Mr Ban told reporters.What Barack Obama hailed as a “historic consensus” on climate change at... more
"In preparation for the inaugural Global Green Challenge across the Australian outback, a team of Turkish students have assembled a hydrogen-powered vehicle that has an efficiency of 568 kilometers per liter (roughly 1,335 mpg). In order to get across the outback, they hope to only use three liters of fuel in the vehicle, dubbed the SAHİMO.
The SAHİMO weighs 110 kg--a carbon fiber frame keeps the weight down--and the scary thing is that these Sakarya University students want to up the efficiency to 1,000 km/L.
But doing so won't be cheap, as the cost to build the SAHIMO is already at $170,000, and they're looking for sponsors to keep improving the car before the competition in October.""In preparation for the inaugural Global Green Challenge across the Australian... more
Brenda Bailey is still on a roll.
This week, the 60-year-old South Charleston woman claimed her ninth West Virginia Lottery prize, $7,000 in the Gem 7s instant game. That brings her total winnings since last September to $159,000 from five instant tickets.
Lottery officials say Bailey has claimed a total $165,800 in prizes from instant and online games since 2000.
She's not the only lucky one in the family. Her husband Richard claimed a $6,000 instant game prize in January and a $10,000 prize last September...Brenda Bailey is still on a roll.
This week, the 60-year-old South Charleston woman... more
NASA is gearing up for a space race that's expected to point to the first truly Earthlike worlds beyond our solar system - and, like the race to put the first human on the moon, this marathon will take several years to run. The roots of the race go back more than a decade, as astrophysicist Alan Boss explains in his new book, "The Crowded Universe: The Search for Living Planets." That's when pioneers in the planet-hunting field started detecting worlds around suns beyond our own....NASA is gearing up for a space race that's expected to point to the first truly... more
A man caught carrying a weapon outside the South Side home of President Obama last fall was sentenced to five years in prison Friday.
Omhari Sengstacke, 31, was arrested last September outside then-Sen. Barack Obama's South Side Chicago home.A man caught carrying a weapon outside the South Side home of President Obama last... more
An increase in tremors deep under California's San Andreas fault may be the harbinger of a major earthquake, according to a study out Friday in the journal Science.
Seismologist Robert Nadeau of the University of California at Berkeley reached this conclusion after analyzing tremors along a segment of the San Andreas Fault near Parkfield, California.
Nadeau found that after the 2003 6.5-magnitude San Simeon quake and the 2004 6.0-magnitude Parkfield quake -- both located mid-way between San Francisco and Los Angeles -- tremors became more frequent and underground stress increased at the end of a "locked segment" of the San Andreas fault.
A "locked segment" is as a portion of a fault that has not moved in years and is at high risk of a major earthquake.
The researchers believe that the increase in tremors could mean that stress is accumulating faster than in the past along that segment of the fault, "which ruptured in the moment magnitude 7.8 Fort Tejon earthquake of 1857," read the article in Science.
"We've shown that earthquakes can stimulate tremors next to a locked zone, but we don't yet have evidence that this tells us anything about future quakes," Nadeau said.
"But if earthquakes trigger tremors, the pressure that stimulates tremors may also stimulate earthquakes."
Seismologists believe there is a 70 percent probability that a devastating earthquake will strike California in the next 30 years.An increase in tremors deep under California's San Andreas fault may be the... more
"Americans by-and-large admire scientists -- unless they get crosswise on issues with religious overtones such as evolution, global warming, embryonic stem cell research -- according to a new survey released today from the Pew Forum.
Dr. Alan I. Leshner, of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, called it a "communications gap" but it may be more of a belief gap.
The survey found 55% say science and religion are often in conflict and 36% say science sometimes conflicts with their own religious beliefs. Among those 36%:
*41% refer specifically to evolution, creationism, Darwinism and debates about the origin of life.
*15% cite differences over the beginning of life, primarily concerns about abortion(12%) but also cloning and birth control.
*9% are concerned about the use of stem cells.
While 95% of the public said they believe in God or a higher power, 41% of scientists don't believe in either. Nearly half of scientists say they're atheist, agnostic or believe "nothing in particular" but only 17% of the general public is unaffiliated.
You can see that big gap in action on a hot issue such as embryonic stem cell research where, according to the report:
Majorities of Catholics (60%), white mainline Protestants (59%), black Protestants (54%) and the religiously unaffiliated (74%) favor federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Just over half of white evangelical Protestants (52%) oppose it.
It doesn't seem like a mere "communications gap" to me, one that people could talk their way across if they knew just the right words to choose.
Coincidently, the survey was released a day after born-again genome-mapping super-scientist Francis Collins, author of the best selling book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief was named by President Obama to head the National Institutes of Health.
