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Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 9th, 2010, 08:05am

Good morning,

This is an open thread so jump in any time you all want. There is no theme to this thread. There is only one rule, no fighting or meaness. So I'll start with an article this morning from Lon at Phantoms and Monsters.

Thursday, July 08, 2010
Breaking News: Bigfoot Found in North America? CONFIRMATION!
THIS IS A SUMMARY OF UPDATES AND EVENTS RELATED TO THIS CASE:

Craig Woolheater of Cryptomundo is reporting the following:

Overnight AM - Overnight AM producers have been contacted by a man claiming to have found Bigfoot living in his backyard somewhere in North America (Location: Confidential). The evidence is substantial based on eyewitness testimony of a man whose life has been turned upside down by the creatures, a family of four; two adults and two infants, who bed down in his backyard every evening. UFO Magazine & Clearly Skewed Entertainment has dispatched a film crew to the area to document the events as they unfold on camera.

Tonight, Mike (last name withheld), a 70 year old veteran with no interest in the field of Bigfoot research, will join Lan Lamphere and the Overnight AM radio show audience to describe the events of the past few weeks and his encounters with this family of Bigfoot who have taken to living in the forest behind his home appearing every night to bed down in his backyard to escape biting mosquitos.

Lan Lamphere
Overnight AM

From Cryptomundo - Listen to the program here. You will need to open the file with one of the followings applications: iTunes, RealPlayer or WinAmp.

I have contacted William Birnes, publisher of UFO Magazine and a facebook fan of Cryptomundo by the way, to see if he can share any additional details regarding this case.

I have only had a chance to listen to the first twenty minutes or so of the program, so I have not listened to Mike or any of the investigators who were guests of the show.

What do the readers of Cryptomundo think after listening to the program?

Lan Lamphere said on the show that he had contacted the BFRO and that Darcy Stoffregen of Maple Ridge, British Columbia was investigating.

NOTE: since the time this was posted, a few discrepancies have/are developing. Nancy Birnes of UFO Magazine states...I dont know who wrote that at the Overnight AM site, but no film crew has been dispatched. Possibly someone will go there and check it out, but at this point nobody has. So, we'll see what happens. Frankly, I noticed the original announcement a few days ago but waited to see what was going to develop. I'll attempt to keep this updated. If anyone has further information on this, please feel free to comment or contact me...Lon

UPDATE: 1:30 pm ET - I just listened to the interview...I think there may be something to this. One of the local law enforcement officers had made a report of seeing a 'naked woman covered in hair' eating from dumpster sometime before this sighting was reported to Bill Birnes at 'the History Channel'. My theory that most Sasquatch type creatures are non-terrestrial (alien visitors) may be bolstered by this encounter...namely because this group of creatures seem to be in a small forested area in a urban setting. The group has been dumpster diving behind a nearby restaurant according the witness. I feel that these creatures come from an alternative universe or plane. Like spirits, I think that these entities and others can move across the great divide between our worlds. Yeah, I know it sounds fantastic but I have come to this theory based on my experiences and the thousands of eyewitness encounters by others. BTW, this story is burning through the internet today...Lon

UPDATE: 4:15 pm ET - OK...a reader, Bill Green, talked to the Overnight AM producer by telephone and found out that Lan Lamphere will be presenting further evidence tonight (July 8th - 10pm ET / 9pm CT). I don't know if they're intentionally stringing this out but I'll keep an open mind nonetheless. If you want to listen to the show, go to Overnight AM for the live stream. You will need to setup a free account for access. The location has not be disclosed...but there is some speculation. Like I mentioned earlier, BFRO has been contacted and they are sending a crew there. I really hope they warned the witness to avoid 'our friend Tom' from the 'Georgia Bigfoot Hoax' and other fiascos...Lon

UPDATE: 8:50 pm ET - Well, cryptozoologist Darcy Stoffregen, who was interviewed by Lan Lamphere in reference to this sighting, has posted the following statement on his Facebook profile "Not involved any more. He never called yesterday like he said he would and I just found out why". Stoffregen was suppose to hook up with the witness 'Mr. Mike' I think. Anyway, his message was too vague for me to understand what he meant. BTW, the original radio interview of 'Mr. Mike' was conducted this past Friday...Lon

UPDATE: 10:10 pm ET - Lan Lamphere of Overnight AM is reporting on his live show that there were actually 2 reports of a 'hairy woman' before the original report. Starting the show, Lamphere stated that the Sasquatch report is 'absolutely true'. Seems that the Sasquatch have migrated towards the front of the house and 'Mr. Mike' states he is communicating with them. Also, more Sasquatch have arrived and there are at least 2 infants! A private investigator was hired to perform a background check on 'Mr. Mike'...and he checks out OK. The PI was at the location for 2 hours and confirms that the Sasquatch are REAL (one apparently walked up behind him in the dark and grunted) and there are PHOTOS!

more after the jump
http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/2010/07/breaking-news-bigfoot-found-in-north_08.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 9th, 2010, 08:07am

Washington Post

U.S., Russian planes swap 14 spies in Vienna

By Mary Beth Sheridan and Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 9, 2010; 8:16 AM



Two airplanes -- one carrying 10 Russian agents deported from the U.S., the other transporting four Russians jailed for improper contacts with the West -- landed at Vienna's international airport early Friday as part of a rapidly arranged spy swap that stirred memories of Cold War intrigues, news services reported.

After a brief time on the ground, the planes reportedly took off again, according to television accounts and news agencies, apparently to deliver those on board to their respective destinations.

The 10 accused spies who were expelled from the U.S. are headed to Russia, according to an agreement negotiated between Moscow and Washington, while the four who had been jailed in Russia are being sent to the West.

The 10 U.S.-based agents pleaded guilty in a Manhattan courtroom Thursday to acting as unregistered foreign agents for Russia, a charge well short of espionage. They had endured only a few days of jail time since their arrests in the United States last month; in prior cases, spies spent years behind bars before being exchanged.

U.S. officials said there was no point in holding the agents, since authorities had monitored their activities for years and had unraveled their network. Obama administration officials said they had been eager to win the release of the four Russians, some of whom have spent long stretches in prison and are in poor health.

The deal was expected to remove an irritant from the U.S.-Russia relationship, which has improved markedly under the Obama administration. But one senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, acknowledged that "vestiges of an old Russia" are evident in the spying case. "Frankly, that's why we were as aggressive in rolling up this operation as we were," the official said.

President Obama has not spoken to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev about the spy swap but has been "fully briefed and engaged in the matter," the administration official said. "It did come to the [U.S.] president for his authorization. And he gave it."

Another senior U.S. official said the timing of the spies' arrests, just days after the two presidents happily munched cheeseburgers during a visit to Washington by Medvedev, was coincidental. It was driven "by our knowledge that one individual intended to depart the United States" imminently, the official said.

The U.S. government declined to name the four Russians being released from custody. But a Kremlin statement identified them as Alexander Zaporozhsky, Sergei Skripal and Gennady Vasilenko, all former intelligence officers; and Igor Sutyagin, a nuclear expert at a think tank.

Unlike the 10 "sleeper" agents arrested in the U.S., three of the four had long histories with the KGB, Russia's intelligence service. All had served years in Russian prisons.

The 10 U.S.-based spies walked into Courtroom 26a in Manhattan's federal courthouse in groups of five Thursday afternoon, some wearing beige-and-blue prison jumpsuits and others sporting T-shirts and jeans. One by one, they entered their pleas. The courtroom was silent as the judge asked the defendants to reveal their identities.

The man known as "Richard Murphy" hesitated, apparently unsure which name to use. "Your true identity," said Judge Kimba Wood. Then "Murphy" gave his name: Vladimir Guryev.

Peruvian-born Vicky Pelaez, a naturalized U.S. citizen and the only non-Russian among the agents, burst into tears as she spotted a loved one among the onlookers. Anna Chapman, the Russian diplomat's daughter whose photos have become an Internet sensation, played with her red hair, attempting to tie it back.

The hearing brought an abrupt conclusion to one of the more unusual spy cases in U.S. history. The 10 agents -- and a suspect still at large after disappearing in Cyprus -- were "sleepers" whose job was to blend in at high-powered institutions such as Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government or in Manhattan financial circles, officials said.

Their mission was to gather information and identify potential future government employees who could be helpful, officials said.

Tales emerged of their seemingly ordinary lives in the suburbs, where they raised children together, even though the four couples were not really married, U.S. officials said. The agents passed on information to a shadowy Russian intelligence apparatus known as "Moscow Center," using invisible ink and sophisticated computer networks.

Asked about the future of the spies' American-born offspring, officials said that was up to their parents, indicating the children were likely to accompany them to Russia.

The agents are far different from other notable U.S. spies for the Soviet Union, such as Robert P. Hanssen and Aldrich H. Ames, who did major damage to national security. In contrast, the agents had been ordered not to seek classified data, and it remains unclear if they did any harm to the U.S. government.

U.S. law enforcement officials praised what they said was a successful outcome.

"This was an extraordinary case, developed through years of work by investigators, intelligence lawyers, and prosecutors, and the agreement we reached today provides a successful resolution for the United States and its interests," Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said.

Still, some analysts questioned the rapid release of the sleeper agents.

"One thing that makes it harder to recruit people for work like this is the prospect you're going to be in a world of hurt if you get caught. If the worst you have to worry about is the American government's catch-and-release policy, what kind of deterrent is that?" said Stephen Sestanovich, a Russia expert who has worked for both Republican and Democratic administrations.

John L. Martin, who supervised dozens of espionage cases during a 26-year career at the Justice Department, said earlier spy exchanges took years to work out. The speed at which the latest one occurred was "absolutely unprecedented," he said.

Indeed, the swap could feed Republican criticism that the Obama administration is too accommodating toward Russia.

Obama administration officials said the deal illustrated the good working relationship between the former Cold War enemies. After initially denying that the agents worked for Moscow, the Russian government did an about-face and was willing to deal, U.S. officials said.

"We drove the terms of this arrangement, which was based on national security as well as humanitarian grounds," said one of the U.S. officials.

The quick agreement suggested both Washington and Moscow wanted to move beyond the scandal, which occurred as the Senate is weighing a new bilateral nuclear arms-control accord.

more after the jump
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/09/AR2010070901263.html?hpid=topnews

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 9th, 2010, 08:09am

Washington Post

BP prepares to change well's cap, then start plugging it

By Marc Kaufman and Joel Achenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 9, 2010; A01

In the race to control and kill the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico before a tropical storm halts operations, BP is gambling that it can perform several complex technical maneuvers simultaneously.

The company plans to change caps on the gusher, a tricky task that could greatly improve the ability to capture the oil or perhaps even shut down the well -- but that would permit oil to flow unabated during the switch. The company had planned to change the cap only after first connecting the well to a new ship at the site, the Helix Producer, which can siphon up to 25,000 barrels of oil a day. But with a window of calm weather forecast for the next week or so, BP has accelerated its plans, administration officials said Thursday.

This burst of activity comes as a relief well is nearing the blown-out borehole. BP and administration officials say that if the weather holds and all the technology works as planned, they could begin the process of permanently plugging the well within two weeks.

With so much about to happen at the blowout site, the Obama administration on Thursday gave BP officials 24 hours to provide a detailed description of what they will do in the weeks ahead and how they will do it. In a letter to BP, National Incident Commander Thad Allen also asked for a series of backup plans to be put into effect if events took unpredicted turns.

"They have said to our people this is how they'd like to proceed. We have questions about that, so we're asking a series of questions, making sure that everything has been carefully thought through before we move into agreeing to sort of a simultaneous process," said a senior administration official.

On another front, the administration was dealt a setback when an appeals court rejected its request to reinstate its moratorium on deep-water drilling.

With the break in the weather, BP and the administration appeared to be projecting conflicting views on how quickly the leak might finally be killed.

In interviews on Wednesday, BP's managing director, Bob Dudley, raised the possibility of success before the end of July. "In a perfect world with no interruptions, it's possible to be ready to stop the well between July 20 and July 27," Dudley told the Wall Street Journal. But he also said that perfect case was "unlikely" because of the threat of hurricanes.

On Thursday, Allen pointedly stuck to the official government estimate that the leak will be plugged by mid-August. If the effort succeeded earlier, Allen said, "we'd all jump for joy."

He cautioned, however, that the oil could be flowing up several different pathways inside the 10-inch steel casing, which has a seven-inch pipe inside it. It is unknown whether the oil and gas are flowing inside those structures, in the space between them or both.

Consequently, the relief well will succeed only when its drill penetrates the right layer or layers. "We can't bet on getting it the first time," he said.

Allen said the relief-well drill will be in place to penetrate the leaking borehole in seven to 10 days -- a time frame more precise than any given before. The process of filling the hole with mud and then plugging it with concrete will take seven to 10 more days and, he said, might have to be done a number of times, depending on where in the well the oil and gas are flowing.

With so many imponderables, he said, predicting a July finish seemed overly optimistic.

Nonetheless, the administration is as eager as BP to take advantage of the predicted week to 10 days of good weather. The wild card in the picture has always been hurricanes. The new, tighter-fitting cap would be connected to a floating riser pipe that would, in turn, be connected to surface ships with flexible hoses. That would enable the ships to detach quickly in advance of a storm, then reconnect quickly upon their return.

With the Helix Producer connected to the current cap, the surface vessels would have the capacity to capture up to 53,000 barrels of oil a day from the well. With the new firmer cap in place and yet another surface ship collecting oil, the overall capacity would increase to 80,000 barrels a day, higher than any official estimate for the flow rate of the well.

The relief well is currently moving almost parallel to the blown-out Macondo well, just 12 feet away laterally, and with only about 200 feet to go before it reaches the interception target.

The blown-out well will be intercepted at a point where there is both casing and interior pipe. Oil and gas may be surging between the original wall of the hole and the outside of the steel casing -- a space that was cemented before the well erupted on April 20. Or the flow could be taking place in the annulus, as the space between the casing and the pipe is known. Or it could be within the pipe itself -- or some combination of all that.

Allen also addressed sometimes-frustrating efforts to clean the waters using skimming boats, including a large vessel called A Whale sent from Taiwan. Allen said the big boat was designed to collect greater concentrations of oil than those that are being found in much of the gulf but that the Coast Guard had agreed to test it for another week.

He said the administration has been active for weeks in organizing a volunteer effort but added: "I think everybody would agree there's not enough skimming operations." An enormous flotilla of private boats has been assembled to clean the waters, but it has been difficult to match the vessels with appropriate jobs.

"One of the analogies I've made is to the militia at Concord before the Revolution. Everybody showed up for the fight: Some had muskets, and some had a hatchet," Allen said.

more after the jump
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/08/AR2010070801685.html?hpid=topnews

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 9th, 2010, 08:11am

New York Times

July 8, 2010
Loophole May Have Aided Theft of Classified Data
By THOM SHANKER

WASHINGTON The soldier accused of downloading a huge trove of secret data from military computers in Iraq appears to have exploited a loophole in Defense Department security to copy thousands of files onto compact discs over a six-month period. In at least one instance, according to those familiar with the inquiry, the soldier smuggled highly classified data out of his intelligence unit on a disc disguised as a music CD by Lady Gaga.

Criminal charges were filed this week against the soldier, Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, 22, who was accused of downloading more than 150,000 diplomatic cables, as well as secret videos and a PowerPoint presentation. Since his arrest in May, with initial accounts blaming him for leaking video of a deadly American helicopter attack in Baghdad in 2007, officials have sought to determine how he could have removed voluminous amounts of secret data without being caught.

A Defense Department directive from November 2008 prohibits the use of small thumb drives or larger external memory devices on any of the estimated seven million computers operated by the Pentagon and armed services. The order was issued to forestall the accidental infection of national security computer networks by viruses and the intentional removal of classified information.

Defense Department computers have their portals disabled to prevent the use of external memory devices that are ubiquitous in homes, offices and schools, officials said. A recent amendment to the order allows the rare use of thumb drives, but only with official approval as required by a current mission.

But the Pentagon directive and the amendment did not ban the use of compact-disc devices, which are built into many computers and therefore not included in the prohibition against the use of external memory devices.

According to Pentagon officials and one former hacker who has communicated with Private Manning, he appears to have taken compact discs that can accept text, video and other data files into an intelligence center in the desert of eastern Iraq to copy and remove the classified information.

He was able to avoid detection not because he kept a poker face, they said, but apparently because he hummed and lip-synched to Lady Gaga songs to make it appear that he was using the classified computers CD player to listen to music.

Adrian Lamo, a well-known former hacker, had traded electronic messages in which Private Manning described his unhappiness with the Army and, Mr. Lamo said, his activities downloading classified data.

Mr. Lamo said Private Manning described how he had used compact discs capable of storing data, but tucked inside recognizable music CD cases, to bring the data out of the secure room.

He indicated he disguised one as a Lady Gaga CD, Mr. Lamo said Thursday in a telephone interview. He said he lip-synched to blend in.

The four pages of official charges against Private Manning accuse him of downloading and removing the classified data from last November to May. The charges say he also loaded unauthorized software onto a computer linked to the militarys classified computer network, called the SIPR-Net. The charges do not explain the significance of that action, nor how it might have aided his alleged effort to download classified files.

In downloading more than 150,000 diplomatic cables, the charges state, Private Manning did intentionally exceed his authorized access on the SIPR-Net. This statement appears to be at least a partial explanation of how a soldier assigned to an Army brigade outpost in eastern Iraq was able to gain access to classified diplomatic cables on a variety of unrelated subjects.

At a Pentagon news conference on Thursday, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said they would reserve judgment on whether to order a sweeping review of security measures until it was determined whether the actions of which Private Manning is accused represent a broader problem.

What this illustrates is the incredible amount of trust we place in even our most junior men and women in uniform, Mr. Gates said. We have over two million men and women in uniform, and I believe we should always err on the side of trusting them because virtually all of them not 100 percent, but nearly 100 percent give us reasons every single day to continue trusting them."

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/09/world/09breach.html?_r=1&hp

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 9th, 2010, 08:13am

New York Times

July 9, 2010
China Renews Googles License
By DAVID BARBOZA

SHANGHAI The Internet giant Google said Friday that the Beijing government had renewed its license to operate a Web site in mainland China, ending months of tension after the company stopped censoring search results here and pulled some operations out of the country.

Google made the announcement early Friday morning in California in a blog posting by its chief legal officer, David Drummond.

We are very pleased that the government has renewed our I.C.P. license, Mr. Drummond wrote referring to an Internet content provider license. And we look forward to continuing to provide Web search and local products to our users in China.

If the license had not been renewed, Google would have effectively been forced to shut down its Web site, google.cn, in China. With the renewal, Google can continue offering limited services in China and direct users to the companys uncensored Hong Kong-based Chinese language search engine, google.com.hk. Hong Kong, a former British colony that is now a special administrative region of China, is governed separately from the mainland.

Under the current setup in mainland China, people can conduct a Google search and see the results, but often they cannot open the links.

Google announced in January that it had suffered China-based cyber attacks on its databases and the e-mail accounts of some users. The company also said it would stop censoring search results, which it had agreed to do when it first began to operate in China several years ago. The Chinese government insists that its citizens access to the Internet be stripped of offensive and some politically sensitive material.

In March, Google closed its Internet search service in China and began directing users to the uncensored Hong Kong site.

Many analysts were stunned by the moves and questioned whether Google was acting prudently in risking its spot in the worlds largest Internet market.

Just a few weeks ago, however, Google signaled a softer approach to Beijing by saying that it had stopped automatically sending users in mainland China to its Hong Kong site. The company said it had created a Web page that offered users in mainland China the choice of what to do, rather than automatically directing them to its Hong Kong site.

The move, though seemingly insignificant, seemed to comply better with Beijings strict regulations.

But the license renewal is a sign that Google, while uncomfortable with operating in China and censoring its search results on Beijings behalf, is determined to keep a foot in China, which now has more Internet users than the United States.

This approach ensures we stay true to our commitment not to censor our results on google.cn and gives users access to all of our services from one page, Mr. Drummond wrote at the time.

Renewal is required annually for Googles license, which officially expires in 2012.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/10/technology/10google.html?ref=world

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 9th, 2010, 08:16am

New York Times

July 9, 2010
U.S. Prisoner in N. Korea Tries Suicide
By CHOE SANG-HUN

SEOUL, South Korea An American sentenced to eight years in a labor camp in North Korea has been hospitalized after trying to kill himself, the Norths state-run Korean Central News Agency reported on Friday.

The attempt by the American, Aijalon Mahli Gomes, 30, from Boston, was driven by his strong guilty conscience and his frustration with the U.S. governments failure to free him, the news agency said.

The Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang, which has had consular access to Mr. Gomes on behalf of Washington, was aware of his condition, the agency said. The United States and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations.

In April, North Korea sentenced Mr. Gomes to eight years of hard labor and fined him the equivalent of $700,000 for entering the country illegally and for hostile acts.

North Korea recently threatened to increase punishment for Mr. Gomes under the countrys wartime law, saying worsening tensions with the United States had created a warlike situation on the Korean Peninsula.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/10/world/asia/10korea.html?ref=world

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 9th, 2010, 08:18am

Telegraph

Move over psychic Paul ... parakeet predicts Holland win
Published: 1:22PM BST 09 Jul 2010

A parakeet from Singapore will go head-to-head with Paul the psychic octopus after the bird predicted a victory for Holland in the World Cup final.

more after the jump including video
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/world-cup-2010/video/7881438/Move-over-psychic-Paul-...-parakeet-predicts-Holland-win.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 9th, 2010, 08:22am

Telegraph

Norfolk earliest known settlement in northern Europe
Ancient Britons lived alongside mammoths and sabre-tooth cats in East Anglia up to 950,000 years ago, according to archaeological discoveries that show this country may have been inhabited 250,000 years earlier than previously thought.

By Matthew Moore
Published: 8:00PM BST 07 Jul 2010

Dozens of flint tools unearthed on the Norfolk coast have revealed that early humans who first evolved in Africa braved bitter conditions to settle in Britain.

The find at Happisburgh, around 20 miles from Norwich, marks the earliest known human settlement in northern Europe.

The Happisburgh humans, who researchers believe were from the now-extinct Homo antecessor species, are thought to have hunted for food in rich estuaries of the ancient River Thames, which then flowed into the North Sea in what is now Norfolk.

After travelling across the land bridge which linked Britain to the rest of Europe, the humans are believed to have settled on the edges of the boreal forests that covered much of the country.

Fossil remains found near the 78 flint artefacts including many sharpened "flakes" indicate that the humans shared the land with an array of exotic mammals, including rhinos, hyaenas, and mammoths.

Sabre-tooth cats would have been among their most feared predators.

While they have yet to unearth human fossils, researchers from the Natural History Museum, British Museum and the University of London are convinced that their five year dig into sand on the shore of Happisburgh has provided convincing evidence that humans lived on the site in the Early Pleistocene era.

Tests on the sediments in which the artefacts were buried found that they were laid down during a period when the planet's magnetic field was reversed. The last time the poles switched in this way was 780,000 years ago.

Analysis of fossils found at the site including a long-extinct mammoth species and climate records indicate that the humans must have been present between 850,000 and 950,000 years ago.

Professor Chris Stringer from the Natural History Museum said that the discovery was remarkable because it showed that ancient humans were better adapted to surviving colder conditions than previously thought.

Winters would have been around 3C colder than Britain today roughly equivalent to modern conditions in southern Scandinavia meaning that the humans were almost certainly advanced enough to wear rudimentary clothing, build shelter and make fire, according to the researchers.

These finds are by far the earliest known evidence of humans in Britain," Prof Stringer said. "They have significant implications for our understanding of early human behaviour, adaptations and survival."

Evidence uncovered at a dig site in Pakefield, Suffolk in 2005 indicated that humans had managed to reach Britain about 700,000 years ago. Before then, it was thought that these shores were still unoccupied 500,000 years ago.

The latest find suggests that Britain has been subject to at least nine distinct human colonisations in history.

Simon Parfitt of University College London, who was also involved in the research, said: "The picture we are getting here is of humans coming into Britain regularly and then dying out, and the land having to be repopulated again by another group of people. It was too cold for them to survive in the long term."

Prof Stringer said that finding a human bone would be the "holy grail" of the excavation, which is part of the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project. A report is published in this week's edition of Nature, the science journal.

Homo antecessor is the most likely candidate for "Happisburgh Man", as they were the only human species known to live in Europe at this time. Little is known about their physiology or habits, but fossil remains discovered in Spain indicate they had lower foreheads, stronger brows and bigger teeth than modern humans.

more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/7877299/Norfolk-earliest-known-settlement-in-northern-Europe.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 9th, 2010, 08:24am

Science Daily

Gene Knockout Makes Female Mice Masculine
ScienceDaily (July 9, 2010)

The mammalian fucose mutarotase enzyme is known to be involved in incorporating the sugar fucose into protein. Female mice that lack the fucose mutarotase (FucM) gene refuse to let males mount them, and will attempt copulation with other female mice. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Genetics created the FucM mouse mutants in order to investigate the role of this enzyme in vivo.

Chankyu Park worked with a team of researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and intriguingly gained some insight into the neurological basis of sexual preference. He said, "The FucM knockout mice displayed drastically reduced sexual receptivity, although pregnancy after forced mating attempts by normal sexually experienced males showed that the animals were fertile. The FucM knock-out mice have reduced levels of alpha-fetoprotein, a protein thought to be involved in development of parts of the brain responsible for reproductive behavior."

The mutant female mice were healthy, and behaved normally towards young mice. When approached by male mice, however, they would not adopt the sexually receptive 'lordosis' position. Furthermore, they lost interest in investigating male urine, unlike normal females, and would attempt to mount other females.

more after the jump
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100708071619.htm

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 9th, 2010, 08:28am

Hollywood Reporter

'Inception' is no dream for marketers
Unusual summer bow for such a cerebral pic
By Carl DiOrio

July 8, 2010, 11:00 PM ET

"Inception"

Consumers may wish more original films were wedged into the usual summer mix of remakes and sequels, but marketing executives know enough to be careful what they wish for.

Case in point: Warner Bros.' soon-to-bow thriller "Inception." Directed by Christopher Nolan, the Leonardo DiCaprio starrer has stimulated prerelease buzz simply on the basis of its A-list creatives.

Which is fortunate, as the pic's cerebral mix of brain-teasing plot points and effects-driven fantasy defies easy characterization in a one-sheet tagline or even a trailer, judging from materials released to date. Its online campaign similarly is based more on tease than glimpses into the narrative.

Studio marketing always aims to raise pic awareness and stoke must-see interest among prospective patrons, goals most easily achieved when moviegoers have a sense of what to expect from a film. With early -- and solidly positive -- reviews of "Inception" trickling out, word has circulated that the movie has something to do with industrial espionage and the invasion of dreams.

Well, that clears things up.

"I have heard everything from 'awesome' to 'a bit confusing' from those who went to the screening," one industryite said after a showing of the film at the recent Cinema Expo confab in Amsterdam.

In other words, the pic seemed to play well with the audience, but even the subsequent word-of-mouth tended to be vague, albeit positive. Even the movie's name fails to conjure anything specific.

"Nobody thinks it's a bad movie," an exec from a rival studio stressed. "The question is whether it's going to be the real breakout picture that everybody seems to think or just the darling of the East and West coasts and miss the rest of the country."

There lies the rub: how to entice Middle America without a lot of complicated explication? It obviously helps that "Inception" was helmed by Batman's favorite director and stars a maturing American heartthrob.

more after the jump
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3i76b408899045994d95b701b5cb058a0b

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 9th, 2010, 08:33am

Please be an angel

User Image

www.soldiersangels.org


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 9th, 2010, 11:32am

Yeah! It's "Stuff & Nonsense"-time again! Go for it, Crystal!User Image

For all those who are not familiar with it, just check out this thread every day to find everything between news, pictures, videos and other stuff. And if you've found something which could fit in here, then don't hesitate to post it. wink

And I already got something.

I'd say the future has begun:

Solar plane lands after completing 24-hour flight

PAYERNE, Switzerland An experimental solar-powered plane completed its first 24-hour test flight successfully Thursday, proving that the aircraft can collect enough energy from the sun during the day to stay aloft all night.

The test brings the Swiss-led project one step closer to its goal of circling the globe using only energy from the sun.

Pilot Andre Borschberg eased the Solar Impulse out of the clear blue morning sky onto the runway at Payerne airfield about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of the Swiss capital Bern at exactly 9 a.m. (0700 GMT; 3 a.m. EDT).

Helpers rushed to stabilize the pioneering plane as it touched down, ensuring that its massive 207-foot (63-meter) wingspan didn't scrape the ground and topple the craft.

"We achieved more than we wanted. Everybody is extremely happy," Borschberg told reporters after landing.

Previous flights included a brief "flea hop" and a longer airborne test earlier this year, but this week's attempt was described as a "milestone" by the team and comes after seven years of planning.

...


More here:
** http://tinyurl.com/33ygaha




(**Mod Edit to shorten link)
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 9th, 2010, 11:55am

Good morning Phil!

It's so good to see you here! Thanks for the warm welcome and the article. That solar plane looks like a keeper.


Mail online:

Chinese airport closed after fiery UFO is spotted flying over city
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:20 PM on 9th July 2010


A Chinese airport was closed after this mysterious object was spotted in the sky.
Arcing over Zhejiang's provincial capital Hangzhou, the UFO appeared to glow with an eerie white light and left a bright trail in its wake.
Xiaoshan Airport was closed after the UFO was detected at around 9 pm and dozens of flights had to be diverted.
The strange light appeared to glow as it swept through the night sky, to the alarm of local residents.

Another photo from a different angle shows a wide trail behind the object as it zips through the sky.

Stunned witnesses reported seeing a comet-like fireball in the sky and a number of local residents took photos of the strange ball of light.

A local bus driver, giving his name only as Yu, said he had seen a strange glowing object in the sky late on Wednesday afternoon.

'The thing suddenly ran westwards fast, like it was escaping from something,' he said.

Inbound flights were diverted to nearby airports while outbound flights were delayed for three to four hours.
Some Chinese experts claimed that the strange sight was actually debris from a US intercontinental ballistic missile.

photos and more after the jump
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1293395/Chinese-airport-closed-UFO-spotted-city.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 9th, 2010, 1:16pm

I'd like to thank BJ Booth and DrDil for creating this new subforum! It really means alot and makes us newbies feel like we're at home! Big thanks! smiley
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by DrDil on Jul 9th, 2010, 1:17pm

on Jul 9th, 2010, 11:55am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Mail online:

Chinese airport closed after fiery UFO is spotted flying over city
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:20 PM on 9th July 2010

<snip>

Hi Crystal,

Looking good!! wink

I was reading about the Chinese UFO a little earlier and whilst I suspect it of (more than likely) having an earthly explanation I noticed it was accompanied by a couple of stunning images so Ive took the liberty of posting them below.

User Image
User Image


Cheers. smiley

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 9th, 2010, 1:27pm

Thanks DrDil,
Nice photos. I wonder what it is?
Crystal




Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 9th, 2010, 1:29pm


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 9th, 2010, 6:32pm

LA Times

Total solar eclipse fans chase a moment in the sun
They travel thousands of miles to catch the celestial intersection of sun and moon, which some describe as a spiritual high. On Sunday, it happens again.
By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times

July 10, 2010

When the moon blots out the sun's blinding rays on Sunday, a sliver of the Earth's surface will be plunged into eerie darkness.

Travelers who have crossed thousands of miles to witness the celestial show will gaze at the sky and, for a few minutes, see a thing most people never get to see: a halo of fire the sun's corona flickering around the edges of the silhouette of the moon.

But Jay Pasachoff, over on Easter Island, may be looking down more than up calibrating his instruments, checking for technical glitches, peering through lenses. He doesn't need to look up. He's seen 28 total eclipses, and 50 eclipses in all.

The Williams College astronomy professor saw his first total eclipse at age 16, when he was a freshman at Harvard. Flying with classmates above the cloud line in a DC-3 just north of Boston in October 1959, he gazed at the spectacle through the double-pane airplane window. "I could see it low in the sky, see it straight out and it was wonderful," he said.

He fell in love.

He's looked up the details on eclipses set to occur in upcoming decades. He has a list of them out to the year 3000.

To some, such single-mindedness might be considered extreme. Not to Tom Thornbury, 68, of Bel-Air, who's racked up seven total eclipses so far. He recalls dolphins doing back flips in the Sea of Cortez during his first, in 1991. Six years later, as the corona glowed above Mongolia, he proposed to his now wife.

Nor to Alex Filippenko, a UC Berkeley astronomer who's seen 10 total eclipses and is awaiting his 11th on the cruise ship Paul Gauguin, in waters southeast of Tahiti.

"The first is in some ways the best. Most people I've met become transformed by the experience," Filippenko said. (Eclipses aren't a big slice of his day job; quasars and black holes are more his thing.)

If they don't feel the wonder, he added, "I think they're brain-dead."

Some eclipse chasers describe the feeling they get during totality those moments when the sun is fully covered as spiritual, others as a high. The self-described "coronaphiles" often form tight networks and eagerly log the minutes spent in totality at websites such as http://www.eclipse-chasers.com.

"A lot of people say it's as good as sex. Well, it's right up there. It's close," Thornbury said. "It makes you realize how extraordinary this universe in which we live actually is."

Solar eclipses are the result of a mathematical coincidence: The sun's diameter is roughly 400 times that of the moon's, but it's also roughly 400 times as far away. So when sun and moon line up right as they do roughly every 18 months along a given path over Earth the moon almost perfectly covers the sun.

Each total eclipse is unique, aficionados say, because so many factors are at play. The corona can appear sparser at some times and more dynamic at others, depending on where the sun is in its 11-year sun spot cycle. Bad weather might obscure the sun at given points. And the length of each totality will vary as will the path along which totality can be seen.

Anywhere outside that narrow path, the sun will peek over the moon's edge, destroying the effect. That's why eclipse chasers often must travel to some of the world's most remote lands and even its seas, as with Sunday's eclipse. For this event, the path of totality will cross eastward through the South Pacific, making landfall only at the Cook Islands and Easter Island until it reaches the tip of South America.

Eclipses have long been a way of life for the Pasachoff family Pasachoff's wife, Naomi, also works at Williams College, and their daughters Deborah and Eloise often accompanied them on eclipse expeditions as children. Even when Pasachoff went solo, the family was standing by at home, on call.

"There's always eclipse errands. It's a very drama-filled lifestyle," said Deborah Pasachoff, who has observed eight total eclipses, the first when she was an infant.

Days before the 1983 eclipse in Java, Indonesia, Naomi Pasachoff got a panicked call from her husband. A digital data recorder wasn't working, and Java wasn't known for its spare electronics parts. Naomi dug up the home phone number for the president of Tektronix, manufacturer of the recorder. The executive located a replacement in Boston.

Naomi asked a colleague to pick up the device and buy a plane ticket to Java on her husband's American Express card. The colleague talked his way through Indonesian customs by showing officials an article Jay Pasachoff had written for National Geographic about a 1970 eclipse. He arrived at the observation site just in time.

In the early days, before wide use of cellphones and e-mail, the parents could be incommunicado for weeks at a time when they were off studying eclipses.

"It was always 'Where are Mom and Dad?' instead of 'How are Mom and Dad?' " said Deborah Pasachoff, now 33 and living in Pasadena. Their mother devised a system to keep the daughters in touch a prepared package of letters, typewritten on turtle-themed stationery, describing what the parents were up to at each step.

"Every day," Deborah said, "whoever was staying with us would read a letter to us 'I hope you have a good time with so and so this afternoon today we went to see the Taj Mahal.' "

When the daughters could go with their parents, they often served as educational emissaries, instructing local schoolchildren on how to view an eclipse safely (fine to look straight up when the eclipse is total, but an eye-searing no-no when the sun is partially covered).

And they'd look out for their dad as he fiddled with his instruments during those crucial few minutes of dark.

"We always have to remind him you can take your eyeball away from these lenses for a minute."

In many ancient mythologies, eclipses were seen as a bad omen, said Isaac Kikawada of Mountain View, a retired professor of Babylonian studies at UC Berkeley who got hooked after viewing his first total eclipse in 2001 and who takes amateur photos of the spectacles. (He is on Easter Island with his wife, Heidi Gerster.) Even now, people in some parts of the world act strangely when confronted by eclipses, beating on pots and pans, for example, or sacrificing chickens.

"Until modern times, an eclipse was something to be feared.... Now we can predict exactly to the second where it happens," Kikawada said. "I celebrate this triumph of science."

The ancient Babylonians identified the 18-year Saros cycle, which can be used to predict solar and lunar eclipses. More than 2,000 years later, a 1919 eclipse played a key role in proving Einstein's theory of general relativity, by demonstrating how light would bend around massive objects like the sun.

more after the jump
http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-eclipse-20100710,0,127538.story

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 9th, 2010, 6:35pm

LA Times

Gen. James Mattis is named head of U.S. Central Command
Defense Secretary Robert Gates praises the general for his 'strategic insight and independent thinking.' The poetry-quoting, blunt-talking Marine once said it's 'fun to shoot some people.'
By Ken Dilanian, Tribune Washington Bureau

5:27 PM PDT, July 8, 2010

Reporting from Washington

Defense Secretary Robert Gates praises the general for his 'strategic insight and independent thinking.' The poetry-quoting, blunt-talking Marine once said it's 'fun to shoot some people.'

Marine Gen. James N. Mattis, an erudite combat veteran known for quoting poetry and openly expressing his enthusiasm for "killing the enemy," has been selected to take over U.S. Central Command, the Pentagon announced Thursday.

Mattis would replace Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, who is in Afghanistan as the U.S. and NATO's top military officer there. Petraeus took over after President Obama accepted Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal's resignation June 23 in the wake of an article that quoted McChrystal and his staff mocking U.S. civilian leaders.

Mattis is now the head of the Joint Forces Command, based in Norfolk, Va. That command coordinates strategy and trains generals. In June, he was passed over for the job of commandant of the Marine Corps in favor of Gen. James F. Amos.

As head of Central Command, Mattis would oversee U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as across the Middle East, including Iraq and Iran. In his new position, Mattis technically would be Petraeus' boss.

The job requires Senate confirmation.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told reporters that he was impressed with the general's "strategic insight and independent thinking."

Mattis is a general who is seemingly straight out of central casting, a gravel-voiced warrior best known for leading troops into the battle of Fallouja in Iraq in 2004.

Fond of quoting Shakespeare, Carl von Clausewitz and Sun Tzu, he tends to speak bluntly of the harsh realities of war. His candor got him in trouble in 2005 when he asserted in a speech in San Diego that it was "fun to shoot some people."

Mattis, a three-star general at the time, told the audience that some Afghans deserved to die.

"Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight," he said. "You know, it's a hell of a hoot.... It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right upfront with you. I like brawling."

He added, "You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."

His comments evoked some laughter and applause, but his then-boss, Gen. Michael Hagee, asked him to watch his words in public.

Gates said Thursday that he raised the issue with Mattis during the job interview and was confident that the general will be careful.

"I think the subsequent five years have demonstrated that the lesson was learned," he said.

Nonetheless, Mattis has continued to tell reporters that his main job is to "kill the enemy."

Considered one of the military's premier strategic thinkers, he is also a deft political operator. Among the members of his advisory board at Joint Forces Command have been Republican Newt Gingrich and Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.

more after the jump
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-mattis-20100709,0,262292.story

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 9th, 2010, 6:42pm

The Guardian

Huge hoard of Roman coins found on Somerset farm. A total of 52,500 bronze and silver coins dating from the 3rd century AD found by hobby metal detectorist Dave Crisp

Maev Kennedy guardian.co.uk, Thursday 8 July 2010

The largest single hoard of Roman coins ever found in Britain has been unearthed on a farm near Frome in Somerset.

A total of 52,500 bronze and silver coins dating from the 3rd century AD including the largest ever found set of coins minted by the self proclaimed emperor Carausius, who lasted seven years before he was murdered by his finance minister were found by Dave Crisp, a hobby metal detectorist from Devizes, Wiltshire.

Crisp first dug up a fingernail-sized bronze coin only 30cm below the surface. Even though he had never found a hoard before, when he had turned up a dozen coins he stopped digging and called in the experts, who uncovered a pot bellied pottery jar stuffed with the extraordinary collection, all dating from 253 to 293 AD the year of Carausius's death.

Just giving them a preliminary wash, to prevent them from sticking together in a corroded mass as the soil dried out, took conservation staff at the British Museum a month, and compiling the first rough catalogue took a further three months.

How they got into the field remains a mystery, but archaeologists believe they must represent the life savings of an entire community possibly a votive offering to the gods. A Roman road runs nearby, but no trace of a villa, settlement or cemetery has been found.

Roger Bland, a coins expert at the British Museum, said: "The whole hoard weighs 160 kilos, more than two overweight people, and it wouldn't have been at all easy to recover the coins from the ground. The only way would have been the way the archaeologists had to get them out, by smashing the pot that held them and scooping them out.

"No one individual could possibly have carried them to the field in the pot, it must have been buried first and then filled up."

Bland, who heads the Portable Antiquities service which encourages metal detectorists to report all finds, said the hoard had already absorbed more than 1,000 hours of work. He admitted his first stunned reaction when he saw the coins in the ground in April, was "oh my god, how the hell are we going to deal with this? Now I think it will see me out, the research will keep me going until my retirement."

more after the jump
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/jul/08/hoard-roman-coins-somerset?CMP=twt_gu

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 9th, 2010, 6:48pm

New York Times

July 8, 2010
Biggest Defaulters on Mortgages Are the Rich
By DAVID STREITFELD

LOS ALTOS, Calif. No need for tears, but the well-off are losing their master suites and saying goodbye to their wine cellars.

The housing bust that began among the working class in remote subdivisions and quickly progressed to the suburban middle class is striking the upper class in privileged enclaves like this one in Silicon Valley.

Whether it is their residence, a second home or a house bought as an investment, the rich have stopped paying the mortgage at a rate that greatly exceeds the rest of the population.

More than one in seven homeowners with loans in excess of a million dollars are seriously delinquent, according to data compiled for The New York Times by the real estate analytics firm CoreLogic.

By contrast, homeowners with less lavish housing are much more likely to keep writing checks to their lender. About one in 12 mortgages below the million-dollar mark is delinquent.

Though it is hard to prove, the CoreLogic data suggest that many of the well-to-do are purposely dumping their financially draining properties, just as they would any sour investment.

The rich are different: they are more ruthless, said Sam Khater, CoreLogics senior economist.

Five properties here in Los Altos were scheduled for foreclosure auctions in a recent issue of The Los Altos Town Crier, the weekly newspaper where local legal notices are posted. Four have unpaid mortgage debt of more than $1 million, with the highest amount $2.8 million.

Not so long ago, said Chris Redden, the papers advertising services director, it was a surprise if we had one foreclosure a month.

The sheriff in Cook County, Ill., is increasingly in demand to evict foreclosed owners in the upscale suburbs to the north and west of Chicago like Wilmette, La Grange and Glencoe. The occupants are always gone by the time a deputy gets there, a spokesman said, but just barely.

In Las Vegas, Ken Lowman, a longtime agent for luxury properties, said four of the 11 sales he brokered in June were distressed properties.

Ive never seen the wealthy hit like this before, Mr. Lowman said. They made their plans based on the best of all possible scenarios that their incomes would continue to grow, that real estate would never drop. Not many had a plan B.

The defaulting owners, he said, often remain as long as they can. Theyre in denial, he said.

Here in Los Altos, where the median home price of $1.5 million makes it one of the most exclusive towns in the country, several houses scheduled for auction were still occupied this week. The people who answered the door were reluctant to explain their circumstances in any detail.

At one house, where the lender was owed $1.3 million, there was a couch out front wrapped in plastic. A woman said she and her husband had lost their jobs and were moving in with relatives. At another house, the family said they were renters. A third family, whose mortgage is $1.6 million, said they would be moving this weekend.

At a vacant house with a pool, where the lender was seeking $1.27 million, a raft and a water gun lay abandoned on the entryway floor.

Lenders are fearful that many of the 11 million or so homeowners who owe more than their house is worth will walk away from them, especially if the real estate market begins to weaken again. The so-called strategic defaults have become a matter of intense debate in recent months.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two quasi-governmental mortgage finance companies that own most of the mortgages in America with a value of less than $500,000, are alternately pleading with distressed homeowners not to be bad citizens and brandishing a stick at them.

In a recent column on Freddie Macs Web site, the companys executive vice president, Don Bisenius, acknowledged that walking away might well be a good decision for certain borrowers but argues that those who do it are trashing their communities.

The CoreLogic data suggest that the rich do not seem to have concerns about the civic good uppermost in their mind, especially when it comes to investment and second homes. Nor do they appear to be particularly worried about being sued by their lender or frozen out of future loans by Fannie Mae, possible consequences of default.

The delinquency rate on investment homes where the original mortgage was more than $1 million is now 23 percent. For cheaper investment homes, it is about 10 percent.

With second homes, the delinquency rate for both types of owners was rising in concert until the stock market crashed in September 2008. That sent the percentage of troubled million-dollar loans spiraling up much faster than the smaller loans.

Those with high net worth have other resources to lean on if they get in trouble, said Mr. Khater, the analyst. If theyre going delinquent faster than anyone else, that tells me they are doing so willingly.

Willingly, but not necessarily publicly. The rapper Chamillionaire is a plain-talking exception. He recently walked away from a $2 million house he bought in Houston in 2006.

I just decided to let it go, give it back to the bank, he told the celebrity gossip TV show TMZ. I just didnt feel like it was a good investment.

The rich and successful often come naturally to this sort of attitude, said Brent T. White, a law professor at the University of Arizona who has studied strategic defaults.

They may be less susceptible to the shame and fear-mongering used by the government and the mortgage banking industry to keep underwater homeowners from acting in their financial best interest, Mr. White said.

The CoreLogic data measures serious delinquencies, which means the borrower has missed at least three payments in a row. At that point, lenders traditionally file a notice of default and the house enters the official foreclosure process.

In the current environment, however, notices of default are down for all types of loans as lenders work with owners in various modification programs. Even so, owners in some of the more expensive neighborhoods in and around San Francisco are beginning to head for the exit, according to data compiled by MDA DataQuick.

In Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and the most expensive neighborhood in adjoining Mountain View, defaults in the first five months of this year edged up to 16, from 15 in the same period in 2009 and four in 2008.

The East Bay suburb of Orinda had eight notices of default for million-dollar properties, up from five in the same period last year. On Nob Hill in San Francisco, there were four, up from one. The Marina neighborhood had four, up from two.

The vast majority of owners in these upscale communities are still paying the mortgage, of course. But they appear to be cutting back in other ways. The once-thriving Los Altos downtown is pocked with more than a dozen empty storefronts in a six-block stretch.

But this is still Silicon Valley, where failure can always be considered a prelude to success.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/09/business/economy/09rich.html?src=me&ref=general

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 9th, 2010, 6:55pm

Phantoms and Monsters

Friday, July 09, 2010
UFO Sighting Starts Flap In Fresno / Clovis, California

The following was forwarded to me from Jeffrey Gonzalez, MUFON State Section Director/Investigator and founder of Sanger Paranormal Society: http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/2010/07/www.SangerParanormalSociety.com

MUFON CMS #24103 - Short Description of UFO Event: 2 bright lights huge object no sound thought we were going to die

Detailed Description of the UFO Event:

Im not sure how long it lasted because we thought we were going to die but you will understand in this description. It felts like minutes but I know it was seconds because we really thought we were going to die! Here is the story: I am reporting this in sadness because of this event my dog died! My daughter went to get the dogs from outside to bring them in (she's 15) and she ran screaming "get out a plane is going to hit us" "run" and she was hysterical. Me my husband and my son and I went running downstairs and my husband went to the backdoor (running) to investigate because my daughter is very meek and quiet and never screams. The next thing I know my husband is yelling "run" "its gonna hit us" and he started praying to God that we lived and if not take us to Heaven and let it be quick. We ran straight out the door as fast as our legs would go. Myself and my son never heard or saw anything we were just running for dear life. My husband told us to stop behind the trees because he thought at any moment it would hit and we wouldnt get much father ( didnt atually even think we would make it out the front door) and we live in the country so its all mostly open space in front of us. When nothing happened after a few seconds he told us to keep running as I horrifyingly saw him turn back toward the house. We kept going hurrying down the road and as we went we were trying to call our dogs that had escaped with us. My husband returned in his truck to state the object simply was gone/vanished he had no idea where it went but it never hit our house or flew over us and not a single sound was heard. So we continued the search for our dogs however one was struck by a car and killed. Later when I spoke with my husband and daughter I was informed it had 2 bright lights and was up in the sky they could see the back neighbors house below it and it made no sound and teetered a little back and forth but the lights were always horizontal to each other. This object made no sound what so ever and my husband said he saw the silhouette and it was as big as our back pasture across and very dark. I am very saddened but wanted to report this because weird things have occurred before here that we never mentioned to people. Like for one instance our laser pointer lights (we would play with our dogs with) when we would point them in the field they would disappear at some points but would be seen all the way to the orchards at other points and we always laughed that it was like something invisible was sucking up the light at that spot. Im now truely scared and wanted this reported in the case something happens to us. Now it is time for me to grieve. I am afraid to sleep. I truly believe it must have landed in our pasture but everything appears normal. Something very wrong happened here tonight...please help!! Has anyone else ever experienced this?


Jeff noted: Hey Lon, here is a case I am working on for MUFON....MUFON case #24103

The media here picked up on the story but did a piss poor job...and you can say I said that...they left out very important points...which I gave them. Here is the video link of the newscast, go ahead and use this so people can see when they compare to the actual MUFON report...also, they used a video in the news clip that had nothing to do with the report...Someone posted this on you tube which they recorded on the night of the sighting and they used it to make the news clip more exciting....that's not what this family saw that night..Here are 2 links to youtube. I recorded 2 unmarked vans sitting across the street of the house that reported the sighting the night before...These vans were parked out front the following morning....I was working that day ( AT&T Telephone) in that same area and as I was driving past the house I noticed the first van then a second one showed up...I parked 3 houses away in my van and started to record them...They both were wearing suits and this drew a flag because we are talking Saturday morning out in the country....

photos, videos & more after the jump
http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/2010/07/ufo-sighting-starts-flap-over-fresno.html

the MIB video in the article is below:


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 9th, 2010, 7:30pm

Steve Hammons article.

Arizona: Land of beauty, mystery, UFOs and extraterrestrial visitors

Submitted by Steve Hammons on Fri, 07/09/2010 - 12:56

Although Arizona has been in the news for the recent actions by the state legislature and governor, the state also is known for its other alien visitors and these are not from Mexico.

Arizona is home to an interesting array of locations and incidents associated with leading-edge scientific developments and even highly unusual incidents.

For example, the March 13, 1997, so-called "Phoenix lights" case was clearly one of the most significant UFO sightings in recent decades. One or more large unusual flying objects were reportedly witnessed by hundreds, or maybe thousands, of Phoenix-area and Arizona residents that evening.

Theories about that night include views that the sightings were of U.S. advanced aircraft or that witnesses mistook a group of conventional planes for one large object.

Other opinions involve the idea that the incident was a U.S. "psychological operation (PSYOP)" of some kind. And, of course, one view is that it was an extraterrestrial craft.

This past April, a reliable witness reported the sighting of large U-shaped or V-shaped UFO near Lake Pleasant, at the far northwest edge of the metro Phoenix region.

The object had flashing red, yellow, blue and green lights and zipped around the sky briefly west of the I-17 freeway near the turn-off of the Carefree highway, the road to the towns of Cave Creek and Carefree on the far northern side of Phoenix, according to the witness.

Former U.S. senator from Arizona Barry Goldwater, who was also an Air Force reserve major general, famously inquired up the chain of command about UFOs and extraterrestrials, but said he was strongly told to back off from the topic.

Some researchers also say smaller unusual globes of light are often seen flying around the metro Phoenix "Valley of the Sun" area.

But the Phoenix lights case and other reports of unidentified flying objects are not the only aspects of Arizona related to forward-leaning scientific investigations of the unknown.

LEADING-EDGE SCIENCE

At both Arizona State University in Tempe and the University of Arizona in Tucson, scientific activities involving the U.S. space program have reportedly been key to the success of several U.S. space projects, including the search for extraterrestrial life.

Additional advanced programs in various other fields are also leading the way.

These include the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at ASU which explores a wide range of scientific disciplines. The center calls itself "a pioneering center devoted to tackling foundational questions of science and philosophy."

In addition, the U of A's Veritas Research Program is looking at consciousness and life after death. The interesting investigations there are changing how we look at human consciousness and the nature of reality.

The Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at U of A is headed by well-known physician and professor at U of A's respected medical school, Andrew Weil, M.D. This center is providing valuable leadership in reshaping and improving wellness, disease prevention and health care.

Several major observatories are also located in southern Arizona's majestic Sonoran Desert. Here, leading astrophysicists and other scientists are making significant progress in knowledge about the Universe and Earth's place in it.

These and other activities in the Sonoran Desert region of Arizona are fascinating and leading to progress in the sciences and the human condition for people throughout America and around the world.

The many Native American Indian communities throughout Arizona are also contributing to cultural awareness and expanded views and perspectives about history, philosophy and Nature.

Their traditions and ancient knowledge are now apparently blending in many ways with modern scientific understanding. And, some of their legends seem to reflect unusual happenings going on now.

UNIQUE, DIVERSE, BEAUTIFUL, MYSTERIOUS

In the central Arizona mountain region, Sedona is internationally known as a physically beautiful and mystical place that could involve unknown energies.

The amazing red rock mountains and outcroppings of the area are truly breathtaking. Visitors from around the country and around the globe travel to Sedona to see and feel this magical beauty.

Have unconventional or anomalous incidents also occurred in the Sedona region? You bet, say some of the locals. Ancient Native American Indians of the region reportedly considered it a special and sacred place.

Today, visitors hike the many trails, take adventurous jeep tours, enjoy the Western art galleries and relax in the local inns and resorts. Some even find that the alleged metaphysical and spiritual energies in Sedona help them gain new perspectives.

In northeastern Arizona, the "Four Corners" area is home to the Navajo and Hopi nations, as well as Monument Valley. This region is not only rich in history, culture and unique beauty, there have also been reports of unusual happenings that are not fully understood by modern science.

The spirit of creativity is also alive and well in the state. Arizona has been a location for movie-making since the 1920s. The diverse landscape offers deserts, mountains and forests for filmmakers.

From the 1930s to the '50s director John Ford returned to Arizona many times to make his memorable westerns. Over the decades, dozens of western-themed films were shot in the state, and this trend continues.

However, Arizona also has a film connection to space and other worlds. It was also a shooting location for the portrayal of another planet in "Return of the Jedi" (1982). "Starman" (1983) was shot in Arizona and included a climactic scene at the famous meteor crater east of Flagstaff.

A wide variety of movies telling stories about different lands and many kinds of people have been filmed or partially filmed in Arizona.

Today, creative media professionals, many living in Arizona, are continuing to develop innovative films, TV shows and other projects that tap into the natural beauty and special energy of Arizona.

Despite current controversies in the news, Arizona's true nature is deeper and different than today's headlines.

At a more fundamental level, the region is a place of mystery and beauty, enjoyed by human beings and maybe visitors from elsewhere, too.

NOTE TO READERS: Please visit my Joint Recon Study Group site at http://jointreconstudygroup.blogspot.com and my Transcendent TV & Media site at http://tvtranscend.blogspot.com.

link:
http://www.ufodigest.com/article/arizona-land-beauty-mystery-ufos-and-extraterrestrial-visitors

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 9th, 2010, 7:41pm



User Image
photo by Art Wolfe


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 9th, 2010, 8:30pm

I am so happy I'm doing a happy dance! "Eureka" season four opener is finally on. About time too! They were gone for so long I thought it was cancelled.

User Image

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by masker33 on Jul 9th, 2010, 9:48pm

One looks to some degree like an experiment of mine using different types of CG lighting.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 10th, 2010, 06:39am

begin DrDil's quote -

Chinese airport closed after fiery UFO is spotted flying over city
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:20 PM on 9th July 2010

<snip>

I was reading about the Chinese UFO a little earlier and whilst I suspect it of (more than likely) having an earthly explanation I noticed it was accompanied by a couple of stunning images so Ive took the liberty of posting them below.

- end DrDil's quote

on Jul 9th, 2010, 9:48pm, Icarus99 wrote:
One looks to some degree like an experiment of mine using different types of CG lighting.


Good morning Icarus99,

Unfortunately I don't know a lot about photography. So thank you and DrDil for your imput. I'm one of those that will look at a photo and say, "OHHH!!!!" then someone that knows what they are looking at will turn the photo up the other way and say, "You were looking at it upside down." tongue

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 10th, 2010, 06:47am

Washington Post

U.S. seized opportunity in arrests of Russian spies

By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 10, 2010; A01

President Obama's national security team spent weeks before the arrest of 10 Russian spies preparing for their takedown and assembling a list of prisoners Moscow might be willing to trade for the agents, senior administration officials said Friday.

U.S. officials began negotiating with their Russian counterparts shortly after the spies were arrested late last month, the officials said. Before long, the sides had reached an agreement that included pledges that neither would engage in any further "retaliatory steps," such as a diplomatic freeze or expulsions, and that neither would harass each other's officials or citizens.

Officials who provided details of how it all unfolded concentrated Friday on what they described as the smooth integration of the administration's law enforcement, intelligence and diplomatic teams in tracking the Russian agents and turning the situation into a national security victory rather than a source of political and public concern and potential criticism. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because, they said, the undertaking had been a group effort, authorized by the president.

Now, with the swap on an airport tarmac in Vienna completed, the administration hopes the episode will remain a nonissue between Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, treated as one of the occasional, fleeting bumps in a smooth road ahead for relations between their countries.

With any luck, U.S. officials indicated, it would be as if the biggest spy swap since the end of the Cold War had never happened.

The first time White House officials learned about the spies was in February, when representatives of the FBI, CIA and Justice Department held a briefing, according to one official. The briefers laid out "the broad contours" of what had been a decade-long investigation of a network of Russian "sleeper" agents placed in this country under false identities, and provided specifics about the individual agents.

Over the next several months, as concern grew that some of the agents were preparing to leave the United States, they discussed the timing of the arrests. Obama was first told about the Russian program and the long-running investigation June 11.

"He was also informed about plans for the arrests, and how that would be effected, what they would be charged with . . . [and] follow-on actions that were contemplated at that time," an official said.

Further presidential briefings followed, as did meetings among top national security officials but without Obama. Throughout those sessions, an official said, "there was a full discussion . . . about what was going to happen on the day after" the arrests.

Although there had been no final decision, the CIA and State Department had begun assembling a list of candidates for a swap, focusing on criteria that included humanitarian concerns and the general category of espionage.

They discarded the possibility of asking Moscow for individuals with no intelligence connections, and they found that the universe of imprisoned Russians who had been accused of spying for the West was surprisingly small. The list eventually included three former KGB officers and a researcher for a Moscow think tank who had been convicted of passing sensitive information to what Russia had alleged to be a CIA front company in London.

The idea of a swap "made perfect sense," an official said. There has been mild criticism from unnamed retired intelligence officials and some politicians that the release of the Russian spies gave away intelligence information, but "we didn't really have anything to learn from the agents themselves. We'd basically been looking over their shoulders for years."

The timing of the arrests was left in the hands of Justice and the FBI. When they finally moved on June 27, an official said, it was "entirely coincidental" that Medvedev had just left Washington after his seventh face-to-face visit with Obama.

Several officials said that the FBI's hand was forced by a flight out of the country booked for that night by one of the suspects for that night.

No one in the administration knew how the Russian government would react to the arrests, and the first response from Moscow was an official denial of the spy ring. But White House officials were heartened when the Russians reversed themselves within a day, and Obama quickly approved his national security team's recommendation that the swap be proposed.

CIA Director Leon Panetta was assigned to make the initial approach to his Russian counterpart, Mikhail Fradkov, and called him the day after the arrests. "They were ready to listen," a U.S. official said.

The four names were quickly transmitted and negotiations began. U.S. prosecutors began discussing a plea arrangement with the 10 in this country. In Moscow, the Russians accepted the U.S. list, gathered their own prisoners and arranged for presidential pardons. Panetta and Fradkov eventually spoke three times, the last call on July 3.

more after the jump
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/09/AR2010070905568.html?hpid=topnews

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 10th, 2010, 06:52am

Washington Post

How a business grew out of a failed social-media app

By Jill Priluck
Sunday, July 11, 2010; G02

In early 2009, Foursquare's chief executive sashayed out of South by Southwest with 2,500 users and enough chatter to launch a rocket. Social Bomb's founders, meanwhile, left deflated after the launch of their product, Paparazzi -- another mobile location app, with a photo-sharing tool -- which delivered on the promise of its maker's name: It bombed.

A little more than a year later, Social Bomb boasts a groundbreaking module that spans a panoply of networks and devices. It has a regular revenue stream from a Fortune 500 company and a new deal to create a social-media platform for HBO's "True Blood." The start-up is also in talks with Sony.

Like many in the little-guy economy, Social Bomb has been beset by more twists and turns than a spinning top. The failure of a lean and nimble app-based start-up is as familiar as a summer heat wave. The fledgling industry is a low-risk marketplace where ideas can take shape fast but frequently yield little tangible value. And failures often occur when the concepts aren't mined for other uses. But Social Bomb's trajectory shows how plain old resourcefulness can be a remarkable weapon in the little guy's arsenal.

After the South by Southwest debacle, Social Bomb's founders scrambled. In spring 2009, investors were either cash-strapped or guarding their reserves. So Scott Varland, Mike Dory and Adam Simon stopped taking paychecks and freelanced on the side, juggling up to five jobs each. They argued and considered parting ways.

But instead of walking, they retired their dreams of a killer app and returned to the technologies underlying Paparazzi and Tagnic, their Twitter app. As Facebook and Twitter grew, the trio began thinking about apps that would span more than one network. They had already built Paparazzi for the iPhone and Facebook. But if they wanted to extend their app's currency in the social-media landscape, they would need to harvest information on many platforms. So the team created a module to monitor user activity and bounce back and forth between relatively proprietary networks and custom Web sites. Their infrastructure, it turned out, was the killer app -- and their willingness to see this was their ace. "That ability to bridge different kinds of networks is what's special," said board member and author Clay Shirky, who taught the founders in graduate school.

This wasn't a newfound perseverance. Social Bomb's short history had already been replete with fits and starts. In 2007, the founders entered the business-plan competition at New York University's Stern School of Business, thinking they'd get bounced in the first round. They took home $50,000 in prize money. The 40-page plan helped Social Bomb send a clear message while raising funds in 2008. But in December of that year, they lost $100,000 -- one-third of a funding round from a backer who had second thoughts.

Social Bomb's triumphs so far are also unusual because its founders made the leap from a failed app to a viable enterprise. Creating an app is nothing like building a business that requires a mastery of sales and product management, among others.

With money in short supply, the team continued down the road of reinvention familiar to denizens of the little-guy economy and targeted large corporations eager to leverage brands online. It took months to sign a deal, but in October 2009, Social Bomb contracted with Mattel's Fisher-Price, which became its first Fortune 500 client -- and the source of recurring revenue -- to create a social-media campaign. Four months later, Facebook fans descended onto the toy company's new "Moments to Share" platform, which features a scrapbook for mothers to upload photos and videos of their kids. The page has about 36,000 users.

Social Bomb's about-face was not pain-free. Three hipster bachelors were now devising a social-media campaign for moms and kids under the direction of an entity founded in 1930.

Little-guy entities such as Social Bomb also operate differently. Large companies are known for being buried in paperwork and overexecuting. Social Bomb's saving grace was its patience and flexibility, which would pay off when its trajectory shifted again.

In February, Shirky connected Social Bomb with Chad Stoller, an executive at the BBDO Worldwide ad agency. In April, Stoller called from Sweden and asked Varland whether he had seen "True Blood." Varland hadn't, but he said he'd go home and watch it. "It was a 'True Blood' marathon," Varland said.

As a top HBO show, "True Blood" has a voracious fan base, including 2.5 million Facebook fans. Stoller tapped Social Bomb to devise a feature that would connect viewers in real time with Facebook and Twitter users -- and extend the fiction of the franchise beyond the cable box. To drive super-fandom and "aggressive sharing" on Blu-ray disks, Social Bomb created a feedback loop that would allow viewers to share scenes and artifacts directly from Blu-ray.

more after the jump
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/10/AR2010071000149.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 10th, 2010, 06:55am

New York Times

July 9, 2010
Dead for a Century, Twain Says What He Meant
By LARRY ROHTER

Wry and cranky, droll and cantankerous thats the Mark Twain we think we know, thanks to reading Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in high school. But in his unexpurgated autobiography, whose first volume is about to be published a century after his death, a very different Twain emerges, more pointedly political and willing to play the role of the angry prophet.

Whether anguishing over American military interventions abroad or delivering jabs at Wall Street tycoons, this Twain is strikingly contemporary. Though the autobiography also contains its share of homespun tales, some of its observations about American life are so acerbic at one point Twain refers to American soldiers as uniformed assassins that his heirs and editors, as well as the writer himself, feared they would damage his reputation if not withheld.

From the first, second, third and fourth editions all sound and sane expressions of opinion must be left out, Twain instructed them in 1906. There may be a market for that kind of wares a century from now. There is no hurry. Wait and see.

Twains decree will be put to the test when the University of California Press publishes the first of three volumes of the 500,000-word Autobiography of Mark Twain in November. Twain dictated most of it to a stenographer in the four years before his death at 74 on April 21, 1910. He argued that speaking his recollections and opinions, rather than writing them down, allowed him to adopt a more natural, colloquial and frank tone, and Twain scholars who have seen the manuscript agree.

In popular culture today, Twain is Colonel Sanders without the chicken, the avuncular man who told stories, Ron Powers, the author of Mark Twain: A Life, said in a phone interview. Hes been scrubbed and sanitized, and his passion has been kind of forgotten in all these long decades. But here he is talking to us, without any filtering at all, and what comes through that we have lost is precisely this fierce, unceasing passion.

Next week the British literary magazine Granta will publish an excerpt from the autobiography, called The Farm. In it Twain recalls childhood visits to his uncles Missouri farm, reflects on slavery and the slave who served as the model for Jim in Huckleberry Finn, and offers an almost Proustian meditation on memory and remembrance, with watermelon and maple sap in place of Prousts madeleine.

I can see the farm yet, with perfect clearness, he writes. I can see all its belongings, all its details. Of slavery, he notes that color and condition interposed a subtle line between him and his black playmates, but confesses: In my schoolboy days, I had no aversion to slavery. I was not aware there was anything wrong about it.

Versions of the autobiography have been published before, in 1924, 1940 and 1959. But the original editor, Albert Bigelow Paine, was a stickler for propriety, cutting entire sections he thought offensive; his successors imposed a chronological cradle-to-grave narrative that Twain had specifically rejected, altered his distinctive punctuation, struck additional material they considered uninteresting and generally bowed to the desire of Twains daughter Clara, who died in 1962, to protect her fathers image.

Paine was a Victorian editor, said Robert Hirst, curator and general editor of the Mark Twain Papers and Project at the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, where Twains papers are housed. He has an exaggerated sense of how dangerous some of Twains statements are going to be, which can extend to anything: politics, sexuality, the Bible, anything thats just a little too radical. This goes on for a good long time, a protective attitude that is very harmful.

Twains opposition to incipient imperialism and American military intervention in Cuba and the Philippines, for example, were well known even in his own time. But the uncensored autobiography makes it clear that those feelings ran very deep and includes remarks that, if made today in the context of Iraq or Afghanistan, would probably lead the right wing to question the patriotism of this most American of American writers.

In a passage removed by Paine, Twain excoriates the iniquitous Cuban-Spanish War and Gen. Leonard Woods mephitic record as governor general in Havana. In writing about an attack on a tribal group in the Philippines, Twain refers to American troops as our uniformed assassins and describes their killing of six hundred helpless and weaponless savages as a long and happy picnic with nothing to do but sit in comfort and fire the Golden Rule into those people down there and imagine letters to write home to the admiring families, and pile glory upon glory.

He is similarly unsparing about the plutocrats and Wall Street luminaries of his day, who he argued had destroyed the innate generosity of Americans and replaced it with greed and selfishness. The world believes that the elder Rockefeller is worth a billion dollars, Twain observes. He pays taxes on two million and a half.

Justin Kaplan, author of Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain: A Biography, said in a telephone interview: One thing that gets Mark Twain going is his rage and resentment. There are a number of passages where he wants to get even, to settle scores with people whom he really despises. He loved invective.

The material in Volume 1 that was omitted from previous editions amounts to maybe as little as 5 percent of the dictations, said Harriet E. Smith, chief editor of the autobiography. But there will be a much higher percentage in Volumes 2 and 3, each expected to be about 600 pages.

By the time all three volumes are available, Mr. Hirst said, about half will not have ever been in print before. A digital online edition is also planned, Ms. Smith said, ideally to coincide with publication of Volume 1 of the complete and authoritative edition, as the work is being called.

Some of Twains most critical remarks about individuals are directed at names that have faded from history. He complains about his lawyer, his publisher, the inventor of a failed typesetting machine who he feels fleeced him, and is especially hard on a countess who owns the villa in which he lived with his family in Florence, Italy, in 1904. He describes her as excitable, malicious, malignant, vengeful, unforgiving, selfish, stingy, avaricious, coarse, vulgar, profane, obscene, a furious blusterer on the outside and at heart a coward.

About literary figures of his time, however, Twain has relatively little to say. He dislikes Bret Harte, whom he dismisses as always bright but never brilliant; offers a sad portrait of an aged and infirm Harriet Beecher Stowe; and lavishly praises his friend William Dean Howells. He reserved criticism of novelists whose work he disliked (Henry James, George Eliot) for his letters.

Critics, though, are another story. I believe that the trade of critic, in literature, music, and the drama, is the most degraded of all trades, and that it has no real value, Twain writes. However, let it go, he adds. It is the will of God that we must have critics, and missionaries, and Congressmen, and humorists, and we must bear the burden.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/10/books/10twain.html?_r=1&hp

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 10th, 2010, 07:03am

UFO Digest

ANOTHER BRAZILIAN MILITARY REVEALS UFO INVESTIGATION AND OBSERVATION
Submitted by A.J. Gevaerd on Thu, 07/08/2010 - 14:37
This is an article by A.J. Gevaerd, translated by Marcos Malvezzi.

Commander of an Army installation in the Brazilian Pantanal area determined the official investigation of spherical nocturnal objects reported to have burned vegetation. Military personnel sighted the UFO and obtained photos

Report by A. J. Gevaerd, editor of the Brazilian UFO Magazine (www.ufo.com.br)

This is the report of a new investigation and interview I just conducted with the Retired Brazilian Army Lieutenant-Coronel Leo Trcio Sperb resident in Rio dos Cedros, a small town in the state of Santa Catarina. The interview was obtained thanks to information given by former VASP Airlines commander, Jos Amrico Medeiros, UFO Magazine contributor, and performed with UFO investigator and volunteer translator of the Brazilian UFO Magazine Luis Medeiros.

The full interview is being transcribed for complete publication on Brazilian UFO Magazine, and what can be now advanced is that the former Army military was involved in a major UFO incident in 1977, the very same year when Operation Prato occurred in the Amazon, a hot year for Brazilian Ufology. Lieutenant-Coronel Leo Trcio Sperb revealed that this new found incident took place when he held the highly important position as commander for the 2nd Frontier Battalion, in the city Cceres, state of Mato Grosso, West of Brazil.

The former military commander reported that in mid 1977 (he was unable to remember the date precisely) he was informed by his men that a small settlement located somewhere in the middle of the Cuiab-Cceres Road was highly excited about sightings of a strange and recurring luminous object that appeared predominantly at night. Having always been opened to UFO issues, and seeing the reports were significant, he sent a first man to do the preliminary investigations.

Captain Abrao (full name unknown) was commissioned to go to the site, talk to witnesses and collect as much data as possible and also physical evidence of whatever was happening in the mentioned location. One piece of evidence found and retrieved was a sandal with burning marks similar to the burns caused by a welders torch, found in the center of a vast circular area of burnt vegetation left by the object, according to the astonished witnesses. They also reported that the UFO was regular on those nights.

Back to the 2nd Frontier Battalion, Captain Abrao reported the facts to Lieutenant-Coronel Sperb and handed over his report as well as the collected evidence, which leaded Sperb to conclude that something serious was happening in the area. The commander then gathered a troop of four men to be sent immediately to the spot: one corporal and three soldiers. They received expressed orders to keep a stake-out in specific places in the woods close to the village, according to the witnesses guidance, so they could have a full view of the unidentified flying object and photograph it as it moved.

more after the jump
http://www.ufodigest.com/article/another-brazilian-military-reveals-ufo-investigation-and-observation

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 10th, 2010, 07:08am

Guardian online

Double suicide bombing in Pakistan kills over 100
Bombers strike seconds apart in deadliest attack so far this year
David Batty and agencies guardian.co.uk,
Saturday 10 July 2010 12.21 BST

The death toll from a double suicide bomb attack in Pakistan has risen to more than 100, making it the deadliest attack in the country this year.

Two bombers struck seconds apart yesterday in Yakaghund village in the Mohmand tribal region of north-west Pakistan, devastating government buildings, shops and houses. Authorities said today that 102 people had now been confirmed as killed in the blasts and 115 had been wounded.

One of the bombs appeared to be fairly small but the other was huge, officials said. At least one bomber was on a motorcycle.

The attackers detonated their explosives near the office of Rasool Khan, a deputy Mohmand administrator who escaped unharmed. Tribal elders, including those involved in setting up militias to fight the Taliban, were also in the building, but none was hurt, according to Mohmand's chief administrator, Amjad Ali Khan.

Abdul Wadood, 19, who is being treated for head and arm wounds in the city of Peshawar, said: "I only heard the deafening blast and lost consciousness. I found myself on a hospital bed after opening my eyes. I think those who planned or carried out this attack are not humans."

There are reports that a Taliban group in Mohmand has claimed responsibility for the attack. Information is difficult to verify independently because access to the area is heavily restricted.

The region is one of several areas in Pakistan's lawless tribal belt where the Taliban and al-Qaida are believed to be hiding.

more after the jump
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/10/suicide-bombing-102-dead-pakistan?CMP=twt_gu

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 10th, 2010, 07:13am

Guardian online

Australia puts internet filtering system on hold for 12 months
Communications minister Stephen Conroy says extra time needed to review what content should be mandatorily blocked

Josh Halliday guardian.co.uk, Friday 9 July 2010 11.30 BST

Australia has rowed back on plans to introduce a wide-ranging mandatory internet filtering system, with communications minister Stephen Conroy saying a further 12 months is needed to review what content should be blocked in the country.

Conroy announced plans in December that would force Australian internet service providers to ban access to any websites listed as "inappropriate." If implemented, the policy would make Australia one of the strictest internet regulators in the world.

The move which attracted widespread condemnation, not least from the majority of potentially affected ISPs, including Google and Yahoo has now been put on hold for another year. "Some sections of the community have expressed concern about whether the range of material included in the RC [restricted content] category... correctly reflects current community standards," Conroy said. "As the government's mandatory ISP filtering policy is underpinned by the strength of our classification system, the legal obligation to commence mandatory ISP filtering will not be imposed until the review is completed.

"The public needs to have confidence that the URLs on the list, and the process by which they get there, is independent, rigorous, free from interference or influence and enables content and site owners access to appropriate review mechanisms."

The proposed filter would ban access to a regularly updated list of sites that include child pornography, sexual violence, and detailed instructions on crime, drug use and terrorist acts. Three of the country's largest telecommunications companies today said they would voluntarily implement a child pornography filter, a move that would take several months to put in place.

Karim Temsamani, managing director of Google Australia and New Zealand, welcomed the review, but said concern remains about the plans. "Our primary concern had always been that the scope of the proposed filter is far too broad," Temsamani said in a statement. "It goes way beyong child sexual abuse material and would block access to important online information for all Australians."

Simon Sheikh, chief executive of online activist group GetUp!, told the Sydney Morning Herald: "A delay is not enough the government needs to announce that they will either scrap, or change the policy to an opt-in model, so that Australians themselves can judge how best to protect their children online.

more after the jump
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/jul/09/australia-internet-filtering-system

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 10th, 2010, 07:19am

Wired


Poof! After Wireless, the Computer Mouse Turns Invisible
By Priya Ganapati July 9, 2010 | 3:14 pm | Categories: R&D and Inventions

In a magic trick that only geeks can pull off, researchers at MIT have found a method to let users click and scroll exactly the same way they would with a computer mouse, without the device actually being there.

Cup your palm, move it around on a table and a cursor on the screen hovers. Tap on the table like you would click a real mouse, and the computer responds. Its one step beyond cordless. Its an invisible mouse.

The project, called Mouseless, uses an infrared laser beam and camera to track the movements of the palm and fingers and translate them into computer commands.

Like many other projects in the past, including the Nintendo Power Glove and the Fingerworks iGesture Pad, this attempts to see how we can use new technology to control old technology, says Daniel Wigdor, a user experience architect for Microsoft who hasnt worked directly on the project. Its just an intermediate step to where we want to be.

Though new user interfaces such as touchscreens and voice recognition systems have become popular, the two-button mouse still reigns among computer users. Many technology experts think the precision pointing that a cursor offers is extremely difficult to replicate through technologies such as touch and speech.

Last week Intel CTO Justin Rattner said though Intel research labs is working on new touchscreen ideas, the mouse and keyboard combination is unlikely to be replaced in everyday computing for a long time.

In the case of the Mouseless project, the infrared laser and camera are embedded in the computer. When a user cups their hand as if a physical mouse was present under their palm, the laser beam lights up the hand that is in contact with the table. The infrared camera detects this and interprets the movements.

A working prototype of the Mouseless system costs approximately $20 to build, says Pranav Mistry, who is leading the project.

Mistry is one of the star researchers in the area of creating new user experiences. He previously developed the Sixth Sense project, a wearable gestural interface that lets users wave their hands in front of them and interact with maps and other virtual objects much like Tom Cruise in Minority Report.

The Mouseless idea is not as big a breakthrough as Sixth Sense. Though it is fun, it is difficult to see a real-world case for getting rid of hardware while keeping interaction the same. User interfaces are going beyond the point-and-click interaction that the computer mouse demands. And mouse hardware itself is cheap, so theres not much of a cost saving here.

Check out this fun, partly animated video to what the Mouseless can really do and how it works



http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/07/computer-mouse-invisible/

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 10th, 2010, 07:29am

LA Times

I just talked to Sam Worthington about his plans to go to Comic-Con International for a new venture with Radical Studios -- check back next week for the details on that -- but I had to ask him about the August theatrical release of "Avatar: Special Edition," which adds eight minutes of footage to the highest-grossing film in Hollywood history.

User Image

Director James Cameron has alluded, in vague terms, to the nature of that bonus content. I was hoping Worthington might have some more insights...

"I don't know what the eight minutes are. Jim's got an extra eight hours of footage, so it could be anything, to be honest. I know there's a lot more of the hunting and of Jake becoming a Na'vi and the training program. And there's a lot more live-action stuff, the stuff that we shot that was set on Earth, so maybe it's parts that have to do with that.... There's some other Stephen Lang stuff."

Then, with a winking tone, he added: "Or it could be the incredible sex scene that everyone keeps talking about. It'll be a surprise for me as well, mate."

-- Geoff Boucher

more after the jump
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/herocomplex/

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 10th, 2010, 07:36am

Science Daily

Scientists Use Computer Algorithms to Develop Seasonal Flu Vaccines
ScienceDaily (July 9, 2010)

Defeating the flu is challenging because the virus responsible for the disease undergoes frequent changes of its genetic code, making it difficult for scientists to manufacture effective vaccines for the seasonal flu in a timely manner.

Now, a University of Miami (UM) computer scientist, Dimitris Papamichail, and a team of researchers from Stony Brook University have developed a rapid and effective approach to produce vaccines for new strains of influenza viruses. The researchers hope to develop the new technology and provide an efficient method to confront the threat of seasonal epidemics.

The novel approach uses computer algorithms created by Papamichail and scientists from Stony Brook University to design viruses that serve as live vaccines, which are then synthesized to specification. The new method is called Synthetic Attenuated Virus Engineering (SAVE). The findings are available in a study titled "Live attenuated influenza virus vaccines by computer-aided rational design," now available as an advance online publication by Nature Biotechnology.

"We have been able to produce an entirely novel method to systematically design vaccines using computer algorithms," says Papamichail, assistant professor of Computer Science in the College of Arts and Sciences at UM and co-author of the study. "Our approach is not only useful for influenza; it is also applicable to a wide range of viruses."

One way to make an anti-viral vaccine is to weaken a virus to the point where it cannot cause sickness, and then use the weakened virus as a live vaccine. Although such weakened viruses often make very effective vaccines, they suffer from the possibility that the virus can sometimes mutate to regain virulence.

In this study, the researchers used a novel approach to weaken the influenza virus: they made a synthetic genome of the virus containing hundreds of changes to its genetic code. The computer algorithms indicate the best places in the genome to make the changes, such that the new synthetic genome encodes exactly the same proteins as the wild-type genome, but in lesser quantities.

This process allows a wide margin of safety, explains Papamichail. "The probability of all the changes reverting themselves to produce a virulent strain is extremely unlikely," he says.

more after the jump
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100709111332.htm

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 10th, 2010, 07:42am

UFO's Northwest

Woman Sees Enormous Gray Aerial Spherical Object With Red Light north of Chicago

The witness called and left a voice-mail message a few days after her sighting. She saw a low flying red object. The object flew over her location and she could tell that it was a gray spherical object with a red light in front. She said that the object was "enormous" and emitted no sound.

There is a map and audio of the report

more after the jump
http://www.ufosnw.com/sighting_reports/2010/foxlakeil06192010/foxlakeil06192010.htm

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 10th, 2010, 07:51am

Texas abduction story posted in October 2009





Crystal

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 10th, 2010, 08:33am

We run as fast as we can to see these ships every year. They are beautiful!

Tall ships bring golden age back in Blaine harbor
Published on Thu, Jul 8, 2010 by By Jeremy Schwartz

Booming cannons will rock Drayton Harbor next week with the return of the brig Lady Washington and the topsail ketch Hawaiian Chieftain. Those interested in the golden age of wind-powered sea travel will get the chance to travel back in time with tours of these ships from July 14 to July 19.

The Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority, which owns and operates the ships, will offer both tours and cruises on the vessels.

Three-hour battle sails will take passengers through simulated naval warfare using the ships five-pound, black powder cannons (dont worry, they will be firing blanks). Expert sailors will guide the Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain on close-quarters maneuvers at 2 p.m. on July 17 and 18.

In addition to evening sails on July 16 and July 19, guides dressed in period clothing will give tours of the two ships when they are docked at the Blaine Marina from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on July 15 and 16 and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on July 17 and 18.

The Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority built the brig Lady Washington and launched her on March 16, 1989.

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The vessel is a full-size, wooden replica of the first American sailing ship to make landfall on the west coast of North America. The Lady Washington is 112 feet long; about the a third of the length of a football field.

In nautical terms, a brig is a vessel with two square-rigged masts. The shorter mast toward the bow of the ship is called the foremast. The tallest mast, called the main mast, sits at the center of the vessel.

Launched in 1988, the topsail ketch Hawaiian Chieftain is a replica of a turn-of-the-19th century European merchant trading vessel. In 2004, The Seaport Authority bought the ship, which was built of steel in Hawaii.

A ketch refers to a sailing ship with two masts, one taller and closer to the bow of the ship than the other. The shorter mast, called the mizzen, on a ketch is behind the main mast but forward of the rudder. The main mast of a topsail ketch has an additional sail added above the main sail.

For more information, visit www.historicalseaport.org call 800/200-5239.

http://www.thenorthernlight.com/news/article.exm/2010-07-08_tall_ships_bring_golden_age_back_in_blaine_harbor

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 10th, 2010, 08:40am

Hubby needs coffee.....................

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Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 10th, 2010, 4:21pm

on Jul 10th, 2010, 08:33am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
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What a beauty! smiley

Is this their newest addition to the "axis of evil"?
Is Burma's Ruling Junta Trying to Develop Nuclear Weapons?

It may seem counterintuitive, but Burma has a lot going for it. Blessed with abundant natural resources, the nation is home to the last of the world's ancient teak forests; it produces tens of thousands of tons of jade every year; it's at the center of the global ruby trade; and most important, it has natural gas. Lots of it. Burmese gas already powers half of Bangkok, and it will soon start flowing to China, making billions of dollars of profit. For many though, it's how the money is being spent that's worrying.

Up until a few years ago, Burma's military government, cut off from trade with the West, led a "hand-to-mouth existence," says Sean Turnell, an economics professor at Macquarie University in Australia. Now, thanks in no small part to its resource-hungry neighbors, the pariah state has $6 billion in cash reserves, according to Turnell. As cash is flowing in, the military junta that has run the country since 1962 is spending lavishly. With about a third of the country in poverty, the junta could invest in health, education or job creation, but instead, new evidence suggests Burma is spending billions on outlandish military projects, including, perhaps, a secretive nuclear weapons program. Turnell says the junta is "absolutely paranoid about international interference in the country."

...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20100710/wl_time/08599200271300
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 10th, 2010, 5:45pm

begin quote -
Up until a few years ago, Burma's military government, cut off from trade with the West, led a "hand-to-mouth existence," says Sean Turnell, an economics professor at Macquarie University in Australia. Now, thanks in no small part to its resource-hungry neighbors, the pariah state has $6 billion in cash reserves, according to Turnell. As cash is flowing in, the military junta that has run the country since 1962 is spending lavishly. With about a third of the country in poverty, the junta could invest in health, education or job creation, but instead, new evidence suggests Burma is spending billions on outlandish military projects, including, perhaps, a secretive nuclear weapons program. Turnell says the junta is "absolutely paranoid about international interference in the country."
- end quote

Who knew! Burma is now Myanmar if I remember right.
Thanks Phil.
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 10th, 2010, 7:53pm


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Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 11th, 2010, 08:42am

New York Times

July 10, 2010
Students, Meet Your New Teacher, Mr. Robot
By BENEDICT CAREY and JOHN MARKOFF

LOS ANGELES The boy, a dark-haired 6-year-old, is playing with a new companion.

The two hit it off quickly unusual for the 6-year-old, who has autism and the boy is imitating his playmates every move, now nodding his head, now raising his arms.

Like Simon Says, says the autistic boys mother, seated next to him on the floor.

Yet soon he begins to withdraw; in a video of the session, he covers his ears and slumps against the wall.

But the companion, a three-foot-tall robot being tested at the University of Southern California, maintains eye contact and performs another move, raising one arm up high.

Up goes the boys arm and now he is smiling at the machine.

In a handful of laboratories around the world, computer scientists are developing robots like this one: highly programmed machines that can engage people and teach them simple skills, including household tasks, vocabulary or, as in the case of the boy, playing, elementary imitation and taking turns.

So far, the teaching has been very basic, delivered mostly in experimental settings, and the robots are still works in progress, a hackers gallery of moving parts that, like mechanical savants, each do some things well at the expense of others.

Yet the most advanced models are fully autonomous, guided by artificial intelligence software like motion tracking and speech recognition, which can make them just engaging enough to rival humans at some teaching tasks.

Researchers say the pace of innovation is such that these machines should begin to learn as they teach, becoming the sort of infinitely patient, highly informed instructors that would be effective in subjects like foreign language or in repetitive therapies used to treat developmental problems like autism.

Several countries have been testing teaching machines in classrooms. South Korea, known for its enthusiasm for technology, is hiring hundreds of robots as teacher aides and classroom playmates and is experimenting with robots that would teach English.

Already, these advances have stirred dystopian visions, along with the sort of ethical debate usually confined to science fiction. I worry that if kids grow up being taught by robots and viewing technology as the instructor, said Mitchel Resnick, head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the Media Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, they will see it as the master.

Most computer scientists reply that they have neither the intention, nor the ability, to replace human teachers. The great hope for robots, said Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington, is that with the right kind of technology at a critical period in a childs development, they could supplement learning in the classroom.

Lessons From RUBI

Kenka, says a childlike voice. Ken-ka.

Standing on a polka-dot carpet at a preschool on the campus of the University of California, San Diego, a robot named RUBI is teaching Finnish to a 3-year-old boy.

RUBI looks like a desktop computer come to life: its screen-torso, mounted on a pair of shoes, sprouts mechanical arms and a lunchbox-size head, fitted with video cameras, a microphone and voice capability. RUBI wears a bandanna around its neck and a fixed happy-face smile, below a pair of large, plastic eyes.

It picks up a white sneaker and says kenka, the Finnish word for shoe, before returning it to the floor. Feel it; Im a kenka.

In a video of this exchange, the boy picks up the sneaker, says kenka, kenka and holds up the shoe for the robot to see.

In person they are not remotely humanlike, most of todays social robots. Some speak well, others not at all. Some move on two legs, others on wheels. Many look like escapees from the Island of Misfit Toys.

They make for very curious company. The University of Southern California robot used with autistic children tracks a person throughout a room, approaching indirectly and pulling up just short of personal space, like a cautious child hoping to join a playground game.

The machines only words are exclamations (Uh huh for those drawing near; Awww for those moving away). Still, its hard to shake the sense that some living thing is close by. That sensation, however vague, is enough to facilitate a real exchange of information, researchers say.

In the San Diego classroom where RUBI has taught Finnish, researchers are finding that the robot enables preschool children to score significantly better on tests, compared with less interactive learning, as from tapes.

Preliminary results suggest that these students do about as well as learning from a human teacher, said Javier Movellan, director of the Machine Perception Laboratory at the University of California, San Diego. Social interaction is apparently a very important component of learning at this age.

Like any new kid in class, RUBI took some time to find a niche. Children swarmed the robot when it first joined the classroom: instant popularity. But by the end of the day, a couple of boys had yanked off its arms.

The problem with autonomous machines is that people are so unpredictable, especially children, said Corinna E. Lathan, chief executive of AnthroTronix, a Maryland company that makes a remotely controlled robot, CosmoBot, to assist in therapy with developmentally delayed children. Its impossible to anticipate everything that can happen.

The RUBI team hit upon a solution one part mechanical and two parts psychological. The engineers programmed RUBI to cry when its arms were pulled. Its young playmates quickly backed off at the sound.

If the sobbing continued, the children usually shifted gears and came forward to deliver a hug.

Re-armed and newly sensitive, RUBI was ready to test as a teacher. In a paper published last year, researchers from the University of California, San Diego, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Joensuu in Finland found that the robot significantly improved the vocabulary of nine toddlers.

After testing the youngsters knowledge of 20 words and introducing them to the robot, the researchers left RUBI to operate on its own. The robot showed images on its screen and instructed children to associate them with words.

After 12 weeks, the childrens knowledge of the 10 words taught by RUBI increased significantly, while their knowledge of 10 control words did not. The effect was relatively large, a reduction in errors of more than 25 percent, the authors concluded.

Researchers in social robotics a branch of computer science devoted to enhancing communication between humans and machines at Honda Labs in Mountain View, Calif., have found a similar result with their robot, a three-foot character called Asimo, which looks like a miniature astronaut. In one 20-minute session the machine taught grade-school students how to set a table improving their accuracy by about 25 percent, a recent study found.

At the University of Southern California, researchers have had their robot, Bandit, interact with children with autism. In a pilot study, four children with the diagnosis spent about 30 minutes with this robot when it was programmed to be socially engaging and another half-hour when it behaved randomly, more like a toy. The results are still preliminary, said David Feil-Seifer, who ran the study, but suggest that the children spoke more often and spent more time in direct interaction when the robot was responsive, compared with when it acted randomly.

Making the Connection

In a lab at the University of Washington, Morphy, a pint-size robot, catches the eye of an infant girl and turns to look at a toy.

No luck; the girl does not follow its gaze, as she would a humans.

In a video the researchers made of the experiment, the girl next sees the robot waving to an adult. Now shes interested; the sight of the machine interacting registers it as a social being in the young brain. She begins to track what the robot is looking at, to the right, the left, down. The machine has elicited what scientists call gaze-following, an essential first step of social exchange.

Before they have language, infants pay attention to what I call informational hotspots, where their mother or father is looking, said Andrew N. Meltzoff, a psychologist who is co-director of universitys Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences. This, he said, is how learning begins.

This basic finding, to be published later this year, is one of dozens from a field called affective computing that is helping scientists discover exactly which features of a robot make it most convincingly real as a social partner, a helper, a teacher.

It turns out that making a robot more closely resemble a human doesnt get you better social interactions, said Terrence J. Sejnowski, a neuroscientist at University of California, San Diego. The more humanlike machines look, the more creepy they can seem.

The machines behavior is what matters, Dr. Sejnowski said. And very subtle elements can make a big difference.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/11/science/11robots.html?_r=1&hp

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 11th, 2010, 08:45am

New York Times

July 10, 2010
New Analysis Triples U.S. Plutonium Waste Figures
By MATTHEW L. WALD

WASHINGTON The amount of plutonium buried at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State is nearly three times what the federal government previously reported, a new analysis indicates, suggesting that a cleanup to protect future generations will be far more challenging than planners had assumed.

Plutonium waste is much more prevalent around nuclear weapons sites nationwide than the Energy Departments official accounting indicates, said Robert Alvarez, a former department official who in recent months reanalyzed studies conducted by the department in the last 15 years for Hanford; the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory; the Savannah River Site, near Aiken, S.C.; and elsewhere.

But the problem is most severe at Hanford, a 560-square-mile tract in south-central Washington that was taken over by the federal government as part of the Manhattan Project. By the time production stopped in the 1980s, Hanford had made most of the nations plutonium.

The plutonium does not pose a major radiation hazard now, largely because it is under institutional controls like guards, weapons and gates. But government scientists say that even in minute particles, plutonium can cause cancer, and because it takes 24,000 years to lose half its radioactivity, it is certain to last longer than the controls.

The fear is that in a few hundred years, the plutonium could reach an underground area called the saturated zone, where water flows, and from there enter the Columbia River. Because the area is now arid, contaminants move extremely slowly, but over the millennia the climate is expected to change, experts say.

The finding on the extent of plutonium waste signals that the cleanup, still in its early stages, will be more complex, perhaps requiring technologies that do not yet exist. But more than 20 years after the Energy Department vowed to embark on a cleanup, it still has not characterized, or determined the exact nature of, the contaminated soil.

The department has been weighing whether to try to clean up 90 percent, 99 percent or 99.9 percent of the waste, but because the extent of contamination is unclear, so is the relative cost of the options. For now, the preferred option is 99 percent.

Government officials recognize that they still have a weak grasp of how much plutonium is contaminating the environment. The numbers are changing, said Ron Skinnerland, a radiation expert at the Washington State Department of Ecology, which is trying to enforce an agreement it reached with the Energy Department in 1989 for the federal government to clean up Hanford.

So far, the cleanup, which began in the 1990s, has involved moving some contaminated material near the banks of the Columbia to drier locations. (In fact, the Energy Departments cleanup office is called the Office of River Protection.) The office has begun building a factory that would take the most highly radioactive liquids and sludges from decaying storage tanks and solidify them in glass.

That would not make them any less radioactive, but it would increase the likelihood that they stay put for the next few thousand years.

In 1996, the department released an official inventory of plutonium production and disposal. But Mr. Alvarez analyzed later Energy Department reports and concluded that there was substantially more plutonium in waste tanks and in the environment.

The biggest issue is the amount of plutonium that has leaked from the tanks, was intentionally dumped in the dirt or was pumped into the ground.

Mr. Skinnerland said much of the waste was 90 or 100 feet underground, too deep to dig out. Some contaminants can be pumped out, but that does not work well for materials that contain low concentrations of plutonium.

The Energy Department has researched the possibility of shooting electric currents through the soil to create glasslike materials that would lock up contaminants, but it has not analyzed whether the technique would work at those depths.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/11/science/earth/11plutonium.html?hp

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 11th, 2010, 08:49am

New York Times

July 9, 2010
3D Coming to Adobe's Flash
By AGAM SHAH of IDG News Service\New York Bureau, IDG

Adobe Systems has started work to bring 3D to its Flash platform, and will preview the technology at the company's upcoming developer conference in October.

A session titled "Flash Player 3D Future" will outline a future version of Flash that will be capable of playing 3D content, according to a program listing for the Adobe Max 2010 trade show, which will be held in Los Angeles Oct. 23-27.

The session will take "a deep dive into the next-generation 3D API coming in a future version of Flash Player," according to the listing. The Flash Player is available as a browser plug-in that allows users to play games or view multimedia content. Google's YouTube uses Flash for video distribution on its Web site.

The session is "going to be big," said Thibault Imbert, a Flash product manager at Adobe in a blog entry.

"If you are into 3D development for games, augmented reality or just interactive stuff like Web sites, you just can't miss the session," Imbert wrote.

Adobe officials were unavailable for comment Friday on a release date for a 3D Flash Player. The company had closed for the day, according to a spokeswoman for A&R Edelman, Adobe's public relations agency.

Adobe already offers tools for 3D animation in Flash, but the new platform could bring richer 3D experiences. This could be an important development as games and videos are increasingly produced in 3D.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/external/idg/2010/07/09/09idg-3d-coming-to-adobes-flash-58275.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 11th, 2010, 08:52am

Gizmodo

Whoa. TechCrunch reports that Google has invested between $100 and $200 million in Zynga, the social gaming behemoth behind Farmville, Mafia Wars, and others, in preparation for the launch of Google Games later this year.

TechCrunch's "multiple sources" say that Google itself, not its venture capital division Google Ventures, has invested between $100 and $200 million in Zynga, a huge power play presumably with the aim of eroding Facebook's social media dominance.

It seems that Google sees Zynga as the best way to hit the ground running with Google Games, a social gaming service from the search company that's set to launch later this year. TechCrunch points to this job opening for "Product Management Leader, Games" at their Mountain View campus as proof that we'll be seeing a lot more about Google's move into gaming in the near future.

With Google Me, the company's purported Facebook killer, continuing to take shape, this major investment in Zynga is just further proof that Google is making a very serious effort to hit Facebook where it hurt, namely, the farms. [TechCrunch]

link:
http://gizmodo.com/5584118/google-quietly-invests-over-100-million-in-zynga-readying-google-games

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 11th, 2010, 08:58am

LA Times

Openly bearing arms, beachgoers cite their rights
Members of a South Bay group hope to win public acceptance of the public display of firearms.
By Jack Leonard, Times Staff Writer
July 11, 2010

It was clear this was no ordinary community cleanup.

Trash bags? Check.

Gloves? Check.

Glock .45-caliber handgun? Check.

More than a dozen people packing pistols on their hips strolled down the Hermosa Beach strand Saturday, picking up garbage and distributing fliers about the rights of gun owners.

The event was part of a burgeoning and controversial "open carry" movement nationwide promoting the right to carry guns in public. Although carrying a concealed weapon is illegal without a permit, California allows people to openly carry guns in many areas as long as they are unloaded, though they can keep ammunition with them.

Members of South Bay Open Carry, which organized the beach cleanup, said they hope such events will dispel misgivings about gun owners and make carrying a handgun in public more acceptable. Organizers said they turned the event into a cleanup to demonstrate that they are contributing to the community.

"Just because somebody is carrying a gun doesn't mean that they're a criminal," said Scott Brownlie, a 25-year-old firefighter who stood outside Peet's Coffee & Tea with an unloaded Colt M-4 Carbine slung across his back. "If a lot of people were allowed to carry more there would be a lot less crime."

Most people walked by the group without a second glance. A police spokesman said the department received no complaints about the event.

Open Carry has drawn criticism from gun control groups that say police, not untrained gun owners, should be protecting the public.

Similar Open Carry gatherings have taken place in recent years in San Francisco and San Diego.

A bill by Assemblywoman Lori Saldaa (D-San Diego) would, with some exceptions, prohibit civilians from openly carrying handguns. The legislation, which was approved by the Assembly but still needs to pass the Senate, has won backing from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the California Police Chiefs Assn.

Suzanne Verge, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, described Saturday's event as a "public relations stunt."

"People use the guns in a moment of passion, under the influence, when they're angry," said Verge, whose brother was fatally shot in 1978. "I don't think it's going to lessen the risk for children and families who go to the beach."

But Ryan Burbridge and others at the Open Carry event disagreed.

Burbridge, an oil field equipment mechanic, said he carries a firearm whenever he goes shopping or visits a restaurant.

Sporting a Rock Island 1911 pistol in a holster on his right hip and a clip of ammunition on his left side, Burbridge looked toward his wife, Tiffany, and their two children, Brooke, 8, and Noah, 2.

"I would like to have the right to protect my beautiful family and not feel that people are thinking I'm breaking the law," he said. "I'm not trying to intimidate people."

Burbridge said he hoped law enforcement officers would understand that openly carrying firearms is legal. He said he was recently handcuffed and detained before being released when he was peacefully watching a July 4 fireworks show in Long Beach with his family while armed.

Harley Green, founder of South Bay Open Carry, met with Hermosa Beach's police chief last month to explain his group's plans. In response, police published a map that showed large sections of greenbelt, the beach and areas near schools where people are barred from carrying weapons without a permit, even if unloaded.

As the well-armed group spent about an hour picking up litter, the reaction from onlookers was mixed.

Ryan Rogado, a 31-year-old space engineer, stopped to watch.

"If they were handing out weapons here, I would carry one in a second," said Rogado, who owns a handgun but has never worn it in public. "I would be more intimidated by someone who pulls out a concealed weapon."

more after the jump
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-open-carry-20100711,0,684001.story

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 11th, 2010, 09:02am

Telegraph

Armour made from 'bullet-proof custard'
A new type of liquid armour, nicknamed "bullet-proof custard", is being tested by UK scientists.

By Amy Willis
Published: 12:24AM BST 10 Jul 2010

Scientists claim the new light-weight material could eventually replace the "thick, heavy-layered plates" of Kevlar used in existing bullet-proof vests for soldiers. Researchers at BAE systems in Bristol combined a "shear-thickening" liquid with the existing material used in bullet-proof vests - called Kevlar - to create the new armour.

The chemical formula of the new liquid is being kept secret but scientists say it works by thickening and becoming sticky on impact with a bullet.

Stewart Penny, BAE's business development manager, described the new material as "bullet-proof custard".

He told the BBC: "It's very similar to custard in the sense that the molecules lock together when it's struck."

To test the new armour, scientists used a large gas gun to fire spherical-shaped bullets at more than 300 metres per second.

They fired one set of bullets at 31 layers of untreated Kevlar and another set at 10 layers of Kevlar combined with the new "shear-thickening" liquid.

The results showed that the Kevlar and liquid mix was more effective.

"The Kevlar with the liquid works much faster and the impact isn't anything like as deep," Mr Penny said.

Mr Penny claims the new light-weight material could eventually replace the "thick, heavy-layered plates" of Kevlar used in existing bullet-proof vests for soldiers.

more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/7882505/Armour-made-from-bullet-proof-custard.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 11th, 2010, 09:11am

Telegraph

Mojoceratops, the frilly dinosaur named over beers
A newly discovered dinosaur species has been named "Mojoceratops" in honour of its dramatic bone frill.

By Tom Chivers
Published: 2:32PM BST 09 Jul 2010

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Mojoceratops, a relative of the triceratops which lived 75 million years ago.
Photo: NICHOLAS LONGRICH

Mojoceratops perifania, a hippopotamus-sized herbivore related to the triceratops which lived around 75 million years ago, has a large, spectacular bone frill above its head. Its discoverer, Nicholas Longrich, was trying to think of a name for it while drinking with colleagues, and the name "Mojoceratops" popped up.

Dr Longrich, a palaeontologist at Yale University, told Science Daily: "It was just a joke, but then everyone stopped and looked at each other and said, 'Wait -- that actually sounds cool.

"I tried to come up with serious names after that, but Mojoceratops just sort of stuck."

After coming up with the name, he looked up the etymology of the word "mojo". He found it made perfect sense for the new dinosaur, which like its relatives is believed to have used its large frill in courtship displays. He said: "I discovered that 'mojo' is an early 20th-century African-American term meaning a magic charm or talisman, often used to attract members of the opposite sex.

"This dinosaur probably used its frill to attract mates, so the name made sense."

Mojoceratops is a member of the chasmosaurine ceratopsid family, which lived in what is now North America. They are defined by their frills on their skulls, although with its large heart-shaped display, "Mojoceratops is the most ostentatious," says Dr Longrich.

The dinosaur was discovered when Longrich noticed that a fossil at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, labelled as a Chasmosaurus, didn't fit with other examples of that species. "The fossils didn't look like anything we'd seen before. They just looked wrong," he said. After examination, he determined that it was a new species, and now eight partial skulls have been classified as Mojoceratops.

more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/dinosaurs/7881640/Mojoceratops-the-frilly-dinosaur-named-over-beers.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 11th, 2010, 6:44pm



User Image


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by B J Booth on Jul 11th, 2010, 7:37pm

thanks for a lot of great info, and I do agree with you on the Chinese images, I know for certain the first one is a case of slow shutter speed capturing what is probably a plane.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 12th, 2010, 07:51am

on Jul 11th, 2010, 7:37pm, B J Booth wrote:
thanks for a lot of great info, and I do agree with you on the Chinese images, I know for certain the first one is a case of slow shutter speed capturing what is probably a plane.


Good morning BJ,
Thank you. Fortunately DrDil and Icarus99 knew what they were looking at. As you knew. I need all the help I can get in that area. Please pull up a chair and hang out. grin
Crystal


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 12th, 2010, 07:56am

Science Daily

Rain of Giant Gas Clouds Create Active Galactic Nuclei: New Research Explains How Galaxy Centers Light Up
ScienceDaily (July 10, 2010)

Galaxies like our own were built billions of years ago from a deluge of giant clouds of gas, some of which continue to rain down. Now new calculations tie the rain of giant clouds of gas to active galactic nuclei (AGN), the extremely bright centers of some galaxies.

If a gas cloud with millions of times more mass than our Sun wanders too close to the center of a galaxy, it can either be consumed by the supermassive black hole that lurks there or, through shocks and collapse, give birth to new stars.

"For a while, people have known that gas clouds are falling onto galaxies, and they've also known that active galactic nuclei are powered by gas falling onto supermassive black holes," says Barry McKernan, a research associate in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History and an assistant professor at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), City University of New York. "But no one put the two ideas together until now and said, 'Hey, maybe one is causing the other!'"

All galaxies are believed to host a supermassive black hole at their center, yet only a fraction of galactic centers show signs of brighter activity due to black hole feeding. The new research provides an explanation for the apparent conundrum: galactic centers which have sustained recent cloud impacts have enough fuel to light up by giving birth to hundreds of stars and feeding the central black hole. Galactic centers that have not been hit for a while (in cosmic terms, for more than about 10 million years) will be relatively inactive and their cores will appear normal.

"It's interesting that only some galaxies are active, even though we think every galaxy contains a supermassive black hole," says K. E. Saavik Ford, a research associate at the Museum and an assistant professor at BMCC. "The cloud bombardment idea provides an explanation: it's just random luck."

The research paper, currently online, will be published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100708171351.htm

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 12th, 2010, 07:59am

Science Daily

Computing Power Cracks Egg Shell Problem
ScienceDaily (July 12, 2010)

Researchers at the University of Warwick and the University of Sheffield have applied computing power to crack a problem in egg shell formation. The work may also give a partial answer to the age old question "what came first the chicken or the egg?"

The answer to the question in this context is "chicken" or -- at least a particular chicken protein. There is however a further twist in that this particular chicken protein turns out to come both first and last. That neat trick it performs provides new insights into control of crystal growth which is key to egg shell production.

Researchers had long known that a chicken eggshell protein called ovocledidin-17 (OC-17) must play some role in egg shell formation. The protein is found only in the mineral region of the egg (the hard part of the shell) and lab bench results showed that it appeared to influence the transformation of amorphous calcium carbonate (CaCo3) into calcite crystals. The mechanism of this control remained unclear. How this process could be used to form an actual eggshell remained unclear.

University of Warwick researchers Mark Rodger and David Quigley, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Sheffield, have now been able to apply a powerful computing tool called metadynamics and the UK national supercomputer in Edinburgh to crack this egg problem.

Dr David Quigley from the Department of Physics and Centre for Scientific Computing, University of Warwick, said: "Metadynamics extends conventional molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and is particularly good at sampling transitions between disordered and ordered states of matter."

Using these tools The Warwick and Sheffield researchers were able to create simulations that showed exactly how the protein bound to amorphous calcium carbonate surface using two clusters of "arginine residues," located on two loops of the protein and creating a literal chemical "clamp" to nano sized particles of calcium carbonate.

While clamped in this way, the OC-17 encourages the nanoparticles of calcium carbonate to transform into "calcite crystallites" that form the tiny of nucleus of crystals that can continue to grow on their own. But they also noticed that sometimes this chemical clamp didn't work. The OC-17 just seemed to detatch from the nanoparticle or "be desorbed."

Professor Mark Rodger from Department of Chemistry and Centre for Scientific Computing, University of Warwick, said "With the larger nanoparticles we examined we found that the binding sites for this chemical clamp were the same as the smaller nanoparticles but the binding was much weaker. In the simulations we performed, the protein never desorbed from the smaller nanoparticle, but always fell off or desorbed from the larger one. However In each case, desorption occurred at or after nucleation of calcite."

The researchers had therefore uncovered an incredibly elegant process allowing highly efficient recycling of the OC-17 protein. Effectively it acts as a catalyst, clamping on to calcium carbonate particles to kickstart crystal formation and then dropping off when the crystal nucleus is sufficiently large to grow under its own steam. This frees up the OC-17 to promote more yet more crystallisation, facilitating the speedy, literally overnight creation of an egg shell.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100709083751.htm

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 12th, 2010, 08:04am

Washington Post

N. Korea, U.N. officials to discuss S. Korean warship sinking

By Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 12, 2010; 8:18 AM

TOKYO -- Military officials from North Korea and the U.S.-led United Nations Command will meet Tuesday to discuss the sinking of a South Korean warship, the U.N. Command said Monday in a statement.

The meeting, proposed Friday by North Korea, raises hopes for reduced tensions on the Korean Peninsula, a flashpoint since the Cheonan sinking in March. The U.N. Command (UNC) said that colonels from both sides will meet for talks in Panmunjom, a village in the demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea.

North Korea has denied any involvement in the Cheonan sinking, which killed 46 South Korean sailors and triggered an international investigation -- one that blamed a North Korean torpedo for the explosion.

But North Korea's behavior and its appetite for diplomatic engagement have shifted since late last week. Friday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously condemned the Cheonan sinking, but its ambiguous statement merely implied Pyongyang's responsibility. That ability to avoid explicit blame -- largely the reflection of China's influence in Security Council talks -- led North Korea's U.N. envoy, Sin Son Ho, to call the statement a "great diplomatic victory."

The meeting signals the first conciliatory step by North Korea since the Cheonan incident and suggests that Kim Jong Il's government -- in a pattern that fits its history -- could again replace brinksmanship tactics with compliance. Even Pyongyang's willingness to discuss the matter with U.S. representatives represents a U-turn. North Korea had rejected an invitation to meet with the UNC in late June.

According to the command's statement, North Korea accepted a proposal "to hold colonel-level meetings in advance of General Officer Talks to discuss the sinking."

In June, North Korea rejected a UNC proposal to hold general-level talks, accused the United States of interfering in Korean issues and called instead for South Korea to allow North Korean officials to inspect the Cheonan investigation's methods and conclusion.

South Korea declined that proposal.

After the Security Council decision, North Korea, in a message carried by its state news agency, described its new proposal as a "manifestation of the unshakable will of the army and people of the [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] to probe the truth behind the 'Cheonan' case in an objective, scientific and fair way. . . .

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/12/AR2010071201645.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 12th, 2010, 08:09am

Washington Post. Sponge Bob Square Pants is at it again. rolleyes

Karzai to push for removing up to 50 ex-Taliban officials from U.N. blacklist

By Colum Lynch and Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, July 12, 2010; A01

UNITED NATIONS -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai plans to seek the removal of up to 50 former Taliban officials from a U.N. terrorism blacklist -- more than a quarter of those on the list -- in a gesture intended to advance political reconciliation talks with insurgents, according to a senior Afghan official.

The Afghan government has sought for years to delist former Taliban figures who it says have cut ties with the Islamist movement. But the campaign to cull names from the list, which imposes a travel ban and other restrictions on 137 individuals tied to the Taliban, has taken on renewed urgency in recent weeks as Karzai has begun to press for a political settlement to Afghanistan's nearly nine-year-old conflict.

The diplomatic outreach at the United Nations has been met with resistance from U.N. officials, who are demanding more evidence that the individuals in question have renounced violence, embraced the new Afghan constitution and severed any links with the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

On Tuesday, Richard C. Holbrooke, President Obama's special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, traveled to New York to meet with U.N. officials to press them to move forward on the delisting process, according to sources familiar with the talks.

The United States opposes the delisting of some of the most violent Taliban fighters, including leader Mohammad Omar. But Holbrooke is eager to reach agreement on removing a slate of purportedly reformed Taliban members ahead of a major international conference in Kabul this month that is aimed at bolstering stability in Afghanistan.

Thomas Mayr-Harting, an Austrian diplomat responsible for overseeing the terrorism list, has made it clear that a specially charged U.N. committee he leads will not approve the delisting solely to boost the peace process. He has also voiced frustration that Afghanistan has not made a detailed case for delisting.

"Let me make this absolutely clear: If this information is to be taken into consideration in the course of the ongoing review, receiving it must be a matter not of weeks but of days," he told the U.N. Security Council on June 30.

In October 1999, the Security Council imposed sanctions on members of the Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan at the time, for refusing to surrender Osama bin Laden to U.S. authorities in connection with al-Qaeda's role in the August 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa. In January 2001, more than 100 Taliban leaders were added to the list.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the United States ushered through resolutions that added al-Qaeda members and their supporters to the blacklist. The measures include a travel ban, an arms embargo and a prohibition on the direct or indirect provision of funds or economic resources.

The stringent requirements of the U.N. review process have undercut Karzai's efforts. The Afghan president is now planning to make a more modest request that 30 to 50 names be delisted to "remove all those Taliban who are not part of al-Qaeda and are not terrorists," according to a senior Afghan official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, as did others quoted for this article.

Russia has repeatedly rebuffed requests for removing former Taliban officials from the list, arguing that it has seen insufficient evidence that they have broken links with the armed insurgency and its al-Qaeda allies. Moscow has long had antipathy for the Islamist Taliban movement, which shares some roots in the mujaheddin resistance that drove Soviet forces out of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Russia also sees the Taliban and al-Qaeda as maintaining ties to Islamist militant groups in Central Asia and the Caucasus. When the Taliban was in power, Russia provided military backing to the Northern Alliance, which resisted Taliban rule.

"The Russian position is perfectly reasonable," said Richard Barrett, who heads an expert panel established by the Security Council to monitor enforcement of the sanctions against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. "People should not come off the list just because there is a political process. Mullah Omar and others aren't prevented from participating in the political process even though they are on the list."

As it awaits Afghanistan's request to delist more former Taliban officials, the Security Council has proceeded with its review of about a dozen individuals whose names were submitted for removal several years ago.

Among them is a former Taliban education minister, Mullah Arsala Rahmani, who is a member of the Afghan senate.

Rahmani said in an interview that after he spoke with a U.N. delegation in Kabul last month, he was led to believe that he "was going to be removed from the blacklist," although he said he was not told that explicitly.

"I'm very happy I'm going to be removed," Rahmani said.

more after the jump
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/11/AR2010071103505.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 12th, 2010, 08:17am

New York Times

July 11, 2010
Googles Do-It-Yourself App Creation Software
By STEVE LOHR

Google is bringing Android software development to the masses.

The company will offer a software tool, starting Monday, that is intended to make it easy for people to write applications for its Android smartphones.

The free software, called Google App Inventor for Android http://appinventor.googlelabs.com/about/ has been under development for a year. User testing has been done mainly in schools with groups that included sixth graders, high school girls, nursing students and university undergraduates who are not computer science majors.

The thinking behind the initiative, Google said, is that as cellphones increasingly become the computers that people rely on most, users should be able to make applications themselves.

The goal is to enable people to become creators, not just consumers, in this mobile world, said Harold Abelson, a computer scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is on sabbatical at Google and led the project.

The project is a further sign that Google is betting that its strategy of opening up its technology to all kinds of developers will eventually give it the upper hand in the smartphone software market. Its leading rival, Apple, takes a more tightly managed approach to application development for the iPhone, controlling the software and vetting the programs available.

We could only have done this because Androids architecture is so open, Mr. Abelson said.

Mr. Abelson is a longtime proponent of making intellectual and scientific resources more open. He is a founding director of the Free Software Foundation, Public Knowledge and the Creative Commons, and he helped initiate M.I.T.s OpenCourseWare program, which offers free online course materials used in teaching the universitys classes.

The Google project, Mr. Abelson said, is intended to give users, especially young people, a simple tool to let them tinker with smartphone software, much as people have done with computers. Over the years, he noted, simplified programming tools like Basic, Logo and Scratch have opened the door to innovations of all kinds. Microsofts first product, for example, was a version of Basic, pared down to run on personal computers.

The Google application tool for Android enables people to drag and drop blocks of code shown as graphic images and representing different smartphone capabilities and put them together, similar to snapping together Lego blocks. The result is an application on that persons smartphone.

For example, one student made a program to inform a selected list of friends, with a short text message, where he was every 15 minutes. The program was created by putting three graphic code blocks together: one block showed the phones location sensor, another showed a clock (which he set for 15-minute intervals), and third linked to a simple database on a Web site, listing the selected friends.

An onscreen button would turn on the program, Mr. Abelson explained, for perhaps a few hours on a Saturday night when the person wanted his friends to know where he was.

A student at the University of San Francisco, Mr. Abelson said, made a program that automatically replied to text messages, when he was driving. Please dont send me text messages, it read. Im driving.

A program by a nursing student at Indiana University enabled a phone to send an emergency message or make a call, if someone fell. It used the phones accelerometer to sense a fall. If the person did not get up in a short period or press an onscreen button, the program automatically texted or called the person designated to receive the alert.

These arent the slickest applications in the world, Mr. Abelson said. But they are ones ordinary people can make, often in a matter of minutes.

The Google tool, of course, works only for phones running Android software. A sign-up with a Google Gmail account is required. The tool is Web-based except for a small software download that automatically syncs the programs created on a personal computer, connected to the application inventor Web site, with an Android smartphone. When making programs, the phone must be connected to a computer with a U.S.B. link.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/12/technology/12google.html?ref=technology

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 12th, 2010, 08:25am

Wired

July 12, 1960: Etch a Sketch? Let Us Draw You a Picture
By Tony Long July 12, 2010 | 12:00 am | Categories: 20th century, Gadgets, Games

1960: The Etch a Sketch goes on sale.

User Image

The technology behind this childrens toy is both simple and complex. Simple, in that an internal stylus is used, manipulated by turning horizontal and vertical knobs to etch a sketch onto a glass window coated with aluminum powder.

Complex, because the Etch a Sketch employs a fairly sophisticated pulley system that operates the orthogonal rails that move the stylus around when the knobs are turned. The stylus etches a black line into the powder-coated window to create the drawing.

Along with the aluminum powder, the guts of the toy include a lot of tiny styrene beads that help the powder flow evenly when the sketch is being erased (by shaking), recoating the screen for the next drawing. As for how the aluminum powder sticks to the window, well, it pretty much sticks to everything.

Arthur Granjean, a Frenchman, was the Etch a Sketchs inventor (he called it LEcran Magique, or The Magic Screen). After failing to get some of the bigger toy companies to bite, he sold his invention to the Ohio Art Company, which has manufactured it ever since.

Although the traditional Etch a Sketch comes in a red plastic housing, it is now available in several colors.

Source: Howstuffworks.com

http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2010/07/0712etch-a-sketch-goes-on-sale/

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 12th, 2010, 08:33am


Marine absorbs IED blast, walks away
6/23/2010 By Sgt. Mark Fayloga, Regimental Combat Team 7

SOUTHERN SHORSURAK, HELMAND PROVINCE, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Cpl. Matt Garst should be dead.

Few people survive stepping on an improvised explosive device. Even fewer walk away the same day after directly absorbing the force of the blast, but Garst did just that.

A squad leader with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Garst was leading his squad on a patrol in Southern Shorsurak, Afghanistan, June 23 to establish a vehicle checkpoint in support of Operation New Dawn.

The men were four miles from Company L's newly established observation post when they approached an abandoned compound close to where they needed to set up their checkpoint. It would serve well as an operating base a place for the squad to set up communications and rotate Marines in and out of. But first, it had to be secured.

As they swept the area with a metal detector, the IED registered no warning on the device. The bomb was buried too deep and its metallic signature too weak. Two men walked over it without it detonating.

At six feet, two inches tall and 260 pounds with all his gear on, Garst is easily the largest man in his squad by 30 or 40 pounds just enough extra weight to trigger the IED buried deep in hard-packed soil.

Lance Cpl. Edgar Jones, a combat engineer with the squad, found a pressure plate inside the compound and hollered to Garst, asking what he should do with it. Garst turned around to answer the Marine and stepped on the bomb.

I can just barely remember the boom, Garst said. I remember the start of a loud noise and then I blacked out.

Since Garst's improbable run-in with the IED, his tale has spread through the rest of the battalion, and as often happens in combat units, the story mutates, the tale becoming more and more extraordinary about what happened next: He held onto his rifle the whole time He actually landed on his feet He remained unmoved, absorbing the impact like he was muffling a fart in a crowded elevator

What really happened even eludes Garst. All went black after the earth uppercut him. When he came to, he was standing on his feet holding his weapon, turning to see the remnants of the blast and wondering why his squad had a look on their faces as if theyd seen a ghost.

Marines in Company L think Garst is the luckiest guy in the battalion, and while that may seem a fair assessment, it was the enemys shoddy work that left Garst standing. The three-liters of homemade explosive only partially detonated.

Marines who witnessed the event from inside the compound caught glimpses of Garsts feet flailing through the air just above the other side of the buildings eight-foot walls. The explosion knocked him at least fifteen feet away where he landed on his limp head and shoulders before immediately standing back up.

Not quite sure of what had just happened, Garst turned back toward the blast, now nothing but a column of dirt and smoke rising toward the sun.

My first thought was, Oh s---, I just hit an IED, he said. Then I thought, Well Im standing. Thats good.

Garsts squad stared at him in disbelief. The square-jawed Marine has a tendency to be short-tempered, and the realization that the blast was meant to kill him spiked his adrenaline and anger.

It pissed me off, he said.

He directed his men to establish a security perimeter while letting them know in his own way that he was OK.

What the f--- are you looking at? he said. Get on the cordon!

Garst quickly radioed back to base, calling an explosive ordnance disposal team and quick reaction force.

I called them and said, hey, I just got blown up. Get ready, he said. The guy thought I was joking at first. You got blown up? Youre not calling me. Get out of here.

Once EOD cleared the area, Garst led his squad the four miles back to their observation post just hours after being ragdolled by an IED blast.

I wasnt going to let anybody else take my squad back after theyd been there for me, he said. Thats my job.

The next day Garst awoke with a pounding headache and was as sore as hed ever been in his life.

Just getting up from trying to sleep was painful, he said.

But he saw no reason being sore should slow him down. He popped some ibuprofen and after a day of rest, Garst was back out on patrol, showing his Marines and the enemy that just like his resolve Cpl Matt Garst is unbreakable.

http://www.marines.mil/unit/imef/Pages/MarineabsorbsIEDblast,walksaway.aspx

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 12th, 2010, 1:35pm

What a lucky guy! shocked

on Jul 12th, 2010, 08:25am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Wired

July 12, 1960: Etch a Sketch? Let Us Draw You a Picture
By Tony Long July 12, 2010 | 12:00 am | Categories: 20th century, Gadgets, Games

1960: The Etch a Sketch goes on sale.

User Image

I got one of these. But was never able to draw something which looked even remotely good or which could have been recognized. rolleyes
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 12th, 2010, 2:45pm

on Jul 12th, 2010, 1:35pm, philliman wrote:
What a lucky guy! shocked


I got one of these. But was never able to draw something which looked even remotely good or which could have been recognized. rolleyes


Boy I hear ya Phil! My drawings always looked like chicken scratches. tongue
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 12th, 2010, 7:16pm




User Image
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by oboe on Jul 12th, 2010, 10:27pm

Hi Crystal.

User Image
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by DrDil on Jul 13th, 2010, 06:31am

on Jul 12th, 2010, 10:27pm, oboe wrote:
Hi Crystal.

User Image

And I just wanted to say welcome Oboe!!

User Image

Quote:
If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense.
Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't.
And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be.
And what it wouldn't be, it would.
You see?


Alice (Alice in Wonderland)



Cheers. grin

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 13th, 2010, 07:39am

on Jul 12th, 2010, 10:27pm, oboe wrote:
Hi Crystal.

User Image


Oh Hello Oboe!!! laugh
You are welcome anytime!!! cheesy
Crystal

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 13th, 2010, 07:43am


User Image

red pill? blue pill? red pill? blue pill?


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 13th, 2010, 07:46am

The Carl Zeiss Photography Competition at Cambridge University's Department of Engineering

There are some beautiful photos:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/picture-galleries/7887634/The-Carl-Zeiss-Photography-Competition-at-Cambridge-Universitys-Department-of-Engineering.html

Crystal


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 13th, 2010, 07:52am

Telegraph

South Korea deploys robot capable of killing intruders along border with North
South Korea has deployed sentry robots capable of detecting and killing intruders along the heavily-fortified border with North Korea, officials said on Tuesday.

Published: 11:12AM BST 13 Jul 2010

Two robots with surveillance, tracking, firing and voice recognition systems were integrated into a single unit, a defence ministry spokesman said.

The 400 million won (220,000) unit was installed last month at a guard post in the central section of the Demilitarised Zone which bisects the peninsula, Yonhap news agency said.

It quoted an unidentified military official as saying the ministry would deploy sentry robots along the world's last Cold War frontier if the test was successful.

The robot uses heat and motion detectors to sense possible threats, and alerts command centres, Yonhap said.

more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/southkorea/7887217/South-Korea-deploys-robot-capable-of-killing-intruders-along-border-with-North.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 13th, 2010, 07:56am

Telegraph

Gods, floods and global warming
The new science of geomythology links ancient legends and natural disasters - and supports climate change , writes Steve Jones.

By Steve Jones
Published: 10:44AM BST 13 Jul 2010

'Global warming is a myth. Type that into a search engine and you get thousands of hits but global warming is not a product of the human imagination; or no more so than any other scientific claims for like them it depends on its data, the accuracy of which has been affirmed by the inquiry into the leaked East Anglia documents. The subject has, alas, become the home of boring rants by obsessives.

More interesting is the notion that myths themselves may reflect real happenings of long ago. The new science of geomythology sets out to tie such tales to ancient disasters. Often, geology and legend fit remarkably well.

The Greek fire-dragon the Chimaera was slain at her lair but being immortal her blazing breath lived on. It can be visited today, on the Turkish coast, where a jet of methane from underground has been burning for millennia. Nearby, are the ruins of Colossus. In AD60 a huge earthquake struck. Its Greek temple was directly over a rift in the Earth, where a stinking spring rose from Hades (the Oracle at Delphi was the same, and the best prophecies came after inhaling the gases). The event was remembered by the local pagans as a visitation from the murderous snake goddess Echidna, but as Christianity spread (helped by Pauls Epistles to the city) the tale grew up that the Archangel Michael had done the job instead, shaking the ground, raising thunderous voice in protest against heresy and opening a great canyon.

Volcanoes, too, tend to leave a lasting impression. The Hawaiians have suffered repeated and well-dated eruptions, each remembered as a battle of a chief with a demigod. They keep precise genealogies of their aristocracy, and each battling ruler did indeed reign at just the time of an explosion the geological and family records of which date back to 700AD.

The greatest tale of all is that of the Flood. Noah finds his roots in older legends. Three hundred Flood narratives are known, from the Americas to Australia (from whence comes the tale of the frog that swallowed the worlds water only to spew it out when the other animals made him laugh). A Babylonian version tells of a divine decision to destroy everyone, apart from a certain Atrahasis, who builds a boat for his family and escapes. A real Atrahasis ruled in Sumeria around 3000 BC and the ruins of his city reveal signs of a gigantic flood of the Euphrates at about that time.

Enthusiasts hint that flood stories date back much further, to the end of the last Ice Age. Ice ages come in slowly, but go out with a bang. The last major event began around a hundred thousand years ago, with a gradual cooling that lasted for tens of millennia. It was interrupted by brief warmings interstadials none of which lasted more than a few thousand years. Then, quite suddenly, less than 20,000 years ago, an interstadial began to run away with itself and, quite soon, the icy shroud was almost gone.

The collapse came when climate reached a tipping point. As the edges of glaciers meet the seas they break off. Fleets of icebergs set out into the ocean. Again and again, though, the main ice age sheet recovered and the cold continued.

Then came the end. The evidence lies in ocean mud, in fossil pollen, and in changes in ratio of chemical isotopes that record shifts in temperature. The continental sheet sent out a vast and final armada of floating ice, which covered much of the northern seas. A slight increase in the Suns output was matched by the disruption of deep ocean currents caused by cold fresh water sinking from the melting floes above. As the glaciers began to dissolve, their waters roared towards the sea. The Thames became a tributary of the Fleuve Manche, a river as huge and silt-laden as the Congo. It ran down what is now the English Channel. Probes into the sea floor far into the Atlantic reveal great beds of mud, the remains of a destroyed European landscape.

The deep seas are a vast reservoir of carbon dioxide, dissolved under pressure, but the chilly and hence heavy water from the disappearing bergs helped by the Fleuve and its fellows sank to the bottom and pushed that ancient reserve of trapped carbon towards the surface. Gas bubbled out and entered the air, pushing onwards the wave of warming. Within a couple of centuries the glaciers began their precipitate retreat, the oceans rose by tens of metres, and we were in the modern world.

Most of those ingredients are evident today, but millions insist that the warming story is made up. Its enough to make a frog laugh.

Steve Jones is Professor of Genetics at University College London

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/steve-jones/7887202/Gods-floods-and-global-warming.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 13th, 2010, 08:01am

New York Times

July 12, 2010
Diabetes Drug Maker Hid Test Data on Risks, Files Indicate
By GARDINER HARRIS

In the fall of 1999, the drug giant SmithKline Beecham secretly began a study to find out if its diabetes medicine, Avandia, was safer for the heart than a competing pill, Actos, made by Takeda.

Avandias success was crucial to SmithKline, whose labs were otherwise all but barren of new products. But the studys results, completed that same year, were disastrous. Not only was Avandia no better than Actos, but the study also provided clear signs that it was riskier to the heart.

But instead of publishing the results, the company spent the next 11 years trying to cover them up, according to documents recently obtained by The New York Times. The company did not post the results on its Web site or submit them to federal drug regulators, as is required in most cases by law.

This was done for the U.S. business, way under the radar, Dr. Martin I. Freed, a SmithKline executive, wrote in an e-mail message dated March 29, 2001, about the study results that was obtained by The Times. Per Sr. Mgmt request, these data should not see the light of day to anyone outside of GSK, the corporate successor to SmithKline.

The heart risks from Avandia first became public in May 2007, with a study from a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic who used data the company was forced by a lawsuit to post on its own Web site. In the ensuing months, GlaxoSmithKline officials conceded that they had known of the drugs potential heart attack risks since at least 2005.

But the latest documents demonstrate that the company had data hinting at Avandias extensive heart problems almost as soon as the drug was introduced in 1999, and sought intensively to keep those risks from becoming public. In one document, the company sought to quantify the lost sales that would result if Avandias cardiovascular safety risk intensifies. The cost: $600 million from 2002 to 2004 alone, the document stated.

Mary Anne Rhyne, a GlaxoSmithKline spokeswoman, said that the company had not provided the results of its study because they did not contribute any significant new information.

The company said that Avandia was safe and that Dr. Freed no longer worked for GlaxoSmithKline.

A panel of experts will meet Tuesday and Wednesday to decide whether Avandia should still be sold and whether it is ethical to test Avandia directly against Actos.

Whether to withdraw Avandia is a question that has split the F.D.A., with some officials arguing that the drug is useful despite its risks and others insisting that it must be withdrawn.

According to the documents, Dr. John Jenkins, director of the agencys office of new drugs, who has argued internally that Avandia should remain on the market, briefed the company extensively on the agencys internal debate.

It is clear the office of new drugs is trying to find minimal language that will satisfy the office of drug safety, a top company official wrote in an e-mail message after he spoke with Dr. Jenkins, according to a sealed deposition obtained by The Times.

In the deposition, Dr. Rosemary Johann-Liang, a former supervisor in the drug safety office who left the F.D.A. after she was disciplined for recommending that Avandias heart warnings be strengthened, said of Dr. Jenkins conversations with GlaxoSmithKline, This should not happen, and the fact that these kind of things happen, I mean, I think people have to make a determination about the leadership at the F.D.A.

An F.D.A. spokeswoman said the agency would not comment on the contents of the deposition.

Members of Congress, where the Avandia case has led to legislative changes, said they were outraged at GlaxoSmithKlines behavior.

When drug companies withhold data regarding safety concerns about their medicines, they put patients at risk, said Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, who is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Mr. Baucus and Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the committees ranking Republican, spent years investigating GlaxoSmithKlines development of Avandia.

Besides the trial comparing Avandia with Actos, the company also conducted trials comparing Avandia with glyburide, a cheaper and older diabetes medicine.

When Rhona A. Berry, a company official, asked about publishing two of the trials, Dr. Freed responded in an e-mail message dated July 20, 2001, that referred to Avandia by the abbreviation of its generic name, rosiglitazone: Rhona Not a chance. These put Avandia in quite a negative light when folks look at the response of the RSG monotherapy arm, the message said. It is a difficult story to tell and we would hope that these do not see the light of day.

Hiding the results of negative clinical trials was once widespread in the drug industry.

But after GlaxoSmithKline was found in 2004 to have hidden data that showed that its antidepressant, Paxil, led children and teenagers to have more suicidal thoughts and behaviors, the company settled a lawsuit by agreeing to publicly post data from all of its trials. In 2007, Congress mandated such disclosures. But the postings are often little more than cryptic references, so the issue is far from resolved.

With Avandia, GlaxoSmithKline has done more than hide trial data. An F.D.A. reviewer who closely examined a landmark Avandia clinical trial called Record, found at least a dozen instances in which patients taking Avandia suffered serious heart problems that were not counted in the trials tally of adverse events, mistakes that further obscured Avandias heart risks.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/13/health/policy/13avandia.html?_r=1&hp

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 13th, 2010, 08:09am

New York Times

July 12, 2010
Bid for Trophy Becomes a Test of Iroquois Identity
By THOMAS KAPLAN

The Iroquois national lacrosse team was hoping to spend Monday getting acclimated in England as it prepared for its first game in this years world championships.

Instead, the team was stuck in a hotel in Midtown Manhattan, missing the visas needed to travel abroad. And the stakes are bigger than a game: what began late last week as a documentation dispute with the British consulate became on Monday a debate over American Indian sovereignty.

Playing international sports, it turns out, is a lot more complicated when players have to convince the State Department that their passports are legitimate.

There have been hurdles every step of the way, said Ansley Jemison, the teams general manager.

The Iroquois team, known as the Nationals, represents the six Indian nations that comprise the Iroquois Confederacy, which the Federation of International Lacrosse considers to be a full member nation, just like the United States or Canada. The Nationals enter this years tournament ranked fourth in the world.

The Nationals 50-person delegation had planned to travel to Manchester, England, on Sunday on their own tribal passports, as they have done for previous international competitions, team officials said.

But on Friday, the British consulate informed the team that it would only issue visas to the team upon receiving written assurance from the United States government that the Iroquois had been granted clearance to travel on their own documents and would be allowed back into the United States. Neither the State Department nor the Department of Homeland Security would offer any such promise.

Lacrosse is our game we are the originators, we invented the game, there are 60 countries that play our game, said Denise Waterman, a member of the teams board of directors. And now we cant go to a tournament thats honoring our game? Its almost unbelievable that this is happening.

Spokesmen for the Department of Homeland Security and the British consulate said that they would not comment on specific cases. A spokeswoman for the State Department would only say that the Iroquois team has been offered expedited United States passports, but they declined that offer.

It would be like saying the Canadians are having travel difficulties and the U.S. says well make you U.S. passports and you can go over, Ms. Waterman said.

Only a few Indian nations issue their own passports, said Robert J. Miller, a professor at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Ore., who has written extensively about federal Indian law. He said that he had never heard of the United States government objecting to the use of such a document.

Neither has Robert Anderson, who was associate solicitor for Indian affairs in the Interior Department during the Clinton administration and now directs the Native American Law Center at the University of Washington School of Law.

The tribes will probably say, Hey, weve got the authority to do this, he said.

But the State Department said Monday that federal law does not allow a tribal document to be used in lieu of a United States passport when traveling outside the United States. A spokeswoman said that an October 2008 internal directive emphasized that policy, though it noted that other countries had sometimes recognized such documents.

Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on Monday to express his dismay that the players were being prohibited from traveling with their tribal passports.

Its a matter of tribal sovereignty and respecting the rights of the Native American population of this country, he said in a telephone interview.

Representative Dan Maffei, a Democrat from upstate New York, said that the federal governments refusal to recognize the Iroquois passports had the potential to be an embarrassing situation for the United States.

This is a true issue of principle, he said. Whether or not their principle is right is not for us to decide.

The Iroquois team said that even if its situation is resolved immediately, the players will not be able to arrive in England until Wednesday at the earliest, leaving little or no time for practice before their first game against England, in the tournaments opening contest on Thursday night.

The delay has been an expensive one. It was difficult for the Nationals to raise the $300,000 for their trip to the world championships, and the delay in traveling to England and the arrangements that had to change as a result has already cost the team more than $20,000, Ms. Waterman said.

The team was able to secure practice time at Wagner College on Staten Island, where players worked out on Sunday and Monday. Meanwhile, some members of the team who had never been to New York City used their free time on Monday to visit Times Square.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/13/us/13lacrosse.html?hp

Crystal

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 13th, 2010, 08:12am

Washington Post

Confidence in Obama reaches new low, Washington Post-ABC News poll finds

By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 13, 2010; A01

Public confidence in President Obama has hit a new low, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll. Four months before midterm elections that will define the second half of his term, nearly six in 10 voters say they lack faith in the president to make the right decisions for the country, and a clear majority once again disapproves of how he is dealing with the economy.

Regard for Obama is still higher than it is for members of Congress, but the gap has narrowed. About seven in 10 registered voters say they lack confidence in Democratic lawmakers and a similar proportion say so of Republican lawmakers.

Overall, more than a third of voters polled -- 36 percent -- say they have no confidence or only some confidence in the president, congressional Democrats and congressional Republicans. Among independents, this disillusionment is higher still. About two-thirds of all voters say they are dissatisfied with or angry about the way the federal government is working.

(See the raw data of the Washington Post-ABC poll)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/polls/postpoll_07132010.html

Such broad negative sentiments have spurred a potent anti-incumbent mood. Just 26 percent of registered voters say they are inclined to support their representative in the House this fall; 62 percent are inclined to look for someone new.

Democrats nationally remain on the defensive as they seek to retain both houses of Congress this fall. Registered voters are closely divided on the question of whether they will back Republicans or Democrats in House races. Among those who say they are sure to cast ballots in November, 49 percent side with the GOP and 45 percent with Democrats.

Overall, a slim majority of all voters say they would prefer Republican control of Congress so that the legislative branch would act as a check on the president's policies. Those most likely to vote in the midterms prefer the GOP over continued Democratic rule by a sizable margin of 56 percent to 41 percent.

Economic worries continue to frame the congressional campaigns. Almost all Americans rate the economy negatively, although compared with the depths of the recession in early 2009, far fewer now describe economic conditions as "poor." Only about a quarter of all Americans think the economy is improving.

Recent economic developments -- a declining stock market, problems in the housing industry and an unemployment report showing only tepid job growth in the private sector -- may have bruised the president's ratings.

Just 43 percent of all Americans now say they approve of the job Obama is doing on the economy, while 54 percent disapprove. Both are the worst, marginally, of his presidency. Even a third of Democrats give him negative marks here. And overall, intensity runs clearly against the president on the issue, with twice as many people rating him strongly negative as strongly positive.

At the same time, Democrats generally continue to hold the edge over Republicans when it comes to dealing with the nation's fragile economy. But that Democratic lead is slimmer than it was in 2006 before the party won back control of Congress. And among those most likely to vote this year, 39 percent trust the Democrats more and 40 percent the Republicans. About 17 percent of likely voters put their confidence in neither side.

Public opinion is split down the middle on the question of whether the government should spend more money to stimulate the economy in a way that leads to job creation. Among those who support such new spending, 18 percent change their minds when asked what they think if such outlays could sharply increase the budget deficit. In that scenario, 57 percent opposed another round of spending.

About six in 10 Democrats say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who favors new government spending, while 55 percent of Republicans say they would be less likely to do so. Independent voters are divided on the question, with 41 percent more apt to oppose and 35 percent to support.

On at least one issue pending in Congress there is broader agreement: A sizable majority says the government should extend unemployment benefits.

Most Democrats and independents support increasing the time limit on government payments for jobless claims, and they are joined by 43 percent of Republicans. The notion clearly divides the GOP: Sixty percent of conservative Republicans oppose the idea, while 57 percent of moderate or liberal Republicans support it.

Low marks on deficit

On the question of Obama's leadership, 42 percent of registered voters now say they have confidence that he will make the right decisions for the country, with 58 saying they do not. At the start of his presidency, about six in 10 expressed confidence in his decision-making.

Obama's overall job-approval rating stands at 50 percent, equaling his low point in Post-ABC polling; 47 percent disapprove of the job he is doing. For the first time in his presidency, those who strongly disapprove now significantly outnumber those who strongly approve.

Among those who say they definitely will vote in November, 53 percent disapprove of the way he is handling his responsibilities.

The president's approval ratings reached a new low among whites, at 40 percent, with his positive marks dipping under 50 percent for the first time among white college-educated women.

On the issues tested in the poll, Obama's worst ratings come on his handling of the federal budget deficit, where 56 percent disapprove and 40 percent approve. He scores somewhat better on health-care reform (45 percent approve) and regulation of the financial industry (44 percent). His best marks come on his duties as commander in chief, with 55 percent approving.

Obama's overall standing puts him at about the same place President Bill Clinton was in the summer of 1994, a few months before Republicans captured the House and Senate in an electoral landslide.

President Ronald Reagan, who also contended with a serious recession at the outset of his first term, was a little lower at this point in 1982, with a 46 percent to 45 percent split on his approval ratings. Republicans went on to lose about two dozen seats in the House that fall.