DO YOU WONDER... If the divide is based in deeply held beliefs -- or values not based in religion but still comprising a strong ethical system -- can there really be a bridge?""Americans by-and-large admire scientists -- unless they get crosswise on issues... more
Photographs from the 12th annual mud festival on Daecheon Beach in Boryeong, South Korea on Saturday, July 11, 2009.Photographs from the 12th annual mud festival on Daecheon Beach in Boryeong, South... more
President Barack Obama's student loan plan has been approved by the House Education Committee chairman, George Miller (D-Cali). For decades private banks have profited off of government student loans. But if Obama's student loan plan is approved, private insures will have no role in the lending process. The plan would save the government approximately $87 billion dollars over the next ten years. Despite the approval of Chairman Miller, the Bill will face heavy opposition from the private lending industry.President Barack Obama's student loan plan has been approved by the House... more
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said Friday that “Bruno,” the new film starring Sacha Baron Cohen, reinforces negative stereotypes and “decreases the public’s comfort with gay people.”
GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios, who saw an early screening of the film, said that “the movie was a well-intentioned series of sketches — some hit the mark and some hit the gay community pretty hard and reinforce some damaging, hurtful stereotypes.”
In a style similar to his popular Borat character, Baron Cohen brings Bruno, a flamboyantly gay Austrian fashionista, into ridiculous situations with unsuspecting everyday people.
Universal Pictures, which released “Bruno,” sought GLAAD’s input on the film and invited staff members to advance screenings, Barrios said.
The organization “shared a number of concerns, and unfortunately, the scenes that we had the biggest concerns about remained in the film,” Barrios said.
One such scene shows Bruno in a hot tub with his adopted infant son and two naked men involved in a sex act.
“Scenes like that don’t help America understand the hundreds of thousands of gay families who get up every day, do the carpool then rush home to make dinner and be with their children,” Barrios said.
Similarly, the movie’s mock marriage scene “doesn’t help Americans understand the lives of gay couples who are denied the rights and protections of marriage in 43 states,” he said.
Universal Pictures maintains that “Bruno” is a satire that “uses provocative comedy to powerfully shed light on the absurdity of many kinds of intolerance and ignorance, including homophobia.”
“While any work that dares to address relevant cultural sensitivities might be misinterpreted by some or offend others, we believe the overwhelming majority of the audience will understand and appreciate the film’s inarguably positive intentions, which we’ve seen demonstrated whenever we have shown it,” the studio said in a statement.
Barrios said that while he believes the filmmakers had good intentions and that some moviegoers will see the satire, “some people in the gay community will be as troubled as GLAAD is that the movie doesn’t decrease homophobia, but decreases the public’s comfort with gay people.”The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said Friday that... more
That's right 3.7 Million dollars is going to be spent by our Army in order to fight smoking through the medium of the video game. Am I the only one who thinks that's a really big waste of money? I guess only time will tell, but common sense tells me that a game who's excitement comes from [i]resisting peer pressure[/i] and getting facts about smoking seem destined to be a bore. Also do they really need that much money? I mean how could you possible spend that much on a game like this?
Ok so what do you guys think?That's right 3.7 Million dollars is going to be spent by our Army in order to... more
WAUSAU, Wis. – An American flag flown upside down as a protest in a northern Wisconsin village was seized by police before a Fourth of July parade and the businessman who flew it — an Iraq war veteran — claims the officers trespassed and stole his property.
A day after the parade, police returned the flag and the man's protest — over a liquor license — continued.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin is considering legal action against the village of Crivitz for violating Vito Congine Jr.'s' First Amendment rights, Executive Director Chris Ahmuty said.
"It is not often that you see something this blatant," Ahmuty said.
In mid-June, Congine, 46, began flying the flag upside down — an accepted way to signal distress — outside the restaurant he wants to open in Crivitz, a village of about 1,000 people some 65 miles north of Green Bay.
He said his distress is likely bankruptcy because the village board refused to grant him a liquor license after he spent nearly $200,000 to buy and remodel a downtown building for an Italian supper club.
Congine's upside-down-flag represents distress to him; to others in town, it represents disrespect of the flag.
Hours before a Fourth of July parade, four police officers went to Congine's property and removed the flag under the advice of Marinette County District Attorney Allen Brey.
Neighbor Steven Klein watched in disbelief.
"I said, 'What are you doing?' Klein said. "They said, 'It is none of your business.'"
The next day, police returned the flag.........
What do you think about this? Is he disrespecting America, or flexing his freedom muscles in a light way? Could he do anything more?WAUSAU, Wis. – An American flag flown upside down as a protest in a northern... more
3 years ago