Of course, Reagan and Clinton subsequently rebounded and went on to win reelection easily.

more after the jump
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/12/AR2010071205453.html?hpid=topnews

Crystal
edit to add poll link
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 13th, 2010, 2:54pm

Hello, oboe! Nice to see you here! cheesy

on Jul 12th, 2010, 2:45pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Boy I hear ya Phil! My drawings always looked like chicken scratches. tongue
Crystal

Hello, Crystal. smiley

Check out this guy:

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 13th, 2010, 3:40pm

Hey Phil,

"Check out this guy"

Amazing etch a sketcher!
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 13th, 2010, 3:43pm

Phantoms and Monsters

NOTE: I ran across this unusual capture of a supposed 'shadow person' or dark entity on a gas station surveillance camera. The form suddenly manifests and walks towards a doorway. It then appears, towards the end of the clip, that the entity attempts to climb something. There's a possibility that a set of stairs may have existed in that location at one time. I'm not going to say much on the validity of the video but it is very interesting nonetheless...Lon



http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/2010/07/video-climbing-entity.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 13th, 2010, 4:08pm

Everyone was talking about the UFO that shut down the chinese airport. At the bottom of this post is an article link about it, but they had an interesting comment left in the comment section:

begin quote -

Yes, I believe in "ufo's". My dad was in the air force during the korean war, & his plane was surrounded by UFO's. He could barely talk about it. All their instruments went down, they didn't know what was holding them up with no engine sound, & it was very frightening! He was told never to say anything to anyone by the 'powers that be', & even when talking to his immediate family, he became extremely uncomfortable and agitated. & My dad wasn't afraid of anything! He was 6'4", 200 pounds of strength & intelligence... Yes. They are definitely out there, & no, they are not going to do us in as a planet or a species.
By Diane on Jul 13th 2010 at 1:57PM

- end quote

http://hot.aol.com/2010/07/13/paging-mulder-and-scully-to-china/?sms_ss=email

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 13th, 2010, 5:46pm



User Image
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 14th, 2010, 07:33am

Morning, Crystal!

Yes, an interesting comment. More serious people should come forward so that others will finally start to think about this subject.
on Jul 13th, 2010, 5:46pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
User Image

Awww! smiley
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 14th, 2010, 07:56am

Good morning Phil! cheesy

More and more people are talking publically about UFO's without the giggle factor.

That photo was taken in New Zealand. Another National Geographic photo. They have some beautiful photos. Glad you liked it.

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 14th, 2010, 07:59am

Seattle Times

Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - Page updated at 11:46 PM

'Barefoot bandit' back in U.S.; hearing Wednesday in Miami court
By Erik Lacitis

Seattle Times staff reporter

NASSAU, Bahamas
By all appearances, Bahamian authorities decided it was just best to deport Colton Harris-Moore as quickly as possible to the United States.

So Tuesday evening — after pleading guilty to a minor charge in the Bahamas and paying a $300 fine — the teen fugitive known as the "Barefoot Bandit" landed in Miami and was taken into custody by FBI agents.

He was escorted from the commercial plane — with shoes on this time — and into a waiting sport-utility vehicle, which took him to jail.

He is to make a first appearance in U.S. District Court in Miami on Wednesday. A judge there must determine that the person before him is the same person charged with the theft of an airplane in Idaho that crashed near Granite Falls last year. If so, Harris-Moore will be sent back to Western Washington for arraignment in that case.

It will be up to the U.S. Marshal's Office and its transportation system — known as "Con Air" — to determine when Harris-Moore will return to the Northwest. Depending on flight schedules, "that could be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks," said Emily Langlie, the spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney in Seattle. "Harris-Moore will be treated like any other federal inmate."

Eventually, a long list of jurisdictions from Western Washington to Indiana will have to decide whether and how to charge Harris-Moore for some 70 crimes allegedly committed in at least six states during a two-year spree after he escaped from a Renton halfway house. Most of the allegations stem from crimes on Camano and Orcas islands.

Tuesday morning in Nassau, Harris-Moore put his first court case to rest.

He arrived in the courtroom in handcuffs and shackles from a holding cell, where an escort officer in a white, starched jacket, had chatted him up.

The escort officer later told how he asked Harris-Moore about airplanes. He said the youth appeared quite at ease.

"He told me he had always been fascinated by them, ever since kindergarten," said the guard.

The guard asked about how hard it was to take a 40-some-foot boat.

He said the teenager told him, "Well, I grew up around boats."

Harris-Moore was arrested Sunday morning by Bahamian police as he tried to flee on a stolen boat.

He told police he came to the country, located southeast of Florida, because it has so many islands, airports and docks, according to an officer who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case.

The teenager claimed that he told islanders he was trying to get to Cuba so he could throw police off his trail, but that he intended to make his way to the Turks and Caicos Islands southeast of the Bahamas, the officer said.

Monique Gomez, the Bahamas attorney hired Sunday by Seattle-area parties interested in helping the 19-year-old, did pretty well for the "Barefoot Bandit."

On Monday, Bahamian police had said Harris-Moore would face a gun-possession charge and possibly numerous theft-related charges stemming from his alleged weeklong crime spree there.

He ended up pleading guilty to "having landed from a destination outside of the Bahamas, without leave of an immigration officer."

The penalty was $300 or three months in jail.

His mother, Pam Kohler, wired the money to pay the fine after the U. S. Embassy in Nassau called, said Seattle attorney John Henry Browne, who has been retained by the Camano Island woman to represent her son.

Harris-Moore has yet to call Browne. It's not clear if he has spoken with his mother; she declined to comment Tuesday.

The court hearing was over in 15 minutes.

Afterward, Gomez smiled at compliments from others in the courthouse.

It's a small world in the legal profession in the Bahamas. Things that might raise an eyebrow in the U.S. are part of that small world.

For example, the arraignment was held in a small, second-story courtroom presided over by Magistrate Roger Gomez — Monique Gomez's uncle.

There were no wooden benches like one might see in a U.S. courtroom, just three dozen or so metal-frame chairs with vinyl seats. The room did have an air conditioner blasting away the 90-degree heat and 79 percent humidity. The hallway, on the other hand, had only a floor fan.

Gomez was selected by Jim Johanson, an Edmonds lawyer, who in June said he had been asked by a couple who wanted to remain anonymous to offer $50,000 to Harris-Moore to surrender by 3 p.m. June 8.

Johanson said he would represent Harris-Moore free of charge as part of the arrangement.

But of course, Harris-Moore never took that offer.

When the teen was arrested in the Bahamas, Johanson said, the couple asked that Johanson find representation for him.

Johanson used Google and contacts in Florida, and found Gomez. He said the couple paid Gomez less than $5,000.

"I was very pleased with her hard work. She did a hell of a job plea-bargaining the thing to a $300 fine and getting him out of jail time," Johansen said.

When Gomez met with Harris-Moore on Monday, she said, "He was relaxed. He wanted everything to go away."

She tried a bit of humor with him, asking if he had been bitten by sand flies. He said no.

more after the jump
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012349248_colton14m.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 14th, 2010, 08:02am

Washington Post

Iranian nuclear scientist heads homeward in anger

By Greg Miller and Thomas Erdbrink
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, July 14, 2010; 5:06 AM

An Iranian nuclear scientist who had disappeared in Saudi Arabia last summer stepped out of a cab in front of Iran's diplomatic mission in Washington on Monday, asking for a ticket back to his homeland. Shahram Amiri told officials that he had been abducted by U.S. intelligence operatives and had spent much of the past year in Tucson being questioned about Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Amiri's reappearance was as mysterious as his disappearance and came just weeks after a series of Internet videos added to the intrigue surrounding the case. In the videos, Amiri claimed alternately to have been kidnapped by the CIA and to have come to this country on his own accord to pursue a PhD.

Early Wednesday, an Iranian news agency reported that Amiri left the U.S. for Iran.

The case has emerged as a source of embarrassment for both governments. The Obama administration faced the departure of someone whose defection had been considered an intelligence coup. Iran described Amiri's desire to the leave the United States as a setback for American efforts, but Amiri may have compromised the secrecy of Iran's nuclear endeavors.

According to an official familiar with the account Amiri gave at the mission, his pleas to be released were finally granted when he was brought to Washington and sent to a nondescript storefront on Wisconsin Avenue, where Iranian representatives work in a space officially operated by Pakistan's embassy.

Within hours of arriving at the mission, Amiri told state-run Iranian television that "my kidnapping was a disgraceful act for America. . . . I was under enormous psychological pressure and supervision of armed agents in the past 14 months."

U.S. officials disputed Amiri's account, insisting that he defected voluntarily and provided valuable intelligence about Iran's nuclear program before increased worries over the safety of his family in Iran prompted him to seek a return. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters Tuesday that Amiri was and always had been free to go. "These are decisions that are his alone to make," Clinton said, noting that Iran has refused to release three American backpackers detained in the country for nearly a year.

Amiri's case has provided a rare public glimpse into the espionage sparring between the United States and Iran, much as the capture and swap of Russian undercover operatives this month exposed the extent to which such cloak-and-dagger endeavors have outlasted the Cold War. The United States and other nations contend that Iran is secretly developing the means to build a nuclear weapon, but the Iranian government says its program is entirely peaceful.

Amiri, 32, has said he worked at Iran's Malek-e-Ashtar Industrial University, which U.S. intelligence agencies believe is connected to the country's Revolutionary Guards Corps. Amiri is not believed to have been directly involved in the most secretive aspects of Iran's nuclear efforts, but intelligence officials said he provided significant insights during lengthy debriefings with the CIA.

"I don't think the U.S. government goes to great lengths to help people come over here unless there is significant intelligence value to be gained," said a U.S. official briefed on the case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it.

Amiri disappeared under mysterious circumstances in June 2009, about the same time that U.S. officials spoke of an "intelligence coup" involving a high-profile defector.

He appears to have been resettled in Tucson, where his presence was a carefully guarded secret until the scientist appeared in videos this spring. In the first, which aired on Iranian television, Amiri stares into what appears to be an amateur Web camera, claiming to have been tortured and pleading for human rights organizations to intervene.

But in a subsequent and more polished video that U.S. officials said was crafted with help from the CIA, Amiri is dressed in a suit coat before a backdrop that includes a chessboard and a globe turned to the Western Hemisphere. Amiri says he has never betrayed his homeland and asks "everyone to stop presenting information that distorts the reality about me."

Amiri also says he knows that the Iranian government "will take care of and protect my family." U.S. officials said fears for their safety appear to have been behind his decisions to release the videos portraying himself as a kidnapping victim, as well as his effort to return.

"The Iranians aren't beyond using family to influence people," said a second U.S. official, who added that Amiri's ability to appear in the videos, as well as reach the Iranian mission, "gives the lie to the idea he was tortured or imprisoned. He can tell any story he wants -- but that won't make it true."

Defectors who return to their native countries risk severe reprisals. In one of the most notorious cases, Saddam Hussein's son-in-law defected to Jordan in the mid-1990s and began providing information on Iraq's banned weapons programs. He returned after being promised that he would not be punished, but within days he was killed.

Amiri arrived at the Iranian mission at 6:30 p.m. Monday, officials said. Only a security guard was present, and the two spoke in Farsi. In meetings with Pakistani diplomats, Amiri said he had been drugged after stepping into a cab in Medina, Saudi Arabia, last summer and woke up in the United States. He said he wasn't physically abused but claimed to have endured severe "mental torture."

It was not clear whether Iranian officials had allowed Amiri to speak to his family. Iran has insisted that he would return on a Turkish Airlines flight because of Iran's close ties with Turkey. The next Turkish flight to Tehran via Istanbul was scheduled to leave Wednesday afternoon from New York's Kennedy Airport.

more after the jump
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/14/AR2010071400529.html?hpid=topnews

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 14th, 2010, 08:08am

Stars and Stripes

Jul 14, 8:24 AM EDT
Afghan attacks kill 8 US soldiers in 24 hours

By MIRWAIS KHAN
Associated Press Writer

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) -- Eight American troops died in attacks in southern Afghanistan, including a car bombing and gunfight outside a police compound in Kandahar, officials said Wednesday as the Taliban push back against a coalition effort to secure the volatile region.

A suicide attacker slammed a car bomb into the gate of the headquarters of the elite Afghan National Civil Order Police late Tuesday in Kandahar, a NATO statement said. Minutes later, insurgents opened fire with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

Three U.S. troops, an Afghan policeman and five civilians died in the attack, but NATO said the insurgents failed to enter the compound.

The special police unit, known as ANCOP, had only recently been dispatched to Kandahar to set up checkpoints along with international forces to try to secure the south's largest city, the spiritual birthplace of the Taliban.

The dead civilians included three Afghan translators and two security guards, Kandahar provincial police chief Sardar Mohammad Zazai said.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi telephoned reporters Wednesday to claim responsibility for the attack. The insurgents, which are prone to exaggerate death tolls inflicted on Afghan and international security forces, claimed 13 international troops and eight Afghan security forces died in the raid.

NATO and Afghan troops are fanning out elsewhere in Kandahar province to pressure insurgents in rural areas. The strategy is to improve security with more and better-trained police and troops so that capable governance can take root and development projects can move forward and win the loyalty of ordinary Afghans.

The Taliban have responded by ratcheting suicide attacks and bombings, making last month the deadliest of the nearly 9-year-old war for international forces.

On Wednesday, four more American troops were killed by a roadside bomb in the south, while one more U.S. service member died the same day of wounds from a gunbattle.

So far in July, 45 international troops have died in Afghanistan, 33 of them Americans.

In other attacks around the country, nine Afghan civilians died in the south when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in the volatile district of Marjah in Helmand province, the Ministry of Interior said. Another homemade bomb killed two security guards traveling on a road in eastern Paktika province.

Two suspected Taliban also died in Helmand's Lashkar Gar district when the roadside bomb they were trying to plant exploded prematurely, the ministry said.

more after the jump
http://ap.stripes.com/dynamic/stories/A/AS_AFGHANISTAN?SITE=DCSAS&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2010-07-14-06-34-15

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 14th, 2010, 08:12am

Phantoms and Monsters

NOTE: I have been informed that the David Eckhart's alien encounters / abductions will be covered on SyFy's 'Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files' on Thursday, July 15th at 10 PM ET. As well, there is a very good possibility that NBC Universal will produce a 1 hour presentation of David's experiences sometime in the future. I can't go into this any further until details are worked out. For those not familiar with the case, I have posted the links to the case information and investigation by our team. BTW, we are still working on this case and expect more to evidence to surface as time goes on...Lon

A link to the trailer: http://www.cinemablend.com/television/Fact-Or-Faked-Promo-For-Syfy-s-New-Series-25071.html

several videos after the jump
http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/2010/07/eckhart-encounters-syfy-fact-or-faked.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 14th, 2010, 08:16am

Science Daily

Juno Spacecraft Armored Up to Go to Jupiter
ScienceDaily (July 13, 2010)

NASA's Juno spacecraft will be forging ahead into a treacherous environment at Jupiter with more radiation than any other place NASA has ever sent a spacecraft, except the sun. In a specially filtered cleanroom in Denver, where Juno is being assembled, engineers recently added a unique protective shield around its sensitive electronics. New pictures of the assembly were recently released.

"Juno is basically an armored tank going to Jupiter," said Scott Bolton, Juno's principal investigator, based at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "Without its protective shield, or radiation vault, Juno's brain would get fried on the very first pass near Jupiter."

An invisible force field filled with high-energy particles coming off from Jupiter and its moons surrounds the largest planet in our solar system. This magnetic force field, similar to a less powerful one around Earth, shields Jupiter from charged particles flying off the sun. The electrons, protons and ions around Jupiter are energized by the planet's super-fast rotation, sped up to nearly the speed of light.

Jupiter's radiation belts are shaped like a huge doughnut around the planet's equatorial region and extend out past the moon Europa, about 650,000 kilometers (400,000 miles) out from the top of Jupiter's clouds.

"For the 15 months Juno orbits Jupiter, the spacecraft will have to withstand the equivalent of more than 100 million dental X-rays," said Bill McAlpine, Juno's radiation control manager, based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "In the same way human beings need to protect their organs during an X-ray exam, we have to protect Juno's brain and heart."

The strategy? Give Juno a kind of six-sided lead apron on steroids.

With guidance from JPL and the principal investigator, engineers at Lockheed Martin Space Systems designed and built a special radiation vault made of titanium for a centralized electronics hub. While other materials exist that make good radiation blockers, engineers chose titanium because lead is too soft to withstand the vibrations of launch, and some other materials were too difficult to work with.

Each titanium wall measures nearly a square meter (nearly 9 square feet) in area, about 1 centimeter (a third of an inch) in thickness, and 18 kilograms (40 pounds) in mass. This titanium box -- about the size of an SUV's trunk -- encloses Juno's command and data handling box (the spacecraft's brain), power and data distribution unit (its heart) and about 20 other electronic assemblies. The whole vault weighs about 200 kilograms (500 pounds).

The vault is not designed to completely prevent every Jovian electron, ion or proton from hitting the system, but it will dramatically slow down the aging effect radiation has on electronics for the duration of the mission.

"The centralized radiation vault is the first of its kind," Bolton said. "We basically designed it from the ground up."

When NASA's Galileo spacecraft visited Jupiter from 1995 to 2003, its electronics were shielded by special components designed to be resistant to radiation. Galileo also didn't need to survive the harshest radiation regions, where Juno will operate.

But Juno isn't relying solely on the radiation vault. Scientists designed a path that takes Juno around Jupiter's poles, spending as little time as possible in the sizzling radiation belts around Jupiter's equator. Engineers also used designs for electronics already approved for the Martian radiation environment, which is harsher than Earth's, though not as harsh as Jupiter's. Parts of the electronics were made from tantalum, or tungsten, another radiation-resistant metal. Some assemblies also have their own mini-vaults for protection.

Packing the assemblies next to each other allows them to shield their neighbors. In addition, engineers wrapped copper and stainless steel braids like chain mail around wires connecting the electronics to other parts of the spacecraft.

JPL tested pieces of the vault in a radiation environment similar to Jupiter's to make sure the design will be able to handle the stress of space flight and the Jupiter environment, McAlpine said. In a special lead-lined testing tub there, they battered pieces of the spacecraft with gamma rays from radioactive cobalt pellets and analyzed the results for Juno's expedition.

The vault was lifted onto Juno's propulsion module on May 19 at Lockheed Martin's high-bay cleanroom. It will undergo further testing once the whole spacecraft is put together. The assembly and testing process, which also includes installing solar panels for the first-ever solar-powered mission to Jupiter, is expected to last through next spring. Juno is expected to launch in August 2011.

"The Juno assembly is proceeding well," said Tim Gasparrini, Lockheed Martin program manager. "We have a number of the flight and test unit spacecraft avionics components installed into the radiation vault for system testing and we have also just installed the first instrument, the microwave radiometer."

http://www.nasa.gov/juno

more after the jump
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100713122456.htm

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 14th, 2010, 08:24am

Telegraph

Daniel Houghton, a former MI6 worker accused of disclosing top secret material has pleaded guilty to two charges against him.

Published: 9:58AM BST 14 Jul 2010

Daniel Houghton, 25, who worked for the secret intelligence service between September 2007 and May last year, denied a count of theft, but admitted two offences under the Official Secrets Act.

He was accused of stealing the material and of breaching the Official Secrets Act by disclosing the files.

Houghton, of Hoxton, east London, who holds British and Dutch nationality, was arrested in a Scotland Yard sting at a London hotel in March.

He appeared before Mr Justice Bean at the Royal Courts of Justice in London for a plea and case management hearing on Wednesday morning.

Houghton, wearing an open-necked pale shirt and dark suit was present in the dock of the court for the proceedings.

Piers Arnold, prosecuting, told the judge that the pleas entered were acceptable to the prosecution.

He asked for the theft matter to be adjourned until after Houghton has been sentenced ''with the prosecution's intention to offer no evidence in respect of that charge''.

Houghton pleaded guilty to the following offences.

Houghton will be sentenced on Friday September 3 at the Old Bailey.

more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/7889420/Former-MI6-worker-pleads-guilty-to-disclosing-secret-material.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 14th, 2010, 08:31am

Wired

Wikileaks Cash Flows In, Drips Out
By Kim Zetter July 13, 2010 | 8:07 pm | Categories: Sunshine and Secrecy, Wikileaks

The secret-spilling website Wikileaks appears to be a frugal spender, tapping less than 10 percent of the funds received through two of its three donation methods, according to the third-party foundation that manages those contributions.

Wikileaks has received 400,000 euros (U.S. $500,000) through PayPal or bank money transfers since late December, and spent only 30,000 euros (U.S. $38,000) from that funding, says Hendrik Fulda, vice president of the Berlin-based Wau Holland Foundation.

The money has gone to pay the travel expenses of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and spokesman Daniel Schmitt, as well as to cover the costs of computer hardware, such as servers, and leasing data lines, says Fulda. Wikileaks does not currently pay a salary to Assange or other volunteers from this funding, though there have been discussions about doing so in the future, Fulda adds. The details have not yet been worked out.

If you are drawing from volunteers who are basically doing stuff for free and if you start paying money, the question is to whom, and to whom not, do you pay, and how much? Fulda said. Its almost a moral question: How much money do you pay?

The spending figures were first reported by the German paper Der Freitag, after a series of anonymous posts circulated online accusing Wikileaks of misusing donor funds. The posts were authored by an anonymous person who claimed to be a Wikileaks insider, and appeared on Cryptome.org, a competing transparency site.

The limited financial disclosure by the Wau Holland Foundation this week offers the first look at how Wikileaks spends some of its money. Wikileaks does not publish such figures itself, but has claimed to have $200,000 a year in operating costs, and to have raised about $1 million in total.

Fulda said Assange and Schmitt travel coach when they fly on behalf of Wikileaks, and that they have focused expenses on building and maintaining the sites infrastructure, submitting original receipts to the foundation whenever Wikileaks needs expenses reimbursed. Fulda would not provide a more detailed breakdown of all the money paid out so far, but says his foundation is producing a report that will be available in August that should provide more transparency.

The foundation manages donations sent to Wikileaks from people around the world through PayPal and wire transfers directed to a bank account controlled by the foundation. It does not handle donations submitted through Moneybookers, a PayPal-like service, that Wikileaks also lists on its website as a method for donating.

Fulda says Wikileaks may have other sources of funding perhaps from private donors and other foundations but he has no knowledge of them.

But I believe we are taking in the majority of the donations that are coming in through Europe and elsewhere, he said.

Wikileaks Assange declined to discuss the organizations budget with Threat Level.

The Wau Holland Foundation is named after Herwart Holland-Moritz, also known as Wau Holland. He founded the Chaos Computer Club, a hacker club in Germany that has been at the forefront of the hacking community since its establishment in 1981.

Wikileaks approached the foundation last year to manage its donations because of its reputation in supporting the concept of freedom of information. Although the foundation is run by unpaid volunteers, Fulda said its advantage is that it has a more formal structure to manage funds than does Wikileaks.

Wau Holland began handling donations for the site beginning last October. The foundation adheres to Germanys rules for accountability.

We have certain responsibilities for this money, and we are taking this seriously, Fulda says.

Wikileaks went offline last December after running out of money, and pleaded for donations. Fulda said the foundation had received only about 5,000 euros (U.S. $6,000) in donations on behalf of the whistleblowing site at the time. Wikileaks tweeted on December 24 that it would be down until at least January 6, but that period stretched to five months, during most of which the sites archive was unavailable.

The site didnt come back online until May, and even then, its support for encrypted downloading was absent, as was its Tor Hidden Service previously the most secure way to leak documents to the website. Its secure submission webpage stopped working in mid-June. Though theres been no announcement on the website explaining the limited functionality, Assange has since said that the sites infrastructure is being re-tooled to handle the increased load that media attention has brought it.

Donations began pouring in once people saw in January that the site needed help, Hulda said. Wikileaks plea for donations indicated the site needed to raise at least $200,000 to cover a years worth of operating expenses, increased to at least $600,000 if its volunteers were to be paid.

Just asking for money [before this] didnt really work, Fulda said. There was nothing coming in. But when the website had to go down because of lack of funds, then money was coming in.

The site got another boost in donations in April after it published the controversial video showing a 2007 U.S. Army helicopter attack in Baghdad. Wikileaks claimed it raised more than $150,000 in less than a week after the release of the video. A U.S. Army intelligence analyst named Bradley Manning was since arrested and charged with being Wikileaks source for the video. Assange and other Wikileaks volunteers have claimed that the organization commissioned lawyers to defend Manning, and the group has campaigned for more donations from the public to cover the legal expenses.

Fulda said that no money handled by the foundation has gone to pay expenses for Mannings defense. He didnt know if Wikileaks obtained money from other sources for the purpose. He said, however, that his foundation would have no problem in principle paying such legal expenses.

Defending whistleblowers is one of the objectives of Wikileaks, he said. So I dont see an issue with that in theory. How this would work in practice would need to be sorted out.

Donations channeled through the foundation did not pay for Wikileaks editing and production costs behind the Iraq video, he said. A recent New Yorker profile of Wikileaks indicated that Dutch hacker and businessman Rop Gonggrijp stepped in to cover those expenses, advancing about 10,000 euros to finance it.

The 400,000 euros that Wikileaks raised this year is enough to sustain it through the first quarter of next year, Fulda said, covering the costs of a more robust infrastructure that Assange and others are currently working to build.

But the surge of donations has since slowed to a trickle about 2,000 euros a month, Fulda said.

The volume of money coming in is way, way down since the website went back up, he said. I think people get the message that if the website is down there is not enough money. As long as the website is up, [people think] there seems to be enough money.

more after the jump
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/07/wikileaks-funding/

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 14th, 2010, 08:34am

Wired: This day in Tech

July 14, 1965: Mariner 4 Brings Mars Up Close and Cardinal

By Brandon Keim July 13, 2010 | 8:00 pm | Categories: 20th century, Astronomy, Space Exploration

1965: After a few million years of watching Mars from afar, humanity meets the red planet not quite in person, but through the eyes of NASAs Mariner 4 satellite.

User Image

The half-ton space camera flew past Mars eight months after being shot from Earth on an Atlas rocket, having traveled 325 million miles. It flew within 6,000 miles of the planets surface, snapping 22 digital photographs before continuing into space. They were the first close-ups ever taken of another planet, and it was only appropriate that the subject was Mars, a source of fascination since the beginning of recorded history.

There were, alas, none of the canals seen by astronomers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, nor evidence of senders of messages heard by Nikola Tesla or Gugliemo Marconi. Indeed, the hazy images of a barren, crater-strewn landscape ended speculation that Mars might plausibly be inhabited by higher life forms. But those low-resolution 0.04 megapixel images stirred the soul in different ways, and they paved the way for future photo shoots that would reveal a planet every bit as fantastic as imagined.

After leaving Mars, Mariner 4 journeyed to the far side of the sun, and finally returned to Earths vicinity in 1967. Long after it was expected to break down, the satellite continued to send information about cosmic dust, celestial dynamics and solar plasma. After being put through a series of operations tests, Mariner 4 was shut down Dec. 20, 1967.

Images: NASA

http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2010/07/0714first-mars-closeup-photo/

Crystal

edit to add photos
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 14th, 2010, 08:56am

Wired

In a First, Full-Sized Robo-Copter Flies With No Human Help

Read More http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/07/in-a-first-full-sized-robo-copter-flies-with-no-human-help/#ixzz0tfHEaE78

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 14th, 2010, 11:25am

on Jul 14th, 2010, 07:56am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
That photo was taken in New Zealand. Another National Geographic photo. They have some beautiful photos. Glad you liked it.

Crystal

Yes, it's beautiful! smiley

on Jul 14th, 2010, 08:02am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Washington Post

Iranian nuclear scientist heads homeward in anger

By Greg Miller and Thomas Erdbrink
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, July 14, 2010; 5:06 AM

An Iranian nuclear scientist who had disappeared in Saudi Arabia last summer stepped out of a cab in front of Iran's diplomatic mission in Washington on Monday, asking for a ticket back to his homeland. Shahram Amiri told officials that he had been abducted by U.S. intelligence operatives and had spent much of the past year in Tucson being questioned about Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Amiri's reappearance was as mysterious as his disappearance and came just weeks after a series of Internet videos added to the intrigue surrounding the case. In the videos, Amiri claimed alternately to have been kidnapped by the CIA and to have come to this country on his own accord to pursue a PhD.

Early Wednesday, an Iranian news agency reported that Amiri left the U.S. for Iran.

The case has emerged as a source of embarrassment for both governments. The Obama administration faced the departure of someone whose defection had been considered an intelligence coup. Iran described Amiri's desire to the leave the United States as a setback for American efforts, but Amiri may have compromised the secrecy of Iran's nuclear endeavors.

According to an official familiar with the account Amiri gave at the mission, his pleas to be released were finally granted when he was brought to Washington and sent to a nondescript storefront on Wisconsin Avenue, where Iranian representatives work in a space officially operated by Pakistan's embassy.

Within hours of arriving at the mission, Amiri told state-run Iranian television that "my kidnapping was a disgraceful act for America. . . . I was under enormous psychological pressure and supervision of armed agents in the past 14 months."

U.S. officials disputed Amiri's account, insisting that he defected voluntarily and provided valuable intelligence about Iran's nuclear program before increased worries over the safety of his family in Iran prompted him to seek a return. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters Tuesday that Amiri was and always had been free to go. "These are decisions that are his alone to make," Clinton said, noting that Iran has refused to release three American backpackers detained in the country for nearly a year.

...

Odd. So we are left to speculate about who's lying here. rolleyes
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 14th, 2010, 2:44pm

Hey Phil,

"Odd. So we are left to speculate about who's lying here."

It's the strangest story. I would love to know what the heck really happened.
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 14th, 2010, 8:29pm


User Image
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 15th, 2010, 08:00am

Washington Post. We're all hurting and they gave this guy 5 Million dollars. angry

U.S. paid Iranian nuclear scientist $5 million for aid to CIA, officials say

By Greg Miller and Thomas Erdbrink
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 15, 2010; 6:20 AM

The Iranian nuclear scientist who claimed to have been abducted by the CIA before departing for his homeland Wednesday was paid more than $5 million by the agency to provide intelligence on Iran's nuclear program, U.S. officials said.

Shahram Amiri is not obligated to return the money but might be unable to access it after breaking off what U.S. officials described as significant cooperation with the CIA and abruptly returning to Iran. Officials said he might have left out of concern that the Tehran government would harm his family.

"Anything he got is now beyond his reach, thanks to the financial sanctions on Iran," a U.S. official said. "He's gone, but his money's not. We have his information, and the Iranians have him."

Amiri arrived in Tehran early Thursday to a hero's welcome, including personal greetings from several senior government officials. His 7-year-old son broke down in tears as Amiri held him for the first time since his mysterious disappearance in Saudi Arabia 14 months ago.

In brief remarks to reporters at Imam Khomeni International Airport, Amiri said, "I am so happy to be back in the Islamic republic," and he repeated his claims of having been abducted by U.S. agents. He said CIA agents had tried to pressure him into helping them with their propaganda against his homeland and offered him $50 million to remain in the United States.

Amiri, who flashed victory signs as he stepped into the airport, also said that he knew little of Iran's main nuclear enrichment site. "I'm a simple researcher. A normal person would know more about Natanz than me."

He was greeted by Hassan Qashqavi, a high-ranking Foreign Ministry official, as well as a deputy interior minister and a deputy science minister.

Amiri's request this week to be sent home stunned U.S. officials, who said he had been working with the CIA for more than a year.

Whether the agency received an adequate return on its investment in Amiri is difficult to assess. The size of the payment might offer some measure of the value of the information he shared. But it could also reflect a level of eagerness within the U.S. intelligence community for meaningful information on Iran.

The U.S. official said the payments reflected the value of the information gleaned. "The support is keyed to what the person's done, including how their material has checked out over time," said the official, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity surrounding the case. "You don't give something for nothing."

The transfer of millions of dollars into Amiri-controlled accounts also seems to bolster the U.S. government's assertions that Amiri was neither abducted nor brought to the United States against his will. Given the amount of money he was provided, a second U.S. official said, "I'm sure he could have been very happy here for a long time."

The payments are part of a clandestine CIA program referred to as the "brain drain." Its aim is to use incentives to induce scientists and other officials with information on Iran's nuclear program to defect.

The Iranian government maintains that its nuclear research is strictly for peaceful purposes. But the United States and other nations contend that Iran is secretly pursuing a nuclear bomb. Acquiring intelligence on the country's nuclear capabilities and intentions is among the highest priorities for U.S. spy agencies.

Amiri, 32, is known to have worked at Iran's Malek-e-Ashtar Industrial University, which U.S. intelligence agencies think is linked to the nation's Revolutionary Guard Corps, a powerful entity accused of activities ranging from weapons research to supporting terrorist groups.

The scientist is not believed to have had direct access to Iran's most sensitive nuclear sites or leaders involved in decisions on whether to pursue a bomb. Still, officials said Amiri was valuable in confirming information from other sources and providing details on multiple nuclear facilities.

Iran has already begun to take advantage of the Amiri case, with state television echoing his claims that he was abducted and describing his return as a national victory. Awaiting Amiri at the airport Thursday were Hassan Qashqavi, a high-ranking Foreign Ministry official, and other ministers.

The CIA has authority to bring as many as 100 people into the United States each year under a provision of the 1949 Central Intelligence Agency Act that enables the agency to bypass ordinary immigration requirements.

Promises of resettlement and reward money are two of the primary inducements used by the CIA to recruit informants inside "hard target" countries, including North Korea and Iran.

The money that went to Amiri was apparently placed in accounts or investment mechanisms that would sustain him over a lifetime in the United States. "You basically put together a long-term benefits package," one of the U.S. officials said.

Although Amiri might no longer be able to access the accounts, it was not clear whether the CIA would be able to reclaim the funds. The U.S. officials declined to disclose where the funds had been deposited.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley would not disclose Amiri's immigration status while he was in the United States or the reason he had been in the country. "He was here of his own volition and left of his own volition," Crowley said. "If he wants to talk about this, he can."

The CIA's payments to Amiri add to what has become one of the more bizarre recent episodes in espionage. Amiri disappeared in Saudi Arabia last summer and then resurfaced in a series of contradictory Internet videos this spring.

In some, he claimed to have been abducted, drugged and subjected to CIA torture to get him to talk. In another recording, apparently produced with help from the CIA, Amiri insisted that he had come to the United States of his own accord and said he was living in Tucson while pursuing a PhD.

One of the U.S. officials said Amiri's family was a main factor in his decision to return. "He just wanted to see his family and, unfortunately, he chose a dumb way to do it," the official said, "lying about what happened to him here to try to build up his credibility back home."

link:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/15/AR2010071501395.html?hpid=topnews

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 15th, 2010, 08:05am

Washington Post cry

Companies pile up cash but remain hesitant to add jobs

By Jia Lynn Yang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 15, 2010; A01

Corporate America is hoarding a massive pile of cash. It just doesn't want to spend it hiring anyone.

Nonfinancial companies are sitting on $1.8 trillion in cash, roughly one-quarter more than at the beginning of the recession. And as several major firms report impressive earnings this week, the money continues to flow into firms' coffers.

Yet all the good news from big business hasn't translated into much promise for jobless Americans, leading many to wonder: If corporations are sitting on so much money, why aren't they hiring more workers?

The answer to that question has become a political flash point between the White House and big business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which held a jobs summit Wednesday and accused the Obama administration of dumping onerous regulations on businesses. That has created an environment of "uncertainty," which is causing firms to hold back on hiring as the unemployment rate has hovered near 10 percent, the Chamber said.

The White House countered that companies are wary of hiring not because of new regulations but because they're still waiting for consumer demand to return. The administration also claimed credit for 3.5 million jobs created by the stimulus bill from last year.

The acrimony over jobs comes at a particularly tense moment in the relationship between business groups and the White House. With the midterm elections looming and polls showing Americans expressing a lack of confidence in President Obama's handling of the economy, White House officials are eager to demonstrate that their policies are helping, not hurting, the prospects for job growth and are making an extra effort to reach out to industry leaders.

For the Chamber's jobs event, the White House said it asked for a speaking slot for senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, who acts as a liaison to the business community, but the Chamber turned down the request. Chamber officials said Jarrett's office called Tuesday afternoon, the day before the conference, and demanded a speaking slot immediately after remarks from Chamber chief executive Tom Donohue. The White House said that it did not ask for a specific slot.

"There are going to be areas where we differ, but we do have different roles," Jarrett said in an interview. "Our job is to both protect the American people and foster a climate where companies invest and create jobs. Their role is to produce profits for their shareholders."

White House officials also choreographed a competing set of images for Obama on Wednesday, having him meet separately with famed investor Warren Buffett and, later, with Bill Clinton as well as the chief executives of Bank of America and Honeywell. Obama aides said the business meetings were a coincidence and had been scheduled before they knew of the Chamber event. They said the meeting with Buffett had been in the works for a long time. (Buffett is a director with The Washington Post Co.)

The question of how to encourage companies to hire has challenged policymakers.

A survey last month of more than 1,000 chief financial officers by Duke University and CFO magazine showed that nearly 60 percent of those executives don't expect to bring their employment back to pre-recession levels until 2012 or later -- even though they're projecting a 12 percent rise in earnings and a 9 percent boost in capital spending over the next year.

When asked why companies are holding back so much, many economists cite broader uncertainty that goes well beyond anything happening in Washington. Firms aren't sure whether the economy can sustain a strong recovery. And as long as consumer spending remains low, there's not much incentive for companies to ramp up.

The trend of companies holding more cash is not new. Between 1980 and 2006, the average cash-to-assets ratio for U.S. industrial firms more than doubled, according to research by finance professors.

One explanation, said finance professor Ren Stulz at Ohio State University, is that as competition has become more global, it's become harder for individual companies to survive, and so they hold on to more cash to be safe. He added that companies have also increased their cash holdings in the wake of the financial crisis, particularly since the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, as the banking system has become more fragile and credit has become scarce.

Tech companies in particular tend to build large cash reserves. Intel, which reported on Tuesday its biggest quarterly profit in a decade, brought aboard 400 new employees worldwide in the last quarter, though it would not identify in which countries the hirings took place. Intel spokeswoman Lisa Malloy added that the firm expects to spend more money, from $4.5 billion last year to $5.2 billion this year, investing in capital projects around the world.

And yet the firm has $1.7 billion more in cash than it had a year ago. Intel said it is enjoying strong demand for its chips, so low demand doesn't help explain the firm's mountain of cash.

Alcoa, which reported strong earnings Monday, said it had $493 million more in cash this quarter compared with a year earlier.

more after the jump
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/14/AR2010071405960.html?hpid=topnews

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 15th, 2010, 08:09am

Telegraph

Mystery handyman makes repairs council considered too costly.

As he wondered why his council did nothing to fix the broken benches and fences scarring his neighbourhood, Stephen Rimmer felt he was in danger of becoming a "grumpy old man".

By Nick Britten
Published: 7:10AM BST 15 Jul 2010

But the former soldier was not prepared to simply leave things as they were and set about carrying out repairs deemed too costly by the local authority himself.

Now Mr Rimmer, 37, has been recognised as a hero in his neighbourhood after 12 weeks spent secretly sneaking out at night to fix benches and fences.

Locals had been mystified to wake up and find their amenities fixed and wondered who was behind the clearing up and mending.

Mr Rimmer finally decided to unmask himself and is believed to have saved Oldham Council around 3,000 repairing 18 broken benches and fences.

Even council officials have now recognised that he showed "great community spirit" in carrying out the tasks they had failed to do.

''I forked out my own money to buy the paint and other supplies to make the repairs but it's been worth it just to make the area look better," said Mr Rimmer.

''I had a bit of a grumpy old man attitude when I saw broken benches when I was out on my bike. These benches had been like that for years, yet you only needed to move your head a few degrees to see something that could be used to fix it.

Mr Rimmer spent night loading up his mountain bike with his own wood and tools and pedalling the streets. He used the remnants of pruned trees and a blowtorch to make new planks.

He left the army six years ago after four years of service and began his secret sideline after starting a design degree at Manchester Metropolitan University, where his studies covered recycling.

He said: ''I'd go cycling down the canal path and I'd see a bench with no wood on it and I just thought to myself why hadn't anyone repaired it?

"I started to look around for wood that could be used for benches that needed fixing. There were lots of materials around, I'd collect bits of wood that could be recycled and find a job that they were right for.

"I'd be thinking what works best, and getting some colour in there. I started going out at night because there would be less people about to bother me, no-one would give me any trouble.

''I do like the idea of surprising people. It's not there one day, and there the next.

His repairs began springing up everywhere from Daisy Nook country park near his home in Oldham, Greater Manchester, to the towpaths of Huddersfield and Rochdale canals.

more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7890170/Mystery-handyman-makes-repairs-council-considered-too-costly.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 15th, 2010, 08:12am

Telegraph

Scientists discover prehistoric fish under Great Barrier Reef
Australian scientists have discovered bizarre prehistoric sea life thousands of feet below the Great Barrier Reef, in an unprecedented mission to document species under threat from ocean warming.

Published: 10:13AM BST 15 Jul 2010

Ancient sharks, giant oil fish, swarms of crustaceans and a primitive shell-dwelling squid species called the Nautilus were among the astonishing life captured by remote controlled cameras at Osprey Reef.

Justin Marshall, the lead researcher, said his team had also found several unidentified fish species, including "prehistoric six-gilled sharks" using special lowlight sensitive cameras which were custom designed to trawl the ocean floor, 4,593ft (1,400m) below sea level.

"Some of the creatures that we've seen we were sort of expecting, some of them we weren't expecting, and some of them we haven't identified yet," said Mr Marshall, from the University of Queensland, Australia.

"There was a shark that I really wasn't expecting, which was a false cat shark, which has a really odd dorsal fin."

The team used a tuna head on a stick to attract the creatures, which live beyond the reach of sunlight.

Mr Marshall said the research had been made more urgent by recent oil spills affecting the world heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, and the growing threat to its biodiversity by the warming and acidification of the world's oceans.

"One of the things that we're trying to do by looking at the life in the deep sea is discover what's there in the first place, before we wipe it out," he said.

"We simply do not know what life is down there, and our cameras can now record the behaviour and life in Australia's largest biosphere, the deep sea."

Scientists have already warned that the 133,000-square mile (345,000-square km) attraction is in serious jeopardy, as global warming and chemical run-off threaten to kill marine species and cause disease outbreaks.

Chinese coal ship Shen Neng 1 gouged a 3m scar in the reef when it ran aground whilst attempting to take a short cut on April 3, leaking tonnes of oil into a famed nature sanctuary and breeding site.

About 200,000 litres of heavy fuel oil spewed into waters south of the reef last March when shipping containers full of fertiliser tumbled off the Hong Kong-flagged Pacific Adventurer during a cyclone, piercing its hull.

It was one of Australia's worst ever oil spills.

more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/7891737/Scientists-discover-prehistoric-fish-under-Great-Barrier-Reef.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 15th, 2010, 08:15am


User Image


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Luvey on Jul 15th, 2010, 09:34am

on Jul 15th, 2010, 08:09am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Telegraph

Mystery handyman makes repairs council considered too costly.

As he wondered why his council did nothing to fix the broken benches and fences scarring his neighbourhood, Stephen Rimmer felt he was in danger of becoming a "grumpy old man".

By Nick Britten
Published: 7:10AM BST 15 Jul 2010

But the former soldier was not prepared to simply leave things as they were and set about carrying out repairs deemed too costly by the local authority himself.

Now Mr Rimmer, 37, has been recognised as a hero in his neighbourhood after 12 weeks spent secretly sneaking out at night to fix benches and fences.

Locals had been mystified to wake up and find their amenities fixed and wondered who was behind the clearing up and mending.

Mr Rimmer finally decided to unmask himself and is believed to have saved Oldham Council around 3,000 repairing 18 broken benches and fences.

Even council officials have now recognised that he showed "great community spirit" in carrying out the tasks they had failed to do.

''I forked out my own money to buy the paint and other supplies to make the repairs but it's been worth it just to make the area look better," said Mr Rimmer.

''I had a bit of a grumpy old man attitude when I saw broken benches when I was out on my bike. These benches had been like that for years, yet you only needed to move your head a few degrees to see something that could be used to fix it.

Mr Rimmer spent night loading up his mountain bike with his own wood and tools and pedalling the streets. He used the remnants of pruned trees and a blowtorch to make new planks.

He left the army six years ago after four years of service and began his secret sideline after starting a design degree at Manchester Metropolitan University, where his studies covered recycling.

He said: ''I'd go cycling down the canal path and I'd see a bench with no wood on it and I just thought to myself why hadn't anyone repaired it?

"I started to look around for wood that could be used for benches that needed fixing. There were lots of materials around, I'd collect bits of wood that could be recycled and find a job that they were right for.

"I'd be thinking what works best, and getting some colour in there. I started going out at night because there would be less people about to bother me, no-one would give me any trouble.

''I do like the idea of surprising people. It's not there one day, and there the next.

His repairs began springing up everywhere from Daisy Nook country park near his home in Oldham, Greater Manchester, to the towpaths of Huddersfield and Rochdale canals.

more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7890170/Mystery-handyman-makes-repairs-council-considered-too-costly.html

Crystal


Really liked this news article Crystal... thanks grin

Wouldn't it be nice if more people did things like this...

Luvey
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Swamprat on Jul 15th, 2010, 12:42pm

My Name is Rose

The first day of school our professor introduced himself
and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already
know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched
my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, 'Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven
years old. Can I give you a hug?' I laughed and enthusiastically responded, 'Of course you may!' and she gave me a giant squeeze.

'Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?' I
asked. She jokingly replied, 'I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids...'

'No seriously,' I asked. I was curious what may have
motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.
'I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm
getting one!' she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and
shared a chocolate milkshake.

We became instant friends. Every day for the next three
months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was
always mesmerized listening to this 'time machine' as she
shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and
she easily made friends wherever she went... She loved to
dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon
her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our
football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She
was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to
deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five
cards on the floor.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the
microphone and simply said, 'I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I
gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll
never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you
what I know.'

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, 'We do not
stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop
playing.

There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy,
and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor
every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your
dreams, you die.

We have so many people walking around who are dead and
don't even know it!

There is a huge difference between growing older and
growing up.

If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full
year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty
years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed
for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.
Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or
ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding
opportunity in change. Have no regrets.

The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but
rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear
death are those with regrets.' She concluded her speech by courageously singing 'The Rose.'

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them
out in our daily lives. At the year's end Rose finished the
college degree she had begun all those years ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her
sleep...

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in
tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that
it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.

REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS
OPTIONAL.

WE MAKE A LIVING BY WHAT WE GET. WE MAKE A LIFE BY
WHAT WE GIVE...

THESE WORDS HAVE BEEN PASSED ALONG IN LOVING MEMORY OF......ROSE.

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 15th, 2010, 12:55pm

That's a wonderful story, SR! Thanks for sharing! smiley

Brightest star explosion seen blinds satellite


WASHINGTON (Reuters) The brightest explosion of a star ever seen temporarily blinded a satellite set up to watch such events, astronomers said on Wednesday.

The gamma-ray burst and explosion of X-rays that followed came from a star that died 5 billion years ago, far beyond our own Milky Way galaxy, NASA and British scientists said. It took this long for the radiation to reach the Swift orbiting observatory.

The bright X-ray burst blinded Swift on June 21, and the observatory's software ignored it as if it were an anomaly, the astronomers said.

"The intensity of these X-rays was unexpected and unprecedented," Neil Gehrels, Swift's principal investigator at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, said in a statement.

...

tiny link

Can the Allies Trust Afghan Soldiers to Watch Their Backs?

Was the Taliban behind the actions of a rogue Afghan army soldier who allegedly shot dead three British servicemen overnight while they slept? The militants claimed that the incident, which included a shooting and a grenade assault, was a premeditated attack, part of a new strategy to push back against coalition forces spread out in record numbers across southern Afghanistan's battle zones. Although the inside-job claim remains unconfirmed, the killings cast a shadow on the quality and reliability of Afghan security forces deployed in a hostile region where they are being groomed to take the reins of the country's own security and wean themselves away from dependence on western troops.

The incident took place at a British military outpost in Nahr-e-Saraj district, a Taliban stronghold near the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah. A senior Afghan National Army (ANA) officer identified the gunman as Talib Hussein, 23, a member of the ethnic Hazara minority from Ghazni province who had served for less than a year, mainly in remote swaths of Helmand, far from home. After killing a Major in his bed, the suspect fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the base's command center that left a British lieutenant and Nepalese Gurkha dead and four others injured, before he managed to flee outside the wire. A manhunt has ensued even as the Taliban assert he is now with them in a "safe place." (See pictures of life in the Afghan National Army.)

It's a strange sequence of events, given how the Hazara were brutally persecuted under a Pasthun-dominated former Taliban regime that massacred thousands. Today, Hazara Taliban are all but unheard of due to the history of bad blood and differences of orthodoxy: Hazaras are Shi'ite Muslims, considered heretics by the rigidly Sunni Taliban hardliners. By way of explanation, Gen. Ghulam Farook Parwani, the deputy corps commander for the ANA's southern forces, alleged that Hussein was a habitual hashish smoker, a widespread phenomenon within the ranks. Even if it's true, however, this hardly provides a clear motive for the deadly outburst. (See images of the Afghan apocalypse.)

...

tiny link


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 15th, 2010, 1:00pm

on Jul 14th, 2010, 8:29pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
User Image

Is this a pic of Avatar 2? grin

on Jul 15th, 2010, 09:34am, Luvey wrote:
Really liked this news article Crystal... thanks grin

Wouldn't it be nice if more people did things like this...

Luvey

I agree with you, Luvey. He's a real life hero! smiley
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 15th, 2010, 4:40pm

begin quote -

Really liked this news article Crystal... thanks

Wouldn't it be nice if more people did things like this...

Luvey

- end quote

Thanks Luvey. It was such a wonderful article. And a great guy.
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 15th, 2010, 4:41pm

Swamprat! Good to see you. cheesy And what a great article.
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 15th, 2010, 4:42pm

Is this a pic of Avatar 2?

Looks like it huh Phil! grin It must have taken forever to get that costume on and the make-up done.
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 15th, 2010, 7:45pm



User Image
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 16th, 2010, 07:48am

Wired

Human Trials Next for Darpas Mind-Controlled Artificial Arm
By Katie Drummond July 15, 2010 | 3:29 pm | Categories: Science

Pentagon-backed scientists are getting ready to test thought-controlled prosthetic arms on human subjects, by rewiring their brains to fully integrate the artificial limbs.

Already in recent years, weve seen very lifelike artificial arms, monkeys nibbling bananas with mind-controlled robotic limbs and even humans whose muscle fibers have been wired to prosthetic devices. But this is the first time human brains will be opened up, implanted with a neural interface and then used to operate an artificial limb.

Its a giant step thatll transform the devices, which were little more than hooks and cables only 50 years ago. And the progress is courtesy of Darpa, the Pentagons far-out R&D agency, whove been sponsoring brain-controlled replacement limbs as part of their Revolutionizing Prosthetics Program.

A team of scientists at Johns Hopkins, behind much of Darpas prosthetic progress thus far, have received a $34.5 million contract from the agency to manage the next stages of the project. Researchers will test the Modular Prosthetic Limb (MPL) on a human. The test subjects thoughts will control the arm, which offers 22 degrees of motion, including independent movement of each finger, provides feedback that essentially restores a sense of touch, and weighs around 9 pounds. Thats about the same weight as a human arm.


The prosthetic will rely on micro-arrays, implanted into the brain, that record signals and transmit them to the device. Its a similar design to that of the freaky monkey mind-control experiments, which have been ongoing at the University of Pittsburgh since at least 2004.

Within two years, Johns Hopkins scientists plan to test the prosthetic in five patients. And those researchers, alongside a Darpa-funded consortium from Caltech, University of Pittsburgh, University of Utah and the University of Chicago, also hope to expand prosthetic abilities to incorporate pressure and touch.

The goal is to enable the user to more effectively control movements to perform everyday tasks, such as picking up and holding a cup of coffee, Michael McLoughlin, the projects program manager, says.

Read More http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/07/human-trials-ahead-for-darpas-mind-controlled-artificial-arm/#ixzz0tqhKNXNI

Crystal

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 16th, 2010, 07:54am

Wired

No matter how frustrated a cyclist gets at badly-behaving drivers, theres nothing they can really do against two-tons of glass and steel piloted by an idiot. But if you and a few friends happen to be riding the BigDog, a four-wheel, four-man-powered behemoth of a bicycle, you could crush drivers and their vehicles like the Hulk crushes well, like the Hulk crushes everything.



Read More http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/07/giant-four-man-bike-could-crush-cars/#ixzz0tqiaaK40

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 16th, 2010, 07:59am

LA Times

By Borzou Daragahi, Los Angeles Times

July 16, 2010

Reporting from Berlin

Erich Honecker may be dancing in his grave. The stodgy Communist Party apparatchik vilified in history as the last leader of the dying East Germany would be proud to know that his political heirs are making a comeback.

Germans watching their economic prospects founder, banks getting bailed out by the billions of euros and workers turned out into the streets are taking out their fury by voting in unprecedented numbers for the party called the Left, whose ranks include ideological descendants of Honecker.

In last year's nationwide elections, the party extended its parliamentary bloc from 54 to 76 seats out of 622. In state elections in North Rhein-Westpahlia and Saarland over the last year, the Left managed to win representation in local legislatures in western Germany for the first time.

Experts say the support has grown because of the perceived economic mismanagement by mainstream parties. Another factor is the impending social welfare cut that would have an inordinate effect on the poor and unemployed. Electoral volatility appears to cut across regional lines and also benefits the left-leaning Green Party, which picked up 17 seats in the last parliamentary election.

"Germans don't go to the streets," said Sven Behrendt, an economic expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "They go to the voting booth."

Smooth politicking has also paved the way for the Left's rise.

East German Communists renamed the Party of Democratic Socialism, or PDS, after reunification held on to a steady but unchanging bloc of voters in the economically devastated formerly Soviet-controlled states. Then in 2005, under the leadership of the charismatic former Social Democratic Party leader Oskar Lafontaine, a former finance minister, the PDS began joining forces with a far-left western German party. The two merged and branded themselves Die Linke, or the Left.

"Lafontaine is a left-wing populist who really knows how to address the people," said Juergen Falter, a political scientist at the University of Mainz, near Frankfurt. "He knows how to use the anxieties and prejudices of people."

The Left has also replenished its ranks with such fresh faces such as Katja Kipping, a 32-year-old with candy-red hair who won election to the parliament in 2005, and 31-year-old Steffen Bockhahn, who won a seat last year.

"Before they always had these old men," said Peggi Liebisch, the head of a Berlin association that helps single parents. "They would have even more success if they would get some more young people in there."

The party attributes its recent successes to economic turmoil, the continued stagnation in the states of the former East Germany and the deeply unpopular German commitment to the war in Afghanistan, which it strenuously opposes.

"There's a real need for a left-wing party that talks about social justice," said Dagmar Enkelmann, leader of the Left's parliamentary faction. "I consider myself a socialist. This new crisis gives Karl Marx a new meaning. But we have to modernize Marx and learn how to reform our society."

Many observers blame the centrist drift of the Social Democratic Party, known by the abbreviation SPD, for the rise of the Left. Ever since the Social Democrats formed a grand coalition government with the center-right Christian Democratic Union, or CDU, in 2005, they've steadily lost street credibility with leftists.

"Most of the strength of the Left is the weakness of the SPD," said Uwe Meinhardt, a leader of IG Metall, the German industrial union. "If the SPD should recover, I think the Left party will lose again."

But others see the nation as a whole moving toward the left end of the political spectrum, especially concerning economic policy in response to the growing polarization between rich and poor. Even the market-oriented Free Democratic Party has been forced to adjust its rhetoric in the face of an electorate angry over multibillion-dollar bailouts for German banks and their southern European debtor nations combined with proposed austerity measures to cut public spending.

"The dissatisfaction with the injustice has never been so high," said Ulrich Schneider, executive director of Paritaet, a union of charity groups a sort of United Way, but allowed to lobby. "It's not for the benefit of this party or that party. Even some factions in the CDU are calling to raise taxes."

The rise of the leftist parties also contrasts starkly with the stagnation of the extreme right. Germany's tiny National Democratic Party has never won seats in the national parliament and performs tepidly at the state and local levels. After picking up some support in the early 1990s, experts say, the right withered away, unlike similar parties in neighboring Netherlands or France.

"In Germany, the protest vote tends to go to the left, not the right," said Falter, the political scientist.

Despite advances by the Left and the Greens, the majority of voters still cast ballots for one of the two major centrist parties, the SPD or the CDU. The environmentally minded Green Party disagrees with the Left on such issues as coal mining, preventing them from joining to mount a formidable challenge to the main parties.

more after the jump
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-germany-left-20100716,0,1457997.story

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 16th, 2010, 08:01am

LA Times

July 15, 2010 | 12:59 pm
The Senate put the final nail in the coffin of proposals to create box office futures markets today with the passage of financial reform legislation.

President Obama has said he will sign the bill, which includes a provision inserted at the behest of the major studios that bans trading contracts based on movies' box office performance. The studios said trading in box office futures could create negative publicity before a movie opens and would be easily manipulated, while backers said they would be a valuable financial tool for the industry.

The Senate had been expected to pass the bill. Once a House-Senate committee hammering out the final language of the bill kept the box office futures ban in place, the two firms preparing to create such markets conceded that their days were probably numbered even though they had won approval from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Richard Jaycobs, the head of Cantor Exchange, said in a recent interview that his company was exploring other options in entertainment finance.

-- Ben Fritz

link:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2010/07/box-office-futures-go-from-critical-to-flatline-as-financial-reform-bill-passes-senate.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 16th, 2010, 08:07am

Telegraph

Police arrest devil-horned suspect
When witnesses to a car crime in the United States reported the suspect had devil-like horns, police had little trouble catching up with Jesse Thornhill.

By Murray Wardrop
Published: 9:39AM BST 16 Jul 2010

User Image

After accosting the 28-year-old, officers noted down on his arrest sheet that his personal oddities included "horns, neck tattoos and implant earrings on head.

The arrest came after police were called to a disturbance in Tulsa, Okalahoma, following reports of a late-night altercation.

On arrival they were told that Mr Thornhill had tried to run down his landlord after an argument, using his people carrier as a dangerous weapon.

Patrolmen later picked up the heavy metal fan nearby and he spent the night in Tulsa County Jail before he was released on a $10,000 bond.

After interviewing Mr Thornhills landlady, who was also involved, the arresting officer noted: While in the street Jesse attempted to strike her with his vehicle. But missed due to [her] jumping out of his path. Jesse was located & arrested.

Among Mr Thornhills other ghoulish features not noted by police are his tattooed eyebrows, lengthened earlobes and brandings.

The horns are created by surgically implanting Teflon lumps under the skin to gradually stretch the scalp into the desired shape. Wearers have to undergo a number of procedures to achieve the size of Mr Thornhills horns.

link:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7893828/Police-arrest-devil-horned-suspect.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 16th, 2010, 08:09am

Please be an angel

User Image

www.soldiersangels.org


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 16th, 2010, 08:12am

Washington Post.

No early reports of damage after 3.6-magnitude quake centered in Montgomery County hits just after 5 a.m.

No traffic or transit delays have been reported because of the earthquake, which the U.S. Geological Survey says is the largest to hit the area since 1974. || Story by Mike McPhate

more after the jump
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/local-breaking-news/dc/mild-earthquake-felt-across-re.html?hpid=dynamiclead

Crystal

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Swamprat on Jul 16th, 2010, 12:47pm

OK, you wash me next......


http://www.wimp.com/cuddlyrabbits/
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Swamprat on Jul 16th, 2010, 2:44pm

Cool depiction of the "fourth dimension".....

http://www.wimp.com/fourthdimension/
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 16th, 2010, 5:13pm

Wow! Nice posts Swamprat! Danke!
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 16th, 2010, 5:14pm

Improv Everywhere




Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 16th, 2010, 6:43pm

Goofy family with pets photos. Some silliness for this afternoon.

http://weirdplanet.net/2010/07/18-awkward-pet-photos/

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 16th, 2010, 9:24pm



User Image
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 17th, 2010, 07:42am

Phantoms and Monsters

Friday, July 16, 2010
Xiaoshan Airport UFO Investigation to Begin....2nd Sighting in Chongqing


http://tucsoncitizen.com/paranormal/2010/07/15/media-in-china-reports-second-ufo-sighting-in-chongqing/ - Witnesses saw it again yesterday.

Around 8pm in the evening, a UFO was spotted hovering over Chongqing’s Shaping park for more than an hour. Eyewitnesses describe the same UFO that closed Hangzhou’s Xiaoshan Airport on July 7th. It appeared exactly one week after the last one, but it was observed in a different location.

A witness surnamed Chen gave an account to the media. “I stared at it and it did not move,” Chen said. “After hovering for an hour, the thing started to fly higher and finally out of people’s sight.”

A probe into the UFO incident that closed the airport last week has turned up nothing. A team of UFO experts from Shanghai and Beijing gathered in Hangzhou to assist with the investigation.

The experts aren’t receiving much cooperation from airport officials, though. The officials say again that the radar caught nothing and refuse to turn over radar images from July 7th.

Video and more after the jump

http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/2010/07/xiaoshan-airport-ufo-investigation-to.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 17th, 2010, 07:47am

Wired

Nation’s Spies, Contractors Brace For Post Expose
By Spencer Ackerman July 16, 2010 | 1:24 pm | Categories: Spies, Secrecy and Surveillance

That acrid scent in your nostrils? It’s the intelligence community’s hair on fire. No, not from an imminent terrorist attack, but from an imminent series on the community’s expansive use of contractors since 9/11, courtesy of the Washington Post and PBS’ Frontline.

We haven’t read the series, set to drop starting Monday. But John Noonan of the Weekly Standard tweeted at us with a memo that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence sent to its contractor partners, warning that reporter Dana Priest will probably publish “a compendium of government agencies and contractors allegedly conducting Top Secret work.” Whoa.

If reporters call trying to follow up what Priest reports, the memo warns, contractors need to shut their mouths. “Employees should be reminded that they must neither confirm nor deny information contained in this, or any, media publication, and that the publication of this website does not constitute a change in any current ODNI classifications,” the memo states. “They should also be reminded that if approached and asked to discuss their work by media or unauthorized people, they should report the interactions to their appropriate security officer.”

Read More http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/07/nations-spies-contractors-brace-for-post-expose/#ixzz0twXYxrJw

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 17th, 2010, 07:50am

Wired. I missed this earlier, sorry it's late.

CIA & Blackwater: Who’s Playing Who?
By Spencer Ackerman July 7, 2010 | 2:54 pm | Categories: Mercs

Sure, the CIA might have hired the world’s most controversial mercenary army to do a few highly-classified favors for them. But according to one of the agency’s former top counterterrorism agents, Blackwater might not have even known what the CIA’s real missions actually were.

That’s what Robert Grenier suggested to Jeremy Scahill. They’re an unlikely pair. Grenier is a decades-deep spymaster whose career peaked with a 2005-6 stint leading the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center. Scahill is Blackwater’s foremost journalistic pursuer. They joined forces late last month for an evening program at the International Spy Museum in Washington. And one of the subjects up for a rare public discussion was the agency’s ongoing relationship with Blackwater.

In January, company founder Erik Prince, gave an extraordinary interview to Vanity Fair portraying Blackwater as what the magazine called the CIA’s “Mr. Fix-It in the war on terror.” Reportedly, that included a never-quite-launched assassination program. Or, as Prince put it, “I put myself and my company at the C.I.A.’s disposal for some very risky missions.” But Grenier thinks Prince has it twisted.

Scahill recounts their conversation on his blog for The Nation. Yes, the agency relied heavily on contractors in the years after 9/11, Grenier said, owing to onerous federal hiring restrictions. But that doesn’t mean the agency clued its contract employees into everything it was up to.

“It may well be that you’re dealing with an individual and let’s just say for the sake of discussion that he’s a Blackwater employee and perhaps that individual knows some other individual–perhaps foreigners with whom he or she has dealt in the past — that you want to gain access to and bring in on the team,” Grenier told Scahill. “And maybe you want them to know what they’re supposed to be doing and maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re going to have them only partially aware of what they’re doing and not aware of what the ultimate purpose for it.”

Uh, like for what? “If, let us say, that one wanted to find individuals, probably foreign nationals who can go out and mount an effective surveillance against a particular target for whatever purpose — intelligence collection or whatever — then you are going to be looking for the right group of individuals who provide you with the right combination of skills that you are seeking.”

In English: there’s a set of skills that Blackwater has that CIA needs but doesn’t possess. Maybe it’s a technological fix. Maybe it’s a set of connections to individuals of ill repute. Maybe it’s the right kind of identity-protecting cover. Who knows. But if the CIA goes to Blackwater to purchase that assistance, the company isn’t going to know the whole story about about the mission CIA needs accomplished. Or, as Ted Leo once sang: CIA, only you know what you’ve done.

Who knows who’s telling the truth here. But it would be yet another strange twist in the CIA’s history with Blackwater if the company was unaware of what the agency was actually hiring it to do. Or Grenier could be obfuscating. Either way, Blackwater will just have to content itself with another $100 million in CIA money to guard operatives in dicey parts of the world.



Read More http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/07/cia-blackwater-whos-playing-who/#ixzz0twYSwDxk

Crystal


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 17th, 2010, 07:56am

Wired

Alt Text: Enter the Brave New World of Internet Psychology
By Lore Sjöberg July 15, 2010 | 8:00 pm | Categories: internet

The internet is full of crazies, which is to say people crazier than you are, which is to say everyone. Swing a mouse and you’ll hit dozens of people exhibiting symptoms of severe mental illness, such as unwarranted hostility, being a complete jackass all the time, and liking stupid movies that only stupid people like.

The question is, how can you help these people? More specifically, how can you help them shut the hell up? Obviously, the same way you help anyone else: You tell them what’s wrong with them.

However, you’re caught in something of a Catch-22. The main symptom of a severely damaged person is that they don’t agree with you, so how can you convince them you’re right?

Clearly, you need the weight of authority behind you. People might be able to ignore the fact that you were a guild leader until those jerks all left, or that you helped port NetHack to Windows CE, but they can’t ignore the diagnosis of an actual psychologist!

The two problems with traditional psychology are that it takes years to get a degree, and that the powers that be expect you to actually listen to people and ask them questions before you diagnose them. Given that you already know what’s wrong with that guy who keeps saying third edition was the best version of Shadowrun, talking is a waste of time (never mind the whole school thing).

That’s why I’m starting the Westbester University College of Internet Studies, the only degree-granting university that exists entirely in my office. You can get a Ph.D in internet psychology in little more than the amount of time it takes to send me $200 using PayPal.


Best of all, the brand-new science of internet psychology disposes with the rigorously boring standards of the DSM-IV in favor of a method of diagnosis that can be performed entirely over the internet without the voluntary participation or even knowledge of the patient. Simply order a copy of my Internet Pathology Diagnosis Manual ($70), and you can perform easy, quick diagnoses like the following:

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Forum-Stalking Axis
Patient exhibits two or more of the following symptoms for a period of more than two postings:

* Keeps replying to you on a public forum even though you’ve told them you’re not going to respond to them.

* Brings up something you said months ago, as if it has anything to do with anything.

* E-mails you after you e-mailed them telling them not to e-mail you.

* Is a complete jerk.

Narcissistic Disorder
Patient exhibits two or more of the following symptoms:

* Thinks they’re right all the time.

* Doesn’t shut up even though they’re obviously wrong and you proved it.

* Is a complete jerk.

Furthermore, your internet psychology degree entitles you to present a diagnosis of Aspberger syndrome without any formal analysis because you can just tell, OK? You’ve got a degree!

Best of all, an interent psychology degree allows you to think up and register entirely new disorders for the completely reasonable price of $100 (plus a $20-a-year renewal fee). Tired of listening to people saying how cool Firefly was when Stargate: Atlantis was much better and also it didn’t get cancelled after one season, just saying? Just diagnose them with Whedon Derangement Syndrome and you can dismiss anything they say as the product of a diseased mind.

Why settle for being right when you can get a degree in being right? Register with the Westbester University College of Internet Psychology and start the enrichment process.

- – -

Born helpless, nude and unable to provide for himself, Lore Sjöberg eventually overcame these handicaps to obsessively and/or compulsively post comics at Speak With Monsters.

Read More http://www.wired.com/underwire/2010/07/alt-text-internet-psychology/#ixzz0twZhgRFX

Crystal

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 17th, 2010, 07:59am

Washington Post

Mexican drug cartels' newest weapon: Cold War-era grenades made in U.S.

By Nick Miroff and William Booth
Saturday, July 17, 2010; A01

MEXICO CITY -- Grenades made in the United States and sent to Central America during the Cold War have resurfaced as terrifying new weapons in almost weekly attacks by Mexican drug cartels.

Sent a generation ago to battle communist revolutionaries in the jungles of Central America, U.S. grenades are being diverted from dusty old armories and sold to criminal mafias, who are using them to destabilize the Mexican government and terrorize civilians, according to U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials.

The redeployment of U.S.-made grenades by Mexican drug lords underscores the increasingly intertwined nature of the conflict, as President Felipe Calderón sends his soldiers out to confront gangs armed with a deadly combination of brand-new military-style assault rifles purchased in the United States and munitions left over from the Cold War.

Grenades have killed a relatively small number of the 25,000 people who have died since Calderón launched his U.S.-backed offensive against the cartels. But the grenades pack a far greater psychological punch than the ubiquitous AK-47s and AR-15 rifles -- they can overwhelm and intimidate outgunned soldiers and police while reminding ordinary Mexicans that the country is literally at war.

There have been more than 72 grenade attacks in Mexico in the last year, including spectacular assaults on police convoys and public officials. Mexican forces have seized more than 5,800 live grenades since 2007, a small fraction of a vast armory maintained by the drug cartels, officials said.

According to the Mexican attorney general's office, there have been 101 grenade attacks against government buildings in the past 3 1/2 years, information now made public for the first time.

To fight back, U.S. experts in grenades and other explosives are now working side by side with Mexican counterparts. On Thursday, assailants detonated a car bomb in downtown Ciudad Juarez, killing two federal police officers and an emergency medical technician and wounding seven.

The majority of grenades have been traced back to El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, according to investigations by agents at the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and their Mexican counterparts. ATF has also found that almost 90 percent of the grenades confiscated and traced in Mexico are more than 20 years old.

The administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush sent 300,000 hand grenades to friendly regimes in Central America to fight leftist insurgents in the civil wars of the 1980s and early 1990s, according to declassified military data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the Federation of American Scientists.

Not all grenades found in Mexico are American-made. Many are of Asian or Soviet and Eastern European manufacture, ATF officials said, probably given to leftist insurgents by Cuba and Nicaragua's Sandinistas.

One of the most common hand grenades found in Mexico is the M67, the workhorse explosive manufactured in the United States for American soldiers and for sale or transfer to foreign militaries. Some 266,000 M67 grenades went to El Salvador alone between 1980 and 1993, during the civil war there.

Now selling for $100 to $500 apiece on the black market, grenades have exploded in practically every region of Mexico in recent years.

In the past year, assailants have rolled grenades into brothels in the border city of Reynosa. They have hurled one at the U.S. consulate in nearby Nuevo Laredo. They have launched them at a military barracks in Tampico and at a television station in Nayarit state.

In the state of Durango, 10 students, most teenagers but some as young as 8, were ripped apart on their way to receive government scholarships in March when attacked with grenades at a cartel checkpoint. The blasts tore a gaping hole in the side of their pickup, peeling back the door panels as if it were a soda can.

"They are a way to spread fear and terror," said Paulino Jiménez Hidalgo, a retired Mexican army general. "And they're a way to gain the upper hand over the authorities."

Grenade attacks began in 2007 in response to the expanded role of the military in anti-narcotics enforcement and the rise of the Zetas, the fearsome cartel founded by former special-forces soldiers, according to Martín Barrón Cruz, an expert in arms and security at Mexico's National Institute of Criminal Sciences, a government agency.

"It's an arms race," Barrón said.

Demand for military hardware is soaring, he said, citing recent seizures of .50-caliber rifles, mortars and anti-personnel mines.

The criminal organizations are demonstrating a growing tactical knowledge about how to use grenades in close-quarters combat.

"They're a good way to cover your retreat or to initiate an attack," said Anna Gilmour, a drug-war expert at IHS Jane's, a global security consulting firm. "You can use them as a means of spreading confusion."

As one senior U.S. law enforcement official in Mexico put it, grenades are "a lazy man's killing weapon" because they don't require good aim.

"You don't have to be able to hit a bull's-eye. You just roll it out," he said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of security protocols.

Frequently, grenades are left unexploded at attack scenes. U.S. officials attribute this to operator error rather than the age of the munitions, since grenades can last for decades if stored properly. While some seized grenades are covered in rust or dirt, others are in mint condition, suggesting they may have been removed recently from military stores.

ATF and its Mexican counterparts consider information about the source country and specific make of grenades classified. Federal police in Mexico are now offering $200 -- about six weeks' pay at minimum wage in Mexico -- as a reward for every grenade turned over to authorities.

U.S. investigators and independent experts suspect that few military grenades have entered Mexico directly across the northern border from the United States.

"There might be a few thefts from U.S. military bases, but there has been little evidence that grenades in Mexico are being smuggled from the United States," said Colby Goodman, an arms trafficking expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Interviews with military, police and U.S. law enforcement agents in Central America suggest authorities are increasingly concerned about preventing thefts from grenade stockpiles but are virtually powerless to prevent the spread of weapons that are already loose.

"Almost all of the attacks we've seen have been with M67s," said Howard Cotto, a chief investigator with El Salvador's National Civil Police. "There are so many of them floating around here."

Salvadoran police have seized 390 M67s since 2005.

Black-market grenades are so easy to obtain in El Salvador that street gangs routinely use them as tools of extortion, to menace business owners and bus drivers. Concern that grenades could leak out of army garrisons prompted the Salvadoran military to consolidate its abundant supply in two high-security facilities last year, the Salvadoran defense minister, Gen. David Munguía Payés, said in an interview. The U.S. government is planning to send a threat-assessment team to the country to help secure its arsenals.

"Since 2009 we haven't registered any missing grenades," Munguía Payés said. "But we know that there are grenades out there on the black market."

In Guatemala, aging American-, Israeli- and Asian-made grenades have been seeping out of the country's Mariscal Zavala armory for years, according to military officials and security experts.

The military official who oversees the arsenals, Col. Luis Francisco Juárez, said safeguards are now in place to ensure that no weapons are illegally removed. But Guatemalan court records show that when his predecessor, Col. Carlos Toledo, reported to his superiors last year that 500 weapons were missing, he was stripped of his command and subjected to death threats.

more after the jump
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/16/AR2010071606252.html?hpid=topnews

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 17th, 2010, 08:03am

New York Times

July 16, 2010
Studies Halted at Brain Lab Over Impure Injections
By BENEDICT CAREY

Columbia University has quietly suspended research at a nationally prominent brain-imaging center and reassigned its top managers after federal investigators found that it had routinely injected mental patients with drugs that contained potentially dangerous impurities.

The investigations found that the center — regarded by experts as the nation’s leader in the use of positron emission tomography, or PET, for psychiatric research — repeatedly violated Food and Drug Administration regulations over a four-year period.

“Failure to promptly correct these violations may result in legal action without further notice,” the agency wrote to Columbia in December 2008, citing lax internal quality control and sloppy procedures for formulating drug injections.

F.D.A. investigators returned in January 2010 and found that many of the center’s lab’s practices had not changed, and cited a long list of specific violations, including one instance in which the staff hid impurities from auditors by falsifying documents.

“They raided the place like it was a crime scene, seizing hard drives,” said one former lab worker, who requested anonymity because he feared reprisals from the university.

In a statement, the university said on Friday that it had conducted its own investigation of the lab at the request of the F.D.A. had and reported to the agency on July 6 that it found no evidence of harm to patients. The F.D.A. did not publicize its investigations; The New York Times learned of them from doctors who were familiar with the lab’s problems.

The office under fire, the Kreitchman PET Center, on West 168th Street in Manhattan, has attracted millions of dollars in research funds from the federal government and pharmaceutical companies to study drug actions and the biology of brain disorders, among other things.

Many of its studies focus on patients with disorders like schizophrenia and severe depression, who are especially vulnerable to poorly prepared imaging drugs because the compounds can act on brain receptors involved in their illness.

“We acknowledge serious shortcomings of quality control in the manufacturing process and record-keeping at this lab,” said David I. Hirsh, Columbia’s executive vice president for research. “That is why we are fundamentally reorganizing the lab’s management and operations in response to what the F.D.A. told us.”

To perform a PET scan, doctors must first inject patients with a radiotracer, a drug engineered to accumulate in the area of the body being studied and to emit low-level radiation detectable by a scanner.

The compounds are considered very safe. But because they degrade quickly, many laboratories produce them themselves, under protocols agreed upon with the F.D.A.

The agency regulates the allowable radiation levels and the purity of the drugs. If a drug contains too many impurities — unknown chemicals that may or may not be related to the tracer itself — then its effects in the body are unpredictable.

“There could be a patient safety issue, for one,” said Dr. Barry Siegel, chairman of the radioactive drug research committee at Washington University in St. Louis. “And there could be a scientific validity issue. If you’re exposing people to radiation and getting garbage data, then that becomes an ethical problem.”

That is particularly true when it comes to psychiatric research. Radiotracers that target receptors in the brain, as used in many of the Columbia studies, are more prone than other PET drugs to be biologically active — to affect mood or behavior, especially in those who already suffer from severe depression or other mental problems. “You have to have additional quality-assurance procedures if you’re using agents that bind receptors in brain,” said Dr. Dennis P. Swanson, chairman of the radiation safety commission at the University of Pittsburgh.

The F.D.A.’s latest investigation, which took place from Jan. 5 to Jan. 21, listed six categories of violations. It found that since 2007, “at least 10 batches” of drugs had been “released and injected into human subjects” with impurities that exceeded the level the lab had agreed to set. At least four injections “had impurity masses that more than doubled the maximum limit implemented.”

The report highlighted an equation that the lab routinely used, resulting in injections that exceeded the limit for acceptable impurities. The lab did not adequately check “the identity, strength and purity of each active ingredient prior to release” for injection into patients, the report said.

Agency investigators also found a forged document, a hard copy record that had been altered to hide a drug impurity that showed up clearly in the computer records.

Former employees, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they worked in the imaging field or hoped to, said those practices were not only commonplace but also condoned. They described a center under such pressure to produce studies that it papered over and hid impurities in drugs to stretch its resources and went ahead with business as usual despite F.D.A. warnings.

“These are not the actions of a rogue, but instead are systematic forgeries condoned and approved by the lab director,” wrote one employee in a 2009 resignation letter addressed to Dr. Ronald L. Van Heertum, the PET center’s co-director at the time.

Columbia’s internal audit concluded that this and other charges had “sufficient substance to warrant an investigation,” according to documents obtained by The Times. Among the charges was one that the lab replaced a compound it was testing for the drug maker Eli Lilly with one it was testing for Novartis — and did not mention the switch in its report to Eli Lilly.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/17/health/17columbia.html?_r=1&hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1279371680-65Q4E0/+7znt0sxk+1d9Lw

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 17th, 2010, 08:06am

New York Times

From a Gulf Oyster, a Domino Effect
By DAN BARRY
BAYOU GRAND CAILLOU, La.

In Gulf of Mexico waters deemed safe, at least for now, the two metal claws of a weather-beaten flatboat rake the muck below for those prehistoric chunks of desire, oysters. Then the captain and his two deckhands, their shirts flecked with the pewter mud of the sea, dump the dripping haul onto metal tables and begin the culling.

They hammer apart the clumps of attached oysters and toss back the empty shells and stray bits of Hurricane Katrina debris. They work quickly but carefully; a jagged oyster will slice your hand for not respecting its beautiful ugliness.

The men sweep their catch onto the boat’s floor, not far from a pile of burlap sacks. Their day will be measured by the number of full sacks their boat, the Miss Allison, carries to shore. Each 100-pound sack means $14 for the captain and $3 apiece for the deckhands.

The rocklike oyster and the burlap sack. As basic as it gets in the gulf, yet both are integral to a complex system of recycling and ingenuity, a system now threatened, along with most everything else, by the continuing oil-spill catastrophe in the gulf.

The disaster’s economic fallout has had a sneaky domino effect, touching the lives of everyone from the French Quarter shuckers who turn oyster-opening into theater to the Minnesota businessman who grinds the shells for chicken-feed supplement. Some victims were unaware that they were even tiles in the game, so removed were they from the damaged waters.

Take the burlap sacks on this oyster boat, for example, bearing the markings of Brazilian, Costa Rican and Mexican coffee companies. They come from a simple business, Steve’s Burlap Sacks, run out of a hot warehouse in Waveland, Miss., 120 miles away. And if you were to go there today, you would find the warehouse quiet, and the work-hardened owner trying very hard to keep it together.

“I don’t think the Lord’s looking this way no more,” he says.

Before a distant and fatal oil-rig explosion nearly three months ago, here is how the symbiotic sack-and-oyster system worked:

Coffee companies in Florida, Louisiana and Texas would unload the raw beans shipped from around the world, then sell their sacks in bulk to just about the only person who wanted them, a callused former oysterman from Louisiana named Steve Airhart.

Burlap sacks have long seemed almost divinely designed to hold oysters. Resilient, ventilated, able to handle the wet, and when past their use, they even burn well enough to keep the docks free of the pesky bugs called no-see-ums. But two decades ago, when Mr. Airhart was still raking for oysters, he could never find enough sacks.

After a friend’s relative helped him get some sacks from a large coffee importer, Mr. Airhart sensed opportunity. Within a year, he was harvesting sacks rather than oysters, sorting and stacking them in his driveway and then reselling them to oyster operations. From Bayou La Batre, Ala., to Galveston, Tex., he became known as the burlap-sack guy.

He had to start all over after Hurricane Katrina, living in a tent for several months while building a new warehouse in Waveland. But soon his employees were unloading truckloads of sacks, then laying the undamaged ones into a baler, 500 to a bale, each a ragged postcard from some faraway place.

“Produce of Indonesia.”

“Produce de Cote D’Ivoire.”

“Cafes do Brasil.”

Mr. Airhart’s six employees — Ben, Clyde, Jessica, Paula, Tommy and Tyler — would work from 7 a.m. until whenever, breathing in the fine coffee dust, sweeping up the stray green beans, taking in the smell that was like wet dog, earning $13 a bale. Then a trucker would deliver the baled sacks to Misho’s Oyster Company, in San Leon, Tex., or to Crystal Seas Seafood, in Pass Christian, Miss., or to Motivatit Seafoods, in Houma, La.

Motivatit is owned by two brothers, Mike and Steve Voisin, whose family has dedicated several generations to the pursuit of a living thing in a forbidding shell; a thing that poses a faint risk when consumed raw, yet evokes the wildness of the ocean.

“You’re getting a real bite of the sea,” Mike Voisin says.

Motivatit is one of the gulf’s dominant oyster operations. Before the spill, it managed 10,000 acres of oyster beds and processed 60,000 pounds of oysters a day. But to collect these craggy surprises of nature, the company hires boats like the Miss Allison.

Several times a week, the Miss Allison pulls away from a dock near a small place called Theriot, La., bound for where porpoises sometimes provide escort. Its captain, Santos Rodriguez, sun-baked and 44, has churned these waters for 26 years, long enough to wonder whether he’s raking up the same shells and bottles; long enough to measure a bag’s weight by hand rather than by scale.

And yes, the captain eats oysters. Using a short knife, he pops the seal of a just-harvested oyster with safecracker élan, makes a cut, and slurps the wild goop down.

But with the oil spill forcing the shutdown of oyster beds throughout the gulf — including about 60 percent of Motivatit’s acreage — he has never seen the catch so low. Yes, the price for a sack is up, but the total number of sacks is down. Normally, he and his crew will return to shore with about 60 sacks; now, a good day is 35.

His two muck-spattered deckhands, Luis Gomez, 24, and Cesar Badillo, 23, reflect the changed life, having recently moved to Houma after oyster beds elsewhere in Louisiana shut down. Mr. Gomez wears a cross around his neck, Mr. Badillo wears a burlap sack for an apron, and both wear gloves over their shell-scarred hands.

After a piece of machinery breaks, the Miss Allison turns around. By the time it reaches shore, to a dock paved with crushed oyster shells, the crew has 30 sacks filled and knotted — about $90 each for the deckhands, and about $420 for the captain, who has paid for the gas and food and must now fix the broken equipment.

Early the next morning, amid the din of the Motivatit plant in Houma, a stocky woman in a blue construction hat weighs these bags and others by hook. She then dumps their contents, which look like bits of construction debris, onto a conveyor belt to begin a process that involves tumblers, washers and dozens of employees. Wearing hairnets and aprons adorned with their first names and hand-drawn hearts, they shuck and shuck.

But because the oil spill has forced the shutdown of so many of Motivatit’s oyster beds — most of them out of precaution, some of them because of the presence of oil — these workers are processing about half the normal number of oysters. “With the lower amount of product, we’re having to cut most of the orders,” Mike Voisin says. “We’ve had to minimize.”

This means that Motivatit now employs about 80 workers, two dozen fewer than usual. The entire night shift has been suspended.

This means that the weekly deliveries to Los Angeles, by way of El Paso, Tucson and Phoenix, have stopped, as have the deliveries to Las Vegas, where clients prefer smaller oysters from beds that are now off limits.

This means that Warehouse Shell Sales, in Newport, Minn., may have to adjust. Several times a year, it has 1,500 tons of gulf oyster shells, including many from Motivatit, barged up the Mississippi River to be crushed and sold as poultry feed mix; chickens draw calcium from the oyster-shell bits sitting in their gizzards, hardening the shells of the eggs they produce.

But the oil spill has the shell company’s owner, Gary Lund, worried about supply. He says he is now exploring other options.

Finally, this means disaster for the burlap-sack guy, Steve Airhart.

Four months ago, his hot and dusty warehouse in Waveland was humming, with loose sacks coming in and baled sacks going out: 135,000 sold in March, 139,000 in April, and the busy summer season coming up. Then it stopped.

Mr. Airhart, 49, did what he could for a few weeks, but finally he had to lay off Paula, Jessica and the others. “One of the hardest days of my life,” he says. “But they knew it was coming. They heard me on the phone, begging to make sales.”

Now the warehouse is mostly empty, save for the few stacks of bales no one wants, and a boat that Mr. Airhart suddenly had the time to finish. He says that BP, the oil company responsible for the spill, has paid him $20,000 so far for lost business, but that is nowhere near enough to cover the $320,000, plus sweat equity, that he has invested in the company.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/16/us/16land.html?ref=science

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 17th, 2010, 08:09am

Military Times

Army: Record number of suicides for June

By Gregg Zoroya - USA Today
Posted : Friday Jul 16, 2010 14:05:32 EDT

Soldiers killed themselves at the rate of one per day in June, making it the worst month on record for Army suicides, the service said Thursday.

There were 32 confirmed or suspected suicides among soldiers in June, including 21 among active-duty troops and 11 among National Guard or Reserve forces, according to Army statistics.

Seven soldiers killed themselves while in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan in June, according to the statistics. Of the total suicides, 22 soldiers had been in combat, including 10 who had deployed two to four times.

“The hypothesis is the same that many have heard me say before: continued stress on the force,” said Army Col. Christopher Philbrick, director of the Army Suicide Prevention Task Force. He pointed out that the Army has been fighting for nine years in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Last year was the Army’s worst for suicides, with 244 confirmed or suspected cases.

The increase was a setback for the service, which has been pushing troops to seek counseling. Through May of this year, the Army had seen a decline in suicides among active-duty soldiers compared with the same period in 2009.

Philbrick expressed frustration over the June deaths. “Because we believe that the programs, policies, procedures are having a positive impact across the entire force. The help is there.”

A leading military suicide researcher said changing a culture that views psychological illness as a weakness takes time.

“I would expect it to be years,” said David Rudd, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Science at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

The mounting stress on an Army facing renewed deployments and combat in Afghanistan is also a factor, Rudd said. “That’s not a challenge they [Army leaders] control. It’s a challenge that the president and Congress controls,” he said.

The Army also unveiled Thursday a training video designed to combat suicides. It contains testimonials by soldiers who struggled with self-destructive impulses before seeking help. It is titled “Shoulder to Shoulder: I Will Never Quit on Life.”

Philbrick said this was an improved video that he hoped would reach troubled soldiers. The previous video did not resonate with average soldiers, he said. During a showing in Baghdad, soldiers laughed at it, Philbrick said. “In grunt language, it sucked,” he said.

The Army’s current suicide rate is about 22 deaths per 100,000, which is above a civilian rate that has been adjusted to match the demographics of the Army. That rate is 18-per-100,000. Only the Marine Corps has a higher suicide rate, at 24-per-100,000. Although Marine Corps suicides had been tracking similarly to last year’s record pace, the service reported only one suicide in June.

Just among Guard and Reserve soldiers, suicides have occurred at a higher rate this year than last year, according to Army figures. There have been 65 confirmed or suspected cases this year, compared with 42 for the same period last year.

link:
http://www.militarytimes.com/news/2010/07/ap_army_suicides_071610/

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 17th, 2010, 08:13am

Military Times

Service Members of the year announced. See link.

http://www.militarytimes.com/smoy/

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 17th, 2010, 08:18am

Hollywood Reporter

IFC takes 'Tetsuo the Bullet Man' for U.S.
Also takes second installment: 'Body Hammer'
By Rebecca Leffler
July 16, 2010, 06:24 AM ET

PARIS -- IFC has taken aim at Japanese director Shinya Tsukamoto's "Tetsuo the Bullet Man" with the U.S. distributor snagging all North American rights plus TV, VOD and digital rights for the Middle East, the film's sales agent Coproduction Office said Friday.

The film, which is the third installment in Tsukamoto's "Tetsuo" series, held its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival after a different version screened at the 2009 Venice Film Festival.

Tsukamoto wasn't happy with the Venice version of the film so went back to the studio to produce the final version. "Now, I'm very much satisfied with how it has come out," he said, adding, "This project started as 'Tetsuo America' 17 years ago, so I am very glad that it will be released in the United States."

The film follows a half-American, half-Japanese office worker whose life changes when his son is killed in front of him in a hit-and-run accident and mutates into a rage-filled human weapon. IFC also bought North American distribution rights for 1992 title "Tetsuo the Body Hammer."

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/film/news/e3i4e5fe86c8a88e96b4ec5aa6d35e933db

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 17th, 2010, 1:56pm

on Jul 17th, 2010, 08:09am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Military Times

Army: Record number of suicides for June

Oh, my...! sad

@Swamprat
Thanks for the rabbit-vid. grin

User Image
(source: cinemagogue.com)
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 17th, 2010, 2:19pm

Hey Phil!!! laugh

Thanks for that picture. Hope you are having a good Saturday. We are around here. Weather is beautiful, husband, dogs and bird are all smiling. Me too. grin Can't ask for more!

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 17th, 2010, 4:10pm

Thanks, Crystal! Wish you a nice saturday too! smiley
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 18th, 2010, 07:07am

Washington Post. Vacation? uh......he doesn't work, why would he need a vacation? And yes, I voted for the idiot! Kick me! I need a boot in the brain. tongue

An active first family is on the move in Maine

By Felicia Sonmez
Sunday, July 18, 2010; A04

BAR HARBOR, MAINE -- President Obama and his family aren't just getting outside the Beltway on their brief vacation here -- they're getting outside, period.

Since their arrival Friday afternoon, the Obamas have been biking, hiking and boating their way around Mount Desert Island, the third-largest island on the Eastern Seaboard and home to the 47,000-acre Acadia National Park.

The first stop Friday was a 90-minute bike ride on the lushly wooded trails around Witch Hole Pond at the northern end of the island. Then came a family hike on Cadillac Mountain, at 1,530 feet the highest peak on the East Coast.

The Obamas rounded out their first day with a National Park Service boat ride on Frenchman Bay and a waterfront dinner at Stewman's Lobster Pound. Even dinner was outdoors: The first family, who arrived at the restaurant via boat, sat at a table on a pier overlooking the bay. The president and the first lady dined on lobster, while their daughters shared a shrimp basket, according to restaurant manager Jeff Buffington.

Diners on the pier may have been pleasantly surprised, but back in Washington and elsewhere some saw hypocrisy in the first family's two-day trip. On a recent trip to the Gulf of Mexico, Michelle Obama encouraged other Americans to visit the oil-fouled region.

Conservative pundit Michelle Malkin took a shot last week in a column titled, "Michelle Obama: Take Your Vacation in the Gulf, America -- If You Need Us, We'll Be in Maine." And Scott Stanzel, a deputy press secretary during the administration of George W. Bush, said on Fox News that the president could be "setting an example" but "has chosen not to do that."

White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton defended Obama's mini-vacation. "I don't think that there's a person in this country [who] doesn't think that their president ought to have a little time to clear his mind," Burton told the Associated Press ahead of the trip.

User Image

The optics of presidential vacations are always an issue -- and this one is no different. Ronald Reagan spent time at his beloved Rancho del Cielo near Santa Barbara, Calif., much of it on horseback. Bush retreated to his ranch in Crawford, Tex., where he was fond of clearing brush.

more after the jump
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/17/AR2010071702806.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 18th, 2010, 07:12am

New York Times

July 17, 2010
After Oil Spills, Hidden Damage Can Last for Years
By JUSTIN GILLIS and LESLIE KAUFMAN

On the rocky beaches of Alaska, scientists plunged shovels and picks into the ground and dug 6,775 holes, repeatedly striking oil — still pungent and dangerous a dozen years after the Exxon Valdez infamously spilled its cargo.

More than an ocean away, on the Breton coast of France, scientists surveying the damage after another huge oil spill found that disturbances in the food chain persisted for more than a decade.

And on the southern gulf coast in Mexico, an American researcher peering into a mangrove swamp spotted lingering damage 30 years after that shore was struck by an enormous spill.

These far-flung shorelines hit by oil in the past offer clues to what people living along the Gulf Coast can expect now that the great oil calamity of 2010 may be nearing an end.

Every oil spill is different, but the thread that unites these disparate scenes is a growing scientific awareness of the persistent damage that spills can do — and of just how long oil can linger in the environment, hidden in out-of-the-way spots.

At the same time, scientists who have worked to survey and counteract the damage from spills say the picture in the gulf is far from hopeless.

“Thoughts that this is going to kill the Gulf of Mexico are just wild overreactions,” said Jeffrey W. Short, a scientist who led some of the most important research after the Exxon Valdez spill and now works for an environmental advocacy group called Oceana. “It’s going to go away, the oil is. It’s not going to last forever.”

But how long will it last?

Only 20 years ago, the conventional wisdom was that oil spills did almost all their damage in the first weeks, as fresh oil loaded with toxic substances hit wildlife and marsh grasses, washed onto beaches and killed fish and turtles in the deep sea.

But disasters like the Valdez in 1989, the Ixtoc 1 in Mexico in 1979, the Amoco Cadiz in France in 1978 and two Cape Cod spills, including the Bouchard 65 barge in 1974 — all studied over decades with the improved techniques of modern chemistry and biology — have allowed scientists to paint a more complex portrait of what happens after a spill.

It is still clear that the bulk of the damage happens quickly, and that nature then begins to recuperate. After a few years, a casual observer visiting a hard-hit location might see nothing amiss. Birds and fish are likely to have rebounded, and the oil will seem to be gone.

But often, as Dr. Short and his team found in Alaska, some of it has merely gone underground, hiding in pockets where it can still do low-level damage to wildlife over many years. And the human response to a spill can mitigate — or intensify — its long-term effects. Oddly enough, some of the worst damage to occur from spills in recent decades has come from people trying too hard to clean them up.

It is hard for scientists to offer predictions about the present spill, for two reasons.

The ecology of the Gulf of Mexico is specially adapted to break down oil, more so than any other body of water in the world — though how rapidly and completely it can break down an amount this size is essentially unknown.

And because this spill is emerging a mile under the surface and many of the toxic components of the oil are dissolving into deep water and spreading far and wide, scientists simply do not know what the effects in the deep ocean are likely to be.

Still, many aspects of the spill resemble spills past, especially at the shoreline, and that gives researchers some confidence in predicting how events will unfold.

Remarkable Persistence

In 1969, a barge hit the rocks off the coast of West Falmouth, Mass., spilling 189,000 gallons of fuel oil into Buzzards Bay. Today, the fiddler crabs at nearby Wild Harbor still act drunk, moving erratically and reacting slowly to predators.

The odd behavior is consistent with a growing body of research showing how oil spills of many types have remarkably persistent effects, often at levels low enough to escape routine notice.

Jennifer Culbertson was a graduate student at Boston University in 2005 when she made plaster casts of crab burrows. She discovered that instead of drilling straight down, like normal crabs, the ones at Wild Harbor were going only a few inches deep and then turning sideways, repelled by an oily layer still lingering below the surface.

Other researchers established that the crabs were suffering from a kind of narcosis induced by hydrocarbon poisoning. Their troubles had serious implications for the marsh.

“Fiddler crabs normally play a crucial role in tilling the salt marsh, which helps provide oxygen to the roots of salt marsh grasses,” Dr. Culbertson said about her study.

In Alaska, the Exxon Valdez spill dumped nearly 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound, and it spread down the Alaska coast, ultimately oiling 1,200 miles of shoreline. By the late 1990s, the oil seemed to be largely gone, but liver tests on ducks and sea otters showed that they were still being exposed to hydrocarbons, chemical compounds contained in crude.

Dr. Short, then working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, mounted a series of excavations to figure out what had happened, with his team ultimately digging thousands of holes in Alaska’s beaches. Oil was found in about 8 percent of them, usually in places with too little oxygen for microbes to break it down.

Exactly how much damage continues from the oil is a matter of dispute, with Exxon commissioning its own studies that challenge the government’s findings on the extent of the impact. But it is clear that otters dig for food in areas containing oil, and that they, like nearly a dozen other species of animals, have still not entirely recovered from the 1989 spill.

At the rate the oil is breaking down, Dr. Short estimates that some of it could still be there a century from now.

Increasing the Stress

Perhaps the greatest single hazard from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the gulf is the long-term erosion of delicate coastal wetlands it could cause. At another spill site on the Massachusetts coast, not far from the West Falmouth spill, the legacy of oil contamination is evident in the difference between two marshes on either side of a pebbly shoreline road.

On one side, where the marshes were suffused in 1974 when the grounded Bouchard 65 barge dumped 11,000 to 37,000 gallons of fuel oil into the sea, the grasses are stunted and sparse. They cling tentatively to the edge of the sandy beach. But the grasses on the other side, untouched by oil, rise tall and thick.

Louisiana’s coastline contains some of the most productive marshes in the world, delivering an abundance of shrimp and oysters and providing critical habitat and breeding ground for birds and fish.

But even before the spill, the land was under enormous environmental stress, largely due to human activity. Dams on the Mississippi River and its tributaries have slowed the flow of sediment to the marshes, and global warming has caused sea level to rise.

The Louisiana marshes are eroding at an extraordinary rate — a football field’s worth sinks into the Gulf of Mexico every 38 minutes, according to the Louisiana Office of Coastal Management — and the worry now is that the oil spill will accelerate that erosion.

The Bouchard shows how that could happen. When the barge ran aground, thousands of gallons of a particularly toxic fuel oil spilled into the icy water and were swept to shore by the strong tides.

The oil made landfall just two miles north of where the West Falmouth oil spill had washed up only five years earlier. Winsor Cove, a classic New England bay surrounded by bluffs and stately homes, bore the brunt. Razor clams suffocated and rose to the surface by the hundreds to die.

But the lasting damage of the spill, severe erosion of the shoreline, took months longer to unfold.

George Hampson, now retired, was on the scientific team at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution that studied a series of spills in the area. He recalled that after the 1974 spill the beach grasses, called spartina, which had grown like luxuriant matting along the shore, died.

“The first year it was just like a moonscape,” Mr. Hampson said.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/18/science/earth/18enviro.html?hp

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 18th, 2010, 07:14am

New York Times

July 17, 2010
Insurers Push Plans Limiting Patient Choice of Doctors
By REED ABELSON

As the Obama administration begins to enact the new national health care law, the country’s biggest insurers are promoting affordable plans with reduced premiums that require participants to use a narrower selection of doctors or hospitals.

The plans, being tested in places like San Diego, New York and Chicago, are likely to appeal especially to small businesses that already provide insurance to their employees, but are concerned about the ever-spiraling cost of coverage.

But large employers, as well, are starting to show some interest, and insurers and consultants expect that, over time, businesses of all sizes will gravitate toward these plans in an effort to cut costs.

The tradeoff, they say, is that more Americans will be asked to pay higher prices for the privilege of choosing or keeping their own doctors if they are outside the new networks. That could come as a surprise to many who remember the repeated assurances from President Obama and other officials that consumers would retain a variety of health-care choices.

But companies may be able to reduce their premiums by as much as 15 percent, the insurers say, by offering the more limited plans.

“What we’re seeing is a definite uptick in interest because, quite frankly, affordability is the most pressing agenda item,” said Dr. Sam Ho, the chief medical officer for UnitedHealth’s health-care plans.

Many insurers also expect the plans to be popular with individuals and small businesses who will purchase coverage in the insurance exchanges, or marketplaces that are mandated under the new health care law and scheduled to take effect in 2014.

Tens of millions of everyday Americans will buy their coverage through those exchanges, a vast pool of new customers, including many of the previously uninsured, whom insurers expect will be willing to accept restrictions to get a better deal.

“What this does is eliminate the Gucci doctors,” said Peter Skoda, the controller of the Haro Bicycle Corporation, a Vista, Calif., business that employs 30 people. Facing a possible 35 percent increase in its rates, Haro switched to an Aetna plan that prevents employees from seeing doctors at two medical groups affiliated with the Scripps Health system in San Diego. If employees go to one of the excluded doctors, they are responsible for paying the whole bill.

“There wasn’t any pushback,” Mr. Skoda said. Haro’s employees are generally young and healthy, he said, and they rarely go to the doctor. Instead, they want to make sure they have adequate coverage if they go to the emergency room.

The company’s premiums average $433 a month, Mr. Skoda said, with employees paying one-fourth of the expense. A few employees opted for more traditional coverage, enabling them to go where they please. But they are paying significantly higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs that could add thousands of dollars to their medical bills.

The last time health insurers and employers sought to sharply limit patients’ choice was back in the early 1990s, when insurers tried to reinvent themselves by embracing managed care. Instead of just paying doctor and hospital bills, insurers also assumed a greater role in their customers’ medical care by restricting what specialists they could see or which hospitals they could go to.

“Back in the H.M.O. days, it was tight networks, and it did save money,” said Ken Goulet, an executive vice president at WellPoint, one of the nation’s largest private health insurers, which is experimenting with re-introducing the idea in California.

The concept was largely abandoned after the consumer backlash persuaded both employers and health plans that Americans were simply not willing to sacrifice choice. Prominent officials like Mr. Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton learned to utter the word “choice” at every turn as advocates of overhauling the system.

But choice — or at least choice that will not cost you — is likely to be increasingly scarce as health insurers and employers scramble to find ways of keep premiums from becoming unaffordable. Aetna, Cigna, the UnitedHealth Group and WellPoint are all trying out plans with limited networks.

The size of these networks is typically much smaller than traditional plans. In New York, for example, Aetna offers a narrow-network plan that has about half the doctors and two-thirds of the hospitals the insurer typically offers. People enrolled in this plan are covered only if they go to a doctor or hospital within the network, but insurers are also experimenting with plans that allow a patient to see someone outside the network but pay much more than they would in a traditional plan offering out-of-network benefits.

The insurers are betting these plans will have widespread appeal in the insurance exchanges as individuals gravitate toward the least expensive options. “We think it’s going to grow to be quite a hit over the next few years,” said Mr. Goulet of WellPoint.

The new health care law offers some protection against plans offering overly restrictive networks, said Nancy-Ann DeParle, head of the office of health reform for the White House. Any plan sold in the exchanges will have to meet standards developed to make sure patients have enough choice of doctors and hospitals, she said.

Ms. DeParle said the goal of health reform was to make sure people retained a choice of doctors and hospitals, but also to create an environment where insurers would offer coverage that was both high quality and affordable. “What the Congress and the president tried to accomplish through reform is to transform the marketplace by building on the existing system,” she said.

But most of these efforts have been limited to a small number of markets. How widespread these plans will become is anybody’s guess, and some benefits consultants wonder if these plans represent any real solution to high medical costs. The narrow network, if it is based on the insurers’ ability to demand low prices, may be “just another short-term fix,” warned Barry Schilmeister, a consultant at Mercer.

What’s more, no one is predicting a wholesale return of the classic H.M.O. as an employee’s only option of health plan. “We went through the choice battle with the managed care wars,” said Andrew Webber, the chief executive of the National Business Coalition on Health, which represents employer groups that purchase health care.

A lot has also changed in the last 15 years. The average premium for family coverage is now more than $13,000 a year, and many businesses have already asked their employees to pay a much greater share of their premiums and more of their overall medical bills.

UnitedHealth is experimenting with a more limited plan in California and Chicago and plans to expand to four or five other markets next year. Patients are allowed to see a doctor who is not in the network the insurer established, but they pay much higher out-of-pocket costs than they would in a traditional plan offering out-of-network benefits.

UnitedHealth is also starting a new plan in San Diego, which was developed for a collection of school districts, representing some 80,000 people. The plan creates tiers of doctors, and employees who use physicians deemed to offer high-quality care at low price will pay the least for their medical care.

Even large employers, worried that the new law will result in higher prices for care as government programs pay less, are reconsidering their earlier stance.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/18/business/18choice.html?hp

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 18th, 2010, 07:21am

Telegraph

'Duck Man' catches five ducklings before they crash to earth
A bank worker has earned the nickname "Duck Man" for his ability to catch ducklings as they leap from a 15 foot high nest outside his office.

By Robert Mendick
Published: 10:30AM BST 18 Jul 2010

To the mother duck, positioning her nest 15 feet above street level must have seemed like an ideal way of protecting her brood from predators.

The only problem was how to get the ducklings back to the (very hard) ground and on to water in one piece once they were hatched.

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Enter Joel Armstrong, a bank official also known as 'Duck Man'. With skills an England goalkeeper could only dream of, Mr Armstrong caught all five ducklings in quick succession as they tumbled from their nest high above the concrete pavement.

Saved from injury and possible death, the ducklings were placed on the ground next to mum and then guided by Mr Armstrong the quarter of a mile through busy traffic to the nearest river.

The ducklings' remarkable journey of survival was captured last week by a Sunday Telegraph photographer, who followed their progress from the nest to their first swim in the water.

The series of photographs show the ducklings, still unable to fly, tumbling from a building ledge and being caught by Mr Armstrong before they hit the concrete.

As crowds gather, they walk along the pavement, cross three roads and then jump into the water. In the final shot they swim into the distance to live (hopefully) happily ever after.

Mother duck laid her eggs in the middle of June in a nest overlooked by Mr Armstrong from his office window.

Each day, Mr Armstrong would go to work at Sterling Savings bank in the American town of Spokane in Washington State and wait patiently for the eggs to hatch.

"Once the last one hatches, I know I have about 24 hours before it's time for them to leave the nest," explained Mr Armstrong, 44.

"When mother duck starts looking down, I run out of the office and wait for the ducklings to jump. The mother jumps first, quacks at the ducklings above and they follow.

"The tricky part this time was when two jumped at pretty much the same time. Luckily I am ambidextrous and I caught one in one hand and one in the other."

Mr Armstrong, a father-of-two who admits to better than average hand-eye co-ordination, has had practice at duckling-catching, having performed his heroics twice before in 2008 and again last year.

He's not sure if it's the same duck laying eggs each time, admitting: "They all look the same."

To date he has caught 26 ducklings in three years. And no, he hasn't dropped one yet.

link:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7896407/Duck-Man-catches-five-ducklings-before-they-crash-to-earth.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 18th, 2010, 07:28am

LA Times

There's a hole in this possible earthquake pattern
The Mogi doughnut hypothesis, developed by a Japanese seismologist, holds that earthquakes occur in a circular pattern over decades, building up to one very large temblor in the doughnut hole.
By Rong-Gong Lin II and Hector Becerra, Los Angeles Times

July 18, 2010

As UC Davis physicist and geologist John Rundle ponders the map of recent California earthquakes, he sees visions of a doughnut even Homer J. Simpson wouldn't like.

The doughnut is formed by pinpointing the recent quakes near Eureka, Mexicali and Palm Springs.

Seismologists call the possible pattern a Mogi doughnut. It's the outgrowth of a concept, developed in Japan, which holds that earthquakes sometimes occur in a circular pattern over decades —building up to one very large quake in the doughnut hole. Rundle and his colleagues believe that the recent quakes, combined with larger seismic events including the 1989 Loma Prieta and 1994 Northridge temblors, could be precursors to a far larger rupture.

They just don't know exactly when.

The idea of predicting earthquakes remains controversial and much debated among California's many seismologists. But as technology improves and the understanding of how earthquakes distribute energy grows, experts are gingerly offering improved "forecasts," some of which have been surprisingly prescient.

For example, Southern California was hit earlier this month by a 5.4 quake that struck in the mountains about 30 miles south of Palm Springs — several weeks after seismologists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and elsewhere warned that pressure was building in the San Jacinto fault zone, which is where the temblor occurred.

That forecast underscores new thinking by seismologists about how earthquakes occur.

In the past, experts paid less attention to how one fault was connected to another and how one earthquake could increase the chances of a quake on another fault. But now they believe that these connections are extremely important and that this year's temblors along the Mexican border and near Palm Springs seem to support the concept.

"Previously we would identify a fault, map it and name it," said Lisa Grant Ludwig, a UC Irvine earthquake expert. "What we've really got here is a network of faults. Maybe that's what we need to be thinking: more big-picture."

Seismologists made the forecast about the quake risk south of the Palm Springs area after seeing signs that the 7.2 Mexicali temblor in April had placed more pressure on the San Jacinto fault system, which extends from the border northwest 100 miles toward Riverside and San Bernardino. They were particularly concerned because the San Jacinto fault system connects to the massive 800-mile-long San Andreas fault, which last triggered the "Big One" in Southern California in 1857, leaving a trail of destruction from Central California to the Cajon Pass in the Inland Empire.

David Bowman, a geology professor at Cal State Fullerton, said his research indicates that the Mexicali quake — the largest to strike the region in nearly two decades — was actually triggered by a much smaller quake on a unnamed fault line. The small quake's energy "jumped on another fault and kept on going," causing the much larger Mexicali temblor that was felt all the way to Fresno.

"That fault the earthquake started on is so small, we don't even really know where it is. Yet that small earthquake — that would not have made the news at all — was able to jump onto another fault and become a magnitude 7.2 event," he said.

The big question is whether the Mexicali quake has made a destructive temblor in the L.A. area more likely. Experts see strong evidence that there is more pressure now on the San Jacinto and nearby Elsinore fault networks to the east of Los Angeles. The Elsinore fault zone is connected to the Whittier fault, which runs through densely populated sections of the L.A. area, including the San Gabriel Valley. As a result, there's a concern that a quake on the Whittier fault might be more likely.

The Mexicali quake has also turned into a treasure trove of data for earthquake experts. It comes at a time when quake technology has advanced in major ways. Sophisticated satellite images are being used to study creeping ground movement caused by tectonic pressure in advance of an earthquake.

New GPS ground monitoring equipment is tracking how far the ground has moved after a quake, allowing scientists to calculate locations of greater seismic stress. And research in the mountains west of Bakersfield, examining the tracks of earthquakes hundreds of years ago, is showing that catastrophic earthquakes — those as large as magnitude 8 — have occurred in Southern California more frequently than previously believed.

That brings experts back to the Mogi doughnut.

The idea behind the doughnut is relatively straightforward: Earthquakes in California are basically caused by tectonic movements in which the Pacific plate slides northwest relative to the North American plate. As the plates move, stress builds up along both sides of cracks in the Earth's crust, as if a giant sheet of peanut brittle were being shoved in two directions.

Tectonic stress will first cause ruptures on the smaller faults, because they need less pressure before they break and thus produce small earthquakes. When they do rupture, the tectonic pressure gets transferred somewhere else, moving along like a crack in a windshield.

Ultimately, the stress moves closer to bigger faults that need more pressure to erupt, thus creating larger and larger earthquakes until the "Big One" happens.

"It's a matter of looking at the major earthquakes in California over the last 20, 30, 40 years," said UC Davis' Rundle. "They seem to be occurring everywhere except the major faults — the San Andreas, the Elsinore and the San Jacinto."

Those three faults would be enclosed in Southern California's doughnut hole. Northern California's doughnut hole includes the San Andreas and Hayward faults.

The Mogi doughnut hypothesis was developed in 1969 by Japanese seismologist Kiyoo Mogi, who observed a pattern in which smaller earthquakes seemed to precede larger ones.

Experts stress that the hypothesis is still unproven and not universally accepted. Skeptics say the concept could be applied to seemingly random earthquakes.

Whether the doughnut concept proves true, there is a consensus that California is shaking more than in recent years.

That greater activity could presage a larger quake. But the history of earthquake forecasting is littered with bold predictions that prompted more fear than actual earth movement, said Susan Hough, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena. A case in point was the prediction in the 1980s of a devastating quake in Peru.

"The prediction was based on a number of ideas, some more wild-eyed than others," Hough said. "The prediction caused an international incident and a whole lot of real anxiety in Peru."

Perhaps the boldest recent prediction occurred in 2004, when an international research team led by then-83-year-old UCLA professor Vladimir Keilis-Borok said a moderate quake would rattle the California desert during a certain time frame.

more after the jump
http://www.latimes.com/news/custom/scimedemail/la-me-earthquake-forecast-20100718,0,1789070.story

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Swamprat on Jul 18th, 2010, 12:01pm

Happy Birthday to a lovely lady!!! grin

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Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 18th, 2010, 2:14pm

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Crystal! cheesy

Nice to have you here!

Have a great day with your hubby and friends and enjoy it! smiley

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User Image
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by oboe on Jul 18th, 2010, 5:50pm

on Jul 13th, 2010, 06:31am, DrDil wrote:
And I just wanted to say welcome Oboe!!

User Image



Cheers. grin


That seems to be how the world is now, upside down and bass-ackwards. Go ask Alice.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WANNqr-vcx0







Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by oboe on Jul 18th, 2010, 6:00pm

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Crystallllll,
Happy Birthday to youu!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7QxOllK0VU




Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Swamprat on Jul 18th, 2010, 9:09pm

Oboe!! Great to see you!

Swamprat (Broom)
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 18th, 2010, 9:34pm

Thank you All!!! I just checked in and there were all of these lovely birthday wishes. cheesy
Nice surprise laugh It was a good day, we all had a lazy sunny day.
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 18th, 2010, 9:39pm



User Image

Just add hubby, dogs and water and you have our day today



Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 19th, 2010, 07:48am

Washington Post

A hidden world, growing beyond control

The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.

These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.

The investigation's other findings include:

* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.

* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.

* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings - about 17 million square feet of space.

several more pages after the jump
http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/a-hidden-world-growing-beyond-control/

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 19th, 2010, 07:55am

Washington Post

Louisiana constructing islands in the gulf to aid in oil cleanup

By David A. Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 19, 2010; A10

ON SAND BERM E-4 IN THE GULF OF MEXICO -- In theory, Louisiana's plan to hold back the BP oil spill sounds awe-inspiring, like an ancient myth made possible with oil-company money: To keep out an offshore invader, the state wants to make new land rise from the sea.

In reality, it looks slightly less impressive.

Here, more than 15 miles offshore, a dredging company is building an island about as wide as an interstate highway. This sandy strip is slowly getting bigger, as dredged-up mud gurgles and creaks down its spine in a rusty pipe and shoots out to form new land at its end.

But this island is still less than a mile long: a spot, not a wall, in a vast sea tainted by oil.

Officially called Sand Berm E-4, it is part of this state's most ambitious plan to combat the oil and at the same time help stave off long-term coastal erosion. It is at the heart of a politically touchy spat between Louisiana and the federal government, and between Louisiana and some of its scientists, over how to fight the oil that has leaked from the Macondo well.

Louisiana officials say the most reliable way to stop the oil from reaching sensitive marshes is to put solid land -- built from sandbags, sand piles or plain old rocks -- in its way. But many scientists and environmentalists say they are not convinced that these efforts will do much good.

"They are going to cost a lot of money, and their ultimate value is very much in question," said Aaron Viles, of the nonprofit Gulf Restoration Network. In some places, he said, the state's land-building "may be doing more harm than good."

Louisiana is the closest land to the blown-out BP well, and its salt marshes are far harder to clean than the sandy beaches that dominate the coast in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Louisiana, led by Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), has reacted with furious work to keep oil out of those marshes -- and with criticism of the Obama administration for holding its efforts up.

State officials say they chose to build land barriers because they extend to the ocean floor, unlike the floating "containment boom." They can also stay put in a storm, unlike the barges used to block marsh inlets. The state says the land-building plan will still be necessary, even if the BP well remains capped.

There is already far too much oil in the water, Louisiana officials say, for skimming and controlled burns to eradicate it.

"There's not enough assets in this world right now to skim this thing offshore," said Deano Bonano, an official in Jefferson Parish who is overseeing efforts to protect the parish's marshes. "You're talking about an ocean of oil."

The state has already filled in 14 inlets that connected the marshes with the Gulf of Mexico, using mounds of dirt and giant sandbags in metal frames. But this man-made island is part of a far more ambitious effort: The state has proposed building 128 miles of islands in arcs off the coast, based on existing plans to rebuild lost barrier islands to fight erosion.

In May, the federal government issued permits for the construction of 45 miles of islands. BP agreed to foot the bill of $360 million.

This island, situated at the north end of a fading barrier island chain east of the Mississippi River mouth, is one result. One day last week, Jindal flew out in a National Guard Black Hawk helicopter, roaring out of urban New Orleans, over green mazes of coastal marsh and then open water. Finally, the island appeared. With its bulldozers and workers in safety vests, it looked like a road-construction project, dropped in the middle of the gulf.

Jindal climbed to the island's highest point, a mound of soft dirt perhaps eight feet high, and surveyed the scene.

"That's what I like to see," he told reporters as bulldozers behind him moved the dirt spewing out the pipe. "A couple of weeks ago, this was all open water."

Asked about the size of the island, Jindal said work had slowed because the federal government had taken a month to approve the initial permit and then delayed dredging for a week last month. Federal officials did not renew a temporary permit to dredge in an ecologically sensitive spot, saying Louisiana had agreed not to dredge there.

Jindal said the island was already stopping oil. Its back side was spattered with tar balls the size of sidewalk gum wads. "This shows that the sand berms are doing their jobs," he said. A 2.5-mile island is being built on the other side of the Mississippi River mouth.

But state officials say that even this first 45 miles won't be done until around Halloween, which would give oil months to float past. Some scientists in Louisiana are also questioning whether berms such as this one will survive the gulf's pounding waves.

A natural barrier island is "a beach, and a dune, and a marsh at the back. And this was really just a pile of sand," said Denise Reed, a scientist at the University of New Orleans.

That makes the sand-berm islands more susceptible to erosion. One scientist here posted pictures online that seemed to show one nearly submerged in a storm. State officials said it reemerged after the high seas.

Now the state is pushing a plan that, although smaller in scope, is even more controversial. Jefferson Parish, with the state's support, wants to pile lines of rock partway across a pair of passes that connect marshes to the gulf. If oily water hits the rocks, officials think, it will be pushed away from the opening and toward a confined area where skimmers can suck it up.

A number of Louisiana scientists, including a panel appointed by the state, have expressed reservations about the rock dams. Some have said it is dangerous to change this kind of natural plumbing: The same amount of tide will now be forced through a smaller opening. The result could be powerful currents that speed up the marsh's erosion or that drive floating oil deeper inland.

"It's the simple physics of a garden hose. You put your finger over the nozzle of the hose, you make the water spray out with more velocity," said Leonard Bahr, a coastal scientist who served as an adviser to Louisiana governors for 18 years, until he said he was "asked to retire" when Jindal took over in 2008. "You're going to increase the erosive power of the tidal flow."

more after the jump
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/18/AR2010071802838.html?hpid=topnews

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 19th, 2010, 07:58am

New York Times

July 18, 2010
French Heiress vs. Daughter and Political Intrigue
By STEVEN ERLANGER

PARIS — An aging heiress. An angry daughter. A society photographer. A renegade butler and an embittered accountant. Secret tapes. A famous company with a nasty past and long political connections. An unpopular president and a cabinet minister with a taste for money, and tales of illegal cash donations in envelopes.

This romantic stew is known as the “Bettencourt affair,” after the elderly heiress of the L’Oréal fortune, Liliane Bettencourt, 87. What began as a fierce family fight, with her daughter charging that Mrs. Bettencourt’s entourage has been manipulating her to steal her fortune, has shaken the office of President Nicolas Sarkozy of France.

The affair has captivated France even as it enters the long summer holiday, with daily headlines, detentions and constant leaks. Mr. Sarkozy’s sometimes clumsy efforts to contain the scandal are similar to BP’s in the gulf — the flow of crude appears contained but the problem is far from over.

His approval ratings, already low from France’s economic problems, have fallen further with the Bettencourt skullduggery.

While Mr. Sarkozy himself seems insulated so far from charges of illegality, his labor minister, Éric Woerth, remains subject to investigations involving illegal political contributions and tax evasion. Mr. Woerth was budget minister, in charge of tax collection, until March, while also working as the treasurer of the ruling party, the Union for a Popular Movement, for the last eight years. He has quit, on Mr. Sarkozy’s orders, effective Aug. 1.

L’Oréal is a global cosmetics leader with brands that include Maybelline and the Body Shop. It is a champion of French industry but also has a complicated political history with both the right and the left.

Its founder in 1909, Eugéne Schueller, Mrs. Bettencourt’s father, supported the Nazis; Mrs. Bettencourt’s husband, André, wrote for a Nazi-sponsored, anti-Semitic weekly in the early years of the war.

But André Bettencourt later joined the French Resistance and was a youthful friend of François Mitterrand, the future Socialist president. After the war, Mr. Mitterrand helped protect the Bettencourt family and L’Oréal from anti-Nazi campaigns and even considered making Mr. Bettencourt prime minister in 1986.

Mrs. Bettencourt, like her late husband, is considered to have been closer to the Socialist Party than to the Union for a Popular Movement. Shy and regal, she is the richest woman in Europe, with a fortune estimated at $20 billion and a 31 percent stake in L’Oréal.

She joined the company at 15, as an apprentice. But as she aged, she grew estranged from her own daughter, Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers, 57, who suspected that members of her mother’s entourage, including a society photographer, François-Marie Banier, 63, were manipulating her to enrich themselves. Mrs. Bettencourt has given Mr. Banier, for example, about 1 billion euros’ worth of annuities, paintings and other gifts, including, it seems, an island in the Seychelles.

L’Oréal has always played politics, backing the parties in power and courting important personalities. Mrs. Bettencourt, for instance, had a private meeting with Mr. Sarkozy in the Élysée Palace to discuss the impact of the scandal on L’Oréal. And Mr. Woerth’s wife, Florence, was hired by Mrs. Bettencourt to help manage her money — after Mr. Woerth asked Mrs. Bettencourt’s wealth manager, Patrice de Maistre, to give her “career advice.” This conflict of interest ended only when Mrs. Woerth quit her job in the midst of the scandal.

Mr. Woerth has been officially cleared of interfering in Mrs. Bettencourt’s taxes, but others who have worked in the ministry have said that it is inconceivable that he would be unaware of the file of France’s wealthiest woman or that his subordinates would be unaware of his wife’s employment.

Suggestions that Mr. Sarkozy took envelopes of cash from Mrs. Bettencourt have been put to rest, but the police are pursuing an allegation from a disgruntled former Bettencourt accountant, Claire Thibout, that Mr. Woerth was illicitly given 150,000 euros in cash for Mr. Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential campaign. Money, she said, was not just for Mr. Woerth. Without being specific, Ms. Thibout said many politicians arrived for tea and envelopes. “These gentlemen often came to get money,” she told the police, in leaked testimony.

At least three criminal inquiries are now under way, all under Philippe Courroye, the public prosecutor of Nanterre, who has been criticized as too close to Mr. Sarkozy. A fourth, by an independent investigating judge, Isabelle Prévost-Desprez, is soon to begin, despite Mr. Courroye’s objections.

Mr. Banier, who like Mr. de Maistre and two others was detained for 36 hours last week for questioning by the tax police, testified that he did not want the island, “because of the mosquitoes and the sharks,” according to testimony leaked to the French press. Mr. Banier, who has a history of friendships with wealthy elderly women, said his relationship with Mrs. Bettencourt could not be reduced to money. “What she gave me is nothing alongside what she taught me,” he said.

The saga began in 2007, with a lawsuit by Ms. Bettencourt-Meyers, an only child, against Mr. Banier. A trial this summer was delayed when Mrs. Bettencourt’s former butler, Pascal Bonnefoy, who shared many of the daughter’s concerns, surrendered more than 21 hours of recordings he had secretly made from May 2009 to May 2010.

The tapes, made in Mrs. Bettencourt’s home, capture her advisers and others — including Mr. Banier — talking to her about tax havens, tax evasion, Swiss bank accounts, the Woerths, Mr. Sarkozy, and political contacts and contributions. The tapes have been authenticated by the police, and portions have been leaked, mostly to anti-Sarkozy media.

On the tapes, Mrs. Bettencourt often seems bored and forgetful of details, like the Seychelles island. But she has resisted court efforts to submit to an examination of her mental state.

Everyone has denied wrongdoing. Mrs. Bettencourt has promised to provide the police all requested information — though they have not yet, it seems, formally questioned her. She says that she has ordered an “independent audit” of her finances and that she will pay any taxes owed.

But she has been scathing about her daughter and her “vile doggedness” in two television interviews. “My daughter could have waited patiently for my death instead of doing all she can to precipitate it,” she said.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/19/world/europe/19france.html?_r=1&hp

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 19th, 2010, 08:01am

New York Times

July 16, 2010, 12:30 pm
Speak No Evil: A Post-McChrystal Press Clampdown
By TIM ARANGO

BAGHDAD – On Tuesday night at an air base in Baghdad a unit of soldiers from the Second Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division waited for a flight that would take them first to Anbar Province, then to Germany, then to Fort Drum in upstate New York.

The soldiers were going home, this time for good.

Reporters were invited to visit, to speak to soldiers and take pictures of packed rucksacks and troops boarding the plane, images that would convey the military’s message that the United States is leaving Iraq. The press was told that the waiting area was theirs to work in.

So I started to chat up soldiers. Just as I had finished the formalities of name, age, rank and hometown with a young private from Michigan, I was interrupted by an officer who explained that a handful of soldiers had been chosen to speak to the press, and that the remainder of the group was off limits.

He pointed to a group of four or five soldiers, who awaited media interviews.

The Pentagon’s new dictum to control news coverage, issued in the wake of the controversy over a Rolling Stone article that resulted in the dismissal of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal as the top NATO commander in Afghanistan, seems to have reached the lower levels of the chain of command in Iraq.

The United States military is drawing down its forces in Iraq and is still eager to engage with the press to show that President Obama’s promise to reach 50,000 troops by the end of August will be met. Gen. Ray Odierno, the top commander in Iraq, held a briefing with reporters this week. The military opened a prison transfer ceremony to reporters on Thursday. And embeds with units are still available.

But there appears to be a clamping-down on spontaneous interactions between soldiers and the news media.

Recently my colleague Steven Lee Myers visited Forward Operating Base Mahmudiya, which the Americans transferred to Iraqi control on Thursday, and was told he could not interview soldiers during his visit because the chain of command had not authorized “formal interviews” with the soldiers there, part of the First Brigade of the Third Infantry Division.

The company commander at the base explained that his superiors wanted the focus of the visit to be on the process of the transfer — principally with only photographs and video — and not on the soldiers. (An Iraqi lieutenant colonel who showed up with trucks to haul away the detritus of KBR’s operations there also declined to be interviewed or to allow photographs.)

A civilian spokesman for the brigade, Tom Conning, later apologized, saying that the visit to the troops at Mahmudiya had not been properly organized.

In June I was embedded with a unit in northern Iraq when the McChrystal news broke. The soldiers who I was encamped with in the desert, on a mission to search for insurgents, were eager to talk about most anything: the war, the vicious fighting in prior tours, buddies killed, women back home.

But a question about the Rolling Stone article that resulted in President Obama firing General McChrystal was met with silence.

“How about the World Cup?” said an officer with the Third Squadron, Seventh Cavalry Regiment of the Third Infantry Division’s Second Brigade.

The reason for the reticence: a gag order had come down from division headquarters, the soldiers said, forbidding them from speaking about General McChrystal.

http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/16/speak-no-evil-a-post-mcchrystal-press-clampdown/?ref=world

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 19th, 2010, 08:07am

Hollywood Reporter

John Edwards film may unearth new details on scandal

By Andrew Wallenstein

July 18, 2010, 11:00 PM ET

Aaron Sorkin's upcoming film adaptation of a book about John Edwards' downfall could contain new information about the sordid saga, says the book's author, Andrew Young.

In an interview with THR, Young said he could provide Sorkin with heretofore-unknown details he kept out of "The Politician: An Insider's Account of John Edwards's Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down."

"There was a ton of stories I could have put in there but didn't because I couldn't prove it," Young said. "That's something we're going to work through. There's a whole other side of the story that's never been told."

Young wouldn't elaborate on the untold stories, nor would he comment on whether the Rielle Hunter sex tapes he's being sued over could make an appearance in the film. Hunter's attorneys claim Young stole the tapes and that their client should share in profits from the book.

Young said he hasn't heard anything yet about potential casting for Edwards or any of the other principal characters in the film, though he's getting plenty of suggestions. He recalled with amusement a blog that recommended Young himself be played by "Mad Men" hunk Jon Hamm. "I said, 'I think that guy should be very insulted,'" he joked.

Young said he turned down as many as eight different offers to adapt his book from "reputable" writers and filmmakers he declined to name, until Sorkin won him over with his intent not to focus the film entirely on the tawdrier aspects of his story.

The writer-director wooed him and his wife, Cheri, by drawing parallels between Young's book and his previous politically themed projects, including "The West Wing," "An American President" and "A Few Good Men."

"He was the last thing I expected: very genuine, very down to earth and very unlike anyone else we worked with in Hollywood," Young said. "He was very caring and we have a couple of issues with trusting people with what we've been through."

Young hooked up with Sorkin through their mutual agent, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment chief Ari Emanuel. Emanuel himself pitched Young as his representative before the book came out, according to Young, after reading a book review of "Politician."

Young admits he's a neophyte when it comes to the movie business, but said his contract allows him to have "significant input" in the script; he says Sorkin told him to expect lots of e-mails. He declined to discuss what he's making off of the deal.

"All they've told me is that it will be fast-tracked," said Young, who declined to divulge how much he's making from the book being optioned. "This is going to be his (Sorkin's) primary focus now."

Now Young is bracing for a big-screen depiction that he realizes won't be terribly flattering. Though he pines for some degree of normalcy to return to his life, he knows that won't happen anytime soon.

As Young recounted, Sorkin told him, "Andrew, I'm going to do a lot of things for you, but I'm sure your life isn't going to go back to normal," he said. "If you think the book was a big deal, the movie is going to be 100 times bigger than that."

link:
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3i70816729b031dfa8c99e3ee566cabd10

Ari Emanuel is Rahm's brother. The gossip is that when he came to the agency he walked in and fired the whole office. Sounds like quite a turd. Guess he will fit in there and Washington. grin
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 19th, 2010, 08:11am

Telegraph

South African photographer Hannes Lochner shoots the wildlife of the Kalahari desert in black and white.

These photos are gorgeous!

link:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthpicturegalleries/7898348/South-African-photographer-Hannes-Lochner-shoots-the-wildlife-of-the-Kalahari-desert-in-black-and-white.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 19th, 2010, 08:17am

Telegraph

Nasa 'elated' after new telescope uncovers 'previously invisible space objects'

An array of previously “invisible” space objects have been discovered by one of Nasa's newest space telescopes, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), in just six months, officials said.

By Andrew Hough
Published: 8:00PM BST 18 Jul 2010

The telescope has for the first time been able to identify previously unseen stars, asteroids, dust clouds and comets.
The telescope's discoveries have left scientists at the space agency thrilled.
The Messier 83 Southern Pinwheel Galaxy was pictured by the telescope. Nasa will disclose its full findings next year.
In what has left scientists at the space agency “elated”, the $320m (£195m) sky-mapping spacecraft has for the first time identified previously thousands of unseen space objects including stars, asteroids, dust clouds, comets and even a new galaxy.

Using technology to photograph the entire night sky one and a half times in infra-red light, Nasa said the telescope detected more than 25,000 new asteroids since beginning operations late last year.

Astronomy experts said almost 100 were considered "near Earth”, or within 30 million miles (48 million km). None, they added, posed any real threat to Earth.

The telescope also sighted 15 new comets and hundreds of potential brown dwarfs, or failed stars. It also confirmed the existence of 20 "dwars", including some of the coldest ever known.

WISE also detected what Nasa scientists believe is an ultra luminous galaxy, more than 10 billion light years away that formed from other colliding galaxies.

The findings, released late last week, have left the space agency thrilled. Most of the objects have been invisible to most other telescopes before now.

Nasa hopes that by discovering near-Earth asteroids that are on average larger than what's found by existing telescopes, it could help scientists better calculate their potential threat to the earth.

WISE completed its first full scan of the sky on Saturday before beginning another round of imaging in what Nasa hopes will pick up even more objects.

By the end of the year, researchers expect to have a cosmic census of millions of new-found objects that should help answer questions about how planets, stars and galaxies form.

"We're filling in the blanks on everything in the universe from near-Earth objects to forming galaxies," said project scientist Dr Peter Eisenhardt of the Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managing the mission.

"There's quite a zoo."

Richard Binzel, a scientist with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the telescope was able to “see through” almost impenetrable veils of dust, picking up the heat glow of objects that are invisible to regular telescopes.

“Most telescopes focus on the hottest and brightest objects in the universe,” he said.

“WISE is especially sensitive to seeing what's cool and dark, what you could call the stealth objects of the universe."

WISE’s 16-inch telescope, built by Utah State University's Space Dynamics Laboratory, circles the Earth 300 miles high and takes snapshots every 11 seconds over the whole sky.

Since the sky survey began, the JPL team has reported the new near-Earth objects to the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center, which keeps track of all small solar system objects.

It comes a quarter century after the Infrared Astronomy Satellite made the first all-sky map in infrared wavelength in 1983 but unlike its predecessor, WISE is far more powerful.

It is expected to keep taking images covering half of the sky until October when it will begin to run out of coolant.

While Nasa has released a picture a week of its myriad finds, the full celestial catalogue of what's out there will not be released to the public until next year


more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/7894247/Nasa-elated-after-new-telescope-uncovers-previously-invisible-space-objects.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 19th, 2010, 08:20am

Science Daily

Unusual Electrons Go With the Flow
ScienceDaily (July 14, 2010) —

On a quest to discover new states of matter, a team of Princeton University scientists has found that electrons on the surface of specific materials act like miniature superheroes, relentlessly dodging the cliff-like obstacles of imperfect microsurfaces, sometimes moving straight through barriers.

The Princeton work represents the first time such behavior of electrons has been tracked and recorded, and hints at the possibilities of speeding up integrated circuits that process information by flow of electrons between different devices. The new materials potentially could break the bottleneck that occurs when metallic interconnects get so small that even the tiniest atomic imperfection hinders their performance.

Physics professor Ali Yazdani and his team observed the extraordinary physics behavior in a "topological surface state" on a microscopic wedge of the metal antimony. The work is reported in the July 15 issue of Nature.

Normally, electron flow in materials is impeded by imperfections -- seemingly slight edges and rifts act like cliffs and crevasses in this microscopic world, blocking electrons in their path. Recent theories, however, predict that electrons on the surface of some compounds containing elements such as antimony can be immune to such disruptions in their flow. The connectivity in their flow, Yazdani said, stems from a special form of electron wave that seemingly alters the pattern of flow around any imperfection.

Many of the "topological" materials, such as antimony, have been important in the world economy; however, their unusual surface conduction previously had not been examined. Part of the challenge had been the difficulty in measuring the flow of electrons just at the surface, a task that was accomplished by the Princeton group using a specialized microscopy technique that enables precise visualization of electrons at the surface of materials.

"Material imperfections just cannot trap these surface electrons," said Yazdani, whose pioneering explorations of the behavior of electrons in unusual materials in his Jadwin Hall laboratories has consistently yielded new insights. "This demonstration suggests that surface conduction in these compounds may be useful for high-current transmission even in the presence of atomic scale irregularities -- an electronic feature sought to efficiently interconnect nanoscale devices."

An electron is a subatomic particle that carries a negative electric charge. It orbits an atom's nucleus and is bound to it by electromagnetic forces. Electrons can hop between atoms in a limited number of materials, such as crystals, and move freely in their interior or on the surface.

These free electrons are responsible for the generation of electric current, playing a central role in numerous applications related to industry, science and medicine, including providing the current for modern electronic devices. For most metals, electrons in the interior carry most of the electrical current, with the electrons at the surface being only weakly mobile.

At a given temperature, materials possess a measurable conductivity that determines the intensity of electric current. Metals such as copper and gold are good conductors, allowing for the rapid flow of electrons. Materials such as glass and Teflon, with structures that impede electron flow, are poor conductors. The atoms of metals have a structure allowing their electrons to behave as if they were free, or not bound to the atom.

The work by the Princeton team is part of an ongoing inquiry into materials called topological insulators -- substances that act as insulators in their interior while permitting the movement of charges on their boundary. In a phenomenon known as the quantum Hall effect, this behavior occurs when there is a perpendicular magnetic field applied to the material. And, in work conducted internationally by several researchers -- including a group led by Princeton physics professor Zahid Hasan -- a new type of topological insulator has been uncovered in which this behavior occurs even when there is no magnetic field present.

The crystals for the work were grown in the laboratory of Robert Cava, the Russell Wellman Moore Professor of Chemistry at Princeton.

The antimony crystal used in the experiment led by Yazdani is a metal but shares the unusual surface electron characteristics with related insulating compounds.

Because the electrons are able to move freely on the surface of the experimental material regardless of the shape of that surface, the material has a "topological surface state," Yazdani said. Topology is a major area of mathematics concerned with spatial properties that are preserved despite the deformation, like stretching, of objects. In that regard, a doughnut and a coffee cup can be viewed as topologically the same because they both are essentially areas with holes in the middle.

With lab instruments, the team was able to measure how long electrons are staying in a region of the material and how many of them flow through to other areas. The results showed a surprising efficiency by which surface electrons on antimony go through barriers that typically stop other surface electrons on the surface of most conducting materials, such as copper.

Authors on the paper include: Yazdani; postdoctoral fellows Jungpil Seo and Haim Beidenkopf; graduate student Pedram Roushan; and, along with Cava, his former postdoctoral fellow Yew San Hor, who is now at the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Yazdani's team worked in the specially designed Princeton Nanoscale Microscopy Laboratory, where highly accurate measurements at the atomic scale are possible because sounds and vibrations, through a multitude of technologies, are kept to a minimum. They used a powerful scanning tunneling microscope to view electrons on the surface of the antimony sample.

In such a microscope, an image is produced by pointing a finely focused electron beam, as in a TV set, across the studied sample. Researchers gently scan the microcope's single-atom sharp metal tip just above the surface of the material being studied. By monitoring the quantum "tunneling" of electrons flowing from the needle into the sample, the instrument can produce precise images of atoms, as well as the flow of electron waves.

The experiment, Cava said, "shows for the first time that the theoretically predicted immunity of topological surface states to death at the hands of the ever-present defects in the atomic arrangements on crystal surfaces is really true."



link:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100714162141.htm

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 19th, 2010, 12:34pm

That UFO from China story just keeps going.



Crystal

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 19th, 2010, 1:24pm

on Jul 18th, 2010, 9:39pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
User Image

Just add hubby, dogs and water and you have our day today



Then it must have been a nice day for sure. smiley
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 19th, 2010, 2:30pm

Hey Phil!
It was a really nice day.
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by masker33 on Jul 19th, 2010, 3:05pm

Excellent video, I like how this one is beginning.
L E V I A T H A N
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 19th, 2010, 6:54pm

Hey Phil and DrDil,

It is nice to have a members thread section. If I had a way to serve coffee I would. grin And thanks for those photos DrDil. They are striking. I would wonder, then run, if I saw them overhead around here. Anytime you want to post anything feel free. The more the merrier.

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 19th, 2010, 6:56pm

on Jul 19th, 2010, 3:05pm, Icarus99 wrote:
Excellent video, I like how this one is beginning.
L E V I A T H A N


Hello Icarus99,
Glad you liked the video. Feel free to post videos or anything you want, any time. As I said, the more the merrier!
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by masker33 on Jul 19th, 2010, 6:57pm

WOC, you can take a look at my own interpretations of similar images at my blog site, but remember it is only the beginning and these things take time.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 19th, 2010, 7:16pm

on Jul 19th, 2010, 6:57pm, Icarus99 wrote:
WOC, you can take a look at my own interpretations of similar images at my blog site, but remember it is only the beginning and these things take time.


Great site Icarus99. And thanks for the share button. I'm one of those twitterers that likes to tweet sites that are interesting.
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 19th, 2010, 7:56pm


User Image

r.i.p. little buddy
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 20th, 2010, 07:32am

Phantoms and Monsters

Monday, July 19, 2010
Readers Respond: The Interdimensional Sasquatch

A few months ago, I posted a poll that posed the question ‘What is Bigfoot / Sasquatch?’ To my surprise, 26% of the 574 participants answered they believed this creature was an interdimensional or extraterrestrial being. Are we at a point where people are open minded enough to accept that a hominid species may very well not be of our time or planet?

I posed this question to my readers and challenged them to make their case. Again, I was surprised at the amount of response I received. A total of 112 emails, with well thought out theories and opinions, were received in a three day period.

I was sent a link to a piece written by Nick Redfern that referenced a woman named Jenny Burrows, who had a remarkable tale about a creature she claimed to have encountered in a particularly dense area of Seattle woodland: nothing less than a fully-grown Saber-Tooth Tiger.

According to Jenny, she had been walking through the woods with her pet Labrador dog, Bobbie, when it suddenly stopped in its tracks, whined loudly, and dropped to the ground, shaking.

Thinking that it had possibly had a seizure, Jenny quickly bent down to comfort her pet, and could then see that the dog was staring intently to its left. Following the gaze of the dog, Jenny was horrified to see moving in the undergrowth what looked like a large cat – “like a mountain lion, but much bigger.”

That the creature was possibly a mountain lion filled Jenny with dread; however, that dread was amplified to stratospheric proportions when its face could clearly be seen; including the two huge teeth that were the absolute hallmark of the Saber-Tooth Tiger.

As Jenny said to me, with much justification: “You don’t have to work in a zoo or a museum to know what a Saber-Tooth Tiger looks like: everyone knows.”

It was then, however, that Jenny’s story became even more bizarre.

As the cat loomed fully into view and out of the confines of the bushes and undergrowth, she could see that its body seemed to be semi-transparent and that, “the bottom of its front paws were missing.”

Jenny concluded, she told me, that what she was seeing was not a still-living Saber-Tooth at all. Rather, she thought, it was “the ghost of a Saber-Tooth” that was haunting its old pathways and hunting grounds – thousands of years after its physical death. http://www.mania.com/lair-beasts-sabertooth-terror_article_110846.html

Could it be true? Are ghostly creatures really roaming our planet? Perhaps the idea is not as far-out as it might seem. Though it is likely that this may have been a residual spirit of a once living creature, it may also be a manifestation of a non-terrestrial or interdimensional being. Our world cultures possess thousands of cryptid and humanoid legends that have been told for hundreds, maybe thousands, of years. Is there a chance that we are chasing real entities that slip in and out of our plane of existence?

I was told of the experiences of a well known veteran Sasquatch investigator in the California Sierra Nevada Mountains who stated that he was watching one of these creatures walk away from him and then suddenly disappear. The terrain did not offer cover or camouflage and there was no direction that the creature could have taken without being seen. There were no caves or holes for the Sasquatch to duck into…it just vanished.

Rick Phillips posted an interesting reference in his blog recently. Jonathan Downes, of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, first coined the term Zooform in 1990 and maintains that many of these phenomena result from complex psychosocial and sociological phenomena, and suggests that to classify all such phenomena as ‘paranormal’ in origin is counterproductive. Thoughtform may be understood as a ‘psychospiritual’ complex of energy or consciousness manifested either consciously or unconsciously, by an individual or a group. Thoughtform are understood differently and take on different forms. Rick makes a reference that anomalies and paranormal entities might fall into the category of Temporary beings. Temporal characters that represent ideas, such as the Bigfoot type entities that were reported on the Skinwalker ranch or, for that matter, any type of Bigfoot, Mothman or Chupacabras. Could these entities be IDEAS? Could they be ideas that transform into temporal characters - like memes? Here’s is a link to the entire post - http://barfstew.blogspot.com/2010/07/my-what-bigfoot-is-theories-in-reply-to.html

S.A. Robinson, a self-described ‘armchair Bigfoot researcher’ states that it’s understandable that a subject as odd as this one, with the supposition that there is an enormous hairy creature that lives in forests around the country without being clearly photographed, videotaped or fully understood, should attract a good deal of divisiveness and even infighting. When proponents of the 'flesh and blood' camp mix with those who favor a 'magical' explanation, it can sour both sides from the real objective, which is to prove conclusively this entity's existence.

The principle of the simplest explanation, usually being the correct one, stands up in terms of building theories, but it should not be used as an arbiter between two opposing theories…and so we are left with the two camps.

He continues to explain that because of the similarities between our current understanding of the UFO phenomenon and that of Sasquatch, the fleeting visual aspect (most reports lasting less than a few seconds) the high strangeness (UFO’s and Bigfoot moving at extreme speed often with disregard to physics) and with lack of much physical evidence (some trace material like radioactive soil or some unusual hair), not to mention the seeming invulnerability of both phenoms to physical attack (no UFOs or BF downed by gunfire) the link between Bigfoot and UFO encounters must fall into a similar category.

Why, in these modern times, with so much technology, do we not have a full accounting of everything in our animal kingdom? Some will cite the case of the Coelacanth fish as evidence of an evolutionary throwback that, due to it’s extreme habitat, was thought to be extinct until it was brought to fresh, modern speculation in a fishing net. To suggest that Bigfoot falls into this same explanation is to say that we have not really looked deeply enough into the woods. I refute this suggestion, as we have the ability to see nearly every square foot of the planet in high detail from space through satellite technology. We have a military/industrial complex that can ferret out any heat-producing organism of human size (or larger) with FLIR equipped cameras, and despite the large tracts of uninhabited land on the North American continent, humans have traipsed on so much of it that over the past fifty to one hundred years we have compiled perhaps several thousand decent eyewitness reports of weird footprints, strange sounds and sightings of the giant hairy extra-human entity.

A subscriber states that just because we don't understand how Bigfoot move in and out of another dimension or what their purpose is, doesn't rule out this possibility. He has questioned a variety of people that channel interdimensional beings and every time the answer turns out that Bigfoot are indeed interdimensional beings as well. There are many other beings that can move in and out of another dimension including fairies, gnomes, sprites, and others. Indigenous people worldwide will verify this as they have strived to maintain to keep their connection to earth and the natural beings while the ‘civilized’ world has nearly completely lost touch. Only young children and intuitive adults are able to see/feel these beings as they move in and out of other dimensions. It’s time for us to wake up to this possibility regardless of what conventional wisdom and science has to say about the matter. The evidence is there…time to become open to a broader perspective. Sharon Lee's latest blog in reference to 'Mr.Mike' and his possible ability to see beyond the naked eye may be a very good example of this theory - http://bigfootlives.blogspot.com/2010/07/ghost-of-bigfoot-and-mr-mike.html

Well known paranormal investigator Jon-Eric Beckjord’s theories sum up much of the argument. He believed that Bigfoot and similar cryptids may be interdimensional beings that can occasionally take physical form for brief periods of time, but have the ability to ‘fade out’ and pass through ‘wormholes’, possibly to other dimensions or parallel universes. He reported to have had one of the creatures speak to him using telepathy, communicating the words ‘We're here, but we're not real, like what you think is real’. Beckjord claimed that such entities may be able to actually disappear into thin air, or even shapeshift.

Beckjord maintained that the interdimensional hypothesis may possibly, if proven, explain why there are thousands of alleged Bigfoot creature sightings each year, yet no dead zoological physical body is ever found. To evidence these ideas, Beckjord accumulated a large collection of enlarged photographs that he says show, among other things, ‘half-Bigfoots’ and ‘invisible Bigfoots’, or possible aliens. The forms are often found in situations where the camera picked up images not seen by the witnesses, often due to distance. According to Beckjord, the images show primates, carnivores and beings not readily identified within known zoological classifications that resemble descriptions of aliens submitted to investigators.

more after the jump
http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/2010/07/readers-respond-interdimensional.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 20th, 2010, 07:35am

New York Times

July 20, 2010
U.S. and S. Korea to Conduct War Games Next Week
By ELISABETH BUMILLER

SEOUL, South Korea —The United States and South Korea announced on Tuesday that a series of large-scale military exercises would begin next week in the waters off Japan and Korea as a show of force and “first step” in trying to deter North Korea from acts of aggression in the region.

The exercises, to be conducted from Sunday to Wednesday, are to include an American aircraft carrier, the George Washington, as well as some 20 ships and submarines, 100 aircraft and 8,000 men and women from the American and Korean armed services.

Adm. Robert F. Willard, the commander of the United States Pacific Command, acknowledged to reporters in Seoul that there was no guarantee that the show of force would stop North Korea from repeating what an international investigation concluded was the sinking of South Korean warship, the Cheonan, in March, which killed 46 sailors.

But he said that “the choice that our respective commanders in chief have made is a show of force is a first step in deterring North Korea from doing this again.”

Later exercises are to be conducted in the Yellow Sea, which is on the other side of the Korean Peninsula, but Admiral Willard and American defense officials would not say whether they would include the George Washington, a nuclear-powered, Nimitz-class aircraft carrier that is one of the largest warships in the world. China has objected that the exercises will be too close to its coastal area on the Yellow Sea and therefore a form of intimidation, but Admiral Willard dismissed the Chinese reaction.

Asked if he was concerned, Admiral Willard replied: “No, I’m not concerned. If I have a concern vis-a-vis China, it is that China exert itself to influence Pyongyang so that incidents like the Cheonan don’t happen in the future.”

China, which is North Korea’s most important ally and biggest trading partner, has so far not embraced the conclusion of the investigation that North Korea was responsible for the attack.

The United States and South Korea made the announcement about the exercises after Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates met with South Korean’s defense minister, Kim Tae-young, on Tuesday afternoon.

“This exercise will demonstrate the resolute will and capabilities of both the South Korean and U.S. militaries,” said Gen. Han Min-koo, chairman of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a statement released by the South Korean military. “Based on our defense readiness, we will instantly retaliate against any provocation from now on and wrap up our operation at the scene of the provocation.”

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/21/world/asia/21military.html?_r=1&hp

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 20th, 2010, 07:41am

Washington Post

Posted at 12:24 AM, 7/20/2010

National Security Inc.

In June, a stone carver from Manassas chiseled another perfect star into a marble wall at CIA headquarters, one of 22 for agency workers killed in the global war initiated by the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The intent of the memorial is to publicly honor the courage of those who died in the line of duty, but it also conceals a deeper story about government in the post-9/11 era: Eight of the 22 were not CIA officers at all. They were private contractors.

To ensure that the country's most sensitive duties are carried out only by people loyal above all to the nation's interest, federal rules say contractors may not perform what are called "inherently government functions." But they do, all the time and in every intelligence and counterterrorism agency, according to a two-year investigation by The Washington Post.

What started as a temporary fix in response to the terrorist attacks has turned into a dependency that calls into question whether the federal workforce includes too many people obligated to shareholders rather than the public interest -- and whether the government is still in control of its most sensitive activities. In interviews last week, both Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and CIA Director Leon Panetta said they agreed with such concerns.

The Post investigation uncovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America created since 9/11 that is hidden from public view, lacking in thorough oversight and so unwieldy that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.

It is also a system in which contractors are playing an ever more important role. The Post estimates that out of 854,000 people with top-secret clearances, 265,000 are contractors. There is no better example of the government's dependency on them than at the CIA, the one place in government that exists to do things overseas that no other U.S. agency is allowed to do.

Private contractors working for the CIA have recruited spies in Iraq, paid bribes for information in Afghanistan and protected CIA directors visiting world capitals. Contractors have helped snatch a suspected extremist off the streets of Italy, interrogated detainees once held at secret prisons abroad and watched over defectors holed up in the Washington suburbs. At Langley headquarters, they analyze terrorist networks. At the agency's training facility in Virginia, they are helping mold a new generation of American spies.

Through the federal budget process, the George W. Bush administration and Congress made it much easier for the CIA and other agencies involved in counterterrorism to hire more contractors than civil servants. They did this to limit the size of the permanent workforce, to hire employees more quickly than the sluggish federal process allows and because they thought - wrongly, it turned out - that contractors would be less expensive.

Stars engraved on the wall of the CIA represent people who died in the line of duty. Eight stars represent private contractors killed since 9/11.

Nine years later, well into the Obama administration, the idea that contractors cost less has been repudiated, and the administration has made some progress toward its goal of reducing the number of hired hands by 7 percent over two years. Still, close to 30 percent of the workforce in the intelligence agencies is contractors.

"For too long, we've depended on contractors to do the operational work that ought to be done" by CIA employees, Panetta said. But replacing them "doesn't happen overnight. When you've been dependent on contractors for so long, you have to build that expertise over time."

A second concern of Panetta's: contracting with corporations, whose responsibility "is to their shareholders, and that does present an inherent conflict."

Or as Gates, who has been in and out of government his entire life, puts it: "You want somebody who's really in it for a career because they're passionate about it and because they care about the country and not just because of the money."

Contractors can offer more money - often twice as much - to experienced federal employees than the government is allowed to pay them. And because competition among firms for people with security clearances is so great, corporations offer such perks as BMWs and $15,000 signing bonuses, as Raytheon did in June for software developers with top-level clearances.

The idea that the government would save money on a contract workforce "is a false economy," said Mark M. Lowenthal, a former senior CIA official and now president of his own intelligence training academy.

As companies raid federal agencies of talent, the government has been left with the youngest intelligence staffs ever while more experienced employees move into the private sector. This is true at the CIA, where employees from 114 firms account for roughly a third of the workforce, or about 10,000 positions. Many of them are temporary hires, often former military or intelligence agency employees who left government service to work less and earn more while drawing a federal pension.

Across the government, such workers are used in every conceivable way.

Contractors kill enemy fighters. They spy on foreign governments and eavesdrop on terrorist networks. They help craft war plans. They gather information on local factions in war zones. They are the historians, the architects, the recruiters in the nation's most secretive agencies. They staff watch centers across the Washington area. They are among the most trusted advisers to the four-star generals leading the nation's wars.


The role of private contractors
As Top Secret America has grown, the government has become more dependent on contractors with matching security clearances. Launch Gallery »

So great is the government's appetite for private contractors with top-secret clearances that there are now more than 300 companies, often nicknamed "body shops," that specialize in finding candidates, often for a fee that approaches $50,000 a person, according to those in the business.

Making it more difficult to replace contractors with federal employees: The government doesn't know how many are on the federal payroll. Gates said he wants to reduce the number of defense contractors by about 13 percent, to pre-9/11 levels, but he's having a hard time even getting a basic head count.

"This is a terrible confession," he said. "I can't get a number on how many contractors work for the Office of the Secretary of Defense," referring to the department's civilian leadership.

The Post's estimate of 265,000 contractors doing top-secret work was vetted by several high-ranking intelligence officials who approved of The Post's methodology. The newspaper's Top Secret America database includes 1,931 companies that perform work at the top-secret level. More than a quarter of them - 533 - came into being after 2001, and others that already existed have expanded greatly. Most are thriving even as the rest of the United States struggles with bankruptcies, unemployment and foreclosures.

The privatization of national security work has been made possible by a nine-year "gusher" of money, as Gates recently described national security spending since the 9/11 attacks.

With so much money to spend, managers do not always worry about whether they are spending it effectively.

"Someone says, 'Let's do another study,' and because no one shares information, everyone does their own study," said Elena Mastors, who headed a team studying the al-Qaeda leadership for the Defense Department. "It's about how many studies you can orchestrate, how many people you can fly all over the place. Everybody's just on a spending spree. We don't need all these people doing all this stuff."

Most of these contractors do work that is fundamental to an agency's core mission. As a result, the government has become dependent on them in a way few could have foreseen: wartime temps who have become a permanent cadre.

Just last week, typing "top secret" into the search engine of a major jobs Web site showed 1,951 unfilled positions in the Washington area, and 19,759 nationwide: "Target analyst," Reston. "Critical infrastructure specialist," Washington, D.C. "Joint expeditionary team member," Arlington.

"We could not perform our mission without them. They serve as our 'reserves,' providing flexibility and expertise we can't acquire," said Ronald Sanders, who was chief of human capital for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence before retiring in February. "Once they are on board, we treat them as if they're a part of the total force."

The Post's investigation is based on government documents and contracts, job descriptions, property records, corporate and social networking Web sites, additional records, and hundreds of interviews with intelligence, military and corporate officials and former officials. Most requested anonymity either because they are prohibited from speaking publicly or because, they said, they feared retaliation at work for describing their concerns.

The investigation focused on top-secret work because the amount classified at the secret level is too large to accurately track. A searchable database of government organizations and private companies was built entirely on public records. [For an explanation of the newspaper's decision making behind this project, please see the Editor's Note.]

----

The national security industry sells the military and intelligence agencies more than just airplanes, ships and tanks. It sells contractors' brain power.

more after the jump
http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/national-security-inc/

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 20th, 2010, 07:52am

Telegraph

North Korea executes cabinet official in charge of talks with South
North Korea executed a former Cabinet official who was in charge of talks with South Korea, the latest death sentence for a North Korean official over policy failures.

Published: 10:37AM BST 20 Jul 2010

Kwon Ho Ung – Pyongyang's chief delegate from 2004 to 2007 for high-level talks with the South's then liberal government – was executed by firing squad, according to reports in Seoul, citing a source in Beijing.

Lee Jong-joo, South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman, said she could not confirm the report, and the National Intelligence Service, South Korea's top spy agency, said it was checking it.

The two Koreas held Cabinet-level talks – the highest regular dialogue channel between them – several times a year to discuss boosting exchanges and easing tension across the world's most heavily fortified border. The last round was held in 2007.

Mr Kwon was the former chief councillor of the North's Cabinet, but it was not clear what about his policy would have prompted his execution.

The execution comes as tensions between the two Koreas simmer over the March sinking of a South Korean warship that has been blamed on North Korea. North Korea has denied involvement in the sinking, which killed 46 South Korean sailors.

Relations between the Koreas have been particularly rocky since a pro-US, conservative government took office in Seoul in early 2008 with a tough policy on Pyongyang.

The report said it had not confirmed when and where RM Kwon was executed. The allegation follows other reported executions of North Korean officials for policy blunders.

In March, the North executed two senior economic officials over a botched currency revamp that forced markets to close temporarily and fuelled social tensions, according to a Seoul-based media outlet.

The North redenominated its won in December as part of efforts to fight inflation and reassert control over its burgeoning market economy. That reportedly sparked unrest after many North Koreans were stuck with piles of worthless bills.

It is not unprecedented for the communist regime to execute officials for policy failures. In the 1990s, North Korea publicly executed a top agricultural official following widespread famine


more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/7899961/North-Korea-executes-cabinet-official-in-charge-of-talks-with-South.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 20th, 2010, 07:58am

Telegraph

The Active Denial System: the weapon that's a hot topic
The US army says its new 'pain ray’ hurts but does no lasting damage. Its critics would beg to differ.

By Ed Cumming
Published: 11:27AM BST 20 Jul 2010

The Active Denial System or ADS, recently deployed for the first time in Afghanistan.

User Image

'It was as if some invisible jet impinged upon them… I saw them staggering and falling, and their supporters turning to run.” Since the first appearance of the “heat-ray” in H G Wells’s The War of the Worlds, ray guns have been a staple feature of science fiction: the classic sign of overwhelming technological superiority. But they are no longer fiction. Last month, Lt Col John Dorrian admitted that the US military’s brand-new Active Denial System (ADS) had been shipped to Afghanistan, the first time it has been present in an active theatre of war. According to the top brass, it is a “non-lethal, directed-energy, counter-personnel weapon”. Among the troops, however, its favoured description is rather shorter: “the pain ray”.

Compared with most military vehicles, the device looks relatively harmless – like one of the broadcasting trucks you see outside big sporting events: an anonymous-looking military transport with what appears to be a square satellite dish mounted on top. But it contains an extraordinary new weapon, capable of causing immense discomfort from half a mile away without – its makers claim – doing any lasting damage.

The ADS works by projecting a focused beam of 3.2mm wave electromagnetic radiation at a human target. This heats the water and fat molecules on the skin, causing their temperature to rise by up to 50C. Philip Sherwell, a Sunday Telegraph reporter who tried out the ADS in 2007, describes it as “unbearably uncomfortable, like opening a roasting hot oven door”. The immediate instinct is to escape the beam and seek cover – at which point the effect subsides.

In some quarters, the ADS has been hailed as the future of crowd control. Kelley Hughes, a spokesman for the Pentagon’s Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD), which oversaw its development, says that “the ADS provides our troops with our most advanced, non-lethal escalation-of-force option. It will support a full spectrum of operations ranging from non-lethal methods of crowd and mob dispersal, checkpoint security, area denial and clarification of intent.”

Although its operational parameters are classified, the JNLWD says that the ADS has a range of up to 500m, 10 times greater than current non-lethal weapons such as rubber bullets. The technology has been in development for two decades, and has cost well in excess of $60 million. Each device costs $5 million, and safety testing has been ongoing for 12 years.

Mindful of the terrible publicity Tasers and other crowd-suppression techniques have received, the JNLWD has been at pains to stress its emphasis on testing.

“There have been more than 11,000 exposures, on over 700 volunteers,” says Hughes. “There have been six independent reviews. It has completed formal legal and treaty compliance laws. There is an 80-hour training course for using it. I am truly confident in the technology.”

Despite this, the journey to the battlefield has been far from smooth. In 2007, with the situation in Iraq at its most volatile since the invasion, US forces requested the presence of the ADS. It was never sent. Indeed, The Daily Telegraph has learnt that it has now been recalled from Afghanistan, without being fired in anger. A spokesman said that “no decision had been made” as to its future deployment, even though it seems unlikely that the Pentagon would have shipped a new weapon to an active war zone if it didn’t mean to use it at some point.

What are the problems? Well, Dr Jürgen Altmann, an expert in non-lethal weapons from the University of Dortmund, has observed that although the Army’s test subjects were permitted 15-second intervals between exposure, this might not be the case in real life. The ADS, he says, “provides the technical possibility to produce burns of second and third degree. If incurred over more than 20 per cent of the body, these are potentially life-threatening, and require intensive care in a specialised unit. Without a technical device that reliably prevents re-triggering on the same subject, the ADS has a potential to produce permanent injury or death.”

Other problems come from the limitations of the device itself. Rain, snow and fog hamper its effectiveness, and it can be blocked by highly reflective materials such as aluminium foil. In many situations – particularly in busy crowds – working out the right range will be complicated, and there is also the possibility of targets finding themselves unable to move out of the path of the beam. Hughes offers an uncertain defence: “The target includes sensors to see the whole beam path. An operator would immediately see if a person was unable to move out of the way.”

more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/7900117/The-Active-Denial-System-the-weapon-thats-a-hot-topic.html

Crystal

edit to add photo

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 20th, 2010, 08:05am

Hollywood Reporter

July 19, 2010
Sam Raimi lassoes Wyatt Earp for film set in future

Western hero Wyatt Earp is getting the sci-fi treatment via Sam Raimi.
Raimi is attached to direct “Earp: Saints for Sinners,” an adaptation of a Radical graphic novel that Mandeville Films partners David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman are producing for DreamWorks.

Matt Cirulnick will write the script for the project, on which Radical president Barry Levine and Josh Donen, Raimi’s partner at Star Road Entertainment, also are producers.

The film and graphic novel re-imagines Earp — best known for the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, where he fought alongside his two brothers and compadre Doc Holliday — set in a future in which he takes on outlaws in a ravaged society where the only boomtown left is Las Vegas.

The comic was created by Cirulnick and Mandeville exec David Manpearl. M. Zachary Sherman wrote it with Cirulnick, with illustrations by Mack Chater and Martin Montiel. Radical plans on unveiling the project Thursday during its Comic-Con panel.

Manpearl, Cirulnick and Radical’s Jesse Berger are executive producing, and DreamWorks’ Mark Sourian and Jonathan Elrich will oversee.

Raimi, repped by CAA, next directs “Oz, the Great and Powerful,” a prequel of sorts of “The Wizard of Oz,” for Disney.

Mandeville last year produced “The Proposal” and is in preproduction on Disney’s new Muppets movie starring Jason Segel.

Radical has been on a roll leading up to Comic-Con, making a deal with Sam Worthington’s new production company to publish “Damaged” with an eye to bringing it to the big screen. The company additionally is developing “The Patriots,” also with Worthington.

- Borys Kit

link:
http://heatvision.hollywoodreporter.com/2010/07/sam-raimi-lassoes-wyatt-earp-for-film-set-in-future-exclusive.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Luvey on Jul 20th, 2010, 08:07am

Phantoms and Monsters

That was an interesting read Crystal, thank you for sharing. smiley

Its not the first time I have read that people think that Bigfoot could be interdimensional, but I wonder. The Australian aboriginals speak of them as normal... and there are old news articles about the early settlers seeing them, and that the bigfoot threw rocks at them on some occasions.

I am wondering about the Sabor Toothed Tiger.... very interesting. A ghost or was it the dimensions overlapping for a few moments?

Luvey
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 20th, 2010, 08:16am

on Jul 20th, 2010, 08:07am, Luvey wrote:
Phantoms and Monsters

That was an interesting read Crystal, thank you for sharing. smiley

Its not the first time I have read that people think that Bigfoot could be interdimensional, but I wonder. The Australian aboriginals speak of them as normal... and there are old news articles about the early settlers seeing them, and that the bigfoot threw rocks at them on some occasions.

I am wondering about the Sabor Toothed Tiger.... very interesting. A ghost or was it the dimensions overlapping for a few moments?

Luvey


Good morning Luvey,
It was a fascinating read. I wonder too if it's a sort of "drifting" event, from one dimension accidently into another?
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 20th, 2010, 08:18am

Wired Great photos after the jump

July 20, 1969: One Small Step … One Giant Leap …
By Tony Long July 20, 2009 | 12:00 am | Categories: 20th century, Space Exploration

1969: The Soviet Union was first to land a spacecraft on the moon, in 1959, but NASA’s Neil Armstrong becomes the first human to set foot on the lunar surface, realizing humanity’s age-old dream. And effectively winning the space race for the United States.

Armstrong and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin left the Apollo 11 command module (piloted by Michael Collins) in orbit and performed a landing in the lunar module Eagle. At 4:18 p.m. EDT, Armstrong announced to a watching and waiting world that “The Eagle has landed.”

Six-and-a-half hours later, he stepped onto the powdery surface with the words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Aldrin soon followed Armstrong down the ladder to become the second man to stand on the moon.

The mission was by no means a slam dunk. There was real fear that once on the lunar surface the astronauts might end up marooned and beyond rescue. In fact, President Nixon had a condolence speech ready to go in the event things turned out badly.

Things went as planned, however, and Armstrong and Aldrin returned to the command module, leaving behind a plaque inscribed with the words: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 AD. We came in peace for all mankind.”

Read More http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2009/07/dayintech_0720#ixzz0uEDKgXKZ

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Luvey on Jul 20th, 2010, 08:37am

on Jul 20th, 2010, 08:16am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Good morning Luvey,
It was a fascinating read. I wonder too if it's a sort of "drifting" event, from one dimension accidently into another?
Crystal


Good morning to you Crystal... grin I am in Australia so its night time here... 12 hours ahead of the US..

There has been many strange things that people have reported seeing that are not supposed to be here according to science. wink One day science may catch up. cheesy

Pen
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Swamprat on Jul 20th, 2010, 10:17am

WEAR YOUR SEATBELT!

This powerful UK ad has over 10 million hits on Youtube.....


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-8PBx7isoM
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 20th, 2010, 12:16pm

on Jul 20th, 2010, 08:37am, Luvey wrote:
Good morning to you Crystal... grin I am in Australia so its night time here... 12 hours ahead of the US..

There has been many strange things that people have reported seeing that are not supposed to be here according to science. wink One day science may catch up. cheesy

Pen


Hey Pen,
I was raised in Arizona and there were all sorts of strange things going on that we all just kind of accepted. Part of the place we all thought. Fascinating how people interpret and integrate these "wispy" occurances.

and call me a dolt but I still haven't found the spell check on this set-up. Everything else but not the spell check. I know there is one................ tongue
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 20th, 2010, 12:20pm

on Jul 20th, 2010, 10:17am, Swamprat wrote:
WEAR YOUR SEATBELT!

This powerful UK ad has over 10 million hits on Youtube.....


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-8PBx7isoM


Swamprat!!!! Howdy!
That will make you think twice. If I don't wear my seatbelt I feel strange.
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 20th, 2010, 12:22pm

Modern computers rely on electrons moving through wires to transmit information, which is far, far slower than the fast-as-light optics we theoretically could be using. And now we've found the exotic material that might allow us to leave electrons behind.

Electrons may be the lifeblood of computer communications, but they have a dirty little secret: they're actually pretty damn slow. Scientists and engineers would like to switch to entirely optical communications, which could, naturally enough, travel at the speed of light. The current target is known as "wireless interconnecting", in which information is communicated at speeds 100 to 1,000 times faster than is possible with current electronic technology.

The main hurdle isn't transmitting the data from one point to another - it's creating a receiver that can understand the information as fast as it's sent. Since the only signal processing we currently understand is electronic in nature, it doesn't matter how fast the optical communications are because all that fast-moving data will come screeching to a halt when it reaches its destination. But if we can find a way to build optical emitters and detectors, then we'd enter an age of computers capable of terahertz speeds. For comparison, modern computers top out at just a few gigahertz, a thousandth of what might be possible with fully optical computing.

That's where a tiny, nanoscale device made from the compound gallium aresenide comes into the picture. A research team from Oregon State University, the University of Iowa and Germany's Philipps University have discovered these little devices can handle terahertz pulses for very short stretches, allowing them to process and control electrical signals in a semiconductor.

That means they're fast enough to do the job of optical computing, and now it's just a question of refining them so that they can handle the task for longer periods. They also need to figure out how to make the stuff work at higher temperatures - the experiments were performed inside the super-coolant liquid helium, which isn't really a practical casing for the average computer user.

Still, the researchers feel cautiously confident they've created what they call "the first building block of optical signal processing." There are a lot of potential applications for this, including in video and audio devices that could make use of the greater speeds optical communications provide. But the real next step will be putting terahertz processors to work in quantum computers, which would need to be phenomenally fast anyway. Gallium arsenide might just be exactly what's required.

Solid State Electronics: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6TY5-5091YDD-4&_user=10&_coverDate=06/12/2010&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=e0314e315f85e5e5b4bf2848b4f3145a

article link:
http://io9.com/5591295/exotic-nanodevice-could-let-computers-ditch-slowpoke-electrons-and-run-thousands-of-times-faster

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 20th, 2010, 3:25pm

Good morning, Crystal. smiley



on Jul 19th, 2010, 6:54pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Hey Phil and DrDil,

It is nice to have a members thread section. If I had a way to serve coffee I would. grin And thanks for those photos DrDil. They are striking. I would wonder, then run, if I saw them overhead around here. Anytime you want to post anything feel free. The more the merrier.

Crystal

Will do. And thanks for the virtual coffee. wink smiley
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 20th, 2010, 4:27pm

What's it all about? Makes you think. grin
Thanks Phil.
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 20th, 2010, 7:33pm

Knucklebuster. Gorgeous! 1930 Henderson
more photos at Knucklebuster link at bottom of page

User Image

begin article -
About a week ago I posted the pic above and it seems to have excited quite a number of people across the internets, so here’s a few more pics and some info.

I took these photos at the Rhinebeck Grand National Meet where the newly restored bike was unveiled. The bike belongs to Frank Westfall from Syracuse, NY. According to some info I found online, the bike was originally built by O. Ray Courtney in 1936 and is based on a 1930 K.J Henderson. The bike is powered by inline four cylinder (not a scooter as some have said, check the shot of the motor below) and as I’m sure you can gather by now, is a one-off custom. What I can confirm is it does run and while it looked a bit unwieldy, Frank could be seen riding the bike around the Fairgrounds all weekend. But let’s be honest here (and maybe I’m wrong) - you don’t have this bike in your stable to go out for a long Sunday afternoon ride to get some ice cream. That said, it was pretty awesome to see the bike being ridden (even when rain started to come down) instead of being sheltered behind a velvet rope, never to see the rubber touch asphalt again. The bike is a fantastic piece of history, the craftsmanship is absolutely stunning and it’s surely more of a museum piece than a daily rider. Frank has obviously spent an incredible amount of time meticulously restoring and rebuilding the bike to its current gorgeous state. Hats off to Frank for the amazing work he did and for sharing it with all us gawkers. Frank, if you see this and want to send in more info about the bike, I’d love to share it.
- end article

more photos
http://www.knucklebusterinc.com/features/2010/07/15/1930-art-deco-henderson/

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Luvey on Jul 21st, 2010, 04:13am

on Jul 20th, 2010, 12:16pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Hey Pen,
I was raised in Arizona and there were all sorts of strange things going on that we all just kind of accepted. Part of the place we all thought. Fascinating how people interpret and integrate these "wispy" occurances.

and call me a dolt but I still haven't found the spell check on this set-up. Everything else but not the spell check. I know there is one................ tongue
Crystal


Hi Crystal

After traveling a number of times to the US, there is definitely lots of paranormal things happening there. You may have read my last experience there that happened a few weeks back of the shadow being in the car park at the Red Roof Motel in Ashville, NC.

I use Mozilla Firefox that comes with a spell checker amongst many other goodies.... I had so many problems with Explorer I got rid of it. If there is a spell checker on CB DrDil would know.... grin

Take care
Pen
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 21st, 2010, 07:42am

Good morning/evening Pen,
OH! Please tell me about the shadow person!
Please!
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 21st, 2010, 07:46am

New York Times

July 21, 2010
U.S. to Enact More Sanctions Against North Korea
By MARK LANDLER and ELISABETH BUMILLER

SEOUL, South Korea — The Obama administration announced Wednesday it will impose further economic sanctions against North Korea, throwing legal weight behind a choreographed show of pressure on the North that included an unusual joint visit to the demilitarized zone by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

The measures, announced here by Mrs. Clinton after high-level talks with South Korean officials, take aim at counterfeiting, money laundering, and other dealings which she said the North Korean regime uses to generate hard currency to pay off cronies and cling to power.

While the United States already sanctions North Korea as heavily as any country in the world, American officials insisted the new measures would further tighten the financial vise around the isolated North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-il, who is believed to be in declining health.

The unilateral American action came two months after an international inquiry found that a North Korean torpedo sank a South Korean warship, killing 46 sailors. The North’s bellicose behavior, analysts say, reflects a deepening power struggle inside the country. But the United States has struggled to build consensus about how harshly to confront the regime.

While the United Nations Security Council voted to condemn the sinking of the warship, it did not name North Korea as the culprit because of resistance from China, the North’s neighbor and most important ally.

Mrs. Clinton demanded that Pyongyang take responsibility for the attack, saying it would continue to be a pariah until it did so. She ruled out any negotiations with the North Korean government until it agreed to relinquish its nuclear weapons. And she said that the United States would expand and stiffen its sanctions to “target their leadership, target their assets.”

“These measures are not directed at the people of North Korea, who have suffered for too long due to the misguided and maligned priorities of their government,” Mrs. Clinton said at a news conference, flanked by Mr. Gates and South Korea’s defense and foreign ministers. “They are directed at the destabilizing, illicit, and provocative policies pursued by that government.”

Her announcement punctuated a visit rich in symbols of American diplomacy and military might, organized to mark the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War. On Tuesday, the United States and South Korea confirmed they would stage large-scale military exercises in the seas off Japan and the Korean peninsula, as a show of deterrence against the North.

Then, on Wednesday, Mr. Gates and Mrs. Clinton traveled Panmunjom, in the demilitarized zone, where they clambered up an observation post in a gloomy drizzle to peer into the North. Later, as the pair toured a small building that straddles the military demarcation line between North and South, a North Korean soldier glared at them through a window.

Neither acknowledged the soldier, though afterward, the two stood before a phalanx of cameras, under the gaze of guards from the North Korean side, to proclaim solidarity with South Korea.

“It is stunning how little has changed up there and yet how much South Korea continues to grow and prosper,” Mr. Gates said, noting that this was his third visit to the demilitarized zone — the first being in the early 1990’s when he was the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

It was Mrs. Clinton’s first visit, and she said she was struck by the narrow strip of land separating the two sides. “Although it may be a thin line,” she said, “these two places are worlds apart.”

The administration’s show of solidarity with South Korea has complicated ties with China. In addition to its balkiness at the United Nations, Beijing has objected to the joint naval exercises, which have frayed an already-tense relationship between the militaries of China and the United States. Earlier this year, Beijing brusquely canceled a planned visit by Mr. Gates.

“I remain open to rebuilding and strengthening military-to-military dialogue between United States and China,” Mr. Gates said. But he added, “We are obviously concerned by some of the things China has said, some of the things China is doing in the military arena; they are worrying.”

Administration officials would not give specifics on the planned sanctions against North Korea, though they said the steps would mainly build on those already put in place by the Treasury Department or enshrined in the latest Security Council resolution against North Korea.

Mrs. Clinton the United States would designate North Korean companies and individuals involved in weapons proliferation and other illicit activity. As an example, American officials cited the trade in counterfeit cigarettes. The sanctions would also target liquor, exotic food, and other luxury goods, which Pyongyang uses in a vast system of patronage. And they will target North Korean officials who use diplomatic privilege to cloak their dealings.

In the coming days, Mrs. Clinton said she would dispatch her special advisor on nonproliferation and arms control, Robert J. Einhorn, to discuss the sanctions with countries in Asia. Since no legitimate American banks do business with the North, the effectiveness of the measures will depend heavily on getting banks in other countries to shun North Korea.

Given the North’s profound isolation, some analysts question how much more damage sanctions can do.

The strategy of aiming sanctions at the country’s elite is similar to the latest United Nations sanctions against Iran, which place special emphasis on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. A previous effort to punish politically-connected North Koreans, by freezing the assets of a Macao-based bank, Banco Delta Asia, where many of them had accounts, proved quite successful, analysts said.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/22/world/asia/22military.html?_r=1&hp

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Luvey on Jul 21st, 2010, 07:48am

on Jul 21st, 2010, 07:42am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Good morning/evening Pen,
OH! Please tell me about the shadow person!
Please!
Crystal


Good morning Crystal... grin

Its the last post in this thread: http://ufocasebook.conforums.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=hauntings&num=1213244862&start=15

I have to hunt through our receipts to see what night that happened, as we had a very full on, non stop holiday.... and I am wondering if they had an outdoor security camera at that motel. If so they may have captured it on film.

Take care
Pen
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 21st, 2010, 07:49am

New York Times

July 20, 2010
Ex-Official Says Afghan and Iraq Wars Increased Threats to Britain
By SARAH LYALL

LONDON — The former director general of Britain’s domestic intelligence agency said Tuesday that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had greatly increased the terrorist threat to Britain and that intelligence available before the Iraq war had not been sufficient to justify the invasion of that country.

“Our involvement in Iraq, for want of a better word, radicalized a whole generation of young people — not a whole generation, a few among a generation — who saw our involvement in Iraq, on top of our involvement in Afghanistan, as being an attack on Islam,” said the former official, Baroness Manningham-Buller.

Lady Manningham-Buller, who led MI5, roughly the British equivalent of the F.B.I., from 2002 to 2007, made her remarks in testimony to a panel investigating the events leading to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The panel, led by Sir John Chilcot, has heard from a variety of witnesses, including Sir Richard Dearlove, the former leader of MI6, Britain’s foreign intelligence agency, and former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The panel is expected to issue a report later this year examining some of the mistakes that were made and making recommendations for future military operations.

Lady Manningham-Buller has said on a number of occasions that Mr. Blair’s government failed to heed MI5’s warning that attacking Saddam Hussein would make Britain more vulnerable to terrorism. But her remarks to the panel on Tuesday were particularly pointed and critical of the decisions leading to the American-led, British-supported invasion.

Answering questions from the panel, she also said that Iraq had presented little threat to Britain before the invasion, and that there had been no reliable evidence linking the government of Saddam Hussein to the terrorist attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.

“There was no credible intelligence to suggest that connection, and that was the judgment, I might say, of the C.I.A.,” she said.

“Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11,” she added, “and I have never seen anything to make me change my mind.”

But, she said, “it was not a judgment that found favor with some parts of the American machine” — namely Donald H. Rumsfeld, the United States secretary of defense at the time.

That “is why Donald Rumsfeld started an alternative intelligence unit in the Pentagon to seek an alternative judgment,” she said.

Lady Manningham-Buller also said that Britain relied on “fragmentary” intelligence before invading Iraq, and that MI5 had not believed that Mr. Hussein was amassing unconventional weapons in Iraq, as the government contended.

The belief that Iraq might use such weapons “wasn’t a concern in either the short term or the medium term to my colleagues and myself,” she said.

Not only was the invasion unnecessary based on what was known about Iraq, Lady Manningham-Buller said, but it diverted attention from the real threat, Al Qaeda.

“By focusing on Iraq, we ceased to focus on the Al Qaeda threat or we reduced the focus on the Al Qaeda threat in Afghanistan,” she said. “I think that was a long-term, major and strategic problem.”

The invasion led to an “almost overwhelming” increase in homegrown terrorism, she said, so much so that MI5 had to have its budget doubled in the following months. And after the invasion, about 70 to 80 Britons traveled to Iraq to join the insurgency, she said, thus creating a threat where there had been none.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/21/world/europe/21london.html?ref=world

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 21st, 2010, 07:52am

New York Times

July 20, 2010
House Panel’s NASA Spending Bill Cuts Back Obama Plan
By KENNETH CHANG

An authorization bill put together by a House committee for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration would greatly scale back President Obama’s plans to spur a commercial market for the launching of people into space and would direct the agency to continue developing its own rocket.

The bill from the House Committee on Science and Technology would provide $750 million over five years for the so-called commercial crew initiative — investing in companies to develop a space taxi service for taking astronauts into orbit; that is far less than the $6 billion the Obama administration requested and less than the $1.3 billion over three years that a Senate committee approved in its version of the authorization bill last week. In addition, $500 million of the money in the House bill would be in the form of loans and loan guarantees rather than direct financing.

Douglas O. Stanley, a researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a former NASA manager, said the loan guarantees were “a very interesting and innovative approach” that could make more money available for the companies at less cost to NASA.

The House bill, to be discussed at a committee meeting on Thursday, would leave to NASA the decision of what to build as a government alternative, but it would most likely include the Orion crew capsule and perhaps even the Ares I rocket. The administration would like to cancel the Ares I as part of its efforts to end the current Constellation program, which was to send astronauts back to the moon.

The Senate version did not continue development of the Ares I and called for developing a heavy-lift rocket by the end of 2016; the House bill would slow the heavy-lift development, with completion by 2020.

The House bill does not finance an additional space shuttle flight next year as the Senate bill had called for. By contrast, the House bill adds financing for cutting-edge space technologies, which had been another key component of the Obama space plan but which had been largely eliminated in the Senate bill.

Bretton Alexander, president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, a trade group, said the draft House bill was “completely unexecutable” and would leave the United States dependent on Russia for transportation to orbit.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/21/science/space/21nasa.html?ref=science

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 21st, 2010, 07:58am

Telegraph

Forty-ton whale lands on yacht during Cape Town sailing trip
A couple who took a yacht for a quiet sailing trip were stunned when a 40-ton whale crash-landed on their boat off Cape Town.

Published: 11:58PM BST 20 Jul 2010

The pair were enjoying calm seas off the South African coast when the animal flipped into the air and smashed into their mast.

Ralph Mothes, 59, and Paloma Werner, 50, were helpless as the beast thrashed around on their 33ft vessel before slipping back into the water.

Miss Werner said: "It really was quite incredible but very scary. The whale was about the same size as the boat.

"We'd spotted it about 100 metres away and thought that was the end of it. Then suddenly it was right up beside us.

"I assumed it would go underneath the boat but instead it sprang out of the sea. We were very lucky to get through it, as the sheer weight of the thing was huge.

"There were bits of skin and blubber left behind, and the mast was wrecked. It brought down the rigging too.

"Thank goodness the hull was made of steel and not fibreglass or we could have been ruined."

Moments before the animal leapt it had pounded its tail on the surface of the water in a 'lob-tailing' ritual to communicate with other whales.

The shaken couple, who are experienced seafarers with the Cape Town Sailing Academy, used their engine to get back to shore in Table Bay.

Whales are a common sight in the Atlantic Ocean off the Western Cape coast at this time of year as they come near the shore to breed.

photos and more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7901247/Forty-ton-whale-lands-on-yacht-during-Cape-Town-sailing-trip.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 21st, 2010, 08:03am

LA Times

Oakland council OKs plan to set up pot factories
The 5-2 vote came after two hours of testy debate between growers who argued the proposal could destroy their livelihoods and businessmen who said it could turn Oakland into the Silicon Valley of pot.
By John Hoeffel

July 21, 2010

Reporting from Oakland

Oakland's City Council on Tuesday approved an ordinance that could make it the first city in the state to permit industrial marijuana production, a path-breaking decision that could spur the commercialization of a crop largely grown in hidden gardens.

The plan would authorize four potentially enormous pot factories, but makes no provision for the hundreds of growers who now supply Oakland's four dispensaries, which sold $28 million in marijuana last year. The council, however, promised it would develop a plan for these growers before permits are awarded next year for the four large-scale marijuana operations.

"This is a monumental step forward," said Dale Gieringer, an Oakland resident and the longtime head of California NORML, which backs the legalization of marijuana. "It really means moving into the era of industrial-scale operations and Oakland means to do it big."

The 5-2 vote came after two hours of testy debate between pot growers who argued the proposal could destroy their livelihoods and businessmen who said it could turn Oakland into the Silicon Valley of pot, create jobs and generate new tax revenues. The audience booed, hissed and talked back, causing City Council President Jane Brunner to repeatedly admonish the crowd.

Steve DeAngelo, who runs Harborside Health Center, the city's largest dispensary, led a campaign to urge the council to accommodate these growers in the ordinance.

"These growers are not anonymous miscreants burning down houses and bringing crime to neighborhoods," said DeAngelo, who buys marijuana from more than 400 growers. "They are real people, decent people with families to support."

Jeff Wilcox, a businessman who has presented the most detailed plan for a marijuana factory, warned the council that if it did not act quickly, it would lose the momentum to other cities, such as Berkeley, which plans to ask voters to approve six large-scale commercial operations.

"You've got an issue here," he said. "You're late."

The proposal has ignited a contentious debate in Oakland over whether the city should be in the business of deciding who gets to be a marijuana mogul. The annual permit fee would be $211,000, a high barrier for smaller growers. Many fear that after years of risking federal prosecution, they will be shut out just as Oakland seeks to legitimize pot cultivation.

But Rebecca Kaplan and Larry Reid, the two council members who drafted the proposal, want the city to exert more control over cultivation, including setting up a city staff that would routinely inspect the four operations. They say it could eliminate violent robberies, fires caused by faultily wired grow houses and excessive use of pesticides.

Bringing what has been a secretive and lucrative cash business into the open would also allow Oakland to tax it, potentially adding millions of dollars to its ailing budget. The city, which has led the state in its innovative approach to marijuana, was the first to adopt a pot tax, which is 1.8%, but is considering asking voters to approve a substantial increase.

Oakland keeps a list of people who have expressed interest in the permits. On Tuesday afternoon, Arturo Sanchez, who oversees the city's marijuana regulations, said it had 192 names.

But much of the attention has focused on just a few successful businessmen who have been vocal about their plans and their intent to win permits. They have money, buildings, proposals and ready access to the council members, but only recently became interested in medical marijuana.

more after the jump
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0721-oakland-pot-20100721,0,2767349.story

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 21st, 2010, 08:09am

Washington Post

The secrets next door
Tuesday, July 20, 2010; 11:46 PM

In suburbs across the nation, the intelligence community goes about its anonymous business. Its work isn’t seen, but its impact is surely felt.

The brick warehouse is not just a warehouse. Drive through the gate and around back, and there, hidden away, is someone's personal security detail: a fleet of black SUVs that have been armored up to withstand explosions and gunfire.

Along the main street, the signs in the median aren't advertising homes for sale; they're inviting employees with top-secret security clearances to a job fair at Cafe Joe, which is anything but a typical lunch spot.

The new gunmetal-colored office building is really a kind of hotel where businesses can rent eavesdrop-proof rooms.

Even the manhole cover between two low-slung buildings is not just a manhole cover. Surrounded by concrete cylinders, it is an access point to a government cable. "TS/SCI," whispers an official, the abbreviations for "top secret" and "sensitive compartmented information" - and that means few people are allowed to know what information the cable transmits.

All of these places exist just outside Washington in what amounts to the capital of an alternative geography of the United States, one defined by the concentration of top-secret government organizations and the companies that do work for them. This Fort Meade cluster is the largest of a dozen such clusters across the United States that are the nerve centers of Top Secret America and its 854,000 workers.

Other locations include Dulles-Chantilly, Denver-Aurora and Tampa. All of them are under-the-radar versions of traditional military towns: economically dependent on the federal budget and culturally defined by their unique work.

The difference, of course, is that the military is not a secret culture. In the clusters of Top Secret America, a company lanyard attached to a digital smart card is often the only clue to a job location. Work is not discussed. Neither are deployments. Debate about the role of intelligence in protecting the country occurs only when something goes wrong and the government investigates, or when an unauthorized disclosure of classified information turns into news.

The existence of these clusters is so little known that most people don't realize when they're nearing the epicenter of Fort Meade's, even when the GPS on their car dashboard suddenly begins giving incorrect directions, trapping the driver in a series of U-turns, because the government is jamming all nearby signals.

Once this happens, it means that ground zero - the National Security Agency - is close by. But it's not easy to tell where. Trees, walls and a sloping landscape obscure the NSA's presence from most vantage points, and concrete barriers, fortified guard posts and warning signs stop those without authorization from entering the grounds of the largest intelligence agency in the United States.

In our back yards
Many Americans don't realize that top-secret work could be happening right next door.

Beyond all those obstacles loom huge buildings with row after row of opaque, blast-resistant windows, and behind those are an estimated 30,000 people, many of them reading, listening to and analyzing an endless flood of intercepted conversations 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

From the road, it's impossible to tell how large the NSA has become, even though its buildings occupy 6.3 million square feet - about the size of the Pentagon - and are surrounded by 112 acres of parking spaces. As massive as that might seem, documents indicate that the NSA is only going to get bigger: 10,000 more workers over the next 15 years; $2 billion to pay for just the first phase of expansion; an overall increase in size that will bring its building space throughout the Fort Meade cluster to nearly 14 million square feet.

The NSA headquarters sits on the Fort Meade Army base, which hosts 80 government tenants in all, including several large intelligence organizations.

Together, they inject $10 billion from paychecks and contracts into the region's economy every year - a figure that helps explain the rest of the Fort Meade cluster, which fans out about 10 miles in every direction.

----

Just beyond the NSA perimeter, the companies that thrive off the agency and other nearby intelligence organizations begin. In some parts of the cluster, they occupy entire neighborhoods. In others, they make up mile-long business parks connected to the NSA campus by a private roadway guarded by forbidding yellow "Warning" signs.

The largest of these is the National Business Park - 285 tucked-away acres of wide, angular glass towers that go on for blocks. The occupants of these buildings are contractors, and in their more publicly known locations, they purposely understate their presence. But in the National Business Park, a place where only other contractors would have reason to go, their office signs are huge, glowing at night in bright red, yellow and blue: Booz Allen Hamilton, L-3 Communications, CSC, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, SAIC.

More than 250 companies - 13 percent of all the firms in Top Secret America - have a presence in the Fort Meade cluster. Some have multiple offices, such as Northrop Grumman, which has 19, and SAIC, which has 11. In all, there are 681 locations in the Fort Meade cluster where businesses conduct top-secret work.

Inside the locations are employees who must submit to strict, intrusive rules. They take lie-detector tests routinely, sign nondisclosure forms and file lengthy reports whenever they travel overseas. They are coached on how to deal with nosy neighbors and curious friends. Some are trained to assume false identities.

If they drink too much, borrow too much money or socialize with citizens from certain countries, they can lose their security clearances, and a clearance is the passport to a job for life at the NSA and its sister intelligence organizations.

The role of private contractors
As Top Secret America has grown, the government has become more dependent on contractors with matching security clearances.

Chances are they excel at math: To do what it does, the NSA relies on the largest number of mathematicians in the world. It needs linguists and technology experts, as well as cryptologists, known as "crippies." Many know themselves as ISTJ, which stands for "Introverted with Sensing, Thinking and Judging," a basket of personality traits identified on the Myers-Briggs personality test and prevalent in the Fort Meade cluster.

The old joke: "How can you tell the extrovert at NSA? He's the one looking at someone else's shoes."

"These are some of the most brilliant people in the world," said Ken Ulman, executive of Howard County, one of six counties in NSA's geographic sphere of influence. "They demand good schools and a high quality of life."

The schools, indeed, are among the best, and some are adopting a curriculum this fall that will teach students as young as 10 what kind of lifestyle it takes to get a security clearance and what kind of behavior would disqualify them.

Outside one school is the jarring sight of yellow school buses lined up across from a building where personnel from the "Five Eye" allies - the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand - share top-secret information about the entire world.

The buses deliver children to neighborhoods that are among the wealthiest in the country; affluence is another attribute of Top Secret America. Six of the 10 richest counties in the United States, according to Census Bureau data, are in these clusters.

Loudoun County, ranked as the wealthiest county in the country, helps supply the workforce of the nearby National Reconnaissance Office headquarters, which manages spy satellites. Fairfax County, the second-wealthiest, is home to the NRO, the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Arlington County, ranked ninth, hosts the Pentagon and major intelligence agencies. Montgomery County, ranked 10th, is home to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. And Howard County, ranked third, is home to 8,000 NSA employees.

"If this were a Chrysler plant, we'd be talking Chrysler in the bowling alley, Chrysler in the council meetings, Chrysler, Chrysler, Chrysler," said Kent Menser, a Defense Department employee helping Howard County adjust to the growth of nearby Fort Meade. "People who are not in the workforce of NSA don't fully appreciate the impact of it on their lives."

----

The impact of the NSA and other secretive organizations in this cluster is not just monetary. It shades even the flow of traffic one particular day as a white van pulls out of a parking lot and into midday traffic.

That white van is followed by five others just like it.

more after the jump
http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/secrets-next-door/

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 21st, 2010, 08:11am

Steve Hammons article

(This article also appears on American Chronicle).

The website of Bigelow Aerospace has been enhanced with a new design and more informative, fascinating features.

BigelowAerospace.com now provides updated information on their "next generation commercial space stations" and the many operational components of the company's past, current and future endeavors.

As the website notes, NASA's Commercial Crew Development program is partnering with a range of private companies to develop the resources to take commercial space travel to the next level in safe, cost-effective and innovative ways.

Bigelow Aerospace is now an integral part of the mix with its expandable space station modules.

The redesigned website provides a comprehensive view of their role in future commercial space activities.

Their relationship with Boeing in the development of the CST-100 capsule is a key part of plans to provide crew and cargo transportation to and from Bigelow's expandable space modules.

A variety of elements involved in Bigelow Aerospace's efforts are explained in the user-friendly and visually exciting new features of BigelowAerospace.com.

Visitors to BigelowAerospace.com will find five main sections at the top of the home page: Station Development, Station Operation, In the News, Company Profile and Careers. Under each of these categories, several subsections provide further fascinating information.

STATION DEVELOPMENT

The Station Development section includes subsections on the history of expandable spacecraft. For readers who think this concept is recent, the website points out the interesting background of the idea.

The website explains that "The concept of utilizing expandable, or, as referred to in the past, 'inflatable' spacecraft and space systems, is not a new idea. The history of inflatable space systems goes back to the very beginning of America' space program." The website traces the history of the expandable space module concept.

The successful launches of Bigelow Aerospace's two prototypes, Genesis I and Genesis II, are also described.

"Launched on July 12, 2006 at the ISC Kosmotras Space and Missile Complex near Yasny, Russia aboard a converted Russian ICBM (the Dnepr), Genesis I became Bigelow Aerospace´s first operational spacecraft and was a tremendous success."

"Genesis II was successfully launched from the Kosmotras Space and Missile Complex ... on June 28, 2007. Like its predecessor, Genesis II is testing and validating the technologies necessary to construct and deploy a full-scale, crewed, commercial orbital space complex. Although externally, Genesis II may look like an exact duplicate of Genesis I, the similarities end there. Genesis II contains numerous systems not flown on its predecessor ..."

And now, the larger and more sophisticated Sundancer and BA 330 modules are in the pipeline.

The website explains that "Bigelow Aerospace's planned first full-scale module is the Sundancer, targeted for launch and orbit in 2014." In addition, "Bigelow Aerospace's first station complex will also include the BA 330 module, which will have almost twice the volume of Sundancer."

Detailed information on the website about Sundancer and the BA 330 include specifics about occupancy, radiation protection, ballistic protection, propulsion, electrical power, avionics, environment control and life support system as well as the windows that will offer amazing views of Earth and space.

STATION OPERATION

Under the website's Station Operation section, readers can learn about the planned construction of orbital complexes, linking several inflatable modules, crew and cargo transportation capsules, and other components.

A video on the website's home page shows how this process would work.

Astronaut training is also explored. "Our space station leases will include training for our clients' designated astronauts. Training will include qualification screening for mental and physical health, acclimation to physical forces including microgravity, operation of space station daily living systems, and mission specific training," the site explains.

Bigelow Aerospace plans for these efforts to be a sound business investment by developing customers who will pay for time in space aboard their stations.

"Bigelow Aerospace's clients will be able to lease the entire station, an entire BA 330 or Sundancer or share space within a module," according to the website.

The site also notes, "We will provide a comprehensive turn-key experience including our clients' transportation and on-orbit needs. Whether you are a sovereign nation developing an astronaut program, a corporation interested in microgravity research, or an individual with a desire to experience space, we can help you achieve your goals."

IN THE NEWS

This section of the website includes recent announcements, print articles and interviews, as well as video interviews from a wide range of national and international media outlets.

More than 300 media articles are listed and linked. These provide a comprehensive overview of media focus and public attention about Bigelow Aerospace's projects.

Recent interviews with Bigelow Aerospace representative Michael Gold bring readers up to date on the latest developments and plans.

Photos in this section include a view of the plant floor where the modules are being constructed. Website visitors can also see a model of the concept of a moon base using Bigelow Aerospace modules.

Quoting from a New York Times article, this section also points out, "Mr. Bigelow has spent about $180 million of his own money so far and has said he is willing to spend up to $320 million more. An expansion of the factory will double the amount of floor space as the company begins the transition from research and development to production."

COMPANY PROFILE

This section of the new website provides a robust overview of Bigelow Aerospace, its activities, vision and the background of founder and President Robert T. Bigelow.

The website states, "With over ten years of research and development, we are dedicated to providing affordable options for spaceflight to national space agencies and corporate clients. In 2006 and 2007, we launched our orbiting prototypes Genesis I and Genesis II, and we are currently working on new-generation spacecraft."

"Using our patented expandable habitats, our plan is to greatly exceed the usable space of the International Space Station at a fraction of the cost."

"Bigelow Aerospace's founder and President, Robert T. Bigelow, is a Las Vegas native who for nearly forty years has operated as a general contractor and developer in the Southwestern United States. Mr. Bigelow's primary activities have been in real estate development, as well as banking and finance," the website says.

"Mr. Bigelow created Bigelow Aerospace with the express purpose of revolutionizing space commerce via the development of affordable, reliable, and robust expandable space habitats."

This section of the website also contains interesting details about the Bigelow Aerospace plant. "Soon after beginning operations, Bigelow Aerospace purchased a 50 acre plot of land in North Las Vegas, Nevada, and initiated construction on a world-class aerospace center."

"Today, Bigelow Aerospace's headquarters contains its primary manufacturing, fabrication, and testing facilities, along with its mission control room, a ground station for communicating with spacecraft, a neutral buoyancy tank where structures have been tested to destruction, and high-bays."

"With a new 265,000 sq. ft. addition now underway, total building size of this facility will be 425,000 sq. ft."

MISSION CONTROL

Readers will want to check out the subsection on the Mission Control Center. "The Bigelow Aerospace Mission Control Center in North Las Vegas, Nevada, monitors and operates the company's spacecraft currently in orbit and will control Bigelow Aerospace's future space facilities."

"Mission controllers sit at various multi-monitor consoles below two large video walls that show telemetry, spacecraft position, orbital pass times and photos returned from the spacecraft," the website notes.

"Data and imagery are transmitted into Mission Control from the two Bigelow Aerospace spacecraft currently orbiting the Earth – Genesis I and Genesis II."

"Communications take place when either spacecraft makes a 'pass´'over any of Bigelow Aerospace's four ground stations – positioned strategically around North America – in Na'alehu, Hawaii, North Pole, Alaska, North Las Vegas, Nevada, and the former site of Loring Air Force Base near Limestone, Maine."

The website also explains that "Unlike NASA's Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas, Bigelow Aerospace's Mission Control consists of a small team of engineers with various backgrounds that are each responsible for the broad operation of all systems on each vehicle."

"Each controller is responsible for vehicle command and control, data acquisition, vision/imagery operations, ground station operations, and the development and testing of future Bigelow Aerospace modules, among other duties."

"The Bigelow Aerospace Mission Control Center may be manned at any given time, 24 hours a day, based on the window of time that each spacecraft's orbit brings it within sight of any of the four ground stations."

"As Bigelow Aerospace progresses from operating the unmanned prototype Genesis spacecraft to larger, manned space facilities, Mission Control will transition and grow to include system specific operators providing around-the-clock on-console support."

more after the jump
http://jointreconstudygroup.blogspot.com/

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 21st, 2010, 08:16am

UFO Digest new look.


Publisher's Note
Welcome to the brand new UFO Digest! We are really proud of this version and hope that the extra features we have added will have you coming back to us daily.

This site is designed for your ease of use. UFO Digest is now a community of authors, readers, writers, photographers and videographers. A place where you can share your ideas, thoughts, criticism and submissions with others sharing your enthusiasm for UFOs and the paranormal. We have added a new forum, to go along with our comments, polls and our ever popular newsletter. Keep reading this area for other news from UFO Digest. Thanks Dirk

http://www.ufodigest.com/

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 21st, 2010, 08:23am

on Jul 21st, 2010, 07:48am, Luvey wrote:
Good morning Crystal... grin

Its the last post in this thread: http://ufocasebook.conforums.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=hauntings&num=1213244862&start=15

I have to hunt through our receipts to see what night that happened, as we had a very full on, non stop holiday.... and I am wondering if they had an outdoor security camera at that motel. If so they may have captured it on film.

Take care
Pen


Yea! Thanks Pen cheesy
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 21st, 2010, 08:28am

begin quote -

I sat there just looking around, and then the shadow being came right over the bonnet of the car.... it was pretty big and appeared to also come through the windscreen. I thought that was too close for comfort. I felt no fear, but was concerned as I had no idea what it was apart from it being a shadow being.... or what it wanted, but it was definitely sneaking around before it came to the car.... !! It moved very fast.... I turned and looked at the lobby door and saw my husband coming out and felt relieved....

- end quote

Pen that sounds pretty scary.
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Luvey on Jul 21st, 2010, 08:47am

on Jul 21st, 2010, 08:28am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
begin quote -

I sat there just looking around, and then the shadow being came right over the bonnet of the car.... it was pretty big and appeared to also come through the windscreen. I thought that was too close for comfort. I felt no fear, but was concerned as I had no idea what it was apart from it being a shadow being.... or what it wanted, but it was definitely sneaking around before it came to the car.... !! It moved very fast.... I turned and looked at the lobby door and saw my husband coming out and felt relieved....

- end quote

Pen that sounds pretty scary.
Crystal


Hi Crystal

I felt no fear, but I have been terrified in the past. One night one was standing beside my bed really close... when I looked at it, it took off at high speed in a jerking type fashion, and then I saw others in my room and I was terrified and hid under the covers. But I was much younger then. I have seen a few since that haven't frightened me.
From my experience there are different types of shadows beings and some seem organized. I would like to know who and what they are.... and what is their purpose here.

Pen
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 21st, 2010, 09:58am

Pen you might enjoy a book by Jason Offutt called "Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us"

He interviewed people that had experiences like yours.

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 21st, 2010, 12:33pm

on Jul 21st, 2010, 08:47am, Luvey wrote:
From my experience there are different types of shadows beings and some seem organized. I would like to know who and what they are.... and what is their purpose here.

Pen

They might be aliens in a kind of "phased out"-state, being just partly in what we call our dimension, who knows.

This is really a puzzling case IMO. Wonder if any Nordics were involved. wink

Black parents ... white baby

THE stunned black dad of a newborn, WHITE, baby girl declared yesterday — "I'm sure she's my kid ... I just don't know why she's BLONDE."

British Nmachi Ihegboro has amazed genetics experts who say the little girl is NOT an albino.

Dad Ben, 44, a customer services adviser, admitted: "We both just sat there after the birth staring at her."

Mum Angela, 35, of Woolwich, South London, beamed as she said: "She's beautiful - a miracle baby."

Ben told yesterday how he was so shocked when Nmachi was born, he even joked: "Is she MINE?"


Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3060907/Black-parents-give-birth-to-white-baby.html#ixzz0uL64vqoP

It's obvious to me that despite the baby's different color of skin the parents are pretty proud of her. And they got any reason to be. Just look at her, what a beauty! smiley

My congrats to the parents!

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 21st, 2010, 3:40pm

Hey Phil!
What a nice family. You would drop your jaw if you were suddenly handed your new baby and she was white.............er................some mistake?................ shocked
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 21st, 2010, 3:55pm

Phantoms and Monsters

Wednesday, July 21, 2010
UFO Photo to be Analyzed by Uruguayan Air Force

The image of the object was captured during the celebration of the people with the Uruguayan football team...celebrating the team's performance during the World Cup in South Africa.

The author of this picture (who preferred not to reveal his/her name), states that the bus which carried the players during the celebration was going to pass near their work place, so they went out to salute the team and take some photos.

In the same night, when they were downloading the data to the computer, they discovered “a strange black dot” in one of the photos.

The Air Force through the C.R.I.D.O.V.N.I (Receptive and Investigative Commission of UFOs Report) received the image to analyze and report.

Col. Ariel Sánchez said there weren’t any anomalies registered in the sky that day (Tuesday July 13th, 2010) and that planes from the Air force participated in the celebration. However, he said that "there will be a scientific investigation with the professionals in the air force and that the inquiry will give assertive results regarding the origin of the object in question".

He added: “We never rule out the possibility of an UFO, but we also know it could be physic particles or light manifestations”.

full article and photos after the jump

http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/2010/07/ufo-photo-to-be-analyzed-by-uruguayan.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 21st, 2010, 4:15pm

Looks like a balloon to me.

User Image

Hello Crystal! How are you doing? smiley
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 21st, 2010, 10:08pm

on Jul 21st, 2010, 4:15pm, philliman wrote:
Looks like a balloon to me.

User Image

Hello Crystal! How are you doing? smiley


Great UFO Phil! grin
Happy around here. Hope you are doing well.
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 21st, 2010, 10:09pm




User Image


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 22nd, 2010, 06:08am

Good morning, Crystal and all! smiley


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 22nd, 2010, 07:31am

And a good morning to you too Phil!!
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 22nd, 2010, 07:36am

Washington Post has a whole interactive section on "Top Secret America"

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/

Crystal

here's the twitter link for Top Secret America

http://twitter.com/postTSA
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 22nd, 2010, 07:39am

New York Times

July 21, 2010
Obama Faces New Doubts on Pursuing Afghan War
By DAVID E. SANGER

WASHINGTON — When President Obama announced a new strategy for Afghanistan in December, he argued that by setting a deadline of next summer to begin drawing down troops he would create a sense of urgency for the Afghan government to take the lead in the fight, while acknowledging the limits of America’s patience with the longest war in its history.

But over the past two weeks — on Capitol Hill, in Kabul and even in conversations with foreign leaders — Mr. Obama has been reminded how the goal has become what one senior American military commander called a “double-edged sword,” one that hangs over the White House as surely as it hangs over President Hamid Karzai.

The absence of serious progress this year has sown new doubts, here and abroad, that Mr. Obama will be able to reach even the scaled-down goals he set for America’s mission in the time he laid out in his speech at West Point seven months ago. The result is that the fierce debate over whether the war is worth the cost — a debate that Mr. Obama did not want to join until the Taliban suffered some losses — is unwinding one summer earlier than he had hoped.

Mr. Obama has begun losing critical political figures and strategists who are increasingly vocal in arguing that the benefits of continuing on the current course for at least another year, and probably longer, are greatly outweighed by the escalating price.

For two months, Democrats in Congress have been holding up billions of dollars in additional financing for the war, longer than they ever delayed similar requests from President George W. Bush. Most Republican leaders have largely backed a continued commitment, but the White House was surprised the other day when one of Mr. Obama’s mentors on foreign policy issues in the Senate, Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, argued that “the lack of clarity in Afghanistan does not end with the president’s timetable,” and that both the military and civilian missions were “proceeding without a clear definition of success.”

“We could make progress for decades on security, on employment, good governance, women’s rights,” he said, without ever reaching “a satisfying conclusion.”

The allies, voicing similar concerns, have abandoned most talk of a conditions-based withdrawal in favor of harder timetables. Britain’s new prime minister, David Cameron, did his best to sound as though he and Mr. Obama were on the same page during his first visit to the White House on Tuesday, but he also told a BBC interviewer while in Washington, “We’re not going to be there in five years’ time.”

The Dutch leave this fall, and the Canadians say they intend to follow suit by the end of 2011.

As one of Mr. Obama’s top strategists said this week, with some understatement, “There are signs that the durability of this mission has to be attended to.”

All this has made it harder than ever for Mr. Obama to convince the Afghans and the Pakistanis that the West’s commitment is enduring. “Politically, the support is absolutely crumbling,” said David Gordon, a former top official on the National Intelligence Council and at the State Department who is now at the Eurasia Group. “You can’t hide that from the players in the region, and when they see it, it makes them hedge even more, preparing for the post-American era.”

In public, White House officials continue to argue that Mr. Obama struck the right balance last December, and sent the right signals, when he called for a short-term troop increase followed by a drawdown. “America has no interest in fighting an endless war in Afghanistan,” he said then, quoting President Eisenhower about the importance of balancing America’s foreign commitments with its domestic needs.

But when granted anonymity, some senior White House officials who a few months ago said that this would be “the year of Kandahar” — referring to plans to retake control of the city that was the spiritual center of the Taliban — now acknowledge that the chances of progress there are growing more remote.

From the start of Mr. Obama’s review of the war’s strategy last year, he and his advisers debated the debilitating effects of what one called “the weariness factor.” Their calculation was that the withdrawal from Iraq, combined with the 18-month limit on the troop increase established by Mr. Obama, would quiet critics in his own party. That assessment proved optimistic. Earlier this month, 153 Democrats, including the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, voted in favor of an amendment that would have required a clear timetable for withdrawal. Only 98 Democrats joined Republicans in defeating it.

But over the long term, what may be more damaging is the fact that members of the foreign policy establishment, even those who vigorously supported ousting the Taliban in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks, are gaining traction with arguments that the White House has simply failed to make the case that the rising cost is worth it.

“After nearly nine years of war,” Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a senior official in Mr. Bush’s State Department, wrote over the weekend in Newsweek, “continued or increased U.S. involvement in Afghanistan isn’t likely to yield lasting improvements that would be commensurate in any way with the investment of American blood and treasure. It is time to scale down our ambitions there and both reduce and redirect what we do.”

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/22/world/asia/22assess.html?_r=1&ref=world

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 22nd, 2010, 07:42am

New York Times

July 21, 2010
4 Oil Firms Commit $1 Billion for Gulf Rapid-Response Plan
By JAD MOUAWAD

Four of the world’s biggest oil companies said on Wednesday that they were committing $1 billion to create a rapid-response system to deal with deepwater oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico, seeking to restore public confidence in the industry after the BP disaster painfully exposed how unprepared the industry was for a major accident.

The voluntary effort, which involves building a set of modular containment equipment that would be kept on standby for emergency use, comes as oil companies seek to persuade the Obama administration to lift a temporary ban on deepwater drilling. The moratorium was imposed after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded on April 20 and spewed millions of gallons of oil into the gulf.

Officials said the spill served as a wake-up call for the industry, which had invested billions of dollars to develop oil and gas resources in ever-deeper waters offshore but neglected to devise spill-response technology that could be effective in thousands of feet of water.

Environmentalists, members of Congress and federal and state officials have already made it clear that the industry will face tougher regulations when drilling resumes. The emergency response plan is part of the oil industry’s effort to show it can improve its safety procedures and shape the inevitable rules of conduct that will be imposed.

The plan — which was put together by Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell — incorporates many of the lessons that BP was forced to learn the hard way in trying to cap a gushing oil well 5,000 feet below the ocean’s surface.

The four companies said their initiative would seek to include all the companies involved in offshore drilling in the gulf, including BP. Their initial financing of $250 million each will be used to build a set of containment equipment, like underwater systems and pipelines, that will be able to deal with a variety of deepwater problems and can be deployed rapidly in the event of a spill.

The partners said it would take six months to get all the elements in place. The companies expect the system will be able to contain spills in water as deep as 10,000 feet and capture up to 100,000 barrels of oil a day, although that capacity could be increased if needed.

“It’s doubtful we will ever use it, but this is a risk-management gap we need to fill in order for the government and the public to be confident to allow us to get back to work,” Rex W. Tillerson, the chairman of Exxon, said in an interview.

Critically, the new system is expected to be deployed within 24 hours of an offshore spill, and to be able to fully contain the oil spilled within weeks, said Sara Ortwein, a vice president of engineering at Exxon, which has taken the lead in setting up the spill plan.

A new nonprofit entity, called the Marine Well Containment Company, will be created and be in charge of operating and maintaining this emergency capability. The entity, modeled in part after the Marine Spill Response Corporation, which was set up after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, will also finance research to look into new ways of tackling an underwater spill.

It has taken BP nearly three months to finally cap its gushing oil well in the gulf, after repeated failures to plug the well using a series of jury-rigged devices. While drilling two relief wells to permanently seal its damaged well, BP has relied on inflatable booms, chemical dispersants, containment vessels and controlled burning to address the spill.

“One thing that has become clear is that we need to have a system that is flexible, adaptable and available for rapid response,” Ms. Ortwein said in an interview.

Oil companies hope the initiative, the product of four weeks of intensive efforts involving 40 engineers from the four companies, will help persuade government regulators and the administration to allow them to resume offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico as soon as possible.

Oil companies are also seeking to deflect a series of bills being considered in Congress — including one proposal that would force companies to drill a second well, called a relief well, alongside any new exploration well. Oil executives argue that such a proposal would not enhance safety offshore, but instead would double the risk because a relief well would be just as likely to blow up as an exploration well.

The Interior Department agency that oversees deepwater drilling said Wednesday that the industry’s new response plan was a “move in the right direction.”

“The BP oil spill has made it clear that oil and gas companies did not have the sufficient containment capacity to respond to a major spill,” Michael R. Bromwich, the director of the department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement, said in a statement. “We are encouraged that a number of companies recognize this issue and are taking steps to correct it.”

However, oil companies still face considerable skepticism about their ability to operate safely in the gulf. Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, one of the industry’s most vocal critics, described the plan as “BP’s current apparatus with a fresh coat of paint.”

When top oil executives appeared before Congress several weeks ago, Mr. Markey and other lawmakers forced them to admit that their spill response plans were outdated and woefully inadequate.

Senator Mary L. Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat who has opposed the drilling moratorium, said Wednesday that the industry’s initiative was badly needed. “It is clear that we simply cannot afford three months of trial and error ever again,” she said in a statement.

The initiative is the first product of a larger discussion within the industry on how to improve safety in the gulf. Oil companies have set up an industrywide task force to consider new safety standards for offshore drilling, more frequent rig inspections, new requirements and certification for blowout preventers and improvements in well design.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/22/business/energy-environment/22response.html?ref=science

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 22nd, 2010, 07:48am

New York Times

July 21, 2010
Star May Be Heaviest Ever Discovered
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

A huge ball of brightly burning gas drifting through a neighboring galaxy may be the heaviest star ever discovered — hundreds of times more massive than the sun, scientists said Wednesday after working out its weight for the first time.

Those behind the find say the star, called R136a1, may once have weighed as much as 320 solar masses. Astrophysicist Paul Crowther said the obese star — twice as heavy as any previously discovered — has already slimmed down considerably over its lifetime.

In fact, it’s burning itself off with such intensity that it shines at nearly 10 million times the luminosity of the sun.

“Unlike humans, these stars are born heavy and lose weight as they age,” said Crowther, an astrophysicist at the University of Sheffield in northern England. “R136a1 is already middle-aged and has undergone an intense weight loss program.”

Crowther said the giant was identified at the center of a star cluster in the Tarantula Nebula, a sprawling cloud of gas and dust in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a galaxy about 165,000 light-years away from our own Milky Way.

The star was the most massive of several giants identified by Crowther and his team in an article in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

While other stars can be larger, notably the swollen crimson-colored ones known as red giants, they weigh far less.

Still, the mass of R136a1 and its ilk means they’re tens of times bigger than the Earth’s sun and they’re brighter and hotter, too.

Surface temperatures can surpass 40,000 degrees Celsius (72,000 degrees Fahrenheit), seven times hotter than the sun. They’re also several million times brighter, because the greedy giants tear through their energy reserves far faster than their smaller counterparts.

That also means that massive stars live fast and die young, quickly shedding huge amounts of material and burning themselves out in what are thought to be spectacular explosions.

“The biggest live only 3 million years,” Crowther said. “In astronomy that’s a very short time.”

Small lifespans are one of several reasons why these obese stars are so hard to find. Another is that they’re extremely rare, forming only in the densest star clusters.

Astronomers also have a limited range in which to look for them. In clusters that are too far away, it isn’t always possible to tell if a telescope has picked up on one heavyweight star or two smaller ones in close proximity.

In this case, Crowther’s team re-examined previously known stars to see if they could find an accurate measurement of their weight. The team reviewed archival data from the Hubble Space Telescope and gathered new readings from the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope at Paranal in Chile.

Scientists who weren’t involved in the find said the results were impressive, although they cautioned it was still possible, although unlikely, that scientists had confused two very close stars for a bigger, single one.

“What they’re characterizing as a single massive star could in fact be a binary system too close to be resolved,” said Mark Krumholz, an astronomer at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Both he and Phillip Massey, an astronomer with the Lowell Observatory in Arizona, also cautioned that the star’s weight had been inferred using scientific models and that those were subject to change.

But both scientists said the authors had made a strong case, arguing that the solar material being thrown off from feuding stars in a binary system would produce much more powerful X-rays than have been detected.

Crowther acknowledged that R136a1 could have a partner, but he said it was likely to be a much smaller star, meaning that the star’s birth weight was still considerable — perhaps 300 solar masses instead of 320.

link: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/22/science/space/22star.html?ref=science

Crystal

See also this article from the Telegraph:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/7902627/Universes-biggest-known-star-discovered-by-British-astronomers.html

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 22nd, 2010, 07:55am

Telegraph

Shitterton village solves the theft problem.

User Image

Shitterton villagers buy 'theft-proof' sign
A village sign has been stolen so many times that residents have clubbed together to buy a stone version cemented in to the ground

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7904196/Shitterton-villagers-buy-theft-proof-sign.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 22nd, 2010, 07:59am

This link was posted to Twitter. Veterans forum.

begin quote -
I am a Marine Corps. infantry veteran that served my country faithfully in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. As a result of my service, I am service-connected and Social Security disabled for traumatic brain injury, tinnitus, spinal disc injury, and post traumatic stress disorder. As a result of the conditions that I now suffer from as a result of my faithful service, I experience severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, light sensitivity, seizures, ear pain, chronic ringing in the ears, night terrors, daymares, isolation, intrusion, severe irritability, hypervigilance, and lack-of-concentration/memory among many other symptoms.
From Fall 2005 to Summer of 2008, I received treatment at the Cincinnati Veteran Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. I participated in the PTSD program and attended group therapy twice a week. During this time, I also enrolled as a student at the University of Cincinnati. As a student, I served as the treasurer for my college's student tribunal, a senator for the University Undergraduate Senate, and treasurer for my fraternity. I also volunteered for the Cincinnati Veteran Medical Center, Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, among many other philanthropies. I also participated in the UC Honors program and earned a 3.9/4.0 GPA. I have no record or incidents at the Veteran Medical Center or anywhere else of being violent. To be sure, I am NOT a violent person!
In the Winter of 2008, my wife and I moved to Aliso Viejo, California. Shortly thereafter, around Spring 2009, I began to seek treatment from the Long Beach Veteran Medical Center. Several times, my case managers at the Long Beach Veteran Medical Center assured me transportation to medical appointments when none was provided. Afterwards, I called and emailed and emphatically- if not angrily- informed them of their incompetence. I NEVER threatened my safety or anyone else's. However, the Long Beach Veteran Medical Center has falsely reported to the Orange County Sheriff's Department several times that I was suicidal and/or homicidal. This has resulted in my being assaulted, battered, and falsely imprisoned on several occasions.
On Friday, 14 August 2009, I went to the Long Beach Veteran Medical Center for regularly scheduled group therapy. After therapy, I went to the travel office to receive my travel pay as per 38 C.F.R. 70. However, I was informed by the travel personnel that the "systems were down". Because I had no money, and my gas tank was on empty, I went to the Patient's Advocate office to request assistance. After several hours, and speaking to several people, the Long Beach Veteran Medical Center could not find it possible or reasonable to give me just $2.00 so that I may have enough gasoline to get home from treatment- treatment that I now have to receive as a result of my service to our country. So, I decided to try and make it home on the fuel I had. My motorcycle ran out of gas in the middle of the 73 toll road. I had to walk to a gas station and beg several people for assistance. In frustration, I called the Patient's Advocate Office and informed them, again, of their incompetence and I said that the "reason the suicide rate is so high among veterans is because of shit like this". I did NOT threaten my safety or anyone else's. However, when the Long Beach Veteran Medical Center finally received this message on Monday, 17 August 2009, they sent the Orange County Sheriff's Department to my home again. Believing that my Fourth Amendment and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 rights were being blatantly and grossly violated, I refused to exit my home for several hours. However, after the SWAT team threatened to enter my home with assault weapons, under duress, I agreed to voluntarily admit myself into the L-1 Psychiatric Ward at the Long Beach Veteran Medical Center. At NO time during this incident did I behave violently or threaten anyone's safety including my own. I also had to drop my college courses because of my stay at L-1.
- end quote

too long to post, see the rest at this link:
http://veteransforum.us/legal/va-police-and-staff-assault-non-violent-disabled-veteran-please-help!!!/msg1240/?PHPSESSID=6eea4cf96a490bf321e5322945f13c1f

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 22nd, 2010, 08:03am

Hollywood Reporter

Film executives scoff at notion of '3D fatigue'
Boxoffice share is falling, but that's due to screen crunch
By Carl DiOrio

July 21, 2010, 07:49 PM ET

"Toy Story 3"

The sky isn't falling, but theatrical 3D may be finding its natural water level.

That in an extra-dimensional nutshell is how film distribution execs feel about recent signs that the ratio of 3D-to-2D grosses for pics has settled into a range just below that marked by early 3D releases when the format was a consumer novelty. They scoff at the notion of "3D fatigue" floated in a spate of media reports while acknowledging pricing may have outpaced demand for some family pics.

Some first took note of the situation when Disney's "Toy Story 3" -- which has rung up $635 million in worldwide boxoffice -- opened last month with a studio-estimated 60% 3D contribution. Just a few months earlier, Disney's "Alice in Wonderland" and DreamWorks Animation's "How to Train Your Dragon" had rung up a lustier two-thirds of their boxoffice in 3D auditoriums.

" 'Toy Story 3' may gross up to $400 million domestically," a top distribution exec at a rival studio noted. "To suggest anything is wrong with that makes no sense."

More Chicken Littles surfaced when Universal's July 9 opener "Despicable Me" bowed with an estimated 45% of its first-frame coin coming from 3D venues. But few industryites expected anything else in light of the pic's modest number of 1,551 3D theaters, a result of too many 3D pics in the marketplace and too few 3D screens available in the nation's movie theaters.

"Despite any lower 3D percentage, there's still considerable incremental gross advantage to both distributors and exhibitors," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said. "But I do love offering moviegoers the option of seeing a picture in either format. Having audiences be able to make a choice for the family is a good thing."

Paramount's July 1 release "The Last Airbender" boasted a similarly modest number of 3D locations while marking a 3D share of 55%. It's worth noting that the family fantasy bowed among broadly derisive reviews that were hardly an encouragement for parents to shell out extra for the pic's extra-dimensional version.

The 3D-to-2D gross decline follows the phenomenal 82% average 3D share marked by "Avatar" during its record theatrical run. But the Fox blockbuster -- virtually the only 3D release in the market for much of its run -- was an unusual mix of motion-capture animation and live action, and word quickly spread following its December debut that 3D was the way to see the epic fantasy.

more after the jump
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3i4c15c030a696fa14730bba225cb0419f

Crystal


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 22nd, 2010, 08:07am

Telegraph

World's tallest train set built at St Pancras station
By Henry Whittingdale
Published: 1:10PM BST 22 Jul 2010

Former British servicemen have built the tallest model railway track in the world at London St Pancras station.
At 10ft tall the train track is already attracting much interest from passengers since it was unveiled on Wednesday.

The project was sponsored by Royal British Legion Industries, a charity that helps put ex-servicemen back in work, after they were approached by toy manufacturers Tomica.

The Japanese company is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary and it is now looking to break the UK market. The model railway will be exhibited at St Pancras until 7pm tonight.

The display follows in a long tradition of record breaking at the station.

Ben Ruse, a spokesman for St Pancras Station, said: "St Pancras is a unique station and we try to do things that have never been done before.

"We have the longest champagne bar in Europe, we have the record for the most people standing in their underpants and now we have the tallest toy train track.

"We break records for fun."

video after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newsvideo/weirdnewsvideo/7904008/Worlds-tallest-train-set-built-at-St-Pancras-station.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 22nd, 2010, 08:12am

Raw Story

Archaeologists have made a new find near Stonehenge — another ceremonial monument only a few hundred yards (meters) from the stone circle.

Scientists from Britain as well as teams from Austria, Germany, Norway and Sweden made the new discovery at the start of a new project to map the site.

They found a second henge-like structure — a circular area thought to have once held a wooden structure.

Professor Vince Gaffney of the University of Birmingham said Thursday the new find will completely change the way we think about the landscape around Stonehenge.

The origins of Stonehenge are unclear, but the ancient stone circle in southern England is one of the country's biggest tourist draws. The World Heritage site is particularly popular during the summer and winter solstices


http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0722/archaeologists-find-stonehenge/

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 22nd, 2010, 08:24am

I can't help myself, I love words, books etc.

Merriam-Webster’s
Word of the Day


July 22

inenarrable

\in-ih-NAIR-uh-bul\


adjective


Meaning


: incapable of being narrated : indescribable


Example Sentence


"Their songs were sometimes frenzied like the dances in which they whirled to syncopated rhythms, but more often muffled and sad with the inenarrable misery of their bondage." (Ross Lockridge, Jr., Raintree County)

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 22nd, 2010, 11:48am

Gary McKinnon article

July 22, 2010
'You Couldn't Make This Up' Dept: NASA/Pentagon Hacker Searching for Evidence of Alien Life May Get Reprieve' (VIDEO)

Gary McKinnon admits hacking into US military computers in 2001 and 2002 but maintains he was looking for evidence of alien life. President Barack Obama has given fresh hope to the autistic man who is battling extradition to America on computer hacking charges. Mr Obama pledged to find an ‘appropriate solution’ after David Cameron raised the issue of Asperger’s sufferer Gary McKinnon during his first visit to the White House as Prime Minister. Mr McKinnon – supported by his mother Janis Sharp, has fought an eight year legal battle to prevent his extradition to the US – where he faces up to 60 years in jail if convicted of computer hacking.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1qlLoK/www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2010/07/you-couldnt-make-this-up-dept-pentagon-hacker-searching-for-evidence-of-alien-life-may-get-repieve-.html/r:t

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 22nd, 2010, 1:19pm

on Jul 22nd, 2010, 07:39am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
New York Times

July 21, 2010
Obama Faces New Doubts on Pursuing Afghan War
By DAVID E. SANGER

WASHINGTON — When President Obama announced a new strategy for Afghanistan in December, he argued that by setting a deadline of next summer to begin drawing down troops he would create a sense of urgency for the Afghan government to take the lead in the fight, while acknowledging the limits of America’s patience with the longest war in its history.

But over the past two weeks — on Capitol Hill, in Kabul and even in conversations with foreign leaders — Mr. Obama has been reminded how the goal has become what one senior American military commander called a “double-edged sword,” one that hangs over the White House as surely as it hangs over President Hamid Karzai.
...

It's now over eight years since they're there and nothing has been solved yet. The afghan army is still unable to control their onw country. The police is whole another story. Both organizations have been corrupted from the beginning on by several warlords and the Taliban themselves. All you can learn from this lesson is that you will have to leave that country behind in chaos as it's always been. The former soviets learned their lesson. You can't force democracy on those people.

on Jul 22nd, 2010, 07:55am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Telegraph

Shitterton village solves the theft problem.

User Image

Shitterton villagers buy 'theft-proof' sign
A village sign has been stolen so many times that residents have clubbed together to buy a stone version cemented in to the ground

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7904196/Shitterton-villagers-buy-theft-proof-sign.html

Crystal

Shitterton! OMG! grin grin
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 22nd, 2010, 1:45pm

begin Phil's quote -

It's now over eight years since they're there and nothing has been solved yet. The afghan army is still unable to control their onw country. The police is whole another story. Both organizations have been corrupted from the beginning on by several warlords and the Taliban themselves. All you can learn from this lesson is that you will have to leave that country behind in chaos as it's always been. The former soviets learned their lesson. You can't force democracy on those people.

- end quote

Sad isn't it Phil. All these lives lost and we are not one inch further along. Young and old dead for what?
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 22nd, 2010, 1:53pm

For the oil. It's the oil companies which were able to progress their agenda and are about to build a massive pipeline which will go all the way through Iraq and also has to go through Iran, which will be forced on them in one or the other way, and will then end in Turkey in a haven of their west coast. It's something which they're already planning since at least the early 80s. Maybe even much earlier. These guys always get what they want. rolleyes
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by masker33 on Jul 22nd, 2010, 2:45pm

The Illuminati always win and sad to say they do exist. They do not mind you knowing that either.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 22nd, 2010, 6:40pm

Hey Phil and Icarus99,

Yes, they are there and don't give a hoot who knows it. What are we the wallpaper going to do about it? Nothing we can do. All we can do is try to be decent to the people around us.

I'm 56 and I remember talking about gasoline and zero population growth in high school in 1970. Americans have known that we are gas guzzlers for decades and didn't want to hear it. Well we have people dying in Afghanistan and Iraq for that oil. Maybe now Americans will think a little more about being responsible. Who knows. I hope so.

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 22nd, 2010, 6:45pm

Wired

How many times have you been stuck helping a friend move into a new apartment and thought, God, this couch needs to find a way to get into the U-Haul on its own. The Air Force wants you to run with that concept — except with bombs and sensors, not your buddy’s chest of drawers.

The Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio http://www.wpafb.af.mil/ is calling for small businesses to build what it calls an Intelligent Robo-Pallet: mechanical platforms that can haul stuff onto its planes autonomously. http://www.dodsbir.net/solicitation/sbir103/af103.htm It’s got to be able to move on its own, lift and stack as cargo masters instruct, possess a built-in navigation capability, fit and operate in tight quarters, and talk with all other tech that’s used to get things on and off planes. Basically, imagine a C-130 full of gear opening up and the pallets in the center raise up and roll out of the belly. Yes: the Air Force wants its Wall-E.

And it won’t just be for peacetime operations. According to the solicitation, the Intelligent Robo-Pallet has to be able to work not just at huge established bases but “contingency airbases” as well — that is, war zones and other dicey areas, where “qualified man-power and cargo handling equipment” is sometimes scarce. (Danger Room has seen the frustrations of Air Force cargo transport up close.) Why contract out when you can build a robot?


This is obviously years away from delivery, assuming that engineers out there somewhere can come up with working plans for the Air Force to consider. But if they can, the Intelligent Robo-Pallet might one day become a fixture at civilian airports. “[T]he technology developed by this effort will have direct application to commercial air-cargo handling, shipping and receiving, and warehousing,” the solicitation reads.

Some civilians are thinking along similar wavelengths: FedEx’s CEO recently told a Wired business conference that he wants a fleet of drone cargo aircraft led by a single piloted plane. If so, maybe the next step is to have a self-propelled army of pallet-bots to haul stuff onto the trucks.



Read More http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/07/paging-wall-e-air-force-wants-robo-cargo-to-load-itself/#ixzz0uSRmMyYL

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 23rd, 2010, 07:52am

Washington Post

Minority leaders leaving Karzai's side over leader's overtures to insurgents

By Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, July 23, 2010; A01

PANJSHIR VALLEY, AFGHANISTAN -- The man who served as President Hamid Karzai's top intelligence official for six years has launched an urgent campaign to warn Afghans that their leader has lost conviction in the fight against the Taliban and is recklessly pursuing a political deal with insurgents.

In speeches to small groups in Kabul and across northern Afghanistan over the past month, Amarullah Saleh has repeated his belief that Karzai's push for negotiation with insurgents is a fatal mistake and a recipe for civil war. He says Karzai's chosen policy endangers the fitful progress of the past nine years in areas such as democracy and women's rights.

"If I don't raise my voice we are headed towards a crisis," he told a gathering of college students in Kabul.

That view is shared by a growing number of Afghan minority leaders who once participated fully in Karzai's government, but now feel alienated from it. Tajik, Hazara and Uzbek politicians have expressed increasing concern that they are being marginalized by Karzai and his efforts to strike a peace deal with his fellow Pashtuns in the insurgency.

Saleh's warnings come as the United States struggles to formulate its own position on reconciliation with the Taliban. While U.S. officials have supported Afghan government-led talks in theory, they have watched with apprehension as Karzai has pursued his own peace initiatives, seemingly without Western involvement.

NATO's senior civilian representative in Afghanistan, Ambassador Mark Sedwill, cautioned recently that "any political reconciliation process has to be genuinely national and genuinely inclusive. Otherwise we're simply storing up the next set of problems that will break out. And in this country when problems break out, they tend to lead to violence."

Still, with war costs and casualties rising, U.S. policymakers are increasingly looking for a way out, and a power-sharing deal between Karzai and the Taliban may be the best they can hope for. One senior NATO official in Kabul described Saleh as "brilliant." But the official said Saleh's hard-line stance against negotiations does not offer any path to ending the long-running U.S. war.

Saleh, 38 and a Tajik, began his intelligence career in this scenic valley north of Kabul working for the legendary guerrilla commander Ahmad Shah Massoud. He said he is not motivated by ethnic rivalries with the majority Pashtuns or by a desire to undermine Karzai, whom he describes as a decent man and a patriot.

Rather, Saleh said he wants to use nonviolent, grass-roots organizing to pressure the government into a harder line against the Taliban by showing that Afghans who do not accept the return of the Taliban are a formidable force. Saleh resigned last month as director of the National Directorate of Security after he said he realized that Karzai no longer valued his advice.

"The Taliban have reached the gates of Kabul," Saleh said. "We will not stop this movement even if it costs our blood."

Proceeding carefully

Karzai spokesman Waheed Omar declined to comment on Saleh's analysis. Karzai's government has made reconciliation a top priority, and officials say they are proceeding carefully. Karzai has invited Taliban leaders to talk, but he has said insurgents must accept the constitution, renounce violence and sever their links to foreign terrorists before they can rejoin society.

Those conditions do little to mollify Afghan minority leaders, many of whom had backed Karzai in the past but are now breaking with the president. Some are concerned that a deal between Karzai and the Taliban could spawn the sort of civil war that existed in Afghanistan prior to the U.S.-led invasion in late 2001.

"The new political path that Karzai has chosen will not only destroy him, it will destroy the country. It's a kind of suicide," said Mohammad Mohaqiq, a Hazara leader and former Karzai ally.

With the defection of Saleh and the transfer of another Tajik, Bismillah Khan, from his position as chief of army staff to interior minister, Karzai critics see an erosion of strong anti-Taliban views within the government. Khan, many argue, was more important to the war effort in his army post than at the interior ministry, which oversees the police.

"Now Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks, they are not partners in Karzai's government, they are just employees," said Saleh Mohammad Registani, a Tajik parliament member from the Panjshir. "Karzai wants to use them as symbols."

To spread his message, Saleh has sought out young, educated students and university graduates. Through them he intends to form groups across the country to apply grass-roots political pressure. His aims are nonviolent, he said, and not intended to further ethnic divisions, but he has said they must prepare for the worst.

Saleh was born in the Panjshir Valley before the family moved to Kabul. He joined the armed opposition, or mujahideen, rather than be conscripted into the Afghan army and in 1997 started as an intelligence officer with Massoud's forces.

Saleh was appointed to run Afghanistan's fledgling intelligence service in 2004, and developed a reputation among U.S. officials as one of the most effective and honest cabinet ministers.

In Saleh's view, Karzai's shift from fighting to accommodating the Taliban began last August. The messy aftermath of the presidential election, in which Karzai prevailed but was widely accused of electoral fraud, was taken as a personal insult, Saleh said.

"It was very abrupt, it was not a process," Saleh said of Karzai's changing views. "He thought he was hurt by democracy and by the Americans. He felt he should have won with dignity."

Frayed relations

After the election, Afghan relations with the United States plunged to new lows, as Karzai railed against Western interference in his government and threatened to join the Taliban. Saleh said Karzai believes that the United States and NATO cannot prevail in Afghanistan and will soon depart. For that reason he has shifted his attention to Pakistan, which is thought to hold considerable sway over elements of the insurgency, in an attempt to broker a deal with the Taliban.

"We are heading toward settlement. Democracy is dying," Saleh said. He recalled Karzai saying, "'I've given everybody a chance to defeat the Taliban. It's been nine years. Where is the victory?'"

In his speeches, Saleh recounts Taliban brutalities: busloads of laborers lined up and executed, young men chopped in half with axes, women and children slain before their families. His rhetoric is harshly critical of Pakistan.

"All the goals you have will collapse if the Taliban comes back," he told a gathering of college students under a tent outside his house in Kabul. "I don't want your university to be closed just because of a political deal. It will be closed if we do not raise our voices."

Saleh believes the Taliban will not abide by a peaceful power-sharing deal because they want to regain total authority. Despite a significant U.S. troop buildup this year and major NATO offensives, he estimated that insurgents now control more than 30 percent of Afghanistan. He said the Taliban leadership -- about 200 people, many of them in the Pakistani city of Karachi -- are financed, armed and protected by Pakistan's intelligence agency. "The inner circle is totally under their control," Saleh said. Pakistan has long denied it supports the Taliban.

The second ring of Taliban leadership -- about 1,700 field commanders -- oversees a fighting force of 10,000 to 30,000 people, depending on the season, Saleh said. Under former NATO commander Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, 700 of these Taliban commanders were captured or killed, Saleh said, only to be replaced by a new crop.

more after the jump
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/22/AR2010072206155.html?hpid=topnews

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 23rd, 2010, 07:57am

Please be an angel

User Image

www.soldiersangels.org




Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 23rd, 2010, 08:03am

Wired - Danger Room

Flaming Helmets, Dancing Tanks at Russian Arms Expo
By Noah Shachtman July 22, 2010

In the long and storied history of the Russian ballet, there have been many legendary names — Mikhail Baryshnikov, Alexander Godunov, Olga Spesivtseva. Now, a new icon must be carved into this list of greats: Boris the Tank Driver.

Popular Mechanics’ Joe Pappalardo gapes in wonder as a quartet of Russian T-90 tanks weave in figure-eights and spin in unison. It’s a heavily armored pas de quatre. Except this time, the dancers are wearing helmets instead of tutus.

And that may not even be the strangest thing Pappalardo witnessed at the rehearsals for The Invincible and the Legendary, a grand theatrical spectacle set to debut at a Moscow arms show.

Knights with flaming helmets, men being attacked by dogs, and stones broken on soldiers’ backs all made their appearances. Then there was the wildest sight of all: tanks zooming through a motocross-style obstacle course, with guns blazing.

videos and more after the jump
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/07/flaming-helmets-dancing-tanks-at-russian-arms-expo/

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 23rd, 2010, 08:05am

New York Times

July 22, 2010
Pentagon Faces Growing Pressures to Trim Budget
By THOM SHANKER and CHRISTOPHER DREW

WASHINGTON — After nearly a decade of rapid increases in military spending, the Pentagon is facing intensifying political and economic pressures to restrain its budget, setting up the first serious debate since the terrorist attacks of 2001 about the size and cost of the armed services.

Lawmakers, administration officials and analysts said the combination of big budget deficits, the winding down of the war in Iraq and President Obama’s pledge to begin pulling troops from Afghanistan next year were leading Congress to contemplate reductions in Pentagon financing requests.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has sought to contain the budget-cutting demands by showing Congress and the White House that he can squeeze more efficiency from the Pentagon’s bureaucracy and weapons programs and use the savings to maintain fighting forces.

But the increased pressure is already showing up in efforts by Democrats in Congress to move more quickly than senior Pentagon officials had expected in trimming the administration’s budget request for next year.

And in the longer term, with concern mounting about the government’s $13 trillion debt, a bipartisan deficit-reduction commission is warning that cuts in military spending could be needed to help the nation dig out of its financial hole.

“We’re going to have to take a hard look at defense if we are going to be serious about deficit reduction,” said Erskine B. Bowles, a chief of staff to President Bill Clinton who is a co-chairman of the deficit commission. Senator Judd Gregg, a Republican from New Hampshire who is also on the debt commission, said that if the panel pushes for cuts in discretionary spending, “defense should be looked at,” perhaps through another base-closing commission.

Mr. Gates is calling for the Pentagon’s budget to keep growing in the long run at 1 percent a year after inflation, plus the costs of the war. It has averaged an inflation-adjusted growth rate of 7 percent a year over the last decade (nearly 12 percent a year without adjusting for inflation), including the costs of the wars. So far, Mr. Obama has asked Congress for an increase in total spending next year of 2.2 percent, to $708 billion — 6.1 percent higher than the peak under the Bush administration.

Mr. Gates is arguing that if the Pentagon budget is allowed to keep growing by 1 percent a year, he can find 2 percent or 3 percent in savings in the department’s bureaucracy to reinvest in the military — and that will be sufficient money to meet national security needs. In one of the paradoxes of Washington budget battles, Mr. Gates, even as he tries to forestall deeper cuts, is trying to kill weapons programs he says the military does not need over the objections of members of Congress who want to protect jobs.

Mr. Gates enjoys bipartisan support on Capitol Hill and has considerable sway within the administration. But while he may hold the line against major cuts for now, analysts say support for military spending could erode quickly once the Pentagon withdraws a substantial number of troops from Afghanistan.

“In the case of the Pentagon, they have been living very fat and very happy for so very long that they’ve almost lost touch with reality,” said Gordon Adams, who oversaw national-security budgets under President Clinton.

Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Democrat of Hawaii and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said that he would be looking first at tax increases and changes in Social Security and Medicare to lower the deficit, and that there was “no way” Congress would make major cuts in the military while more than 100,000 troops were still at war. But once most of them return, “I’m pretty certain cuts are coming — in defense and the whole budget,” he said.

The course of the war in Afghanistan will no doubt have an impact on the debate, as might the outcome of the midterm elections and ultimately the 2012 presidential race.

But the first signs of pressure on military spending have surfaced, as both the House and the Senate are moving to trim the administration’s Pentagon budget request for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.

The Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee voted last week to cut $8 billion from the Pentagon’s request for an $18 billion increase in its basic operations.

Representative Norm Dicks, Democrat of Washington and chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, is planning to trim $7 billion from the administration’s budget request. “There’s a lot of support up here for restraint,” he said.

In the short run, the worries about the deficit could help Mr. Gates halt the two main arms programs he has identified this year — an alternate engine for the new Joint Strike Fighter and the purchase of five more C-17 cargo planes from Boeing.

General Electric and Rolls-Royce have been lobbying hard to save their engine, which would compete with another one for up to $100 billion of business.

Mr. Inouye said that with the administration’s opposition, “and faced with a deficit, that deal is dead.”

Mr. Gates sought to set the terms of the broader debate with a speech in May at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kan.

“Military spending on things large and small can and should expect closer, harsher scrutiny,” Mr. Gates said. “The gusher has been turned off, and will stay off for a good period of time.”

Mr. Gates followed up with orders for the armed services and the Pentagon’s agencies to find $7 billion in spending cuts and efficiencies for 2012, growing to $37 billion annually by 2016.

Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Obama’s chief of staff, said the president fully supported Mr. Gates’s initiatives, which already have set in motion savings from canceling or trimming more three dozen weapons systems in 2009. “This is not business as usual,” Mr. Emanuel said.

Senior administration officials said they hoped Mr. Gates’s effort would help quiet critics who asked why military spending had been exempted from the president’s order for a 5 percent cut in the budgets of most domestic agencies.

At the moment, the administration projects that the Pentagon’s base budget and the extra war spending will peak at $708 billion in the coming fiscal year, though analysts say it is likely that the Pentagon will need at least $30 billion more in supplemental war financing then.

Two-thirds of Pentagon spending is on personnel costs. It is possible that the Pentagon will have to look for the first time at cuts to the health benefits provided to active and retired military personnel and their families.

Some analysts said the Pentagon would eventually come under pressure to reduce the size of the armed forces.

Mr. Adams, the Clinton administration budget official, wrote in a recent analysis that for “any real savings on defense budgets to occur, end strength must shrink.” But the Pentagon strongly opposes cutting the number of troops, said Peter R. Orszag, director of the president’s Office of Management and Budget.

“Secretary Gates and the military leadership have made it very clear that they do not support a reduction in end strength,” Mr. Orszag said.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/23/us/politics/23budget.html?_r=1&hp

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 23rd, 2010, 08:07am

New York Times

July 23, 2010
China Acts to Reduce Oil Spill Threat
By EDWARD WONG

BEIJING — Chinese officials are requiring ports around the country to revise their operations to better prevent oil spills in the aftermath of a pipeline explosion last week that resulted in an enormous spill in northeast China. The spill was the largest in this country in recent memory, and crews were still struggling on Friday to clean it up.

China Daily, an official English-language newspaper, reported Friday that the Ministry of Transportation had issued a notice urging all local transport authorities to check operations at ports handling dangerous chemicals by August. Special teams will be sent occasionally to patrol at major oil and chemical ports. Ports that handle oil, liquefied chemicals and gases are now required to carry out check-ups every two years, as well as coming up with emergency response plans and conducting drills.

The oil spill, at the port city of Dalian, is the result of a pipeline explosion on July 16. The first explosion triggered a similar burst at a smaller pipeline near Xingang Harbor. Both pipelines are owned by China National Petroleum Corporation, one of the large state-run oil enterprises.

The growing concern over the potential for further port disasters in China came on the same week as the International Energy Agency’s announcement that China had surpassed the United States as the world’s top energy consumer. The agency said China consumed the equivalent of 2.25 billion tons of oil last year, 4 percent more than the United States. The measurement takes into account all forms of energy. The Chinese government’s push to maintain rapid economic growth has led to a surge in the country’s appetite for energy sources, but China this week rejected the energy agency’s calculations.

About 140 square miles of ocean by Dalian have been affected by the oil spill, China Daily reported. On Tuesday, a firefighter, Zhang Liang, 25, drowned when a wave knocked him from a boat into the ocean. Rescue workers were still toiling away on Thursday to contain the spill. The local government has mobilized hundreds of fishing boats, specialized cleaning vessels, “oil-eating” bacteria and volunteers, China Daily reported. Many volunteers are using just their hands to try to clean up the polluted water and the beaches.

Beijing Youth Daily cited an official saying that some workers were using chopsticks to try and clean up the mess.

Dalian, in Liaoning Province, is a popular beach getaway during the summer, but many of the beaches were closed after the pipeline explosion. Environmental advocates have been calling on Chinese officials to give a full and accurate assessment of the ecological damage. China’s economic growth has pummeled the environment in many parts of the country, and Chinese cities are among the most polluted in the world.

On Thursday, an oil tanker came into port at Dalian, the first tanker to do so since the explosion. Dalian is one of China’s major oil production and distribution centers, and the refinery there is one of the nation’s largest. The damaged pipeline at Xingang has been repaired and is now transporting oil again.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/24/world/asia/24china.html?ref=world

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 23rd, 2010, 08:12am

Telegraph

'Darth Raider': NY police hunt armed robber 'dressed as Star Wars character'
An armed robber is being hunted by police after dressing as the Star Wars movie character Darth Vader during a bizarre raid on a New York bank in broad daylight.

By Andrew Hough
Published: 1:30PM BST 23 Jul 2010

Police said the bandit entered the Chase bank branch on Long Island at 11.30am Thursday, brandishing a semi-automatic pistol before demanding money from staff.

CCTV footage released by police showed the 6ft 2in gunman dressed as the Star Wars bad guy, with a costume complete with mask, dark cape and camouflage trousers.

Customers and bank staff initially thought the raid was a joke, with one witness thinking the costume was so amusing he starting joking with the bandit.

“The customer thought it might have been a joke and not a serious attempt at a robbery,” William Lamb, a Suffolk County Detective Sergeant, told the New York Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2010/07/22/2010-07-22_empire_strikes_bank_thats_no_lightsaber_vaders_carrying_in_li_stickup.html

But they quickly realised the bandit was serious after he shouted “this is not a joke”, and reportedly becoming involved in a "shoving match" with an onlooker.

He then pointed his gun at customers as he ordered them to the floor.

He escaped on a motorbike from the Setauket branch with an undisclosed amount of cash stuffed in a bag, which featured a New York Yankees logo.

photo after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7906616/Darth-Raider-NY-police-hunt-armed-robber-dressed-as-Star-Wars-character.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 23rd, 2010, 08:16am

Telegraph

Quantum time machine 'allows paradox-free time travel'
Quantum physicists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology believe it is possible to create a time machine which could affect the past without creating a "grandfather paradox".

By Tom Chivers
Published: 3:09PM BST 22 Jul 2010

Scientists have for some years been able to 'teleport' quantum states from one place to another. Now Seth Lloyd and his MIT team say that, using the same principles and a further strange quantum effect known as 'postselection', it should be possible to do the same backwards in time. Lloyd told the Technology Review: "It is possible for particles (and, in principle, people) to tunnel from the future to the past."

Postselection is a vital part of the nascent science of quantum computing. In traditional computing, if a user needs to determine which set of variables in an equation leads to the answer being true, the computer must try every combination until it hits upon one that works. In quantum computing, due to the weird parallel behaviour of subatomic particles, it seems to be possible to simplify the procedure by running all possible variations simultaneously, and selecting only the combinations that make the answer true.

Professor Lloyd and his team say that, by combining teleportation and postselection, it would be possible to carry out the quantum teleportation effect in reverse; that is, to decide after the teleportation what the quantum state must have been before it. This works as postselection allows you to dictate which quantum states can be teleported, limiting what state it can have been in before the teleportation. The state of the particle post-teleportation has therefore, in effect, travelled back in time.

Dr Richard Low, a quantum computing scientist from the University of Bristol, says: "You could think of it as postselection affecting the history of the particle, sending the state back in time."

Unlike previous theories of teleportation, this apparently avoids the "grandfather paradox" - or, to Back to the Future fans, the Marty McFly problem. If you go back and change time, and accidentally end up killing your own grandparent, you create a paradox - you will not be born, so you cannot go back and affect time. Even with subatomic particles, this is still a problem: upon travelling back in time, the particle could somehow destroy its earlier self or move it, thus preventing it from travelling.

However, because of the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics, Prof Lloyd's method seems to avoid this. Anything caused by the time travel must have had a finite probability of happening anyway, so paradoxical impossibilities are out.

Further, this time travel method does not involve bending spacetime, unlike other proposed systems. At the moment, the only conditions known that would bend spacetime sufficiently exist in black holes, which would be impractical at best.

It is a controversial theory, to say the least. Some physicists claim that the apparently impossible things implied by postselection prove that it cannot work, which would destroy Prof Lloyd's theory before it got off the ground.

more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/7904712/Quantum-time-machine-allows-paradox-free-time-travel.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 23rd, 2010, 08:22am

Telegraph Laugh at my tweeting now! Ha! grin

Aliens have been trying to contact us by cosmic Twitter, scientists claim
Aliens may have been trying to contact us by communicating in a manner similar to Twitter, scientists have claimed.

By Laura Roberts
Published: 7:30AM BST 22 Jul 2010

ET is more likely to be sending out short, directed messages than continuous signals beamed in all directions, experts said.

''This approach is more like Twitter and less like War and Peace,'' said Californian physicist Dr James Benford, president of Microwave Sciences Inc.

He and twin brother Gregory, an astrophysicist at the University of California, Irvine, looked at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (Seti) from the aliens' point of view.

They concluded that Seti scientists may have been taking the wrong approach for the past five decades.

Up to now scientists have listened out for unusual blips or bleeps from targeted nearby stars.

Despite 50 years of searching, no-one has yet been able to come up with evidence of an extraterrestrial signal. However, many scientists are convinced we are not alone in the universe.

''Whatever the life form, evolution selects for economy of resources,'' said Gregory Benford. ''Broadcasting is expensive, and transmitting signals across light years would require considerable resources.''

Writing in the journal Astrobiology, the Benfords claim that an alien civilisation would strive to reduce costs, limit waste and make its signalling technology efficient.

They propose that alien signals would be pulsed and narrowly directed in the one to 10 gigahertz broadband signal range.

Seti has been focusing its receivers on the wrong kind of signals, and also looking in the wrong direction, they claimed.

Rather than pointing their antennae at nearby stars, scientists should be aiming at the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way.

''The stars there are a billion years older than our Sun, which suggests a greater possibility of contact with an advanced civilisation than does pointing Seti receivers outward to the newer and less crowded edge of our galaxy,'' said Gregory Benford.

more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/7902958/Aliens-have-been-trying-to-contact-us-by-cosmic-Twitter-scientists-claim.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 23rd, 2010, 08:44am

Play Doh video to celebrate 50 years







Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 23rd, 2010, 09:07am

The Independent

With a wife like this, Japan's PM doesn't need enemies

By David McNeill in Tokyo

As leader of the world's second largest economy, Naoto Kan may be one of the most powerful men on the planet, but his wife, for one, is not in the least impressed.

Japan's new Prime Minister is a poor speaker, a bad cook and can't dress for toffee, according to Nobuko Kan, his wife of 40 years. Worse for the ailing country, he simply isn't a leader.

"He's more of a No 2 or a No 3 person rather than being at the top," says Mrs Kan in a new book called Now You Are Prime Minister, How On Earth Is Japan Going to Change?

"Even as a family member, I could not give him even a passing grade for his delivery of a policy speech, or for the question-and-answer sessions after he became Prime Minister," she added.

Published this week, commentators are divided on whether the book will hurt or boost Mr Kan's political career, which stumbled this month after his party took a pasting in national elections. The 63-year-old Prime Minister told the press this week he is "too scared" to read it.

His straight-talking wife, 64, has rarely fitted the stereotype of the demure Japanese wife. A formidable campaign speaker in her own right, she has been by Mr Kan's side since he was a left-wing citizens' activist in the early 1970s. She is widely credited with being the driving force behind the incident that established Mr Kan's political reputation, when he confronted health minister bureaucrats in the 1990s over their cover up of HIV-tainted blood products.

The marriage almost hit the rocks about a decade ago when a tabloid magazine alleged that Mr Kan had spent a night in a hotel with a TV presenter. "My wife told me I was an idiot," he said afterwards.

Mr Kan, who calls his wife "my most powerful supporter and most critical voter", says the book is partly a record of the political discussions the pair have at home.

She recounts that the Prime Minister "said the other day that 'markets are like a selfish woman'. He may have learned this from his relationships with me," she went on. "They are difficult to handle because they will just snub you if you do something to please them."

Written before he became leader last month, the book also reveals that Mr Kan had no great ambitions for the job and was catapulted into office by the resignation of Yukio Hatoyama.

Mr Hatoyama's wife also made headlines when she told a startled Japan that her soul had taken a ride on a UFO with aliens and travelled to Venus. Miyuki Hatoyama also said she had met Tom Cruise in a previous life – when he was Japanese.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/with-a-wife-like-this-japans-pm-doesnt-need-enemies-2033402.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Swamprat on Jul 23rd, 2010, 09:53am

Morning all! Just wanted to check in; on the road for a few days. This weekend in Baton Rouge; hope to get out Monday before the storms hit!

Swamp
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 23rd, 2010, 10:56am

on Jul 23rd, 2010, 09:53am, Swamprat wrote:
Morning all! Just wanted to check in; on the road for a few days. This weekend in Baton Rouge; hope to get out Monday before the storms hit!

Swamp


Howdy Swamp!

User Image

Crystal

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 23rd, 2010, 12:38pm

on Jul 23rd, 2010, 09:53am, Swamprat wrote:
Morning all! Just wanted to check in; on the road for a few days. This weekend in Baton Rouge; hope to get out Monday before the storms hit!

Swamp

Enjoy yourself there, SR and be back well. smiley

And hello Crystal! cheesy
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 23rd, 2010, 12:48pm

on Jul 23rd, 2010, 08:12am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Telegraph

'Darth Raider': NY police hunt armed robber 'dressed as Star Wars character'
An armed robber is being hunted by police after dressing as the Star Wars movie character Darth Vader during a bizarre raid on a New York bank in broad daylight. ...

Reminds me of this case:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,250152,00.html wink
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 23rd, 2010, 1:28pm

on Jul 23rd, 2010, 12:48pm, philliman wrote:
Reminds me of this case:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,250152,00.html wink


Chewy goes postal! Thanks Phil. grin
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 23rd, 2010, 1:29pm

Phantoms and Monsters Wiki

Welcome to the Phantoms and Monsters Wiki
A NETWORK FOR PARANORMAL INVESTIGATORS, ENTHUSIASTS AND THOSE SEEKING THE TRUTH


http://phantomsandmonsters.wetpaint.com/

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 23rd, 2010, 7:50pm

I was looking at a site that had photos of aliens. I could swear that the alien pictured below is an Italian case from the 1990's. I thought there were four photos in the report. I can't find the book that details these sightings. It's here somewhere. tongue He lived in a small Italian village with his Mom. They heard the alien crying or moaning. This experience lasted about a week. So does anyone know the story behind this photo?

User Image

This is what was listed next to the photo on the website:

begin quote -
This scary looking alien body was found in a cave in Brazil. It is interesting that its skull is shaped a bit differently than how we would normally think an alien would work. However, what it shows is that aliens come in as many different varieties as humans. Surely, there isn't just one planet the aliens are coming from so it makes sense that they wouldn't all look exactly the same. Personally, we think that makes the whole business of watching aliens all the more interesting and alien pictures more interesting too. - end quote

Crystal

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 23rd, 2010, 9:33pm



User Image


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 24th, 2010, 06:35am

Wow! What a beautiful picture!

on Jul 23rd, 2010, 7:50pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
I was looking at a site that had photos of aliens. I could swear that the alien pictured below is an Italian case from the 1990's. I thought there were four photos in the report. I can't find the book that details these sightings. It's here somewhere. tongue He lived in a small Italian village with his Mom. They heard the alien crying or moaning. This experience lasted about a week. So does anyone know the story behind this photo?

I'm also pretty sure about that this was a case in italy about an alleged alien who allegedly crashed there early in the 90s. Many people are of the opinion that this would be nothing but a dummy since all those pictures seem to show it sitting in the same position.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 24th, 2010, 08:00am

on Jul 24th, 2010, 06:35am, philliman wrote:
Wow! What a beautiful picture!


I'm also pretty sure about that this was a case in italy about an alleged alien who allegedly crashed there early in the 90s. Many people are of the opinion that this would be nothing but a dummy since all those pictures seem to show it sitting in the same position.


Yea! Thanks Phil, I'm not losing my mind, yet! grin
I thought the two white tubes on the front of him were a nice touch.
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 24th, 2010, 08:02am

Washington Post

5 US troops die in blasts in southern Afghanistan

By ROBERT H. REID
The Associated Press
Saturday, July 24, 2010; 7:30 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Five American troops died Saturday in bombings in southern Afghanistan where international forces are stepping up the fight against the Taliban, officials said.

Four of the victims died in a single blast, NATO said in a statement without specifying nationalities nor providing further details. A fifth service member was killed in a separate attack in the south, NATO said.

U.S. officials confirmed all five were Americans. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity under rules regarding casualty identification.

The latest deaths bring to 75 the number of international troops killed in Afghanistan this month, including 56 Americans.

The U.S.-led force is ramping up operations against the Taliban in their southern strongholds, hoping to enable the Afghan government to expand its control in the volatile region.

Rising casualty tolls, however, are eroding support for the war even as President Barack Obama has send thousands of reinforcements to try to turn back the Taliban.

On Tuesday, an international conference in Kabul endorsed President Hamid Karzai's plan for Afghan security forces to assume responsibility for protecting the country by the end of 2014. Obama has pledged to begin removing U.S. troops starting in July 2011, although he has linked the drawdown to security conditions on the ground.

In the eastern province of Khost, a candidate in upcoming parliamentary elections died late Friday of wounds suffered when a bomb exploded earlier in the day in a mosque in the Mando Zayi district, according to local health director Dr. Amir Pacha.

The candidate, Maulvi Saydullah, was making a speech inside the mosque when the blast went off. His bodyguards and at least 15 other civilians were also hurt, officials said.

Afghanistan is due to hold national parliamentary elections Sept. 18 despite fears that they could provoke a surge in Taliban attacks.

Also Saturday, the Afghan Interior Ministry reported that five Afghan civilians were killed by a bomb in the Chora district of Uruzgan province. A total of seven militants died in clashes with Afghan and international forces since Friday night in the provinces of Khost, Uruzgan and Kunar, the ministry added without giving further details.

Four suspected insurgents were captured in two raids late Friday on Taliban hide-outs in Baghlan province of northern Afghanistan, NATO said.

Elsewhere, NATO said it was looking into conflicting reports of civilian casualties following a battle between international troops and Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan.

In Kandahar, a man named Abdul Ghafaar said he brought seven children to the city's Mirwais hospital after getting caught in crossfire Friday between NATO and Taliban forces in Sangin, a flash-point town in neighboring Helmand province.

Another man, Marjan Agha, said that he also brought injured people from Sangin and that the fight started Friday afternoon after civilians were caught between coalition and insurgent fighters. He said villagers began walking with a white flag toward NATO forces but shots rang out and two people were killed on the spot.

more after the jump
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/24/AR2010072400507.html?hpid=moreheadlines

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 24th, 2010, 08:05am

New York Times

July 23, 2010
Potential Found in a New Approach to Alzheimer’s
By NICHOLAS WADE

A potentially promising approach to treating Alzheimer’s disease has been developed by researchers studying sirtuin, a protein thought capable of extending lifespan in laboratory animals.

Using mice prone to developing Alzheimer’s, the researchers showed that activating sirtuin suppressed the disease and that destroying sirtuin made it much worse.

The finding was made by Gizem Donmez, Leonard Guarente and colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who say it raises the hope of treating Alzheimer’s, and possibly other neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s, with drugs that activate sirtuin.

Researchers not involved in the study agreed. “We think it is a scientifically compelling story that ties the sirtuins to the biology of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Dennis J. Selkoe, an Alzheimer’s expert at Harvard Medical School. But the therapeutic implications, Dr. Selkoe added, “remain quite up in the air.”

Another expert, Dr. Juan C. Troncoso of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said the finding “opens a very good avenue, but it’s not without a lot of technical challenges.”

Drugs that activate sirtuin already exist, including resveratrol, a minor ingredient of red wine and other foods, and small-molecule chemicals designed to mimic resveratrol. Sirtris, the company that developed the drugs, is testing them against diabetes and other diseases. This generation of drugs does not cross the blood-brain barrier so would not work against Alzheimer’s.

But George P. Vlasuk, Sirtris’s chief executive, said the company had developed other sirtuin-activating chemicals that do reach the brain and are in preclinical trials. “We think it has very significant potential in neurodegenerative diseases,” Dr. Vlasuk said.

Sirtuin has been the subject of intense research in the last few years because it seems to protect the body’s various organs against disease by stepping up maintenance programs. The substance came to light through studies of longevity, particularly the discovery that reduced-calorie diets could lengthen the lifespan of mice by 30 percent. Sirtuin appears to convey much of the beneficial effect of such diets, even though drugs that activate sirtuin have not yet been shown to prolong mice’s lifespan in experiments.

Dr. Guarente, a leading sirtuin researcher, said the protein’s protective power against other diseases made him wonder if it might also help against Alzheimer’s. He obtained mice that tend to develop Alzheimer’s-like symptoms because they are genetically engineered to carry two mutated human genes that cause a buildup of plaque in the brain. The mice were crossed with a strain of mice in which the sirtuin-making gene is particularly active. They were also crossed with a strain in which the sirtuin gene was deleted entirely. Dr. Guarente’s team could thus test the effect of having either more or less sirtuin in the brains of Alzheimer’s-prone mice.

The decline in memory typical of Alzheimer’s “was clearly suppressed” in the Alzheimer’s-prone mice with abundant sirtuin, the M.I.T. group reports in Friday’s issue of Cell, while the mice with Alzheimer’s genes and no sirtuin started to lose memory at a much younger age.

The team found the sirtuin protected the mice’s brains two ways. First, it activated a system called the notch pathway, which protects brain cells against stress. Second, it enhanced an enzyme whose activity avoids the buildup of the plaque characteristic of Alzheimer’s and particularly of a toxic component called A-beta peptide.

Reducing the amount of A-beta peptide is helpful only in Alzheimer’s but turning on the notch pathway could provide general protection for the brain. Activating sirtuin, the M.I.T. researchers conclude, “is a viable strategy to combat Alzheimer’s disease and perhaps other neurodegenerative diseases.”

Dr. Guarente said he was looking into whether extra sirtuin had an effect in mice made vulnerable to Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.

Activating the notch pathway with sirtuins “opens a lot of options,” Dr. Troncoso said. “If we can activate the same gene we may provide a tonic for nerve cells under stress, and that may be of use in other diseases such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s in which the nerve cells degenerate,” he said.

Sirtuin research is a highly active field but one whose ultimate benefit remains to be seen. The sirtuins seem to be powerful players in maintaining the body’s health, but many aspects of their behavior are still unclear.

Also unclear is whether sirtuin’s protective effects can be elicited by drugs instead of by the usual natural stresses, like lack of nourishment. There are continuing disputes as to whether resveratrol activates sirtuin directly or indirectly. Much may depend on a Phase 2 clinical trial of resveratrol with Type 2 diabetes. The results of the trial should be known later in the year, Dr. Vlasuk said in an interview last month.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/24/health/research/24alzheimers.html?_r=1&hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1279976633-0PqCM4P/54TxIC2duDd9Ag

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 24th, 2010, 08:13am

Wired

Air Force Wants Drones to Sense Other Planes’ ‘Intent’
By Spencer Ackerman July 23, 2010 | 9:40 am | Categories: Drones

Unmanned aircraft, for all their utility, are fairly simple beasts. They’re good at taking direction, but they’re not so good at processing information on their own. Now the Air Force figures it’s time for drones to get a lot smarter, especially as they take off or land.

As anyone who’s ever flown knows, the runway is a crowded place. Planes on the runway queue up to get airborne. Planes in the air have to coordinate with Air Traffic Control for the order in which they can safely land, taking precautions not to get in anyone’s way until it’s their turn. There’s a fair amount of information to rapidly process in order to avoid collisions and other accidents. Pilots can handle that information load. Drones can’t. Yet. It’s one of the big reasons why the Federal Aviation Administration has been so reluctant to allow unmanned aircraft to fly over the U.S. Even robotic flights over relatively unpopulated areas along the southern border have been canceled when there’s the most routine technical hiccups.

On Tuesday, the Air Force Research Laboratory at Ohio’s Wright-Patterson Air Force Base said it’ll soon solicit engineers to design an algorithm to allow drones to “integrate seamlessly” with piloted planes for takeoff and landing. In the algorithm-driven future that the labs want to build, drones will be equipped a database of terminal procedures; link up with Air Traffic Control; and “recognize the intent of other aircraft.”

For instance: aircraft landing on parallel runways can appear to be on a collision course before they turn and land. Right now, a drone would simply perceive that a plane’s trajectory is going to remain unchanged, making it a threat for collision. But a capable algorithm would let the drone process Air Traffic Control information like basic airfield maps to know that there’s no actual danger from the oncoming piloted plane.

“The developed algorithm(s), optimally, would require no more a priori information than a human pilot,” the labs instruct. “Intent analysis should be accurate, reliable and real-time, enabling quick and appropriate decisions that are necessary in this time critical environment.”

There’s a clear commercial application here. As we mentioned on Wednesday, FedEx is starting to think about an airfleet of linked-up drones that can fly in formation at the direction of a piloted aircraft. Building algorithms that can let drones process complex information in congested airspace sounds like a useful step toward that futuristic cargo fleet.

Read More http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/07/air-force-wants-drones-to-sense-other-planes-intent/#ixzz0ubZp1aRa

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 24th, 2010, 08:18am

Telegraph

BP plans deep-water drilling off Libya
BP is to begin deep-water drilling off Libya, despite environmental concerns following the Gulf of Mexico spill and an international row over the release of the Lockerbie bomber.

By Simon Boyle
Published: 11:20AM BST 24 Jul 2010

The plans, reported in the Financial Times, come in the shadow of controversy, as the oil giant faces new scrutiny of its 2007 deal to acquire gas and oil fields off the Libyan coast at a cost of $900 million.

At a depth of more than 1700 metres below sea level, the new site in Libya’s Gulf of Sirte will be 200 metres deeper than the Gulf of Mexico well that exploded on April 20, killing 11 oil workers and causing immeasurable environmental damage.

The 2007 agreement has since come under fire from American politicians, after BP revealed that it lobbied the UK government over a prisoner transfer agreement between Britain and Libya.

Despite increased pressure from senior officials, including US President Barack Obama, the UK oil group has vigorously denied any involvement in the release of Libyan terrorist Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, after the Lockerbie bomber was freed by the Scottish government on compassionate grounds.

The issue was raised last week when British Prime Minister David Cameron met President Obama for talks in Washington. Mr Cameron has indicated there could be an inquiry into the release.

BP maintains it was "not involved in any discussions with the UK government or the Scottish government about the release of Mr al-Megrahi”.

A US senator has begged Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister, to assist a hearing into the release of the Lockerbie bomber.

In a letter, Frank Lautenberg said he was "pleading" with the Scottish government to reconsider its decision not to send officials to a hearing into the release of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi.

The company’s Chief Executive, Tony Hayward, is expected to appear before US Senators on Thursday to deny the claims.

A spokesman for BP confirmed the Libya drilling, saying: “Drilling at the new site will start within a few weeks”.

BP’s first new platform in the gulf will begin exploratory drilling within Libya’s controversial “line-of-death”, the border claimed by Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi in the 1980’s which prompted US President Ronald Reagan to challenge the leader's claim to the region.

In 1986 US Naval forces sank two Libyan ships, killing thirty men, during the conflict.

While Libya’s right to minerals in the region is now unchallenged, environmental campaigners have expressed horror that new drilling will begin before inquiries into the Gulf of Mexico disaster have concluded.

Despite BP’s pledge to “move forward with great caution”, Antonio D’Alli, chairman of the Italian Senate’s environment commission, told the Financial Times he was “very worried” about the plans, and has called on other states for a united front.

Mr D’Alli added: “The problem is not BP or Libya. The sea has no boundaries and when accidents happen, in national or international waters, effects are felt in the whole Mediterranean,” Mr D’Alì said.

“Considering it is already one of the most oil-polluted seas in the world, the impact of a major spill could be irreversible.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/7908149/BP-plans-deep-water-drilling-off-Libya.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 24th, 2010, 08:25am

Telegraph

Villagers open grocery shop inside phone box
Villagers have fought back against the decline in rural services by opening a grocery store in a disused phone box – and nothing has been stolen even though it is left unattended.

Published: 8:00AM BST 24 Jul 2010

Parish clerk Jane Markham, 50, said the unusual telephone box collection system worked because villagers were so trustworthy. The charming facility – stocking milk, sandwiches, newspapers and other everyday items – has been set up inside a vacant red phone box next to the site of the village's former shop.

It is operated according to the "honesty box" principle, with residents leaving payment for any goods they take.

The tight-knit community of Draughton, North Yorks, was left without easy access to basic items after the post office closed following the retirement of its owners in April 2008.

Lewis Cooke, who runs a newsagent which is four miles away in Skipton, continued to deliver newspapers and tinned items on to the porch of the shop so residents could come and collect their goods.

But after BT made the derelict phone box directly outside the former site of the post office available for just one pound last year it was decided that the parish council would buy it and make unique use of it.

Mr Cooke, 49, said: "The parish council got in touch and explained that they had got this phone box and wanted to use it as a place to leave groceries and newspapers for people.

"I said that would be fine and deliver the things to the phone box every morning just before 7am. I put a list of everything that we have in the phone box and people can just call up and tell me what they want.

"They know that it will be put in the phone box the next day and they can just come by whenever they want and pick it up. Everything has the person's name on it so they can just collect it and go.

"Customers either pay with a credit card over the phone or by leaving a cheque for me. It has been amazing the way everyone has respected the things that are left there.

"The phone box isn't locked and people can come and go in there when they want but no one has taken a thing, which just shows how honest everyone around here is.

A shelf was built into the phone box specifically to hold newspapers, while others display the groceries on offer which include jam, milk, tea bags, sandwiches, butter, cheese and biscuits.

Mr Cooke doesn't charge his customers anything extra for delivery, making the journey especially each morning to drop off what his clients want.

Parish clerk Jane Markham, 50, said the unusual telephone box collection system worked because villagers were so trustworthy.

She said: "It's a good example of the community spirit of the village, we all look after each other.

"We talked about putting a lock on it, but we decided it wasn't necessary. People here just want to look after each other.

"When the weather was bad last winter we all helped each other, some of the roads are quite steep so you have to look after the elderly.

"At first the telephone box was used just for newspapers, but it worked so well that two weeks ago we decided to try groceries as well."

more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7906426/Villagers-open-grocery-shop-inside-phone-box.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 24th, 2010, 08:27am

Telegraph

30 electrifying pictures of lightning and thunderstorms

some beautiful photos after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthpicturegalleries/7859013/30-electrifying-pictures-of-lightning-and-thunderstorms.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 24th, 2010, 08:34am

LA Times

Reporting from King Salmon, Alaska —

He was the local weatherman, sending up weather balloons twice a day above this remote community of 450 full-time residents near Bristol Bay and preparing short-term forecasts for pilots and fishermen.

She was a stay-at-home mom who drove their 4-year-old to preschool, sang in the town choir and picked berries with her girlfriends. She took part in the community play, in which she portrayed a fairy godmother who acted as a prosecutor in court, confronting the Big Bad Wolf for his crimes against Little Red Riding Hood, the Three Little Pigs and the Boy Who Cried Wolf.

So beloved were Paul Rockwood Jr. and his wife, Nadia, that when they left King Salmon in May to move to England, where Nadia was born, more than 30 people — pretty much their entire circle of friends — showed up at the airport. The choir sang "Wherever You Go," and "people were just bawling," said Rebecca Hamon, a friend of the couple.

What none of them could have known was that FBI agents were meeting the small turboprop plane in Anchorage to question the Rockwoods on suspicion of domestic terrorism-related crimes.

This week, Paul and Nadia Rockwood pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Anchorage to one count of willfully making false statements to the FBI; in Paul Rockwood's case, it was a statement about domestic terrorism.

The plea agreements state that Rockwood, 35, had become an adherent of extremist Islam who had prepared a list of assassination targets, including U.S. service members. And, though no plot to carry out the killings was revealed, he had researched methods of execution, including guns and explosives, the agreements say.

Federal charging papers said his wife, 36, who is five months pregnant with the couple's second child, lied to investigators when she denied knowing that an envelope she took to Anchorage in April at her husband's request contained a list of 15 intended targets. (None were in Alaska.) She told FBI agents that she thought the envelope contained a letter or a book. She gave it to an unidentified individual who her husband believed shared his radical beliefs, the FBI said.

Nadia knew exactly what was on the list and what it was for, federal authorities said.

"Obviously we take it very seriously when somebody starts talking about building bombs and component parts and killing citizens because of a hatred that is fueled by violent Internet sites," said Karen L. Loeffler, U.S. attorney for Alaska.

Loeffler, who would not elaborate on how the FBI became aware of the Rockwoods, said the investigation does not involve any other terrorism suspects, and no additional charges are expected.

The plea agreements the couple signed said Paul Rockwood converted to Islam in late 2001 or early 2002 while living in Virginia and became a follower of radical U.S.-born Muslim cleric Anwar Awlaki, now believed to be living in Yemen.

"This included a personal conviction that it was his religious responsibility to exact revenge by death on anyone who desecrated Islam," his agreement said.

Here in King Salmon, where the biggest thing is the annual red salmon run — it happens to be the biggest one in the world — this has the air of a poorly written movie.

"If all terrorists were this harmless, we'd all be living in a much less complicated world," said Hamon, who lived in Camarillo before moving 12 years ago to King Salmon, on the Alaska Peninsula, 280 miles southwest of Anchorage.

"We've all been in shock," said Mary Swain, who was friends with Nadia and baked the birthday cake for the Rockwoods' son's party last year. "I mean, kids would go over to her house all the time where she was teaching them ballet. She always went to library time, she went to story time…. Her mom would come over here from England and stay with her for a month at a time, and people got to be friends with her too."

King Salmon is little more than a windy cluster of homes surrounding the airport, grocery, repair shops and a handful of bars and restaurants, with emphasis, like any fishing town, on the bars. Populated mainly by government employees year-round, it lies on limitless fields of grassy tundra and low stands of white spruce, not far from the fishing port of Naknek on Bristol Bay and world-famous Katmai National Park. Like most of Alaska, it is accessible only by air or small boat.

The National Weather Service paid for the couple's move to King Salmon after hiring Paul in 2006 as a meteorological technician. They moved into a small tract of modern government housing populated by the many federal employees working for the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the weather service.

In the summertime, the populations of King Salmon and especially Naknek swell with thousands of itinerant fishermen and cannery workers. Nadia worked to become part of the close-knit permanent community, friends and neighbors said. Paul, because of his irregular work hours, often slept during the day and wasn't as engaged in the community.

"He was a good employee. I never had any problems with him," said Debra Elliott, his supervisor at the small, two-room building next to the airport, where the weather service shares an office with the Federal Aviation Administration. "He was very likable."

more after the jump
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-adv-alaska-terrorists-20100723-1,0,5991303.story

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 24th, 2010, 12:09pm

on Jul 24th, 2010, 08:25am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Telegraph

Villagers open grocery shop inside phone box
Villagers have fought back against the decline in rural services by opening a grocery store in a disused phone box – and nothing has been stolen even though it is left unattended.

Published: 8:00AM BST 24 Jul 2010

Parish clerk Jane Markham, 50, said the unusual telephone box collection system worked because villagers were so trustworthy. The charming facility – stocking milk, sandwiches, newspapers and other everyday items – has been set up inside a vacant red phone box next to the site of the village's former shop. ...

Now that's a nice thing. Even more nice since it seems to work that well and that people are so honest and pay for all those things they take. Wouldn't work everywhere. smiley
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 24th, 2010, 12:11pm

on Jul 24th, 2010, 12:09pm, philliman wrote:
Now that's a nice thing. Even more nice since it seems to work that well and that people are so honest and pay for all those things they take. Wouldn't work everywhere. smiley


Good morning Phil!
No unfortunately it wouldn't work everywhere. Good for them!
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 24th, 2010, 12:14pm

Football-field-long UFO reported hovering over Indiana
July 23, 7:02 PM
UFO Examiner
Roger Marsh

An Indiana witness called a friend's cell phone while watching a silent, triangle-shaped UFO "about the size of a football field" that was hovering in the air on July 21, 2010, according to testimony from the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) witness reporting database.

The witness stated that the object was "about as high up in the air as a hospital helicopter would fly."

The object was described as having one light on each of its three points, and the body was black, although "more like metal, he could see shades on the sides. But it was still dark."

Reports of "mile wide" or "football field" length UFOs are not uncommon. Example accounts include:

http://www.examiner.com/x-2363-UFO-Examiner~y2010m2d24-Cigarshaped-UFO-1000-feet-over-Okemos-MI-was-length-of-football-field

http://www.examiner.com/x-2363-UFO-Examiner~y2009m12d11-Memphis-pilot-spots-triangle-UFO-size-of-a-football-field

http://www.examiner.com/x-2363-UFO-Examiner~y2009m4d7-Close-Encounter-with-black-triangle-UFO

http://www.examiner.com/x-2363-UFO-Examiner~y2010m3d10-Cigarshaped-UFO-under-500-feet-over-Delaware-City-DE?cid=channel-rss-Gadgets_and_Tech

Link:
http://www.examiner.com/x-2363-UFO-Examiner~y2010m7d23-Football-field-long-UFO-reported-hovering-over-Indiana

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 24th, 2010, 8:28pm

io9

In Falling Skies, Steven Spielberg's TV series coming summer 2011, it's six months since aliens wiped out most of humanity. How can Noah Wyle and Moon Bloodgood prevail? Our first glimpse of a trailer gave us some hints. Spoilers ahead...

The panel, moderated by io9's own Marc Bernardin, started with our first trailer for the series, which only gave a few gruesome glimpses of the alien attackers. I saw one clear shot of metal feet stomping past as someone cowered in hiding, and there were quick cuts of a scene where Noah Wyle and a friend take on a monster in a storage facility or supermarket storeroom, and I thought I could see a ridged head. (In the roundtables for Falling Skies, Noah Wyle hinted that the aliens had more than two legs, and you had to get up close and personal to kill one.)

The trailer starts with a child's voiceover narrating the horrible events of the alien attack, interspersed with some gray-tinged footage of the real thing. The child says that he/she was in school when the aliens arrived - and the aliens did not want to be friends. We see footage of a flying saucer coming and blowing up some houses, intercut with a child's drawing of several flying saucers coming down. There's also a child's drawing of jagged-toothed green aliens swarming. There were millions of these aliens, the child says, and they blew up all the big cities as well as the army bases.

We see Noah Wyle talking to one of his kids, who says he just wants everything back the way it was, with his house and his bike and his room. Wyle responds that it's going to get better.

We also see the resistance's military leader, played by Will Patton, saying the cities are a loss, and everybody needs to split up and hide, so they can survive. Noah Wyle, who plays a history professor, says that history is full of cases where a smaller, less well-armed force made so much trouble for an invading army that the invaders had to leave. Noah also pushes a guy on the ground and shouts, in his best Christian Bale voice, "We either do this the right way, OR WE DIE!" There are lots of glimpses of dark evil aliens attacking, intercut with explosions and quick cuts of action scenes. It looks pretty lavish and wide-screen, and this is all just from the pilot, since that's all they've shot so far.

So how is it that Tom Mason (Wyle) goes from being a history professor to helping to lead the resistance? Well, his study of the American Revolution has left him with a deep understanding of the sort of military tactics that an out-gunned force can use against invaders. And this comes especially handy since the aliens have taken out the power grid and knocked the human race back to a 19th century level of technology. (I gleaned all this from the panel as well as the roundtable interviews.)

Tom Mason is in charge of keeping the civilians alive, while Patton's character is in charge of the military side, and if you're guessing the two come into conflict, then you're definitely right — it sounds very much like the early days of Laura Roslin and William Adama, all over again. (And of course, producer Mark Verheiden, who was also on the panel, worked on Battlestar Galactica.)

The American Revolution thing will come up a lot — but not as much as it could have. The show was originally going to be called Concord, after the famous Revolutionary War battle, and the Revolutionary parallels were going to be thick and fast. The producers decided to dial back on the American Revolution thing after realizing it could limit the show.

Wyle described his character, Tom Mason: "He's truly an academic. He's a guy who leads with his intellect." He welcomed the challenge of taking this character and turning him into a real military leader and inspiring hero. The main take-away message from the panel and roundtables, in general, was that this show will be uplifting, and not as depressing as BSG could be at times. Yes, genocide and hardship will bring out the worst in people, and people will do things they never thought they'd be capable of - but we'll also see how it brings out the best in people.

"It's not a show about people tearing each other apart. That's not a show we wanted to do," said Verheiden.

Verheiden said he and the other producers know why the aliens are on Earth and what they want - he won't tell us just yet, but they do have it figured out. And they have an endpoint for the series in mind, even if they don't know every detail of how they'll get there just yet, since they have to see how the characters develop. Each season will consist of just nine or 10 episodes on TNT over the summer, so it's less of a commitment than a 22-episode season, Wyle said.

Co-star Moon Bloodgood said her character is a pediatrician who lost her husband and child in the attacks, and she falls in love with Wyle's character. Unlike the character Bloodgood played in Terminator Salvation, this time around Bloodgood doesn't do much action. She looks after the children among the hundreds of survivors. "She's a mother type, very empathetic. Always wanting more peace than violence," said Bloodgood.

Wyle, Bloodgood and Verheiden promised that a lot of the sort of issues you'd expect will be explored in this show. How do you reconstruct society after it's been destroyed? Are there things about the old social order that you don't want to preserve? Should you cling to social institutions when society is all but gone? How young is too young for a child to start carrying a gun? What's more important: teaching a child to protect him/herself, or trying to let him/her stay a child a little longer?

Oh, and the trailer showed a glimpse of a trashed supermarket called ShopSmart, but Verheiden said any Evil Dead reference was purely unintentional.

The pilot is already in the can, but the show begins filming on its order of nine episodes on Monday. Wyle said the scripts for the upcoming episodes are clever and surprising and full of ridiculous action, as the humans take the fight to the nasty aliens.

Send an email to Charlie Jane Anders, the author of this post, at charliejane@io9.com.

photos after the jump
http://io9.com/5595280/our-first-glimpse-of-spielbergs-jericho-meets-independence-day-series

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by murnut on Jul 24th, 2010, 8:59pm

Hi Wings

Nice place you got here wink


Quote:
Barofsky’s Report: Taxpayer Support for Financial Sector Now $3.7 Trillion

Neil Barofsky, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Fund (TARP) has issued a report that shows that taxpayer support for the financial system grew by $700 billion last year, and has now reached roughly $3.7 trillion, including TARP, Federal Reserve programs, asset guarantees and federal bank deposit insurance, among other commitments.

Taxpayer support grew by $700 billion last year… that is to say, last year alone taxpayer support of the banks increased by the same amount as the original TARP cost in the first place.

I remember the debate over the original $700 billion TARP like it was yesterday. But, I don’t remember Congress debating anything this past year about giving the banks an additional $700 billion, do you? Was I out sick that week? I’m sure I would have remembered the $3.7 trillion number, even with the flu.

A significant portion of this colossal increase in taxpayer support was the result of the government’s futile attempt to prop up the housing market by purchasing Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s securities, and guaranteeing mortgages through the FHA, VA and Ginnie Mae.

So, when Treasury Secretary Tim “Transparency” Geithner said a month or two ago that we’ve been paid back $300 billion in TARP funds as if it was good news and a sign of progress… he wasn’t exactly telling us the whole story, now was he? No, I guess he wasn’t.

That is so cool.

Going forward, however, Treasury has been limited to $475 billion in TARP spending, and is not allowed to take on any new TARP obligations. In fact, Treasury now says it’s shrinking several programs and dropping $30 billion that was supposed to be for small business lending. Assistant Secretary Herb Allison says the current estimate of $105 billion is “conservative,” but why anyone would believe what Allison or anyone at Treasury has to say, is beyond me.


http://mandelman.ml-implode.com/2010/07/barofsky%E2%80%99s-report-taxpayer-support-for-financial-sector-now-3-7-trillion/
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 24th, 2010, 9:47pm

MUR!!!! laugh grin cheesy wink smiley
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 24th, 2010, 9:53pm

Husband and wife team Allen and Patty Eckman put paper pulp into clay moulds and pressurise it to remove the water

User Image

User Image

Sculptures of Native American scenes made out of paper

Crystal

edit to add link:
http://www.eckmanfineart.com/


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 24th, 2010, 9:59pm

One more

User Image


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by murnut on Jul 24th, 2010, 10:10pm

Excellent series of articles by Colin Bennett

Mostly about Exo's

Excellent series that should be required reading for anyone interested in ufology

http://www.realityuncovered.net/blog/2010/05/child-brides-from-outer-space/

http://www.realityuncovered.net/blog/2010/07/child-brides-from-outer-space-part-2/
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 25th, 2010, 08:53am

on Jul 24th, 2010, 10:10pm, murnut wrote:
Excellent series of articles by Colin Bennett

Mostly about Exo's

Excellent series that should be required reading for anyone interested in ufology

http://www.realityuncovered.net/blog/2010/05/child-brides-from-outer-space/

http://www.realityuncovered.net/blog/201....r-space-part-2/


Hey Mur,
Great links. DrDil is discussing this article on his thread, the asinine asylum:
http://ufocasebook.conforums.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=memberblogs&num=1278770842&start=60
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 25th, 2010, 08:59am

Washington Post

The case for breaking up Washington -- and scattering government across America

By Alec MacGillis
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 25, 2010; B01

Americans are angry at Washington, and it's not hard to see why. Not only does the federal government seem more ineffectual than ever in the face of ongoing economic hardship, but the capital has so far coasted through the downturn relatively unscathed.

The unemployment rate in metro Washington is 6 percent, well below the national average of 9.5 percent, and Virginia and Maryland have two of the three highest job-creation rates in the country. Meanwhile, the region is siphoning off many of America's brightest workers: The nation's five most educated counties, judging by the percentage of residents with college degrees, are all in metro Washington. The area's prosperity gap with the rest of the country is increasingly glaring -- particularly if you're sitting in Michigan or Rhode Island or Nevada.

But instead of just ranting about Washington -- or running against it, for those on the hustings -- how about breaking it up? It's an admittedly improbable idea, given the universal instinct for self-preservation, but with Washington burgeoning in a time of general economic gloom, why not address the imbalance by dispersing the government more broadly? Such a move would spread more evenly the benefits of federal employment (and its contractor hangers-on). It would make the federal bureaucracy more attuned to regional issues. And it just might help dissipate some of the anti-Washington venom that's coursing through the country.

Splintering the federal government holds both political benefits for the country and economic benefits for the regions to which jobs are dispersed, said Robert Rupp, a political scientist at West Virginia Wesleyan College -- and a resident of a state that has enjoyed a very targeted form of federal job relocation, thanks to the late senator Robert Byrd. "If we begin with the fact that Washington has grown far bigger than the founders ever contemplated, and that voters are mean and mad and distrustful of Beltway politics, it makes sense," he said.

Already, the federal government is less clustered on the Potomac than many think. Eighty-three percent of its 1.9 million civilian employees (not counting postal workers) are outside metro Washington, from Homeland Security agents at borders and in airports to rangers in national parks to NASA engineers in Houston. The country's federalist system further distributes public jobs outside Washington, to the 50 state governments.

But Washington's share looks bigger if you don't include civilian military and Veterans Affairs workers, who are scattered at bases and hospitals across the country. Of the remaining federal employees, a quarter are in this region. Metro Washington has more federal workers than New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Miami and Seattle combined.

Exacerbating the imbalance is the massive growth of the national security apparatus since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, much of it concentrated among private contractors. As The Washington Post reported in a three-part series last week, a good deal of this expansion has occurred in metro Washington, where 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work have been started or finished since the attacks, occupying nearly as much space as three Pentagons. All told, the government added 13,000 employees in the Washington area last year -- and George Mason University's Center for Regional Analysis predicts that the region will add 6,500 federal jobs in each of the next few years.

The contrast wasn't always so stark. Although Washington's federal employment base has long insulated it against downturns, other regions grew more quickly in boom years. But for the past decade, the metro area's growth has surpassed that in the rest of the country in good times and bad. It's leading the charge with biotech jobs on the I-270 corridor (convenient to the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration) and defense, intelligence and IT jobs clustered around the Pentagon and the CIA in Northern Virginia. Since 2000, home prices in the region have gone up 78 percent, more than in any other city. Six of the country's 10 wealthiest counties are in metro Washington.

To some degree, the region's primacy is to be expected. All capital cities accrue mass, and countless jobs -- legislative aides, presidential staff and military brass among them -- belong at the seat of government. But of the work that is justified, plenty could be done just as well in Buffalo or Topeka, where the cost of living is lower, where people could get to work without adding to the crush on the Beltway and on Metro, and where their presence might encourage a less us-versus-them attitude toward the federal government.

Take the Health and Human Services Department, which is more concentrated in Washington than many other departments, with nearly half of its 64,000 employees in the metro area. If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can thrive in Atlanta, why can't some of the NIH or the FDA make a go of it in, say, St. Louis or Cleveland, cities with strong biomedical sectors?

Last year, the Health Resources and Services Administration brought on 134 people at its Rockville headquarters to oversee $2.5 billion in stimulus spending. Could it have had those people work somewhere else instead? The new health-care law will require still more bureaucracy -- do all of those jobs have to be in Washington? Could they be in Texas, the state with the highest rate of uninsured people? Or Baltimore, a city with affordable real estate that is a short train ride to Washington? (Already, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are based there.)

Or take the Consumer Financial Protection Agency created by the new regulatory overhaul. Why not put it in Charlotte, the banking hub hit so hard by the crash -- or in one of the Sunbelt states or Rust Belt cities where unscrupulous lenders did the most damage?

There is a precedent for this approach. Robert Byrd and Jack Murtha, two veteran Democratic lawmakers who died in recent months, owed their longevity in Congress partly to their ability to steer federal jobs and contracts to West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania, respectively. Byrd's successes included an IRS center in Martinsburg that employs 1,180, an FBI fingerprint-analysis center in Clarksburg that employs 2,500 and, most remarkably, a Coast Guard facility in landlocked Kearneysville that employs 550. Murtha's successes included the National Drug Intelligence Center in Johnstown, with 300 employees.

These outposts bear the marks of pork, but they also reflect economic logic: They carry out support tasks that can be done just about anywhere, and they provide jobs in places that could use a boost.

It's worth noting that putting federal facilities outside the Beltway does not necessarily erase all anti-government vitriol in those places -- see the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of a federal building and the airplane attack against an IRS office in Texas last year. But research suggests that in general, communities with a larger share of public employment are more likely to support government. Pennsylvania Democrat Mark Critz, for instance, won the election to replace Murtha, despite his district's conservative tilt, by making a forthright case for the federal government's role.

Others argue that reliance on federal jobs and largesse ultimately undermines communities by stifling private-sector growth. "Dumping government money here hasn't made West Virginia rich," said Russell Sobel, an economist at West Virginia University. "There's no question certain individuals benefit from it, but it's a question of overall prosperity."

But as the battles to prevent military base closures around the country suggest, most communities hardly see government jobs as a threat to their prosperity. A more widely shared concern about dispersing federal jobs is the impact on the government's productivity. Proximity has its virtues, even in the age of videoconferences and e-mail. And far-flung outposts can suffer from a lack of supervision -- it was Colorado and Louisiana branches of the Minerals Management Service that were recently implicated in scandals involving drug use, prostitution and fraternizing with energy industry officials.

"If you think of the federal government as a major corporation, how is it most efficient?" said George Mason economist John McClain. "Would it be as efficient if you distributed some of the functions around the country?"

Depends on how you do it. The government is already allowing some dispersal via liberalized telecommuting, led by the Patent and Trademark Office, which lets employees work anywhere, as long as they occasionally visit the Alexandria headquarters. The Brookings Institution's Bruce Katz said dispersal could improve productivity if the government's existing regional offices were empowered to serve their constituents in an integrated way, with coordination among agencies, "rather than just be the end of the pipeline for Washington-driven agency decisions that are siloed and compartmentalized."

more after the jump
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/23/AR2010072302431.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 25th, 2010, 09:07am

Washington Post

Officials say little about raid on terrorist camp in Sahara

By Edward Cody
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, July 24, 2010; A06

PARIS -- Mauritanian commandos backed by the French military carried out the raid in the dead of night, guns blazing as they pounced on a small terrorist campsite in a desolate stretch of the Sahara Desert.

The troops killed six members of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Osama bin Laden's loosely organized North African affiliate, but four militants escaped into the surrounding wastelands, Mauritanian Interior Minister Mohamed Ould Boilil said Friday.

Details of the attack, mounted early Thursday near the border of Mali and Mauritania, were tightly held by the governments concerned. But as reports filtered out, it seemed another inconclusive chapter in the little-noticed struggle by several North African nations to snuff out a tiny al-Qaeda-style movement hiding in the Sahara far from the headline-making events of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

The French Defense Ministry said Friday that the Mauritanian military carried out the raid "with technical and logistical support" from France, without further defining the support. In Nouakchott, the Mauritanian capital, Ould Boilil said the raid was designed to prevent a planned attack on a military base in Mauritania.

French officials declined to comment on reports that the commandos and the French military had engaged in a joint operation to free a French hostage, Michel Germaneau, a retired engineer who was kidnapped April 22 in neighboring Niger. The terrorist group threatened last week to execute Germaneau if several of its imprisoned members were not released by Monday.

In a video distributed by the group in May, Germaneau complained of poor health and asked French President Nicolas Sarkozy to find a solution to his abduction. Six weeks later, the group published the execution threat.

The Web site of El País, a Madrid newspaper, quoted diplomatic sources as reporting that French special forces were directly involved in the raid. El País said that the unspoken goal was to liberate Germaneau but that he was not at the campsite, contrary to electronic intelligence supplied by the United States. Bernard Valero, a French Foreign Ministry spokesman, declined to confirm or deny the El País report. "From the beginning, we have been fully mobilized to get our fellow citizen liberated," he said.

Operating in small groups believed to total no more than 500 combatants, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has remained largely in the isolated desert region where Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Algeria come together.

But terrorism specialists said some of its units have raised large amounts of money through ransom and duties imposed on cigarette and drug smugglers passing through the remote desert.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/23/AR2010072305371.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 25th, 2010, 09:11am

New York Times

July 24, 2010
The War: A Trillion Can Be Cheap
By ELISABETH BUMILLER

WASHINGTON — Like everything else, war is a lot more expensive than it used to be.

The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost Americans a staggering $1 trillion to date, second only in inflation-adjusted dollars to the $4 trillion price tag for World War II, when the United States put 16 million men and women into uniform and fought on three continents.

Sticker shock is the inevitable first reaction to the latest statistics on the costs of all major United States wars since the American Revolution, compiled by the Congressional Research Service and released late last month, and the figures promise to play into intensifying political and economic pressures to restrain the Pentagon budget.

Still, 21st-century technology is an obvious explanation for why two relatively small (although long) wars in developing societies like Iraq and Afghanistan are so expensive. As Stephen Daggett, a specialist in defense policy and budgets, writes in the Congressional Research Service report, in the Revolutionary War “the most sophisticated weaponry was a 36-gun frigate that is hardly comparable to a modern $3.5 billion destroyer.”

A second look at the numbers shows another story underneath. In 2008, the peak year so far of war spending for Iraq and Afghanistan, the costs amounted to only 1.2 percent of America’s gross domestic product. During the peak year of spending on World War II, 1945, the costs came to nearly 36 percent of G.D.P.

The reason is the immense growth, and seemingly limitless credit, of the United States economy over the last 65 years, as compared to the sacrifice and unity required to wring $4 trillion from a much smaller economy to wage the earlier war. To some historians, the difference is troubling.

“The army is at war, but the country is not,” said David M. Kennedy, the Stanford University historian. “We have managed to create and field an armed force that can engage in very, very lethal warfare without the society in whose name it fights breaking a sweat.” The result, he said, is “a moral hazard for the political leadership to resort to force in the knowledge that civil society will not be deeply disturbed.”

A corollary is that taxes have not been raised to pay for Iraq and Afghanistan — the first time that has happened in an American war since the Revolution, when there was not yet a country to impose them. Rightly or wrongly, that has further cut American civilians off from the two wars on the opposite side of the world.

Before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, “Americans were called upon by their leaders to pay higher taxes during a war, and grumbling or not grumbling, they did it,” said Robert D. Hormats, the under secretary of state for economic, energy and agricultural affairs and the author of “The Price of Liberty: Paying for America’s Wars.”

In terms of costs per warrior, the current wars appear to be the most expensive ever, according to Todd Harrison, a senior fellow for defense budget studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. Working independently of the Pentagon and of the Congressional study, and using computations based on the number of troops committed to the actual conduct of war at any one time, he estimates that the annual cost today is $1.1 million per man or woman in uniform in Afghanistan versus an adjusted $67,000 per year for troops in World War II and $132,000 in Vietnam.

Although technology is the driving factor, along with the logistical expense of moving equipment over the treacherous and landlocked Afghan terrain, costs per soldier have also risen because of the price of maintaining a better-trained and higher-paid force. “We’re not just pulling random guys off the street and sending them off to war like we did in the past,” Mr. Harrison said.

A last story in the numbers: A quick calculation shows that the United States has been at war for 47 of its 230 years, or 20 percent of its history. Put another way, Americans have been at war one year out of every five.

“You know, it’s a surprise to me that it’s that high,” said Mr. Daggett, who has focused on the cost, not length, of wars. “You think of war as not being the usual state.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/25/weekinreview/25bumiller.html?_r=1&ref=world

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by murnut on Jul 25th, 2010, 09:16am

on Jul 24th, 2010, 10:10pm, murnut wrote:
Excellent series of articles by Colin Bennett

Mostly about Exo's

Excellent series that should be required reading for anyone interested in ufology

http://www.realityuncovered.net/blog/2010/05/child-brides-from-outer-space/

http://www.realityuncovered.net/blog/2010/07/child-brides-from-outer-space-part-2/



I corrected the second link
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 25th, 2010, 09:16am

Telegraph

Axe falls on NHS services
NHS bosses have drawn up secret plans for sweeping cuts to services, with restrictions on the most basic treatments for the sick and injured.

By Laura Donnelly, Health Correspondent
Published: 9:19PM BST 24 Jul 2010

Some of the most common operations — including hip replacements and cataract surgery — will be rationed as part of attempts to save billions of pounds, despite government promises that front-line services would be protected.

Patients’ groups have described the measures as “astonishingly brutal”.

An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has uncovered widespread cuts planned across the NHS, many of which have already been agreed by senior health service officials. They include:

* Restrictions on some of the most basic and common operations, including hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery and orthodontic procedures.

* Plans to cut hundreds of thousands of pounds from budgets for the terminally ill, with dying cancer patients to be told to manage their own symptoms if their condition worsens at evenings or weekends.

* The closure of nursing homes for the elderly.

* A reduction in acute hospital beds, including those for the mentally ill, with targets to discourage GPs from sending patients to hospitals and reduce the number of people using accident and emergency departments.

* Tighter rationing of NHS funding for IVF treatment, and for surgery for obesity.

* Thousands of job losses at NHS hospitals, including 500 staff to go at a trust where cancer patients recently suffered delays in diagnosis and treatment because of staff shortages.

* Cost-cutting programmes in paediatric and maternity services, care of the elderly and services that provide respite breaks to long-term carers.

The Sunday Telegraph found the details of hundreds of cuts buried in obscure appendices to lengthy policy and strategy documents published by trusts. In most cases, local communities appear to be unaware of the plans.

Dr Peter Carter, the head of the Royal College of Nursing, said he was “incredibly worried” about the disclosures.

He urged Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, to “get a grip” on the reality of what was going on in the NHS.

The Government has promised to protect the overall budget of the NHS, which will continue to receive above-inflation increases, but said the service must make “efficiency savings” of up to £20 billion by 2014, which would be diverted back to the front line.

Mr Lansley said last month: “This protection for the NHS is protection for patients – to ensure that the sick do not pay for the debt crisis.”

Dr Carter said: “Andrew Lansley keeps saying that the Government will protect the front line from cuts – but the reality appears to be quite the opposite. We are seeing trusts making job cuts even when they have already admitted to being short staffed.

‘‘The statements he makes may be well intentioned – but we would implore him to get a grip on the reality, because these kinds of cuts are incredibly worrying.”

Katherine Murphy, of the Patients Association, said the cuts were “astonishingly brutal” and expressed particular concern at moves to ration operations such as hip and knee operations.

“These are not unusual procedures, this is a really blatant attempt to save money by leaving people in pain,” she said.

“Looking at these kinds of cuts, which trusts have drawn up in such secrecy, it particularly worries me how far they disadvantage the elderly and the vulnerable.

‘‘We cannot return to the days of people waiting in pain for years for a hip operation or having to pay for operations privately.”

She added that it was “incredibly cruel” to draw up savings plans based on denying care to the dying.

On Thursday, the board of Sutton and Merton primary care trust (PCT) in London agreed more than £50 million of savings in two years. The plan included more than £400,000 to be saved by “reducing length of stay” in hospital for the terminally ill.

As well as sending more patients home to die, the paper said the savings would be made by admitting fewer terminally ill cancer patients to hospital because they were struggling to cope with symptoms such as pain. Instead, more patients would be given advice on “self management” of their condition.

Bill Gillespie, the trust’s chief executive, said patients would stay at home, or be discharged from hospital only if that was their choice, and would be given support in their homes.

This week, Hertfordshire PCT plans to discuss attempts to reduce spending by rationing more than 50 common procedures, including hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery and orthodontic treatment.

Doctors across the county have already been told that their patients can have the operations only if they are given “prior approval” by the PCT, with each authorisation made on a “case by case” basis.

Elsewhere, new restrictions have been introduced to limit funding of IVF.

While many infertile couples living in Yorkshire had previously been allowed two cycles of treatment — still short of national guidance to fund three cycles — all the primary care trusts in the county are now restricting treatment to one cycle per couple.

A “turnaround” plan drawn up by Peterborough PCT intends to make almost £100 million of savings by 2013.

Its cuts include closing nursing and residential homes and services for the mentally ill, sending 500 fewer patients to hospital each month, and cutting £17 million from acute and accident and emergency services.

Two weeks ago, Mid Yorkshire Hospitals trust agreed plans to save £55 million in two years, with £20 million coming from about 500 job losses.

Yet, a month before the decision was taken, senior managers at a board meeting described how staff shortages were already causing delays for patients being diagnosed and treated for breast cancer.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/7908742/Axe-falls-on-NHS-services.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 25th, 2010, 09:18am

on Jul 25th, 2010, 09:16am, murnut wrote:
I corrected the second link


Mornin' Mur! laugh
Husband needing coffee......................see ya later................
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 25th, 2010, 12:04pm

Great walk this morning.

User Image

Mt. Baker in the background. Kenneth Arnold said the discs were coming south from Mt. Baker when he first saw them.
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 25th, 2010, 1:44pm

Wired

Battle: Los Angeles Mixes UFO Lore, Fallujah Feel
By Lewis Wallace July 23, 2010 | 9:26 pm | Categories: Movies, sci-fi


SAN DIEGO — Graft urban combat’s raw intensity and a back story based on real events onto an explosive alien invasion and you’ve got Battle: Los Angeles, an upcoming sci-fi movie that attempts to convey what an alien invasion might actually look like.

The now-familiar videos of U.S. troops engaged in Iraq firefights informed the look and feel of the movie, said cast members and filmmakers Thursday during a Comic-Con International panel offering a first glimpse at the film.

“We made a war movie with aliens in it,” said Aaron Eckhart, who plays a Marine in the movie.

The footage shown in Hall H looked like a combination of Black Hawk Down and District 9, with U.S. troops taking withering fire from aliens in a decimated Los Angeles. The goal was to inject realism and a first-person feel into a classic sci-fi scenario.

“I found a lot of the embedded footage you find of the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan incredibly powerful,” said director Jonathan Liebesman, “and I thought that would just be a great way to tell an alien-invasion story.”

The Comic-Con crowd got only the briefest glimpses of Battle: Los Angeles‘ extraterrestrial invaders. But Liebesman said the aliens would be different from what we’ve seen in previous sci-fi movies.

“What we wanted to do was an alien that wasn’t a creature or an insect,” he said, adding that concept art used had a “hint of biomechanicalness” to it. “We wanted to do something that was literally alien.”

User Image

The film takes its name from the so-called Battle of Los Angeles, a real-life false alarm during World War II that triggered a barrage of anti-aircraft artillery fire when U.S. forces thought they spotted enemies over the Southern California city.

The incident, yet another mysterious aerial event supposedly involving weather balloons, has since been seized upon by ufologists as an encounter with extraterrestrial spaceships. For the movie, the 1942 incident is framed up as a scouting mission for the eventual alien invasion.

Michelle Rodriguez, who plays yet another macho, ass-kicking female fighter in the movie, was asked if she would ever take on a lighter role.

“Oh, you mean like get raped and win an Oscar?” Rodriguez asked, stunning the crowd just a little bit. “I’m horrible, I know.”

“She’s tough in real life, too,” Eckhart said.

Rodriguez went on to say that male screenwriters’ lack of understanding of the balance between masculine and feminine characters leads to the kind of parts she ends up playing on screen, and held out hope that better roles would come along.

Read More http://www.wired.com/underwire/2010/07/battle-los-angeles/#ixzz0uikg1nk6

Crystal


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 25th, 2010, 1:48pm

The Battle of Los Angeles
San Francisco museum

THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II;
DEFENSE OF THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE

“The Battle of Los Angeles”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

During the night of 24/25 February 1942, unidentified objects caused a succession of alerts in southern California. On the 24th, a warning issued by naval intelligence indicated that an attack could be expected within the next ten hours. That evening a large number of flares and blinking lights were reported from the vicinity of defense plants. An alert called at 1918 [7:18 p.m., Pacific time] was lifted at 2223, and the tension temporarily relaxed. But early in the morning of the 25th renewed activity began. Radars picked up an unidentified target 120 miles west of Los Angeles. Antiaircraft batteries were alerted at 0215 and were put on Green Alert—ready to fire—a few minutes later. The AAF kept its pursuit planes on the ground, preferring to await indications of the scale and direction of any attack before committing its limited fighter force. Radars tracked the approaching target to within a few miles of the coast, and at 0221 the regional controller ordered a blackout. Thereafter the information center was flooded with reports of “enemy planes, ” even though the mysterious object tracked in from sea seems to have vanished. At 0243, planes were reported near Long Beach, and a few minutes later a coast artillery colonel spotted “about 25 planes at 12,000 feet” over Los Angeles. At 0306 a balloon carrying a red flare was seen over Santa Monica and four batteries of anti-aircraft artillery opened fire, whereupon “the air over Los Angeles erupted like a volcano.” From this point on reports were hopelessly at variance.

Probably much of the confusion came from the fact that anti-aircraft shell bursts, caught by the searchlights, were themselves mistaken for enemy planes. In any case, the next three hours produced some of the most imaginative reporting of the war: “swarms” of planes (or, sometimes, balloons) of all possible sizes, numbering from one to several hundred, traveling at altitudes which ranged from a few thousand feet to more than 20,000 and flying at speeds which were said to have varied from “very slow” to over 200 miles per hour, were observed to parade across the skies. These mysterious forces dropped no bombs and, despite the fact that 1,440 rounds of anti-aircraft ammunition were directed against them, suffered no losses. There were reports, to be sure, that four enemy planes had been shot down, and one was supposed to have landed in flames at a Hollywood intersection. Residents in a forty-mile arc along the coast watched from hills or rooftops as the play of guns and searchlights provided the first real drama of the war for citizens of the mainland. The dawn, which ended the shooting and the fantasy, also proved that the only damage which resulted to the city was such as had been caused by the excitement (there was at least one death from heart failure), by traffic accidents in the blacked-out streets, or by shell fragments from the artillery barrage.

Attempts to arrive at an explanation of the incident quickly became as involved and mysterious as the “battle” itself. The Navy immediately insisted that there was no evidence of the presence of enemy planes, and Secretary [of the Navy, Frank] Knox announced at a press conference on 25 February that the raid was just a false alarm. At the same conference he admitted that attacks were always possible and indicated that vital industries located along the coast ought to be moved inland. The Army had a hard time making up its mind on the cause of the alert. A report to Washington, made by the Western Defense Command shortly after the raid had ended, indicated that the credibility of reports of an attack had begun to be shaken before the blackout was lifted. This message predicted that developments would prove “that most previous reports had been greatly exaggerated.” The Fourth Air Force had indicated its belief that there were no planes over Los Angeles. But the Army did not publish these initial conclusions. Instead, it waited a day, until after a thorough examination of witnesses had been finished. On the basis of these hearings, local commanders altered their verdict and indicated a belief that from one to five unidentified airplanes had been over Los Angeles. Secretary Stimson announced this conclusion as the War Department version of the incident, and he advanced two theories to account for the mysterious craft: either they were commercial planes operated by an enemy from secret fields in California or Mexico, or they were light planes launched from Japanese submarines. In either case, the enemy’s purpose must have been to locate anti-aircraft defenses in the area or to deliver a blow at civilian morale.

The divergence of views between the War and Navy departments, and the unsatisfying conjectures advanced by the Army to explain the affair, touched off a vigorous public discussion. The Los Angeles Times, in a first-page editorial on 26 February, announced that “the considerable public excitement and confusion” caused by the alert, as well as its “spectacular official accompaniments, ” demanded a careful explanation. Fears were expressed lest a few phony raids undermine the confidence of civilian volunteers in the aircraft warning service. In Congress, Representative Leland Ford wanted to know whether the incident was “a practice raid, or a raid to throw a scare into 2,000,000 people, or a mistaken identity raid, or a raid to take away Southern California’s war industries.” Wendell Willkie, speaking in Los Angeles on 26 February, assured Californians on the basis of his experiences in England that when a real air raid began “you won’t have to argue about it—you’ll just know.” He conceded that military authorities had been correct in calling a precautionary alert but deplored the lack of agreement between the Army and Navy. A strong editorial in the Washington Post on 27 February called the handling of the Los Angeles episode a “recipe for jitters,” and censured the military authorities for what it called “stubborn silence” in the face of widespread uncertainty. The editorial suggested that the Army’s theory that commercial planes might have caused the alert “explains everything except where the planes came from, whither they were going, and why no American planes were sent in pursuit of them.” The New York Times on 28 February expressed a belief that the more the incident was studied, the more incredible it became: “If the batteries were firing on nothing at all, as Secretary Knox implies, it is a sign of expensive incompetence and jitters. If the batteries were firing on real planes, some of them as low as 9,000 feet, as Secretary Stimson declares, why were they completely ineffective? Why did no American planes go up to engage them, or even to identify them?... What would have happened if this had been a real air raid?” These questions were appropriate, but for the War Department to have answered them in full frankness would have involved an even more complete revelation of the weakness of our air defenses.

At the end of the war, the Japanese stated that they did not send planes over the area at the time of this alert, although submarine-launched aircraft were subsequently used over Seattle. A careful study of the evidence suggests that meteorological balloons—known to have been released over Los Angeles —may well have caused the initial alarm. This theory is supported by the fact that anti-aircraft artillery units were officially criticized for having wasted ammunition on targets which moved too slowly to have been airplanes. After the firing started, careful observation was difficult because of drifting smoke from shell bursts. The acting commander of the anti-aircraft artillery brigade in the area testified that he had first been convinced that he had seen fifteen planes in the air, but had quickly decided that he was seeing smoke. Competent correspondents like Ernie Pyle and Bill Henry witnessed the shooting and wrote that they were never able to make out an airplane. It is hard to see, in any event, what enemy purpose would have been served by an attack in which no bombs were dropped, unless perhaps, as Mr. Stimson suggested, the purpose had been reconnaissance.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In: The Army Air Forces in World War II, prepared under the editorship of Wesley Frank Craven, James Lea Cate. v.1, pp. 277-286, Washington, D.C. : Office of Air Force History : For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O., 1983.


http://www.sfmuseum.org/hist9/aaf2.html

http://www.sfmuseum.org/
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 25th, 2010, 2:13pm

on Jul 25th, 2010, 12:04pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Great walk this morning.

User Image

Mt. Baker in the background. Kenneth Arnold said the discs were coming south from Mt. Baker when he first saw them.
Crystal

Hello Crystal.
You got a really awesome view there. The aliens possibly also know what's beautiful so no wonder that they are flying around there. wink
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 25th, 2010, 3:37pm

It's paradise Phil. I am so lucky.
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 25th, 2010, 3:39pm

Battle of Los Angeles photo. Second photo is contrast enhanced.

User Image

User Image

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 26th, 2010, 06:21am

New York Times

The War Logs

July 25, 2010
Piecing Together the Reports, and Deciding What to Publish

The articles published today are based on thousands of United States military incident and intelligence reports —records of engagements, mishaps, intelligence on enemy activity and other events from the war in Afghanistan — that were made public on Sunday on the Internet. The New York Times, The Guardian newspaper in London, and the German magazine Der Spiegel were given access to the material several weeks ago. These reports are used by desk officers in the Pentagon and troops in the field when they make operational plans and prepare briefings on the situation in the war zone. Most of the reports are routine, even mundane, but many add insights, texture and context to a war that has been waged for nearly nine years.

Over all these documents amount to a real-time history of the war reported from one important vantage point — that of the soldiers and officers actually doing the fighting and reconstruction.

The Source of the Material

The documents — some 92,000 individual reports in all — were made available to The Times and the European news organizations by WikiLeaks, an organization devoted to exposing secrets of all kinds, on the condition that the papers not report on the data until July 25, when WikiLeaks said it intended to post the material on the Internet. WikiLeaks did not reveal where it obtained the material. WikiLeaks was not involved in the news organizations’ research, reporting, analysis and writing. The Times spent about a month mining the data for disclosures and patterns, verifying and cross-checking with other information sources, and preparing the articles that are published today. The three news organizations agreed to publish their articles simultaneously, but each prepared its own articles.

Classified Information

Deciding whether to publish secret information is always difficult, and after weighing the risks and public interest, we sometimes chose not to publish. But there are times when the information is of significant public interest, and this is one of those times. The documents illuminate the extraordinary difficulty of what the United States and its allies have undertaken in a way that other accounts have not.

Most of the incident reports are marked “secret,” a relatively low level of classification. The Times has taken care not to publish information that would harm national security interests. The Times and the other news organizations agreed at the outset that we would not disclose — either in our articles or any of our online supplementary material — anything that was likely to put lives at risk or jeopardize military or antiterrorist operations. We have, for example, withheld any names of operatives in the field and informants cited in the reports. We have avoided anything that might compromise American or allied intelligence-gathering methods such as communications intercepts. We have not linked to the archives of raw material. At the request of the White House, The Times also urged WikiLeaks to withhold any harmful material from its Web site.

Verification

To establish confidence in the information, The Times checked a number of the reports against incidents that had been publicly reported or witnessed by our own journalists. Government officials did not dispute that the information was authentic.

It is sometimes unclear whether a particular incident report is based on firsthand observation, on the account of an intelligence source regarded as reliable, on less trustworthy sources or on speculation by the writer. It is also not known what may be missing from the material, either because it is in a more restrictive category of classification or for some other reason.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/world/war-logs.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 26th, 2010, 06:35am

New York Times

July 25, 2010
Search Widens for U.S. Sailors in Afghanistan
By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr. and ALISSA J. RUBIN

KABUL, Afghanistan — As a huge manhunt for two missing American servicemen widened throughout a dangerous region of eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, a Taliban spokesman said that one had been killed in an ambush and the other captured.

Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in Kabul on Sunday that the military would “do all we can” to return the servicemen, who were in the Navy. The United States military in Afghanistan was offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to their return.

Afghan and American forces were carrying out an immense aerial and ground operation in Logar Province, where the two servicemen were attacked. Police officers at checkpoints were handing out reward notices to passengers on minibuses, a favorite form of travel in Afghanistan’s rural areas, and radio stations in Logar were announcing the reward, according to a reporter at one station and the director of another.

A NATO officer confirmed that the $20,000 reward was being offered and said, “It is not unusual; it is an option that a commander in a localized area can choose to exercise.”

The military would say little about the practice because the search was under way for the two missing servicemen, who were last seen leaving a military base in Kabul in an armored sport-utility vehicle on Friday afternoon.

NATO officials have declined to say why the two servicemen went to Logar, or whether the trip was sanctioned by the military. Although soldiers make up the lion’s share of American forces in Afghanistan, which is landlocked, most bases have a mix of service members, including from the Navy.

The American government has long had a policy of refusing to pay a ransom for a kidnapped employee. Nor was it clear that the Taliban were asking for one. The only reports so far were that they were interested in a prisoner swap.

But the military has offered rewards in several previous cases, usually immediately after service members disappear, before their kidnappers have a chance to spirit them to a more distant and secure location.

The distinction between a ransom and a reward appeared to be somewhat gray, although in Afghanistan, where people can earn tens of thousands of dollars in the poppy business or in transporting heroin, it seemed unlikely that $20,000 would be of much interest to the kidnappers; the reward seemed to be aimed more at bystanders who might have seen or heard something that could inform the military’s search.

A reward offer could also yield a surfeit of useless information that is either immaterial or fabricated by people who simply want to get the money. Typically tips in kidnapping cases offer little productive information, according to private contractors who work on them.

“Certainly we don’t want to incentivize people to grab people or to get their mitts on a reward,” a NATO official said.

Rewards were offered on at least two occasions in Iraq, in 2006 and again in 2007, to obtain information about soldiers who had been captured. In a case that bears some similarities to the one in Afghanistan, an American general said $200,000 was offered and about 50,000 leaflets were distributed when three soldiers were missing after an ambush south of Baghdad in 2007, according to a report published by The Associated Press.

Shahidzia, a local radio reporter in Logar, said he broadcast information about the reward after receiving a telephone call from an interpreter for the chief American military public affairs officer in the province, who had provided a description of the two men and mentioned the reward.

Later, on a minibus home from work, he said, “I saw a paper with the photos of the two missing Americans on both sides in the driver’s hand. When I asked him where he got it from, he said that Afghan police were handing it out on the main highway to all the drivers and passengers and were telling everyone to provide information about them and get a reward.”

Another station, Radio Isteqlal in Logar, also broadcast information about the sailors, said Lal Muhammad Torabi, the station’s director.

The resources being put into the search were considerable, according to residents and a spokesman for the Logar governor’s office, Din Muhammad Darwish, who said that the province “had been locked down since yesterday.”

The Taliban suggested that the capture of the two servicemen had been fortuitous, that the pair had strayed into an area they controlled and that they had seized the opportunity.

The Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said in a telephone interview that the two Americans had entered an area known as Dasht-i-Qala when the Taliban spotted them and tried to capture them alive. The area is in Charkh District, at the southern end of Logar Province, about 60 miles south of Kabul.

“They resisted, and one of them started shooting,” Mr. Mujahid said. “One soldier was trying to resist and the other one was willing to surrender.” Shots were exchanged for a while before one was killed and the other was captured, he said.

“They carried weapons, binoculars, and they were uniformed,” he said, and they were alone.

Now, Mr. Mujahid said, “the Taliban are waiting for the leadership to decide what to do” with the surviving serviceman and the body of his partner; he said both were in a safe location.

Afghan officials in Logar Province also thought one serviceman had died in the ambush, said Mr. Darwish, the spokesman for the Logar provincial governor. “One of the Americans was killed late on Friday,” he said. “We heard he was first wounded, then that he later died because of wounds he sustained in the attack.”

Admiral Mullen said the trip appeared to be “an unusual circumstance” but emphasized that he did not have all the details.

“We’ve got a large number of forces focused on the return of these two individuals,” he said. “It is certainly our intended focus to do all we can, as it has been in the past, to return to American hands anybody who has been captured or killed.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/26/world/asia/26afghan.html?ref=world

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 26th, 2010, 06:40am

Telegraph

Dudley poised to replace Tony Hayward as BP chief
Bob Dudley is set to be named as the new chief executive of BP within 24 hours as the company launches the fight to repair its reputation and finances.

By Graham Ruddick
Published: 9:52PM BST 25 Jul 2010

BP said on Monday that its board will meet this evening in London. It's expected to ratify the resignation of existing chief executive Tony Hayward.

Mr Hayward is believed to have been in negotiations over the weekend about his compensation package. Under his contract he is entitled to at least £1.045m – his basic salary – although BP is thought to be keen to avoid any row with the US Government over the scale of the payout.

BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg and the rest of the board now accept that, despite many shareholders supporting Mr Hayward, his departure is vital to the company drawing a line under the Gulf of Mexico disaster and planning for the future. This is particularly true in America where Mr Hayward has gained pariah status after a series of gaffes.

An unnamed senior US official told American media last night that he was briefed on Mr Hayward's looming departure last week. Mr Svanberg is expected to stay on for the time being – despite criticism of his role in the crisis.

Mr Dudley is said to be a "racing certainty" to be named the new chief executive. An announcement is expected by tomorrow morning, when BP publishes half-year results, although the timing of the handover is being finalised.

A spokesman for BP said last night: "Tony Hayward remains our chief executive and has the support of senior management and the board."

Mr Dudley would be the first non-British businessman to become BP chief executive. Mr Dudley grew up in Mississippi and took over control of BP's efforts to cap the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico last month. Under his leadership, BP has succeeded in using a temporary cap to stop oil seeping from the sea bed and is closing in on finishing a relief well that should seal the leak.

As an American, the company will hope Mr Dudley can rebuild BP's relationship with the US Government, which has been heavily critical of Mr Hayward. After the BP chief was pictured on his yacht near the Isle of Wight at the height of the crisis, Rahm Emanuel, the White House Chief of Staff, said: "I think we can all conclude that Tony Hayward is not going to have a second career in PR consulting."

Mr Dudley, 54, spent 20 years at Amoco before it was bought by BP in 1998. In 2003, he became chief executive of BP's joint-venture in Russia, TNK-BP. However, he left Russia under a cloud in 2008 when the billionaires partnering BP accused Mr Dudley of favouring the British company.

On his return, Mr Dudley was appointed the managing director of BP, with responsibility for Asia and the Americas. He was paid $2.2m (£1.4m) last year.

Almost 100 days after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, killing 11 workers, BP is forecast to unveil the worst quarterly loss in British corporate history on Tuesday.

Analyst estimates for "clean" profits of $5bn in the second quarter of the year, stripping out the effect of inventory changes, are likely to rile BP's critics. However, the company will take a $25bn to $30bn provision to meet costs related to the catastrophic oil spill. That could lead BP to record a pre-tax loss of up to $25bn, according to Jason Kenney, oil analyst at ING.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/7909633/Dudley-poised-to-replace-Tony-Hayward-as-BP-chief.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 26th, 2010, 06:46am

Telegraph

Vicar gives Holy Communion to dog
An Anglican church in Canada has become the focus of controversy after a vicar gave Holy Communion to a dog.

Published: 12:18PM BST 26 Jul 2010

A priest at St Peter's Anglican Church in Toronto, gave Holy Communion to an Alsatian cross dog called Trapper
The priest gave the Host – considered by Christians to represent the body of Jesus Christ – to an Alsatian cross called Trapper.

St Peter's Anglican Church in Toronto has since been deluged complaints from Christians all over Canada.

Donald Keith, the dog's owner, said he had taken his pet to the church because he had been told animals were welcome.

He said that because he was newcomer the vicar invited him up in person to receive communion.

"The minister welcomed me and said come up and take communion, and Trapper came up with me and the minister gave him communion as well," said Mr Keith.

"Then he bent his head and said a little prayer," Mr Keith said.

"I thought it was a nice way to welcome me into the church," he said. "I thought it was acceptable." He added: "There was an old lady in the front just beaming when she saw this.

"Ninety nine-point-nine per cent of the people in the church love Trapper and the kids play with him." He said one member of the congregation was unhappy about the vicar giving the dog communion and complained to the archbishop, Colin Johnson.

The dog has since been banned from receiving the sacrament.

"It was just one person who got his nose out of joint and went to the head of the Anglican Church," said Mr Keith.

"Holy smokes. This is small stuff. I thought it was innocent and it made me think of the blessing of the animals.

"This has blown me away. The church is even getting emails from Catholics," he said.

Peggy Needham, the deputy people's warden at the church, said that no further action would be taken.

"The backlash is from just one person," she said.

"Something happened that won't happen again. Something our interim priest did spontaneously.

"This person went to the top and emailed our bishop to make a fuss and change things. But he misjudged our congregation."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7910177/Vicar-gives-Holy-Communion-to-dog.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 26th, 2010, 06:55am

LA Times

Disabled veterans can follow their dream of entrepreneurship
Six universities nationwide, including UCLA, offer all-expenses-paid boot camps for former soldiers hoping to adapt their military skills into running businesses.
By Alexandra Zavis, Times Staff Writer

July 26, 2010

Sgt. Neil Avant was headed to a meeting with businessmen in Baghdad last year when a man wearing women's clothes with explosives hidden underneath blew himself up.

Avant's injuries, including nerve damage to both legs, ended his Army career at 33. Looking for a new vocation, he decided to open a green energy business. Earlier this month he joined 19 other disabled veterans at a eight-day crash course in entrepreneurship.

His instructors at UCLA's Anderson School of Management were blunt. Why would anyone consult him, he recalled them asking, when there are numerous firms already offering to help customers convert to renewable energy?

"Man, this really is like boot camp, you know the way they break you down to build you up?" Avant said in between lectures on balance sheets and marketing strategies.

"I think I was a little too cocky....We were trying to do microloans and financing in a combat environment, and I was like, if I can do that in Iraq, I can do it anywhere, right?"

With jobs hard to find, starting a business can be an attractive option for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with debilitating injuries. Hundreds apply every year for the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, which is offered at six universities nationwide.

The all-expenses-paid program, funded by contributions from the business community, was founded by J. Michael Haynie, who served 14 years in the Air Force before joining the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University as an assistant professor of entrepreneurship. "If we know anything from history, for veterans with disabilities the path to traditional employment is a challenge," Haynie said.

Program participants say becoming entrepreneurs allows them to craft careers suited to their skills and limitations. Besides dealing with physical issues, many disabled veterans require care that can be difficult to fit into a traditional workweek.

"I probably have on average two to three medical appointments a week," said Patrick Valdez Sr., who suffered back, shoulder and knee injuries during a 33-year Army career. "That's a lot to ask an employer."

By starting a business selling promotional products, Valdez now controls his schedule. But he said he needed help adapting his military experience to the business world.

As a command sergeant major, he knew how to handle unruly soldiers. But, he said, when a vendor lets him down, "you can't call the guy in and chew his butt for half an hour."

Haynie said the military cultivates many attributes of successful entrepreneurs, including the ability to assess risk, overcome obstacles, build teams and manage significant resources.

Out of the first class of 20 at Syracuse University in 2007, 14 are running their own businesses full-time, Haynie said. Four generated more than $1 million in revenue last year.

The federal government and the state of California set aside 3% of annual contracting dollars to spend on businesses owned by veterans with service-related disabilities. California came close to meeting the goal last year, but the federal government achieved just 1.49% in 2008, the most recent year for which figures are available.

"I think there is a huge opportunity for more people to get certified and do business, even in the current climate," said Eric Mandell, who heads the small business office at the California Department of General Services.

Currently about 1,200 companies are certified to bid for state contracts as disabled-veteran business enterprises, he said. A number of large corporations also give preference to disabled veterans and other disadvantaged groups.

UCLA accepted its first class of 15 veterans in 2008. Five of them are now working exclusively on their own ventures. Others decided to further their education or get more work experience before going into business for themselves. Participants are mentored for a year after graduating.

Elaine Hagan, executive director of the Anderson School's Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, said she was struck by how many participants were still looking for ways to be of service.

One couple who attended this year wants to start a high school leadership program. Other participants want to help fellow veterans find jobs or start their own businesses.

Ken Kraft raises Victorian bulldogs, some of which he donates as service dogs to other wounded veterans.

Kraft, 45, served in the Army Reserve while working as a sheriff's deputy. He was forced to give up both careers because of injuries he suffered in a mortar barrage and a helicopter accident while deployed in Iraq.

Going into business for himself, he says, has provided new ways to contribute and make a living. Next up: a disc golf course for a sport he discovered while learning to walk again.

"I wasn't ready for my injuries to change my life," he said. "It's my way of taking somebody else whose life has changed and giving them hope."

alexandra.zavis@latimes.com

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-veteran-entrepreneurs-20100726,0,1497118.story

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 26th, 2010, 06:58am

UFO Casebook

Sifting Through The Story

Submitted by Kevin Smith on Sun, 07/25/2010 - 21:19

In February of 2008, a story burst onto the scene that really shook the earth in the UFO community. It was the story of a briefing that allegedly took place at the United Nations building in New York City. According to the story, there were about 30 to 40 people representing their countries, and they were briefed in relation to extraterrestrial reality and presence on Earth. The story further stated that a plan of acclimating the world’s population to ET presence was agreed upon at the meeting. Actually, there were said to be several follow-on meetings at which all this was done.

Who gave the briefing? Why was it done?

According to the story, the briefing was conducted by a U.S. Navy officer. Why? Because, the story alleged, the extraterrestrials had made it clear to the U.S.A. that they were not going to stay in hiding forever. They are said to have told the U.S.A. that either the governments of the world could make disclosure about extraterrestrial presence, or the extraterrestrials were going to do it themselves by showing up in a mass sighting of their craft that would be unambiguous. The target date for this mass event was 2017.

For the UFO community, the source of the story was the brothers Pickering, Shawn and Clay. For the Pickerings, their source was Richard Theilman, a man who claimed to be a retired Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy. The Pickerings would not use his real name because they said it may compromise his activities at pushing for disclosure. They referred to him as “Source A”

Obviously, explosive news like that is going to be fact-checked. The UFO community is a bit gun shy these days because of having been exposed to many hoaxes over the years, and the fact checking began almost immediately.

Eventually, an ad hoc group of people joined in the investigation to see if any of the facts of the story could be verified. They succeeded in identifying Richard Theilman as “Source A”. They also succeeded in producing evidence that he is not part of, nor has he been part of the U.S. Navy. Their evidence looks compelling, and awaits a rebuttal from Theilman.

As interesting as all this is to those who love detective mysteries, none of it is the point. The point is a question: Did that briefing really take place?

If we assume that Theilman was hoaxing information, can we assume it was all hoaxed? If the Pickerings were duped by Theilman, does that make the essential story untrue?

Across the ocean from New York City, in the country of France, Gilles Lorant ran into all kinds of trouble after stating on the record that he had attended the follow-on briefings on February 13th and 14th. The trouble bubbled around the issue of his having listed something on his resume that was in error. While there was a furor around the resume, nothing at all was aimed at his statements that he had been at the follow-on briefings at the U.N. building—briefings related to extraterrestrial presence on Earth.

The reconstructed notes of the meeting that were published by the Pickerings said that a program of acclimation should be undertaken by governments to prepare the world’s population for the reality of extraterrestrials. It is interesting that shortly after that alleged set of meetings in February 2008, the Vatican began to make several bold steps toward acclimation of the population. First, the Vatican’s chief astronomer, Fr. José Gabriel Funes, made a statement to the press that for Catholics to believe in extraterrestrials is fine with the church. He said there is no conflict with the Bible or church teachings for those who believe in extraterrestrial reality. Then, the Vatican hosted its own meeting having to do with extraterrestrials. Representatives from about 30 countries were present. Now before you write this off as being just a religious action, stop and realize that the Vatican IS a government. It is a sovereign state and the Pope is the head of state. This meeting was a government action.

Following the alleged briefings at the United Nations building in 2008, there has been a string of governments who have decided to make their UFO files public. Coincidence? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Is it possible the briefings at the U.N. building actually took place? If so, how does that square with the information about Theilman?

If the briefing actually did take place, that does not mean that Theilman was there, or even involved. Perhaps he just heard about it from someone who was there. Perhaps he decided to take what he had heard and weave it into a tall tale for the Pickerings. We may never know. But, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater just yet. Interesting developments followed the dates of those alleged meetings—developments that are in line with what was alleged to have been decided at the meetings. Yes, it could all be coincidental. On the other hand, it could point to the reality of the briefings.

This is not an attempt to prop up a discredited story. Not at all. I am merely attempting to point out that while some of the information has been discredited, that does not discredit the entire story. Here is how it works in real life.

Let’s say there is a computer engineer who claims to be a conservative Christian. He is known by everyone as a man of faith. That is, until he is discovered frequenting prostitutes. Now, while that might disqualify him from his church membership, does that mean he is not a good computer engineer? Does it mean all the computers he built should be thrown away? Why the very idea! Computers built by a guy who lied about his faith!

Throwing away those computers would be nutty. Right? Yes, it would be nutty unless we knew of some defect in the computers themselves. Throwing out the entire story of those briefings is just as nutty if all we are going on is the information about Richard Theilman. There are other events that seem to somewhat corroborate the reality of the briefings. Unless we have evidence that reveals for sure that the briefings did not take place, we would be wise to keep this one in the “let’s wait and see” column.

After all, one the classic ways to get the public to switch off a real story is to let the story go public in a way that can and will be discredited. Masters of counter-intelligence know our tendency to throw the baby out with the bath water. They use it all the time.

http://www.ufodigest.com/article/sifting-through-story

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 26th, 2010, 07:02am

UFO Digest

Launch of Britain's New UFO Magazine: UFO MATRIX
Submitted by Malcolm Robinson on Sun, 07/25/2010 - 15:24

I'm pleased to say that a new UFO magazine will be hitting the shops at the end of July 2010 'UFO Matrix'. I am the assistant editor of this magazine, and this e-mail is to inform you all about the mag and where you can obtain it. (Please spread the word)

UFO MATRIX

Editor Philip Mantle had this to say about our new magazine. UFO MATRIX MAGAZINE will bring together an international list of columnists and contributors to provide people with the latest UFO sighting reports, discussions, debates, theories, news, reviews and much, much more. It is our aim to try and cover any and every aspect of the UFO subject as space will allow.

NO AGENDA

We have no hidden agenda and no fixed editorial plan on what we can and cannot cover. Instead we will endeavour to offer the reader as much information as we possibly can on the UFO subject and allow our readers to reach their own conclusion. We will not favour any one particular theory as to what UFOs may or may not be, nor will be ignore the research of our colleagues who take a more sceptical stance. The pages of UFO MATRIX MAGAZINE are open to anyone who wishes to submit an item for possible publication.

STUDY

The one thing we do feel strongly about is the importance of UFO study. This is one of the primary reasons for producing this publication. It is to bring to the attention of the general public at large as much information on the UFO subject as possible. We feel that whatever lies behind the UFO phenomena that it deserves serious study and debate and to do that it needs to be kept in the public domain. UFO MATRIX MAGAZINE is our contribution to keeping the UFO subject in the public eye and hopefully adding something to continued UFO research and investigation.

ON SALE AT:

UFO MATRIX will now go on sale in over 400 Barnes & Noble outlets and over 170 Borders stores in the USA. This is already on top of distribution in the United Kingdom where the magazine is going into over 3000 stores including the high street giant WH Smith and the following countries: Australia, Canada, Brazil, Hong Kong, Sweden Singapore, South Africa and Austria with more to follow. People can of course by pass the high street and subscribe direct at: www.healingsofatlantis.com

ON SALE: Friday 30th July 2010

IN CLOSING

Since the sad passing of Graham Birdsall, Britain has been lacking in publications such as this, and I feel that this magazine will help to enlighten people to the fact that, ‘UFO’s are real’ whatever they may be.

To subscribe to our magazine, here are the details:

BUY ONLINE:

www.HealingsOfAtlantis.com ( The Official UFO Matrix Merchandise Shop)

BY TELEPHONE:
01371 812 952 01371 812 952

BY POST:

UFO Matrix Subscriptions, C/O 1st Publisher Services, 12 Bradfield Centre, Great Bardfield, Essex , CM7 4SL , UK

EMAIL CONTACT:

ian.tomalin@1stpublisherservices.co.uk

UFO MATRIX ARE THE PROUD SPONSORS OF THE WEIRD 10 UFO CONFERENCE. FULL DETIALS VIA:

http://www.mystical-county.org.uk/w10-home.htm

ADVERTISING

I am also looking after the advertising for UFO Matrix, so if you have anything you would like to advertise, be it your Conference, UFO memrobillia, T shirts/models or whatever, then please e-mail me, Malcolm Robinson, at malcolmrobinson@ufomatrix.com

Please spread the word.

My best wishes to all.

Malcolm Robinson

Assistant Editor UFO Matrix.
www.facebook.com/malcolm.robinson2

http://www.ufodigest.com/article/launch-britains-new-ufo-magazine-ufo-matrix

Crystal

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 26th, 2010, 07:07am

From the Shadows
True tales of the Paranormal by Jason Offutt

Saturday, July 24, 2010
Terror in the Shopping Mall – Part One

Author’s note: This is the first of a two-part story of Susan Smith’s experiences managing a haunted store.
The shopping mall in Southern California didn’t look ominous. Built in the late 1970s, it resembled shopping malls scattered throughout the country.

Susan Smith took a job as assistant manager of a retail store there in 2005 and discovered the mall was much different, much darker than what it seemed.

“The incidents around my experience grew worse and more intense over the two years I was in this position,” Smith said. “They started off very innocently and progressively became intelligent, reactionary and ever present.”

Smith worked in the store for six quiet months when store management brought in a new manager and several new employees.

“I began to notice small things, such as hearing the clothing hangers move when the store was empty and the ventilation systems were turned off,” Smith said.

She dismissed these noises as vibrations throughout the building until the noises began to get more distinct.

“I began to hear the sounds of running down the hallway where the dressing rooms were located,” she said. “But found the space to be empty.”

Smith ignored the sounds, not discussing them with coworkers. A month later, the lights started going out.

“The store’s lights (began) burning out two or three times a week,” she said. “I don’t mean one light bulb, I mean at least half of the lights in the ceiling track lighting would burn out on a weekly basis.”

Smith called in the mall’s maintenance people who couldn’t solve the light problem. Neither could electricians or the power company.

“We were not having any surges and no wiring was faulty,” she said. “After nearly eight weeks of this we had the system partially replaced and still had lights burning out.”

Around this time, the manager moved to a different store and Smith was appointed manager, which brought her to the store earlier in the morning.

“I would come into the store around 7 to 7:30 a.m. several days a week to do
administrative tasks,” Smith said. “At this time, the entire mall was closed and usually empty.”

Sitting in the store office, Smith often heard hangers moving and footsteps, but when she investigated the sounds, the air conditioning was off and the store was locked and empty.

more after the jump
http://from-the-shadows.blogspot.com/2010/07/terror-in-shopping-mall-part-one.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+C2C-InTheNews+%28Feed+-+Coast+to+Coast+-+In+the+News%29&utm_content=Twitter

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 26th, 2010, 12:05pm

Hello Crystal! smiley
on Jul 26th, 2010, 06:58am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
UFO Casebook

Sifting Through The Story

Submitted by Kevin Smith on Sun, 07/25/2010 - 21:19

In February of 2008, a story burst onto the scene that really shook the earth in the UFO community. It was the story of a briefing that allegedly took place at the United Nations building in New York City. According to the story, there were about 30 to 40 people representing their countries, and they were briefed in relation to extraterrestrial reality and presence on Earth. The story further stated that a plan of acclimating the world’s population to ET presence was agreed upon at the meeting. Actually, there were said to be several follow-on meetings at which all this was done.

Who gave the briefing? Why was it done?

According to the story, the briefing was conducted by a U.S. Navy officer. Why? Because, the story alleged, the extraterrestrials had made it clear to the U.S.A. that they were not going to stay in hiding forever. They are said to have told the U.S.A. that either the governments of the world could make disclosure about extraterrestrial presence, or the extraterrestrials were going to do it themselves by showing up in a mass sighting of their craft that would be unambiguous. The target date for this mass event was 2017.

For the UFO community, the source of the story was the brothers Pickering, Shawn and Clay. For the Pickerings, their source was Richard Theilman, a man who claimed to be a retired Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy. The Pickerings would not use his real name because they said it may compromise his activities at pushing for disclosure. They referred to him as “Source A”

Obviously, explosive news like that is going to be fact-checked. The UFO community is a bit gun shy these days because of having been exposed to many hoaxes over the years, and the fact checking began almost immediately.

Eventually, an ad hoc group of people joined in the investigation to see if any of the facts of the story could be verified. They succeeded in identifying Richard Theilman as “Source A”. They also succeeded in producing evidence that he is not part of, nor has he been part of the U.S. Navy. Their evidence looks compelling, and awaits a rebuttal from Theilman.

As interesting as all this is to those who love detective mysteries, none of it is the point. The point is a question: Did that briefing really take place?

If we assume that Theilman was hoaxing information, can we assume it was all hoaxed? If the Pickerings were duped by Theilman, does that make the essential story untrue?

Across the ocean from New York City, in the country of France, Gilles Lorant ran into all kinds of trouble after stating on the record that he had attended the follow-on briefings on February 13th and 14th. The trouble bubbled around the issue of his having listed something on his resume that was in error. While there was a furor around the resume, nothing at all was aimed at his statements that he had been at the follow-on briefings at the U.N. building—briefings related to extraterrestrial presence on Earth.

The reconstructed notes of the meeting that were published by the Pickerings said that a program of acclimation should be undertaken by governments to prepare the world’s population for the reality of extraterrestrials. It is interesting that shortly after that alleged set of meetings in February 2008, the Vatican began to make several bold steps toward acclimation of the population. First, the Vatican’s chief astronomer, Fr. José Gabriel Funes, made a statement to the press that for Catholics to believe in extraterrestrials is fine with the church. He said there is no conflict with the Bible or church teachings for those who believe in extraterrestrial reality. Then, the Vatican hosted its own meeting having to do with extraterrestrials. Representatives from about 30 countries were present. Now before you write this off as being just a religious action, stop and realize that the Vatican IS a government. It is a sovereign state and the Pope is the head of state. This meeting was a government action.

Following the alleged briefings at the United Nations building in 2008, there has been a string of governments who have decided to make their UFO files public. Coincidence? Perhaps. Perhaps not. ...

Some of you already know that I've got a lot of respect for Kevin (got to add my signature ), but I got to disagree on this with him. And it seems that he's not up to date yet and possibly hasn't read the testimonies of Theilmann's ex-wife and sister in law yet. There's no way that Theilmann could have served in any military. So he never could have become a covert agent for such a secret mission. He also never could have been present at a secret UN-meeting of any sort, since he's just an ex-cars salesman and now a computer repairman. rolleyes

My believe is that there's no connection between the releases of those UFO-files, the vatican-statement and RT's tale. Those files and the statement most likely would have been released without the UN-story.

One other thing of Theilmann's and the Pickering's claim was that UFO-sightings will increase dramatically. It's now two years since the release of that information and nothing has happened so far. Maybe it's BP's fault and the aliens couldn't get enough fuel to do that. tongue wink
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 26th, 2010, 12:12pm

on Jul 25th, 2010, 3:39pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Battle of Los Angeles photo. Second photo is contrast enhanced.
User Image

Crystal


Reminds me of a Star Destroyer. wink

User Image
(source: stardestroyer.net)
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Seeker on Jul 26th, 2010, 1:29pm

on Jul 23rd, 2010, 08:22am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Telegraph Laugh at my tweeting now! Ha! grin

Aliens have been trying to contact us by cosmic Twitter, scientists claim
Aliens may have been trying to contact us by communicating in a manner similar to Twitter, scientists have claimed.

By Laura Roberts
Published: 7:30AM BST 22 Jul 2010

ET is more likely to be sending out short, directed messages than continuous signals beamed in all directions, experts said.

''This approach is more like Twitter and less like War and Peace,'' said Californian physicist Dr James Benford, president of Microwave Sciences Inc.

He and twin brother Gregory, an astrophysicist at the University of California, Irvine, looked at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (Seti) from the aliens' point of view.

They concluded that Seti scientists may have been taking the wrong approach for the past five decades.

Up to now scientists have listened out for unusual blips or bleeps from targeted nearby stars.

Despite 50 years of searching, no-one has yet been able to come up with evidence of an extraterrestrial signal. However, many scientists are convinced we are not alone in the universe.

''Whatever the life form, evolution selects for economy of resources,'' said Gregory Benford. ''Broadcasting is expensive, and transmitting signals across light years would require considerable resources.''

Writing in the journal Astrobiology, the Benfords claim that an alien civilisation would strive to reduce costs, limit waste and make its signalling technology efficient.

They propose that alien signals would be pulsed and narrowly directed in the one to 10 gigahertz broadband signal range.

Seti has been focusing its receivers on the wrong kind of signals, and also looking in the wrong direction, they claimed.

Rather than pointing their antennae at nearby stars, scientists should be aiming at the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way.

''The stars there are a billion years older than our Sun, which suggests a greater possibility of contact with an advanced civilisation than does pointing Seti receivers outward to the newer and less crowded edge of our galaxy,'' said Gregory Benford.

more after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/7902958/Aliens-have-been-trying-to-contact-us-by-cosmic-Twitter-scientists-claim.html

Crystal


My goodness Wings...you certainly are a prolific poster!!
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 26th, 2010, 5:48pm

Hey Phil,

begin Phil's quote -
My believe is that there's no connection between the releases of those UFO-files, the vatican-statement and RT's tale. Those files and the statement most likely would have been released without the UN-story.

One other thing of Theilmann's and the Pickering's claim was that UFO-sightings will increase dramatically. It's now two years since the release of that information and nothing has happened so far. Maybe it's BP's fault and the aliens couldn't get enough fuel to do that.
Last Edit: 07/26/10 at 10:07am by philliman
- end quote

I agree with all of your conclusions Phil. Source A is a hoax. Two years of bunk! rolleyes
Crystal

edit to add: It DOES look like a Star Destroyer! grin


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 26th, 2010, 5:54pm

Hi Seeker, Welcome cheesy

Coffee at 4:30am
Coffee kicks in at 4:45 am
Hit the computer! Whoopie!
Posts flying everywhere!

Seriously, I like to run through the news in the morning and I post as I find things that might be of interest here. It's an open thread so feel free to post anything you like.
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 26th, 2010, 6:36pm

Phantoms and Monsters

Monday, July 26, 2010
Former KGB Agent Claims Dr. David Kelly Was 'Exterminated'

dailymail - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1297444/KGB-agent-Boris-Karpichkovs-claim-David-Kelly-exterminated-faces-probe.html

A former Russian spy's dossier which suggests that Government scientist David Kelly was 'exterminated' in a planned assassination is being studied by the Attorney General.

Boris Karpichkov, who fled to Britain after 15 years as a KGB agent, claims a London intelligence contractor linked to MI5 told him Dr Kelly's death was not suicide.

Mr Karpichkov has emailed his evidence to Attorney General Dominic Grieve - who has already said he is 'concerned' by questions raised by doctors who dispute the official suicide ruling over the Iraq expert's death.

Last night a spokesman for Mr Grieve confirmed that the dossier had been received, and that it was being 'considered'.

Dr Kelly's body was discovered in woods close to his Oxfordshire home in July 2003.

Tony Blair's Labour Government had controversially unmasked him as the source of a hotly-disputed BBC news story that claimed a dossier used to justify the war on Iraq had been 'sexed up'.

Lord Hutton's public inquiry ruled that Dr Kelly killed himself, but since the ousting of Labour in May there has been growing pressure from within the coalition Government for a new independent inquiry.

A group of doctors have claimed Dr Kelly could not have died as a result of cutting his left wrist with a blunt garden pruning knife, and it has emerged that his death certificate was left incomplete.

There is also outrage at the fact that full details of his postmortem examination are to be kept secret for 70 years, and that no inquest took place.

Campaigners also note that on the morning of his death Dr Kelly sent an email warning of 'many dark actors playing games'.

The new allegations from Mr Karpichkov suggest directly that the 'dark actors' could have been British secret agents determined to silence Dr Kelly before he could embarrass the Government.

Agent: According to Boris Karpichkov Peter Everett told him that David Kelly was 'exterminated' for his 'restless behaviour'

The former Russian spy, who defected from Latvia to Britain in 1998, says the source of his dossier is 'agent' Peter Everett, who lives in Dulwich, South-East London, and until 2006 ran a shadowy firm, Group Global Intelligence Services.

more after the jump
http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/2010/07/former-kgb-agent-claims-dr-david-kelly.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+PhantomsAndMonstersAPersonalJourney+%28Phantoms+and+Monsters%29&utm_content=My+Yahoo

edit to add Daily Mail link

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 26th, 2010, 7:21pm





Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 26th, 2010, 7:22pm





Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 26th, 2010, 7:26pm

This is up in my neck of the woods. See blinking object over the mountain range left upper.



Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 26th, 2010, 7:42pm



User Image


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 26th, 2010, 7:49pm

These are silly but fun.
Crystal

Geekiest Grilling Gadgets?
by Rebekah Denn on July 23, 2010

How well do I speak geek? Let's just say that I once took an elective class in Fortran. So naturally, I tuned in when Scott Heimendinger, the Seattle Food Geek, posted a list of "5 Grilling Tools Every Food Geek Should Own". I admit that his first selection, extra-long barbecue tongs, struck me as practical more than geeky, and #2, the TurboQue Turbo-Charged Smoker, tiptoed closer to the realm of the fanatical. But he won me back with #3, the infrared thermometer, and #4, the instant digital probe thermometer. (Did I mention that my dad, a chemical engineer, once used his lab thermometer on our Thanksgiving turkey, roasting it to six significant figures?)

Best of all was geek gadget #5, onion goggles. This tool, meant to "protect the eyes from irritating onion vapors," is purchased about half the time as a gag gift, half as a serious purchase, a saleswoman once told a writer for Saveur. The Saveur writer counted herself among the serious fans. Amazon reviewers, as you can see, also love them, bestowing a slew of 5-star ratings. As one reviewer put it, "The bad news...you'll look totally silly wearing them. The really great news...they work!" They're not just for onions; reviewers praise them for other uses too.

Scott neatly summarized it this way in his grilling post: "The foam-lined glasses are highly effective at keeping the smoke out of your eyes, and keeping girls from ever talking to you."

Check out Scott's full discussion of geeky grilling gear here: http://seattlefoodgeek.com/2010/07/5-grilling-tools-every-food-geek-should-own/

And if you want to go beyond grilling and just focus on the geek part, look out for this upcoming book, "Cooking for Geeks," or check out one of my all-time favorite cooking reference books, the one that makes us realize that cooks should be geeks, Harold McGee's "On Food and Cooking".

McGee, by the way, has this to say about the eye-watering sulfur compound released when we chop onions: "This volatile chemical escapes from the damaged onion into the air, and lands in the onion cutter's eyes and nose, where it apparently attacks nerve endings directly, then breaks down into hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, and sulfuric acid. A very effective molecular bomb!" He recommends chilling onions for 30-60 minutes in ice water before chopping them.

-- Rebekah Denn

http://www.aldenteblog.com/2010/07/geekiest-grilling-gear-ever.html

Crystal

edit to add Scott's link

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 27th, 2010, 07:47am

New York Times

July 25, 2010, 5:24 pm
The War Logs: Reaction to Disclosure of Military Documents on Afghan War
By THE NEW YORK TIMES

The At War blog is following reaction to the release of an archive of classified military documents described here that paints a grim portrait of the war in Afghanistan. The New York Times had access to the documents and published a series of reports.

A note to readers describes The Timess process of reviewing the documents and deciding what to publish. Editors and reporters who worked on the articles are answering questions about the material in Talk to the Newsroom. E-mail your questions to askthetimes@nytimes.com and post a comment below.

5:07 p.m. |Will Candor Suffer?James Morin, a former captain in the United States Army who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, questions whether the leak will have a chilling affect on candor among U.S. troops in a post on Room for Debate.

Leaks like those at the heart of the Pentagon Papers, play a role in a democracy when national civilian and military leaders mislead the country deliberately about the challenges faced. What we see in these documents, however, largely demonstrates the absence of such a need. Instead, we are left with the harmful aspects of classified leaks a chilling lack of confidence and internal candor.

Going forward, a battalion-level intelligence officer may hesitate to pass on what her instinct tells her to be marginally credible information (after all, even the best source is not always right). She may start to wonder, Do I really want to see this pop up on WikiLeaks or run in a 10-second spot on the evening news? when she is debating whether the rumor is worth sending up to the next echelon. Ultimately, such concerns will damage the ability of our institutions to fully understand the diplomatic and security landscape before them.

3:13 p.m. |Military Blogs React
Stephen Farrell rounded up a sampling of reaction on military blogs.

In Threat Matrix, the blog of The Long War Journal, Bill Roggio writes: Longtime readers of The Long War Journal will not be shocked by these reports. For years, Tom Joscelyn and I have been documenting the involvement of the Pakistani military and intelligence services with various terror groups. He said he and his colleague would have more to come on these and other subjects as we sift through the documents.

On the Small Wars Journal, Rex Brynen said the documents appeared to bear out years of reporting from the war, but provided Afghan insurgents with a detailed picture of the Americans files on them.

They seem more like the anti-Pentagon Papers, since they reveal that the official and media portrait of the war has been within the confines of OPSEC, the normal political spin, and the fog of war accurate. There are, so far, no big surprises or scandals.

As to the intelligence and war-fighting consequences of the leak, it provides the Taliban with unparalleled information on what ISAF knows, doesnt know, and often how it knows it too. Its likely to have a chilling effect on intelligence cooperation and sharing too, within and across governments.

Other reader echoed a theme perhaps unsurprising on military-focused blogs anger at the unauthorized release of secret documents.

Where in the hell was the C.I.A.? Wikileaks was known to be in possession of classified material in violation of U.S. and NATO country laws well before this release. They should have been stopped before what is probably the largest release of classified material during a war in history. Can you imagine what would have happened during WWII or even the cold war if something like this had occurred?

And in a pointed exchange
gian p gentile:
Rex: Agree; Like the Pentagon papers, but not really. I would only add to your points about this historical reference that another key difference is the general apathy of the American public toward the war in Afghanistan compared to the moral connection between the American people and war during Vietnam because of the draft.

Unlike the Pentagon Papers that resonated months and years and even beyond after they were released, these wikileaks on Afghanistan will be front page for a day or two then swept into the dustbin of history where the only folks interested will be wonks, experts, historians doing current history, and military bloggers.

more after the jump
http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/25/the-war-logs/?ref=world

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 27th, 2010, 07:51am

New York Times

July 26, 2010
Teams of Physicists Closing in on the God Particle
By DENNIS OVERBYE

A thousand physicists working at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., reported in Paris on Monday that they had not found the God particle, yet. But they are beginning to figure out where it is not.

Its mass in the units preferred by physicists is not in the range between 158 billion and 175 billion electron volts, according to a talk by Ben Kilminster of Ohio State at the International Conference on High Energy Physics in Paris.

And so the most intensive particle hunt in the history of physics goes on.

Over the last decade physicists working on two separate experiments at Fermilab have combed the debris from a thousand trillion (1 with 15 zeros) collisions of protons and anti-protons looking for signs of the Higgs boson, which is said to be responsible for imbuing some other elementary particles with mass. Rumors fanned by a blogger that the Higgs, dubbed the God particle, by former Fermilab director Leon Lederman in a book of the same name, had been detected reached all the way to Gawker last week and focused attention on the Paris conference, which also featured a speech by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France.

The new results, combining the data from two separate Fermi experiments, DZero and C.D.F., narrow the range in which the Higgs, if it exists, must be hiding. Physicists had previously concluded that it must lie somewhere between 115 billion and 200 billion electron volts. By comparison a proton, the anchor of ordinary matter, weighs in at about a billion electron volts.

A new competitor is about to enter the hunt. Physicists from CERNs Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, the most powerful accelerator in the world, announced that their machine, which started operating at half power in March, with 3.5 trillion electron volt protons, had rediscovered all of particle physics, most recently the top quark, and thus the table was set for it begin to look for new physics as well as the Higgs. The new collider has registered about 1.5 billion collisions, but with more energy at its disposal it hopes to catch up to Fermilab in a year or so.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/27/science/space/27higgs.html?_r=1&ref=science

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 27th, 2010, 07:54am

Telegraph

Woman fined for 'defaming husband's manhood'
An Indian court has slapped a hefty fine on a woman who cited her husband's sexual impotence as grounds for divorce finding she had defamed his manhood.

Published: 1:17PM BST 27 Jul 2010

A judge in central Madhya Pradesh state ordered Vandana Gurjar to pay 200,000 rupees (2,747) to her estranged husband Hemant Chhalotre.

Mr Chhalotre had complained the impotence accusation "rendered him unmarriageable and sullied his prestige".

The amount of the fine far exceeds the annual income of millions living in India.

Miss Gurjar married Mr Chhalotre nine years ago but left him after just three months, and later sought a divorce, which was granted by the courts, on the grounds that she "could not have conjugal bliss with Mr Chhalotre as he was impotent".

Mr Chhalotre then sued his wife for defaming his manhood.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7912341/Woman-fined-for-defaming-husbands-manhood.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 27th, 2010, 07:59am

LA Times

Pentagon can't account for $8.7 billion in Iraqi funds
The reconstruction money was from oil revenue it was entrusted with between 2004 and 2007, according to a newly released audit that underscores a pattern of poor record-keeping.
By Liz Sly, Los Angeles Times

9:13 PM PDT, July 26, 2010

Reporting from Baghdad

The Defense Department is unable to properly account for $8.7 billion out of $9.1 billion in Iraqi oil revenue entrusted to it between 2004 and 2007, according to a newly released audit that underscores a pattern of poor record-keeping during the war.

Of that amount, the military failed to provide any records at all for $2.6 billion in purported reconstruction expenditure, says the report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, which is responsible for monitoring U.S. spending in Iraq. The rest of the money was not properly deposited in special accounts as required under Treasury Department rules, making it difficult to trace how it was spent.

Though there is no apparent evidence of fraud, the improper accounting practices add to the pattern of mismanagement, reckless spending and, in some instances, corruption uncovered by the agency since 2004, when it was created to oversee the total of $53 billion in U.S. taxpayer money appropriated by Congress for the reconstruction effort.

"The breakdown in controls left the funds vulnerable to inappropriate uses and undetected loss," notes the audit report, a copy of which was obtained Monday by the Los Angeles Times.

Special Inspector General Stuart Bowen, who heads the agency, said repeated investigations have shown that "weak oversight is directly correlated to increased numbers of cases of theft and abuse."

In this instance, the audit focused on Iraqi revenue earmarked for reconstruction under a 2004 arrangement granting the Defense Department access to Iraq's oil proceeds at a time when the country did not have a fully functioning government and was unable to undertake urgently needed projects. The revenue was deposited in a special account in New York, called the Development Fund for Iraq.

The report comes as Iraqis are increasingly frustrated with their own government's inability to provide basic services, or to explain how tens of billions of dollars' worth of oil revenue has been spent since 2007. The alleged U.S. mismanagement of Iraqi money is certain to revive grievances against the U.S. for failing to make a big dent in the country's reconstruction needs despite massive expenditures.

Iraqis are still angry about the failure to account for a separate $8.8 billion in Iraqi oil revenue spent by the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority in 2003 and 2004.

If more money is found to be missing, "Iraq will definitely try to get it back," said Ali Musawi, a media advisor to Prime Minister Nouri Maliki.

Most of the money covered in the latest audit has been spent, but the study found $34.3 million that should legally have been returned to Iraq in 2007, when Iraq's government assumed responsibility for its finances.

The Defense Department has not said what it intends to do with the money, which is "at risk" of being spent, the audit said.

In response to the audit findings, the Defense Department concurred with recommendations that it establish better guidelines for managing such funds. But a letter from U.S. Central Command emphasized that failure to establish deposit accounts for the $8.7 billion does not mean it all cannot be accounted for.

The U.S. reconstruction effort is winding down as the military withdraws, and no more new U.S. funds are expected to be allocated.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iraq-funds-20100727,0,3856364.story

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 27th, 2010, 08:03am

Military Times

New Stryker production, testing approved

By Kate Brannen - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Jul 26, 2010 17:04:43 EDT

The Armys effort to quickly build and field Stryker infantry combat vehicles with a hull designed to better protect against roadside bombs in Afghanistan has been approved by the Pentagon.

Pentagon acquisition executive Ashton Carter authorized the Army to spend up to $99 million to purchase early order material for 330 vehicles.

Carters July 6 memo allows the Army to simultaneously test and produce the double-V-hull vehicles, which the service aims to begin deploying in June. But Carter also directs service officials to return to him throughout the process to get permission to proceed.

Carter notes that building and testing simultaneously is risky but worth it to get the vehicles to Afghanistan quickly. Concurrent production and testing will maximize the number of Stryker double-V-hull vehicles available for the deployed unit, he said in his memo.

The V-shaped hull distributes the blast and moves the bottom of the vehicle higher off the ground.

The Army plans to integrate the new double-V hull design into eight of the 10 Stryker variants, excluding the Stryker nuclear, biological and chemical reconnaissance vehicles and the Mobile Gun System.

After several Strykers were damaged in Afghanistan, General Dynamics proposed in January to introduce the new hull design before the next Stryker brigade deployed in July 2011.

On July 9, the Army awarded a $30 million contract to the company for additional test assets, as well as early production items, according to a Pentagon contract announcement.

An April 6 acquisition decision memorandum authorized the Army to spend $51 million for the first 120 vehicles. The April memo also authorized up to $191.7 million in research-and-development funding to develop and test the hull design.

A series of decisions are scheduled for this fall, when the Army and the Pentagon can decide to halt the effort if the test results dont prove the new design provides more protection.

In the July 6 memo, Carter tells the Army it must convene a configuration steering board to review and assess Phase I test data and survivability enhancements prior to receiving my approval to continue Stryker [double-V-hull] production.

The Army also has to present Carter with Phase II test data before deploying the vehicles, the memo reads.

In Phase 1 of testing, the Army will compare the performance of the double-V-hull Stryker to the performance of survivability-kit Strykers currently in Afghanistan, according to a June 14 briefing for the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee.

In Phase 2, the Army will compare the double-V-hull vehicles test data to MRAP survivability performance requirements and regular Stryker reliability and operational mobility numbers.

The Army must keep Pentagon officials informed of anything that happens during testing that could cause them to reconsider their decision to proceed with the program, according to the memo.

It is recognized that there is financial risk associated with this acquisition strategy because testing may not demonstrate that Stryker double-V hull provides better protection to crew than existing vehicles, Carter said.

Once steel is cut for the double-V-hull effort, it is no longer usable for current Stryker production, the congressional briefing reads. It outlines the amount of money that will be spent between now and December, when a Defense Acquisition Board review is scheduled.

In early September, the Army will have spent $69 million and will have put nine vehicles together. In mid-October, the Army will do prototype mine-blast tests and automotive testing, and it will have spent $145.6 million. By mid-December, automotive testing will be complete, with costs rising to $310 million.

The Army plans to spend $114 million on research and development in 2010, according to the congressional briefing. As part of a reprogramming request, the Pentagon has asked to shift $102 million in Army vehicle procurement funding toward the Stryker double-V-hull effort. Another $12 million in fiscal 2009 funding for the Bradley fighting vehicle has been moved to fund Stryker.

The research-and-development funding needed in 2011 is $77.7 million. According to the briefing, the Army has committed to fund this requirement.


PROJECT TIMELINE

This fall: Officials can decide to halt testing if results dont show improved protection.

Mid-December: Automotive testing complete.

Spring 2011: Live-fire and operational testing continues.

June 2011: Begin deploying double-V-hulled Strykers.

February 2012: Deliveries complete.

http://www.militarytimes.com/news/2010/07/army_stryker_072610w/

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 27th, 2010, 08:07am

Since the Source A story is floating around I thought this might be of interest:

Hall of Stolen Valor

Man faked his way into Army as an NCO

By Danny Robbins - The Associated Press
Posted : Sunday May 23, 2010 9:53:48 EDT

FORT WORTH, Texas A Texas man with no military experience tricked the Army into letting him enter a reserve unit as a noncommissioned officer earlier this year, a deception that placed an untrained soldier in a leadership position in a time of war, an Associated Press investigation has found.

The revelation comes just months after the Army drew criticism for failing to flag the suspicious activities of the Army psychiatrist now charged with killing 13 and wounding dozens of others at Fort Hood.

The case, detailed in court records and other documents examined by the AP, raises more questions about the Armys ability to vet soldiers backgrounds as it faces continued pressure from Congress over its screening and records system. While the soldier never deployed overseas, some say the case demonstrates how easily someone could pose as a member of the U.S. military.

Jesse Bernard Johnston III, 26, joined the Army Reserve in February as a sergeant and was assigned to the Corps Support Airplane Company based at the Fort Worth Naval Air Station. But he wasnt qualified to hold that rank, according to military records obtained by the AP. The records show that Johnstons only military experience was attending part of a 12-week Marine officer candidate course for college students in 2004.

Maj. Shawn Haney, spokeswoman for Marine Manpower and Reserve Affairs, said Johnston didnt complete the courses final six weeks. He was never considered a Marine, she said.

The matter, currently under investigation by the Army, means a soldier received a security clearance and was in position to lead troops in combat even though he hadnt gone through basic training or spent any time in the service. The Corps Support Airplane Company has been deployed in Iraq, providing pilots as well as intelligence and support personnel for an aviation battalion set up to destroy improvised explosive devices.

http://www.militarytimes.com/projects/hallofstolenvalor/
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 27th, 2010, 08:09am

Military Times

4 Lewis-McChord soldiers killed in Afghanistan

The Associated Press
Posted : Monday Jul 26, 2010 15:45:43 EDT

The Defense Department said on Monday that four soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., were killed Saturday by a roadside bomb attack on their vehicle in Afghanistan.

They are identified as Staff Sgt. Conrad A. Mora, 24, of San Diego; Sgt. Daniel Lim, 23, of Cypress, Calif.; Spc. Joseph A. Bauer, 27, of Cincinnati; and Pfc. Andrew L. Hand, 25, of Enterprise, Ala.

The four were assigned to 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Fires Brigade, out of Lewis-McChord.

http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/07/ap_army_lewis_afghanistan_kia_072610/

r.i.p.

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 27th, 2010, 08:13am

Mohave Daily News

European film crew coming to Needles, seek info on 2008 UFO crash

Published: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 12:14 AM MDT
NEEDLES A European film crew is planning a half-day visit Aug. 1 to Needles to get the scoop on Route 66 and the alleged unidentified flying object crash from May 2008.

Frank Costigan, of KTOX radio station, said he was contacted by the crew because of their interest in both topics. For a reason unknown to Costigan, Europeans have a fascination with Route 66 and UFO-related topics.

Costigan, former chief of police for the Los Angeles and Ontario, Calif., International Airports, said this particular crew has been here before. Theyve traveled the length of Route 66 on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle tour and theyve returned to do another show.

This time, they want to include the UFO crash landing. A UFO reportedly crashed south of Needles and west of the Colorado River in May 2008. The story caught the attention of many, including CBSs Las Vegas affiliate and a show on the History Channel called UFO Hunters.

George Knapp of KLAS, the CBS Vegas affiliate, did a series of stories regarding the incident. They covered the mysterious government officials who came out afterward and referred to them as the Men in Black.

UFO Hunters came out to try and determine if the incident could be a real UFO crash landing or not. A crew came into town, conducted several

interviews with eye witnesses and sought other evidence they could gather to make the determination. Costigan said they did determine it was likely a genuine incident.

He said the radio station, KTOX, gets inquiries from Europeans all the time. Costigan is one of the witnesses to have seen the object crash and saw the government officials caravanning into town.

Costigan didnt have the name of the crew on-hand, but knows they intend to try and have the show available on the Travel Channel for U.S. residents to view. The intention is to have the video viewed all over Europe, Canada, the U.S. and Australia, Costigan said.

The film crew also will give him a disc with the show on it. Costigan said he intends to give a copy of the disc to the Needles Branch Library for residents to view.

http://www.mohavedailynews.com/articles/2010/07/27/news/local/doc4c4e782c7c197058030612.txt

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 27th, 2010, 08:18am

UFO stuns Pretoria residents
2010-07-26 09:19
Fanie van Rooyen

Pretoria - An unidentified flying object (UFO), which apparently consisted of three bright lights, astounded residents from Booysens in Pretoria for two consecutive nights for several hours.

Engela van der Spuy, 67, who lived in Attie Street in Booysens, contacted Beeld after she watched the strange set of lights on Thursday night for the second consecutive night.

"I'm not saying it's green little space men," said Van der Spuy. "We just really want to know what it is."

Van der Spuy for the first time saw the UFO on Wednesday night shortly after sunset in the western sky.

"I couldn't make out the shape of the object because the three lights were too bright, but it almost had a heart shape because there were two lights on top, a blue light on the left and an emerald green light directly next to it, on the right side, with a big bright white light underneath it which shone straight down," she said.

Dumbfounded

According to her, the UFO hung in the air for two hours without moving and then, at about 20:30, slowly started moving down, diagonally to the left and still down, disappearing behind the horizon.

On Thursday night, the UFO again appeared shortly after sunset and at 20:30 again started moving down before disappearing.

"I called all the neighbours and we looked at it together, but no one could figure out what it could be. All we knew, was that it definitely was not a star or a normal plane."

Henrico Swart, 19, Van der Spuy's neighbour, who looked at the UFO through binoculars, was dumbfounded.

"It has to have a very strange shape, because even through the binoculars I couldn't make out the shape," said Swart.

"All you could see, were three bright lights."

On enquiry, spokespeople from the Hercules police station, the Johannesburg Planetarium and the South African Air Force had no knowledge of the incident and were unable to explain the phenomenon.

"I don't think it is a flying saucer, because we would've been able to see the saucer shape. This is something even stranger," said Van der Spuy.

http://www.news24.com/SciTech/News/UFO-stuns-Pretoria-residents-20100726

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 27th, 2010, 2:18pm

HAPPY BE-LATED BIRTHDAY, swamprat! smiley

Sorry, just saw it over at Ufomania. Hope you had a decent day yesterday. smiley

on Jul 27th, 2010, 08:07am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Since the Source A story is floating around I thought this might be of interest:

Hall of Stolen Valor

Man faked his way into Army as an NCO

By Danny Robbins - The Associated Press
Posted : Sunday May 23, 2010 9:53:48 EDT

FORT WORTH, Texas A Texas man with no military experience tricked the Army into letting him enter a reserve unit as a noncommissioned officer earlier this year, a deception that placed an untrained soldier in a leadership position in a time of war, an Associated Press investigation has found.

...

I'll steel and post it over at OMF if you don't mind, Crystal. wink
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 27th, 2010, 5:11pm

on Jul 27th, 2010, 2:18pm, philliman wrote:
HAPPY BE-LATED BIRTHDAY, swamprat! smiley

Sorry, just saw it over at Ufomania. Hope you had a decent day yesterday. smiley


I'll steel and post it over at OMF if you don't mind, Crystal. wink


Hey Phil!!!
No problem. Anytime anyone wants to use a link or article it's fine with me.

SwampRat! Happy Happy Happy belated Birthday laugh
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 27th, 2010, 5:15pm

Wow! shocked

Ansel Adams photos found at yard sale; estimated value at $200 million

Do you love a good yard sale? Ever hoped youd come across a priceless treasure or antique while browsing through the items for sale? If you live by the adage, another mans trash is another mans treasure then youll love this story!

A Fresno, California painter, Rick Norisgian, spends his time frequenting yard sales looking for antiques. About ten years ago, he negotiated the price of two small boxes filled with items only an artist would find worth the $45.00 he paid for them: 65 glass negatives.

The negatives, as it turns out, were lost photos taken by the American photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams. Adams is renowned for his work, particularly those of Yosemite National Park and the techniques he developed to create black and white photos in stark contrast.

The photographs will be unveiled at David Streets Beverly Hills, California gallery today. The David W. Streets gallery is located at 9407 South Santa Monica Boulevard.

According to Streets, a team of forensic and art experts pored over the negatives and determined their authenticity. Streets said there is plenty of evidence confirming the negatives authenticity. According to David Streets website:

Michael Nattenberg and Marcel Matley, two independent hand writing experts confirmed that hand writing on the envelopes in which the negatives were found belonged to Adams' wife Virginia.

George Wright, a meteorological expert compared one of Adams' most famous photographs with one found in the Norsigian negatives. By looking at the cloud formation, the snow on the mountains and the shadow cast by a tree, Wright determined that the two photographs were taken on the same day at approximately the same time. These two images are posted on this website to the right.

Robert Moeller, the former Curator of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts concluded: "After more than six months of close study, it is my opinion, within a high degree of probability, that the images under consideration were produced by Ansel Adams."

Patrick Alt, a large format photographer with over 40 years of experience, meticulously refuted each of the questions raised and confirmed the authenticity of the negatives.

In order to test the strength of the overall evidence, former FBI Agent and Section Chief Thomas Knowles and former Assistant United States Attorney and Legal/Supreme Court Reporter for ABC News Manny Medrano were asked to examine all of the evidence including the reports of the five retained experts. Both Knowles and Medrano declared that the evidence was sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, the highest standard used in United States courts, that the glass negatives were created by Ansel Adams.

http://www.examiner.com/x-12837-US-Headlines-Examiner~y2010m7d27-Ansel-Adams-photos-found-at-yard-sale-estimated-value-at-200-million#

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Swamprat on Jul 27th, 2010, 5:17pm

I'm baaaack!! laugh


AolNews.

Study: Receipts Could Be Harmful to Your Health


Andrew Schneider Senior Public Health Correspondent

(July 26) -- Cash-register receipts from many fast-food outlets, groceries, pharmacies, big-box stores and U.S. post offices contain high levels of the endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol A.

A study released late today by the Environmental Working Group reported that a laboratory analysis it commissioned found the plastic component BPA on 40 percent of receipts from McDonald's, CVS, KFC, Whole Foods, Wal-Mart, Safeway and other businesses.

BPA is used to coat thermal paper, which reacts with dye to form black print on receipts handled by millions of Americans every day. In laboratory tests, the chemical has been linked to a long list of serious health problems in animals. Several environmental activists, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., also have called for removing BPA from canned goods.

"Consumers are being exposed to BPA at the point of sale once they're handed a receipt," senior scientist Dr. Anila Jacob told AOL News.

These receipts pile up in purses, wallets and shopping bags, coming into contact with food and other items. When handled, the slips of thermal paper can easily contaminate fingers, which then can result in oral or dermal exposure, the physician explained.

Wipe tests conducted by EWG's researchers easily removed BPA from the sample receipts, indicating that the chemical could rub off on the hands of a person handling the paper. The heat-activated paper that was tested contained as much as 3 percent pure BPA by weight, EWG reported.

But is this harmful to humans?

The EWG, a national nonprofit organization, is undertaking additional studies to determine whether and to what degree BPA enters the body. However, earlier this month Swiss scientist Sandra Biedermann and her colleagues from the Zurich Official Food Control Authority reported that BPA from register receipts can "enter the skin to such a depth that it can no longer be washed off."

That finding raises the possibility that the chemical infiltrates the skin's lower layers to enter the bloodstream directly, the EWG says.

For almost two years now, public health and environmental experts have been pushing to reduce BPA exposure, especially in cans for processed food, baby bottles and infant formula.

In animal tests, scientists have produced evidence that BPA can induce abnormal reproductive system development, diminished intellectual capacity and behavioral abnormalities and can set the stage for other serious conditions, such as reproductive system cancer, obesity, diabetes, early puberty, resistance to chemotherapy, asthma and cardiovascular system disorders.

The EWG added that exposure can also cause epigenetic changes, meaning alterations in the way genes switch off and on and genetic changes that can be passed on to the next generation.

Read more:

http://www.aolnews.com/health/article/aol-exclusive-receipts-containing-bpa-could-be-harmful-to-your-health/19569406?test=latestnews

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 27th, 2010, 6:15pm

SwampRat

"I'm baaaack!!"


User Image


grin

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 27th, 2010, 6:26pm

A new UFO book. Yea! It comes out 10 August 2010

UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record [Hardcover]
Leslie Kean (Author)

Editorial Reviews:

"At last, a serious and thoughtful book about this controversial subject. Skeptics and true believers will find a treasure trove of insightful and eye opening information. This book is bound to set the gold standard for UFO research."
Michio Kaku, Ph.D. Author of Physics of the Impossible and host of Sci Fi Science on the Science Channel

I was astonished by the care and precision of Leslie Keans research in this terrific book. Her analysis is carefully reasoned and to the point; her craftsmanship in organization and writing are superb. Her expose' raises important questions: Why does the US government create public distrust by neglecting this important topic? Why do its agencies avoid investigating cases of interference with flight operations and instead issue absurd cover-up stories? This book is ultimately an appeal to all scholars for an "extraordinary investigation of an extraordinary phenomenon.
Rudy Schild, Ph.D., Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Like me, Leslie Kean is an agnostic on the issue of UFOs. Her book is a fine piece of journalism - not about beliefs, but about facts. Kean presents the most accurate, most credible reports on UFO's you will ever find. She has fought long and hard to discover the facts and let the chips fall where they may. She may not have the final smoking gun, but I smell the gunpowder.
Miles O'Brien, former CNN space/science correspondent

I find explanations offered by UFO enthusiasts and conspiracy theorists to be implausible, but I also have little patience with "deniers" who ridicule credible reports. Leslie Kean has found a thoughtful path between extreme views, documenting the UFO mystery with intelligence and insight. She makes a strong case for U.S. participation in official, international UFO investigations and for public dissemination of the results. The fascinating first-hand accounts make this a thought-provoking book, even for those of us who dont know much about UFOs.
Neal Lane, Ph.D., Rice University; former Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

If you don't know much about UFOs, you must read this book. If you think that UFO reports are nonsense, this book will disabuse you of that notion. Leslie Kean's UFOs informs readers at every level of knowledge and belief. It could, and should, become the "tipping point" that leads to public acceptance of the reality of UFOs and all of its implications.
Don Donderi, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, McGill University (Ret.)

In an area of study where there arent many, this is a serious book. It is credible, clear, and compelling, without any farfetched jumps in logic and assumption. Its credibility begins on the first page with John Podesta and continues with case studies of extraordinary quality to the very end. Leslie Kean not only makes the case for, but calls for, a whole new concrete and realistic perspective on UFOs that has more honesty and integrity than any other that I have read. This is a book for anyone with an open mind.
John L. Petersen, Founder & President of The Arlington Institute

In these pages we are confronted head-on by the UFO phenomenon as revealed firsthand by highly credible government officials and military aviation experts. Their credibility and integrity cannot be questioned, and their firsthand observations cannot be ignored. Leslie Kean provides a challenging analysis and she writes with penetrating depth and insight. The revelations in this book constitute a watershed event in lifting the taboo against rational discourse about this controversial subject.
Harold E. Puthoff, Ph.D., Director of The Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 27th, 2010, 6:35pm

I don't agree with the one reviewer, "Kean presents the most accurate, most credible reports on UFO's you will ever find. She has fought long and hard to discover the facts...."

Richard Dolan is SUPERMAN with his "UFO's and the National Security State", two volumes.

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Crystal laugh
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 28th, 2010, 07:54am

LA Times

Epic legal battle over oil spill is about to begin
A panel of federal judges will decide who will oversee lawsuits against BP, Transocean and others. Plaintiffs and defendants say location is key.
By Carol J. Williams, Times Staff Writer

July 28, 2010

The largest oil spill in U.S. history has unleashed a gusher of at least 250 class-action lawsuits that could eventually encompass millions of victims in a legal battle expected to stretch on for decades.

The first step in what many experts predict will be among the most complex environmental cases to hit the U.S. courts begins Thursday when an army of attorneys converges on Boise, Idaho, where a federal panel will start to decide what judge or judges will oversee the cases and where they will be heard initially.

"The stakes here are tremendous," said Georgene Vairo, a Loyola Law School professor of civil procedure and expert in complex litigation. "For a single-event type of incident, this is the biggest we've ever seen, just in the range of claims, the government and private-party actions, the cost of claims, the insurance aspects. It's just the whole nine yards. It's huge."

Since the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, hundreds of trial attorneys have descended on Gulf of Mexico states, some garnering clients by advertising on billboards and holding town hall meetings. They have filed scores of lawsuits seeking damages expected to reach into the double-digit billions from BP, Transocean Ltd. and other companies.

The vast majority of the suits have been filed by fishermen, charter operators, restaurants and property owners claiming financial losses after the disaster shut down fisheries and pummeled coastal tourism. One suit seeks payouts for the diminished property values of every land, home and business owner within five blocks of the gulf shore.

Families of the 11 men killed in the explosion have filed wrongful-death suits. Seafood processors and marinas have sued over their dwindling revenues.

Complaints have flooded in from afar as well. An Ohio-based investment fund hit by falling oil industry share values is seeking damages. And a group of South Carolina beach hoteliers has filed suit, saying they are suffering from a spate of cancellations because tourists fear the oil will reach around to the East Coast.

Environmental defense groups have sued on behalf of dead and injured wildlife. Veteran litigators have gone so far as to target BP with civil RICO actions, accusing the company of negligence so willful that it should be subjected to the steep penalties of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

"This spill has caused tremendous fallout in the legal arena," said New Orleans environmental attorney Allan Kanner, noting that the scope of the accident already far eclipses that of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, which led to more than 20 years of courtroom wrangling.

The panel of seven federal judges, known formally as the U.S. Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation, is responsible for sorting through the mountain of legal actions and will hear the parties' arguments about where all pretrial proceedings should be consolidated. The assignments are expected to be decided within a few weeks.

The panel often consolidates litigation from mass-casualty accidents like plane crashes and train wrecks, or victims alleging a common cause of their problems, such as those suffering from asbestos exposure. The panel recently assigned more than 200 lawsuits brought against Toyota alleging sudden acceleration and other defects to a judge in Southern California.

Location is key, the plaintiffs and defendants agree.

Those with seafood industry and marine services businesses devastated by the spill want their cases merged in New Orleans or Mobile, Ala., close to where they live and work.

BP, the majority owner of the leaking oil well, has asked the panel to send the entire docket to Houston, the corporate heart of the oil industry, and specifically to U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes. Like many judges in the gulf, Hughes has long-standing ties to and investments in energy industries.

Anticipating the surge of litigation, Transocean, which operated the drilling rig, quickly filed a petition in a Houston courtroom, seeking to limit its liability. Because Judge Keith Ellison has begun work on that case in Houston, legal analysts expect the panel to send all defendant challenges to liability to his bench.

The judge or judges selected to handle the spill cases will have tremendous power. The judges will appoint a steering committee of plaintiffs' lawyers from among all who have filed suit. A defense lawyers' panel will also be named.

The appointed jurists will decide important fact-finding and discovery issues, determine whether the cases can even move forward, vet the parties' expert witnesses and rule on the admissibility of evidence. A key objective will be to press the parties to settle rather than go to trial.

The companies targeted by lawsuits are also under federal investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Justice Department, which could expose them to fines and recovery costs in addition to court-ordered compensation.

Many legal analysts expect the judicial panel to split up the huge caseload. Under this scenario, one judge might be assigned all the economic loss complaints, and others would oversee environmental claims, securities actions, RICO charges and the liability limitation efforts.

Still, professor Vairo said, it wouldn't be surprising for a single judge to be put in charge of all the litigation.

"The facts here are going to be relevant to every single claim. What did they do when they built that pipeline and well? Who did what in terms of maintaining the well over time? Did they do the required inspections?" Vairo said. Once those questions are answered in one case, they can be applied to the rest, she said.

Most of the lawsuits have been filed under the post-Valdez Oil Pollution Act of 1990. Although that statute caps a company's liability at a total of $75 million, it holds the firm responsible for paying unlimited cleanup and environmental restoration costs. However, if victims' attorneys can prove that BP and the others were willfully negligent, the liability cap comes off and the companies have to pay what the court orders.

Charlie Tebbutt, an Oregon attorney representing the Center for Biological Diversity in its suit alleging violations of the Clean Water Act, said he was pursuing the maximum penalties against BP and Transocean of $4,300 per barrel of oil spilled into the gulf. He estimates the bill could be $20 billion, "if we can prove gross negligence or willful misconduct, which we expect should be relatively easy to prove in this case."

Attorney Kanner, who represents the state of Louisiana, said, "We are witnessing nothing short of a collapse of an ecosystem that took tens of thousands of years to create." He added that it would have a domino effect on the region's economy.

Filing of lawsuits has tapered off since last month's announcement of an out-of-court program for settling claims from a $20-billion fund established by BP. But if claimants despair of that process, they could abandon it and turn to the courts.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-oil-spill-lawsuits-20100728,0,563444.story

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 28th, 2010, 07:57am

LA Times

Australia's marsupials originated in what is now South America, study says
The research in PLoS Biology suggests that Australian kangaroos, wallabies and more evolved from a common South American ancestor millions of years ago.
By Jessie Schiewe, Los Angeles Times

July 28, 2010

The kangaroo, a beloved national symbol of Australia, may in fact be an ancient interloper.

A study published Tuesday in the online journal PLoS Biology suggests that Australian marsupials kangaroos, wallabies, Tasmanian devils and more evolved from a common South American marsupial ancestor millions of years ago. The finding, by researchers at the University of Munster in Germany, indicates that the theory that marsupials originated in Australia is incorrect.

Marsupials are characterized by distinctive frontal pouches in which they carry their young. There are seven existing orders, three from the Americas and four from Australia.

One prominent theory, now validated by the new study, suggested that ancient South American marsupials migrated across Antarctica to Australia more than 80 million years ago when the continents were connected in a supercontinent known as Gondwana. But scientists had also theorized that the first marsupials migrated from South America to Australia and then back again.

A third theory was that marsupials originated in Australia and then traveled to South America.

Up till now, it had been hard to verify any of the theories, said Matt Phillips, a biologist at the Australian National University in Canberra, who was not involved in the study.

"Ancient fossil records for marsupials are very poor, particularly in Australia," Phillips said. "This has made it hard to understand early migration patterns and relationships amongst the species."

Previous studies had tried to tackle the question by comparing small bits of DNA or physical differences between marsupials, such as ankle joint characteristics, Phillips said. The new study, in contrast, examines large chunks of marsupial genomes for evolutionary clues.

The team started by analyzing the genome sequences for the South American opossum and the Australian tammar wallaby. They specifically looked at DNA features called retroposons, types of "jumping genes" that pass virtually unchanged from mother to offspring. When two species share retroposons with very similar genetic sequences it is likely that they are derived from the same ancestor. The scientists found 53 similar retroposons in the opossum and wallaby, verifying their common ancestry.

The team then compared the wallaby and opossum data to the DNA of 20 other marsupial species, including the wallaroo, the common wombat, and the marsupial mole, to find out which marsupial lineages are more closely related and which split off first.

They found that all of the species had common retroposons, and thus a common ancestor. Closer analysis revealed that the South American opossum order, Didelphimorphia, was the oldest living marsupial order, indicating that all marsupials originated in South America.

"Scientists had always suspected there was a common ancestor between South American and Australasian marsupials but now we finally understand where they may have originated and how they branched off from one another," said study lead author Maria Nilsson, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Munster.

The study also cleared up years of confusion about where to group a marsupial called the monito del monte (mountain monkey). Although this creature is native to South America, it has more characteristics in common with Australian marsupials, and so scientists had debated its closest relatives for many years, Phillips said.

The DNA comparisons clearly showed that the mountain monkey belongs to the South American group on the marsupial evolutionary tree.

http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-marsupial-20100728,0,5549873.story

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 28th, 2010, 08:02am

Telegraph

FBI arrests 'mastermind' of Mariposa botnet computer code
International authorities have arrested a computer hacker believed responsible for creating the malicious computer code that infected as many as 12 million computers, invading major banks and corporations around the world, FBI officials have said.

Published: 7:00AM BST 28 Jul 2010

A 23-year-old Slovenian known as Iserdo was picked up in Maribor, Slovenia, after a lengthy investigation by Slovenian Criminal Police there along with FBI and Spanish authorities.

His arrest comes about five months after Spanish police broke up the massive cyber scam, arresting three of the alleged ringleaders who operated the so-called Mariposa botnet, stealing credit cards and online banking credentials. The botnet - a network of infected computers - appeared in December 2008 and infected more than half of the Fortune 1,000 companies and at least 40 major banks.

Botnets are networks of infected PCs that have been hijacked from their owners, often without their knowledge, and put into the control of criminals.

Jeffrey Troy, the FBI's deputy assistant director for the cyber division, said that Iserdo's arrest was a major break in the investigation. He said it will take the alleged cyber mastermind off the street and prevent him from updating the malicious software code or somehow regaining control of computers that are still infected.

Officials declined to release Iserdo's real name and the exact charges filed against him, but said the arrest took place about 10 days ago and the man has been released on bond.

"To use an analogy here," said Mr Troy, "as opposed to arresting the guy who broke into your home, we've arrested the guy that gave him the crowbar, the map and the best houses in the neighborhood. And that is a huge break in the investigation of cyber crimes."

Mr Troy said more arrests are expected and are likely to extend beyond Spain and Slovenia and include additional operators who allegedly bought the malware from Iserdo. Authorities would not say how much Iserdo supposedly charged, but said hackers could buy the software package for a certain amount, or pay more to have it customized or get additional features. Internet reports suggest the fees ranged from as much as $500 for basic packages to more than $1,300 for more advanced versions.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/7913767/FBI-arrests-mastermind-of-Mariposa-botnet-computer-code.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 28th, 2010, 08:05am

Telegraph

Tarantulas on the loose in Britain
Britain could be facing a tarantula invasion after a number of the spiders were discovered in gardens in some parts of the country, wildlife experts have warned.

By Andrew Hough
Published: 7:00AM BST 28 Jul 2010

The RSPCA has issued an alert urging people to be on their guard amid fears a large batch of the spider has escaped in the north of the country.

The alert came after two separate incidents involving 10cm-wide Chilean Rose tarantulas in Bolton, Greater Manchester.

The rare arachnids, capable of blinding people by spitting hairs in their eyes, were both found in back gardens within two miles of each other.

Both spiders are the same age, breed and gender.

Experts said it suggested they could be part of a larger batch. The slow-moving large spiders from South America are a popular breed among collectors.

Lisa Broad, 20, found the first spider in her garden on the Oldhams Estate in Sharples.

She called the RSPCA, who re-homed the creature, named Fang, at Smithills Open Farm.

Three-and-a-half weeks later another woman from Lostock discovered another tarantula, which was sitting on her garden wall.

The woman, who did not want to be named, eventually trapped it under a plant pot on her path and alerted the RSPCA.

Derek Hampson, an inspector for the animal welfare charity, said: "We advised her to keep it under the plant pot until we arrived. They can quite happily go a week without food, so it was quite content.

"It got a bit aggressive when I picked it up. I wore safety goggles as these creatures can spit hairs which can blind you.

"It is possible there could be more out there, but unfortunately we havent got the resources to search for them."

He added: "It is up to members of the public to call us if they spot any."

Mr Hampson took the female, which is known to kill the male after mating, to Bugworld in Liverpool.

Jenny Dobson, the Bugworld curator, said: "It is rare for one of these to come in and we saw... there had been another with the same characteristics found outdoors.

"It is likely they came from the same place.

"It would be too much of a coincidence otherwise for two breakouts and they cant survive in the wild for long with the UK climate.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/7913369/Britain-facing-tarantula-invasion-RSPCA-warns.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 28th, 2010, 08:08am

Wired

Build Us a Better Ray Gun, Pentagon Pleads
By Olivia Koski July 27, 2010 | 4:41 pm |

The Department of Defense continues its quest for the ultimate (or at least a working) ray gun, asking small businesses last week to submit ideas for lasers that sense, communicate, illuminate targets and shoot missiles out of the air.

No surprises here the military wants em small, light, efficient and devastatingly powerful. To date, real-life ray guns are still too big, bulky and complicated for the battlefield, even when theyre powerful enough to blow things up.

Take the lethal-yet-unwieldy Airborne Laser, which shot down a ballistic missile in midair last February. The laser weapon took up every last corner of a tricked-out Boeing 747, but according to the Missile Defense Agency the megawatt-class chemical laser is too large and expensive to field in large numbers on many operational airborne platforms. (Pictured above is the jet the Airborne Laser uses as a target in practice blasts.)

One way to lighten the payload is with a chemical laser that uses gas instead of liquid to store energy. The all-gas-phase-iodine-laser (AGIL) could be as powerful as the Airborne Lasers chemical-oxygen-iodine-laser (COIL), but lighter and easier to manage, the Missile Defense Agency hopes.

Of course solid-state, or electric lasers are much more compact than liquid or gas lasers, and with an energy supply that is rechargeable and clean, according to the Air Force. But theyre typically 100 to 1,000 times less powerful.

Still, they are considered the laser of choice in the long term, especially the fiber-optic laser, which integrates well with other sensors and electro-optical elements in the aerospace environment, according to the proposal solicitation. It asks for companies to come up with novel ways to combine fiber lasers up to the kilowatt-class level far short of the 100-kilowatt power level considered entry-level dangerous.

Eventually, a 100-kW fiber laser system could be compact enough for shorter-range tactical missions on something like a fighter jet. The Air Force is exploring and developing several aircraft mounted high energy laser (HEL) systems for precision strike and self-defense missions.

Any aircraft-mounted laser system also needs a laser-beam stabilization system to help compensate for aircraft vibrations, which is the focus of one Air Force program. A separate effort calls for development of a system to account for atmospheric distortions. These have been around for a while, so make sure your idea is 10 times better than anything else out there. According to the description, the program seeks to extend the capabilities of adaptive optics by a factor of 10 over the current state-of-the-art for adaptive optics.

Darpa also wants one of its programs to achieve a factor-of-10 improvement on existing systems, asking for a fiber-coupled diode laser system with brightness that is at least 10 times higher than the current state-of-the-art.

Other new ray-gun programs include a Navy one to use lasers to foil heat-seeking missiles, an Air Force call for a 100-kW Magnetron a high-power microwave weapon to stop improvised bombs as well as a program to harden its own weapons to against electromagnetic threats, including HPMs, employed by adversaries.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/07/build-us-a-better-ray-gun-pentagon-pleads/

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 28th, 2010, 08:10am

Wired Danger Room

Marines Stealth Jet Struggling to Lift Off
By Noah Shachtman July 28, 2010 | 6:29 am

90% of Americas combat aviation power is eventually supposed to come from F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. But the $388 billion program has busted its budget so badly, its on the verge of collapse. So a couple of weeks back, some two-bit defense pundit proposed overhauling the JSF effort by getting rid of its most expensive, most technically-complex model: the one for the Marines that takes off and lands vertically, helicopter-style. Its a neat trick but its battlefield utility is debatable. The Marines have talked themselves into believing they really need this capability, one senior defense official told me. But its one weve never counted on in any fight.

Now, as if on cue, the Marines Joint Strike Fighter is once again proving itself to be the problem child of the F-35 program. Bob Cox with the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Lockheed Martin-built F-35B has only completed 91 of its test flights this year far short of the 125 scheduled. Failure rates are higher than predicted, Lockheed CEO Bob Stevens tells Cox. The cooling fans, lift fan doors, actuators, and other switches are the current headaches.

In contrast, Cox notes, test flights for the stealth jets two other models are both well ahead of plan. Looks like its time for those to be the only two models.

Of course, just when the JSF program needs to trim down, the House defense appropriations panels lards it up with $450 million for a second F-35 engine that the Pentagon says it doesnt need. As if the program wasnt expensive and complicated enough already.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/07/marines-stealth-jet-struggling-to-lift-off/

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 28th, 2010, 08:16am

Wired

My war wikileaked. Why the public and the military can't count on those battle logs.

By Noah Shachtman
July 28, 2010 |
7:24 am |
Categories: Army and Marines

Echo company got into a gunfight last August 25th in Afghanistans Helmand province. Youll learn that by reading the report found in WikiLeaks database. Youll learn that, after a chase, the marines killed one insurgent. Youll learn that the insurgents supposedly fled and that the troops part of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines decided to stay the night in the area in case the militants returned.

What you wont learn is that a marine sniper team sparked the shoot-out with a surprise assault on the insurgents; that every member of that team was nearly killed in the battle; that the incident would kick off a three-day siege in which the Taliban nearly had the Echo company squad surrounded; that this spot eventually became an Echo company base; or that, while this extended gun fight was going on, British and Afghan troops were nearby, waging a more gentle form of counterinsurgency as they sat cross-legged under shady patches of farmland and talked with village elders.

I happen to know this because I was there with Echo company, reporting for WIRED magazine. And the wide difference between what actually happened at the Moba Khan compound and what the report says happened there should give caution to those who think they can discover the capital-T truth about the Afghanistan conflict solely through the WikiLeaks war logs. It should also give pause to those officers in military headquarters who count on these updates to learn about whats happening on the front lines. The military has a problem in how it talks to itself. These reports ultra-compressed, and focused solely on the bombs-and-bullets part of the war are a symptom of that shaky reporting system. They have their utility, of course. But theyre not smart or broad enough for the complexities of a war like Afghanistan.

My article in todays Wall Street Journal has more. (Go through Google News to read it, if youre not a subscriber.)

After the jump: a weeks worth of WikiLeaked reports from Echo Company. For all the combat thats recorded, its actually just a slice of the action those marines saw during that short time. Also, check out how this terse notice of a bomb dropped on Moba Khan differs from what actually went down.

Continue Reading My War, WikiLeaked: Why the Public (and the Military) Cant Count on Those Battle Logs

after the jump
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703977004575393523349648264.html


http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/07/my-war-wikileaked-why-the-public-and-the-military-cant-count-on-those-battle-logs/

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 28th, 2010, 08:20am

i newswire

Most Haunted Dr. Ciaran OKeeffe And Ex-MOD UFO Investigator Nick Pope In Wiltshire For Weird 10 UFO And Paranormal Conference

Weird 10 : 2010 Paranormal & UFO Conference, Warminster Keeping Wiltshire Weird This August, eleven TV Celebrities, Authors and world wide speakers will arrive in Wiltshire for the counties largest UFO & Paranormal event.

I-Newswire) July 27, 2010 - This August, eleven TV Celebrities, Authors and world wide speakers will arrive in Wiltshire for the counties largest UFO & Paranormal show.

Weird 10 will be held in the atmospheric Athenaeum Victorian theatre in Warminster for two days of talks, lectures, live music and sky watching in the Wiltshire market town. Hundreds of people are expected to descend on the town for the event.

The speakers for Saturday are Kevin Goodman, Wal Thornhill, Nick Pope, Dr. David Clarke and Andy Roberts. Sunday will see Dr. Ciaran OKeeffe, Philip Mantle, Brian Allan, Ross Hemsworth and ASSAP presenting. The event is hosted by world wide known paranormal personality Malcolm Robinson.

With such a diverse guest list many different subjects and theories will be covered from the Supernatural in Warfare and Paranormal investigation to alternative theories of the cosmic standard model and the Rendlesham Forest Incident. There is something for everyone at the event regardless of your belief!

We also offer a daily coach service from Swindon which is ideally located with major rail and road links.
Free copies of Paranormal Magazine will be on offer and merchant stall areas will be stocked with all kinds of paranormal related items. The event will also launch books by authors Andy Roberts, Philip Mantle, Malcolm Robinson and Brian Allan.

An open question and answer session on Saturday is followed by Free live music in the evening by 'The Programme Initiative,' an innovated band that mixes stunning visuals with their music and celebrates a post-disclosure world. The evening ends with a chance to join the legendary UFO Warminster sky watch held at Cradle Hill on the outskirts of the town.

You can also save over 10% on the price of a weekend pass by purchasing your tickets in advance of the event.
Date 21st and 22nd August. Talks 9:15am 5:30pm both days.

Ticket Prices: 35 for a weekend pass if bought in advance, 20 per day on the door.
The live band is FREE and are playing on the 21st from 7:30pm 9:00pm

The Sky Watch is FREE and will take place at Cradle Hill from 9:00pm onwards.
Venue: Athenaeum Theatre, High Street, Warminster.

http://www.i-newswire.com/most-haunted-dr-ciaran-o-keeffe/50908

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 28th, 2010, 08:30am

King5 News Seattle

Not many dogs would take on a black bear and survive. But a chihuahua did at a campground near Cle Elum on Sunday.

Video Report
http://www.king5.com/video?id=99442504&sec=549122

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 28th, 2010, 2:07pm

Seattle Times
Please keep Petty Officer Newlove in your prayers.
Crystal

A sailor from West Seattle serving in Afghanistan is missing and the target of a massive search by Afghan and NATO forces.

The search for Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarod Newlove unfolds as the Taliban claim to have taken a U.S. serviceman captive. While not confirming that Newlove is the serviceman being held, NATO officials, in a statement released Tuesday, said the international coalition "holds the captors accountable for the safety and proper treatment of our missing service member."

Newlove, 25, and a second sailor, Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin McNeley, left their Kabul base Friday for a trip to the Charkh District of Logar province, where the Taliban have a strong presence.

Pentagon officials confirmed Tuesday that Newlove is missing and reported that McNeley, 30, died of wounds suffered Friday. International forces recovered his body after an extensive search. McNeley is from Wheatridge, Colo., and was assigned to the Navy's Assault Craft Unit One in San Diego.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012459380_missingsailor28m.html
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 28th, 2010, 4:06pm

Hello Wingsie. wink And welcome back, Swamprat. Hope you had a decent time and had a nice b-day party. smiley
on Jul 28th, 2010, 2:07pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Seattle Times
Please keep Petty Officer Newlove in your prayers.
Crystal

Will do. He looks like a nice guy. Hope he'll be found and alright.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 28th, 2010, 7:16pm

on Jul 28th, 2010, 4:06pm, philliman wrote:
Hello Wingsie. wink And welcome back, Swamprat. Hope you had a decent time and had a nice b-day party. smiley

Will do. He looks like a nice guy. Hope he'll be found and alright.


Hi Phil! cheesy
Yes, he does look like a nice guy. Thanks for the prayers. I do believe in prayer.
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 28th, 2010, 7:22pm

A Zedonk

User Image

A Zedonk is the result of a donkey and a zebra cross breeding. One was recently born in a Georgia wildlife preserve. The baby's parents are a female donkey and a male zebra. The adorable little female looks like she is wearing striped soccer socks. The preserve's owner says the foal is already showing signs of zebra like instincts and will be allowed to roam freely with the other animals in about 2 weeks.

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 29th, 2010, 07:09am

Good morning all! smiley

User Image
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 29th, 2010, 07:26am

Good morning Phil,
What a cute baby. The dog is cute too!
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 29th, 2010, 07:28am

Phantoms and Monsters

Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Your Take: Government UFO / Alien Disinformation Campaigns

The upcoming release of Mark Pilkington's book Mirage Men: An Adventure into Paranoia, Espionage, Psychological Warfare, and UFOs has stirred up a lot of sentiment and conjecture within the UFO community.

Pilkington attempts to prove that the U.S. government has been conducting top-secret UFO conspiracy campaigns designed not to hide UFOs but publicize the phenomenon which, in turn, fuels and creates UFO and extraterrestrial myths. Strange flying objects, alien abductions, crashed spacecraft, clandestine underground bases, etc....supposedly concocted by the U.S. government and military.

These 'disinformation conspiracy' theories have been around for decades but there has been a recent surge in the discussion, stoked by the numerous blogs and forums only a mouse click away.

So...what are your thoughts on these UFO/alien disinformation conspiracy theories? I'd really like to present your arguments and speculation on this subject. Please forward your response to send us an email. I would appreciate well written detail of your position so it can be published on 'Phantoms and Monsters'.

I plan to periodically ask some of the more intriguing alternative questions to my readers so they can respond, share and learn with others. I am grateful to those who took the time to participate in the 'Interdimensional Sasquatch' dialogue...Lon

Mark Pilkington's blog - Mirage Men: Folklore and Deception

http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/2010/07/your-take-government-ufo-alien.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 29th, 2010, 07:31am

New York Times

July 29, 2010
2nd Sailors Body Found in Afghanistan
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 7:36 a.m. ET

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- A senior U.S. military official and Afghan officials say the body of a second U.S. sailor who went missing in a dangerous part of eastern Afghanistan has been recovered.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the information, says the family of Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarod Newlove -- a 25-year-old from the Seattle area -- has been notified of his death.

Government and police officials in Logar province say villagers found a body, clothed in a uniform, on Wednesday in Baraki Barak district.

Baraki Barak is next door to Charkh district where Newlove and Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin McNeley went missing last Friday.

McNeley's body was recovered in the area on Sunday.
r.i.p.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/07/29/world/AP-AS-Afghanistan.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 29th, 2010, 07:42am

New York Times

July 28, 2010
Marveling at Wonders Out of This World
By EDWARD ROTHSTEIN

User Image

WASHINGTON When I was very young, I cherished a collection of space cards trading cards that accompanied packs of bubble gum offering exotic visions that supposedly would soon be within reach: space ships gliding through Saturns rings; explorers enduring a Venus dust storm; loopy Technicolor Martians making their first contact with visiting Earthlings.

Some of those half-century-old imaginings may have been outlandish, but the cards left their mark, assisted by decades of science fiction that confidently assumed we were on the brink of an era of pioneering exploration. In a way, we were, though not quite as those cards suggested. But the appetite they whetted remained.

The images on view at a remarkable exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum here could well serve as inspirational space cards for this century. But they possess far greater power than those old nave fantasies. They are vividly, compellingly real; they astonish and bewilder, luring the viewer into a state of wonder.

In Beyond: Visions of Our Solar System 148 photographs of moons and planets show these brave new worlds as extraordinary landscapes of mists, dunes, fissures and rocks. The exhibition has appeared in other, more modest incarnations (including as a traveling show), but this is its most complete form. The filmmaker, writer and photographer Michael Benson deserves much credit for the refinement of these images, but we need no technical understanding of their origins to be struck by what they portray.

The clouds surrounding Venus have disappeared as radar images reveal a terrain of sharp-edged ridges, volcanic craters, petrified lava flows and delicate striations testimony to a relentlessly active geographical furnace. We see the blue copperish haze of a Martian sunset not the invention of a painter of a childs bubble-gum cards but the actual scene from the planets surface, a small sun penetrating the atmospheres powdery dust.

Saturn is photographed as if by a tourist who cant get enough shots of the Eiffel Tower, though now the viewer only wishes there were more. It is as if the material world had been left behind for a realm of eerie golden textures, delicately shaded rings and suspended threads of light. Jupiter, in all its immensity, is almost eclipsed by the impression left by its tiny moon Europa, which has a surface like the skin of an aged mans skull, seeming almost transparent, showing veins beneath thin flesh, its crusts and ridges the relics of ancient forces.

Some images umbilical coils of roiling fire from the surface of the Sun or Martian dunes with dark spots marking the melting of carbon-dioxide frost almost appear to be abstractions, bearing little resemblance to anything familiar. As for Earth seen from space, even that sight is presented anew, the planet outlined by a glowing crescent of reflected sunlight hitting clouds above the South Pacific.

These photographs offer an implicit chastisement to the wild pop sci-fi imaginings of the past, but they are also fulfillments of the same urge to know what lies beyond our gravity-bound grasp. They are records of unusual ventures, magnificently achieved: they were taken by unmanned space probes and beamed back to Earth. These contraptions may not carry human life, but they are instruments of the extended human will and imagination.

We have sent these probing eyes catapulting in long orbits, sweeping past planets and their moons (as with the Galileo or Cassini missions), or (as with the Mars rovers) stubbornly exploring the planetary surface, or (as with Voyager 2) ultimately veering outward in silent millennial journeys through deep space. Arthur C. Clarke, after looking at some of these photographs, wrote in a foreword to Mr. Bensons 2003 book (Beyond: Visions of the Interplanetary Probes, Abrams), These images serve as a spectacular reaffirmation that we are privileged to live in the greatest age of exploration the world has ever known.

But this is a strange kind of exploration because so little of it reveals any human presence. These images have not only been captured by robotic probes, they also show (unlike those early sci-fi pictures) barren worlds. We are looking at fearsomely beautiful realms that seem to preclude life and disdain the human. Whatever their character ranging from the swirling random currents of Jupiters atmosphere to the draftsmanlike elegance of Uranus surrounded by a scarcely visible halo of slight rings the harsh majesty seems to leave no room for a living presence.

Yet these are photographs. They present themselves to us as records of the real. They show us landscapes that the human eye might conceivably see. But we know too that they depict something we might never see. And some landscapes (like the surfaces of the Sun) we could never see. This mixture of the real and the imagined, along with these works humanly inspired inhuman origins, conspire to create a strange photographic universe in which the human is everywhere implicated but nowhere sensed.

Though these pictures were captured without human intervention, almost none would look the way they do without elaborate human tinkering. Though they are photographs, they are not snapshots. Most at this exhibition would not exist without Mr. Bensons aesthetic labors; they are, in part, his creation.

Here is where this record becomes even more knotty. We have all, by now, seen the astonishing photographs from the Hubble Telescope with their vibrant portrayals of colliding galaxies and giant star clusters. You see similar moving images on planetarium domes: full-color displays of exploding crimson or yellow accompanied by sub-wooferish whooshes of sound.

Well, the colors are as phony as the sound. The Hubble pictures are all in black and white; colors are imposed to approximate hues suggested by frequency data. These tints are often exaggerated for dramatic effect or to create contrast. Even the image creators acknowledge they may not resemble what an eye in galactic space might see. Many are colorized far more radically than any 1930s movie.

Mr. Benson is more rigorous because he takes the human eye as a guide; he wants to show us what the eye would see if only it could. He immersed himself in the raw photo Web databases of NASA and the European Space Agency and then got to work, selecting, cropping, matching, shifting. He explains his approach in his book Beyond and on his Web site, but this should be demonstrated in the exhibition in far more detail; we really dont know how much was done to each image.

Black-and-white moon pictures from lunar orbiters of 1966 and 67, for example, originated on 70-millimeter film that was developed aboard the craft itself, then scanned and transmitted to Earth. What came back were not stunning vistas but scans of film strips. Fragmentary images had to be matched, gaps filled in, contrast adjusted. Many later pictures are also created out of mosaics: one view of Jupiter and Europa from 1979 was put together out of 60 pieces.

Color was also an issue, as with the Hubble. Almost all of these photographs, Mr. Benson writes, required substantial amounts of digital processing. Many had never been rendered into color before, or if they had theyd long since vanished. In general, whether a spacecraft used video technology or digital sensors, three successive shots were taken in black and white, each using a different frequency filter, so color information might later be deduced.

But because the camera might be whipping by a planet at 35,000 miles per hour, these three raw images might not perfectly match. So Mr. Benson and his colleague, a planetary scientist and imagery expert, Paul Geissler, transformed them so they could be superimposed and used to create color pictures. In some cases color information was unavailable and had to be inferred from another missions shots of the same landscape. The shows panoramic glimpse of a Martian dust storm, Mr. Benson explained in an e-mail message, took him months of work, drawing on about 100 images.

It is amazing that this process is as invisible as it seems here, and the results encourage trust in Mr. Bensons and Mr. Geisslers judgments. The solar system is already spectacular enough, Mr. Benson writes, without pumping artificial colors into it.

But of course he is still creating many of these photographs out of data that would be far less impressive in its raw form. So these works are as much a record of Mr. Bensons explorations as the spacecrafts. And the care in which they are made ensures that however inhospitable to human visitation these worlds may seem, the pictures are a reminder of the crucial presence of human passion and perception.

At a time when American plans for human space travel seem to be at a standstill and NASAs mission confused, these haunting images captured by robotic probes paradoxically suggest that this wont truly be a great age of exploration until, despite harshness, costs and challenges, we again see the importance of human experience in space.

Beyond: Visions of Our Solar System is on view through May 2 at the National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington; nasm.si.edu.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/29/arts/design/29museum.html?hp

Crystal

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 29th, 2010, 07:46am

on Jul 29th, 2010, 07:31am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
New York Times

July 29, 2010
2nd Sailors Body Found in Afghanistan
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 7:36 a.m. ET

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- A senior U.S. military official and Afghan officials say the body of a second U.S. sailor who went missing in a dangerous part of eastern Afghanistan has been recovered.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the information, says the family of Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarod Newlove -- a 25-year-old from the Seattle area -- has been notified of his death.

Government and police officials in Logar province say villagers found a body, clothed in a uniform, on Wednesday in Baraki Barak district.

Baraki Barak is next door to Charkh district where Newlove and Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin McNeley went missing last Friday.

McNeley's body was recovered in the area on Sunday.
r.i.p.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/07/29/world/AP-AS-Afghanistan.html

Crystal

Yeah, just read it. My condolences to his family. sad
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 29th, 2010, 07:49am

Telegraph

Giant asteroid 'heading for Earth in 2182'
A giant asteroid called 1999 RQ36 may crash into Earth on September 24 2182, scientists believe.

By Alastair Jamieson
Published: 12:52PM BST 29 Jul 2010

A team of experts, including some working for NASA, believes the 612-yards-wide object has a one-in-a-thousand chance of an impact 172 years from now.

The odds of a crash are considerably shorter than those given for the asteroid Apophis, which has a 1 in 250,000 chance of striking Earth in 2036.

A report in the solar system journal, Icarus, said the odds of an earlier impact were more remote but increased by 2080 when its orbit will bring it swinging back towards Earth.

Maria Eugenia Sansaturio from the Universidad de Valladolid in Spain, who co-led the research, told Universe Today that knowledge of the risk posed by the asteroid "may help design in advance mechanisms aimed at deviating the asteroid's path."

It was first discovered in 1999 and is more than twice the size of Apophis. If it were to hit it is likely to cause widespread devastation and possible mass extinction.

Sansaturio added: "The consequence is not just the likelihood of a comparatively large impact, but also that a realistic deflection procedure, or path deviation could only be made before the impact in 2080, and more easily, before 2060.2

Previous asteroid impacts are thought to have created massive craters and tsunamis and have even been blamed for the extinction of the dinosaurs

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/7916088/Giant-asteroid-heading-for-Earth-in-2182.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 29th, 2010, 07:55am

on Jul 29th, 2010, 07:46am, philliman wrote:
Yeah, just read it. My condolences to his family. sad


Good morning again you!
Crystal

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 29th, 2010, 07:58am

News 24

Iceman mummy's DNA mapped
2010-07-27 21:50
Peter Mayer

Bolzano - Scientists said on Tuesday they had decoded the genome of a mummified Stone Age hunter found in the Italian Alps in 1991 - an achievement that could boost genetic medicine studies, including those on hereditary diseases.

"We now have access to the complete genetic profile of this world famous mummy. As a result the path is clear for an imminent solution to many of the puzzles surrounding the Iceman," the Bolzano-based European Academy (Eurac) said in a statement.

Nicknamed Oetzi, the 5 000-year-old mummy is housed in the South Tyrol Archaeology Museum in Bolzano. He is believed to have died aged 46 after being shot with an arrow.

Scientists from Eurac, the University of Tbingen and experts in bioinformatics at Heidelberg, Germany, used the latest technologies to study Oetzi's DNA - a process that began with the extraction of a bone sample from the pelvis of the ice mummy.

"It was a sensationally fast result," Albert Zink, head of Eurac's Institute for Mummies and the Iceman, told the German Press Agency. The process had been completed in two to three months when in the past "years" were required for such genome studies, Zink said.

The scientists now aim to process the "enormous quantity" of bio-data which has become available to them.

Such research could yield information on whether Oetzi's descendants are still around today and if so, where they may be found.

It could also show up possible genetic mutations between modern humans and those who lived in ancient times, as well as information on common modern-day genetic diseases and other prevalent illnesses such as diabetes or cancer, Eurac said.

http://www.news24.com/SciTech/News/Iceman-mummys-DNA-mapped-20100727

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 29th, 2010, 08:03am

Express United Kingdom

ALIENS: The truth is out there
Thursday July 29,2010
By Simon Edge

ONE night in October 1957, working after dark to avoid the heat of the sun, a 23-year-old Brazilian called Antonio Villas Boas was ploughing a field on the banks of the Rio Grande. Suddenly an egg-shaped object surrounded by purple lights landed in front of him.

He tried to run but a short, strong creature dressed in strange clothing grabbed him. Three taller beings then emerged and carried him back to the craft, pushing him up a ladder and through a hatch. They wore striped overalls and cloth helmets which extended twice the height of a human head. Silver tubes ran from their helmets to their overalls.

The farmer was stripped by his captors, wiped with some kind of fluid and put in a small chamber. He was then joined by a beautiful, naked woman humanoid but with unusually pointed features who proceeded to seduce him. When it was over, she smiled and pointed at her stomach and then to the sky, leading the Brazilian to conclude she was going to have their child. He was allowed to dress and was escorted out of the craft, which shot away into the air. He staggered home and vomited.

Being kidnapped by sex-starved aliens in an unidentified flying object may sound like a fantasy but author Mark Pilkington believes it. Not that he thinks Villas Boas was really abducted to populate a distant galaxy; but he does think its a sincere description of what the farmer saw.

Certain UFO sightings throughout the history of the subject were demonstrations or tests to see how people would respond to them, he says. I dont have solid evidence thats what happened in the Villas Boas story but it can be read as some kind of experiment or operation disguised as a UFO kidnapping. What he describes sounds very like a helicopter and humans in funny costumes. The CIA was certainly involved in Brazil at the time and my guess would be they were testing out some new incapacitant as a potential battlefield drug.

In his new book Mirage Men subtitled A Journey In Disinformation, Paranoia And UFOs Pilkington outlines a remarkable theory. Conspiracy theorists are right, he says, to suspect an elaborate deception by the US government relating to UFOs. But the conspiracy is not to hide the fact that extra-terrestrials have landed, as most ufologists believe. Rather, he says the CIA and another US agency called the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) are responsible for spreading those very conspiracy theories.

In other words, the US government wants a network of paranoid sky-gazers to believe it has spent decades covering up evidence of flying saucers, alien abduction and intergalactic contact.

He traces this campaign back to an article in Life, then Americas most popular magazine, in April 1952. It was entitled Have We Visitors From Space? The Air Force, it began, is now ready to concede that many saucer and fireball sightings still defy explanation; here Life offers some scientific evidence that there is a real case for interplanetary saucers.

Written after its two authors spent a year in consultation with the Air Force, the article nailed its colours to the ET mast and was followed by a massive surge in UFO sightings.

The idea, Pilkington suggests, was to direct public opinion towards an extra-terrestrial interpretation of any unusual goings-on that might occur in the night skies. Better that than for intelligence to leak of the new generation of Cold War military aircraft they were testing some of which may well have been disc-shaped.

One victim of the deception, which Pilkington says has gone on for decades, was Paul Bennewitz, an engineer who lived near an Air Force base in New Mexico. In 1979 he began filming strange lights in the sky and recording radio transmissions that he thought were associated with them. Already prone to believe in UFOs, he contacted the base to say it was being targeted by extra-terrestrials.

The Air Force could easily have brushed him off, Pilkington writes. Instead, he says, it encouraged Bennewitz in his delusions. For the next few years AFOSI passed him faked government UFO documents, gave him a computer that appeared to be receiving transmissions from malevolent aliens and created a fake UFO base in a remote part of the state. The campaign eventually pushed him into madness.

Within the UFO community it is assumed that the CIA, the National Security Agency and others are tools in the cover-up of the truth, Pilkington says. But the Bennewitz affair, which is well documented, suggests that the opposite might be the case and that these agencies were responsible for much of the UFO mythology.

In 1996, ufologist Dennis Balthaser was lured to a meeting with two agents who said they were from AFOSI. Balthaser worked at a Roswell, New Mexico, museum dedicated to the UFO crash near that town in the Forties from which alien bodies were allegedly recovered. In a scene that could have been from TV series The X-Files, the agents assured him the Roswell Incident had happened. The aliens were real and had left a homing beacon buried in the desert. The government wanted to tell the world but was trying to work out the best way. In the meantime, museum staff should watch what they said and to whom.

Pilkington says its possible Balthaser made it all up or was the victim of an elaborate prank. But he argues the story has the ring of truth, especially after what happened to Bennewitz. In that case, it does seem the US Air Force wanted to promote the Roswell story.

But why would it bother? Unless the agents themselves were living in a fantasy world what possible rationale could they have for such behaviour?

A useful analogy is to think of the plane-spotters arrested in Greece a few years ago, says Pilkington. They posed a threat to the military even though it was not their intention. In the same way, UFO enthusiasts are a pain in the butt to the Air Force. Even if they misinterpret what they see they are still photographing, publishing, describing and sharing information about advanced technologies.

As a government, you want to keep your skies as an arena where you can do what you like. Since there are some people who are always going to be interested in whats going on up there, the best thing is to keep them believing what they want to believe. Its a two-tier approach because if you make sure their beliefs are as ridiculous as possible, the wider public dismisses everything they say.

Put like that, its a credible theory. The problem is that in a world of disinformation its impossible to verify anything. Thus in the Seventies and Eighties, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan both spoke publicly about their own UFO sightings. That either means the conspiracy went all the way to the top, and two successive presidents were helping perpetuate the myth or that the deep-stealth plan worked so well that even the presidents fell for it.

The truth, as they used to say in The X-Files, is out there. Whether we can ever establish it is another matter.

http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/189831/Aliens-are-here

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 29th, 2010, 08:07am

LA Times

South Korean prime minister offers resignation
The Associated Press

3:55 AM PDT, July 29, 2010

SEOUL

South Korea's prime minister offered to resign Thursday after parliament shot down his efforts to scrap a plan that would relocate several government ministries outside of the capital.

Chung Un-chan, an academic appointed in September, has led the charge to abandon the project, thought up by the previous liberal administration.

President Lee Myung-bak has said the plan to move more than half of the 15 government ministries from Seoul and a nearby city would waste taxpayer money and create inefficiencies.

The National Assembly, however, voted down Lee's push late last month, forcing him to start work on implementing the original plan that proponents say would help foster regional development and resolve Seoul's worsening traffic and housing problems.

Chung's resignation came as a surprise since the ruling Grand National Party won Wednesday's parliamentary by-elections, which were seen as a referendum on public support for Lee. The post of prime minister is largely ceremonial with little decision-making power, but the person holding the position leads the country if the president becomes incapacitated.

Under the relocation plan, Seoul will remain the capital city and retain the presidential Blue House, the Defense Ministry and the Foreign Ministry, among others. But other ministries, including some located in Gwacheon, a city near Seoul, would move to a site about 100 miles to the south.

Chung told a nationally televised news conference he had "a guilty conscience for failing to prevent a waste of national strength and national confusion" that the relocation would cause.

President Lee is likely to accept Chung's resignation, a presidential official said. He asked not to be identified because no official announcement has been made.

But Chung said he would continue his duties as the prime minister until Lee appoints his successor.

Lee has said he would reshuffle his Cabinet after the parliamentary by-elections, but didn't say if he would replace Chung, too.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fgw-korea-resign-20100730,0,1031450.story

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 29th, 2010, 08:11am


User Image
painting by suzanne frie
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Seeker on Jul 29th, 2010, 09:02am

on Jul 26th, 2010, 5:54pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Hi Seeker, Welcome cheesy

Coffee at 4:30am
Coffee kicks in at 4:45 am
Hit the computer! Whoopie!
Posts flying everywhere!

Seriously, I like to run through the news in the morning and I post as I find things that might be of interest here. It's an open thread so feel free to post anything you like.
Crystal


Thankee, Wings! Much appreciated grin
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 29th, 2010, 11:55am

on Jul 29th, 2010, 09:02am, Seeker wrote:
Thankee, Wings! Much appreciated grin


laugh
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 29th, 2010, 12:49pm

on Jul 29th, 2010, 07:55am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Good morning again you!
Crystal

Hello, how are you? smiley

Am just fine and glad to be here! smiley

User Image
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Seeker on Jul 29th, 2010, 1:46pm

on Jul 29th, 2010, 12:49pm, philliman wrote:
Hello, how are you? smiley

Am just fine and glad to be here! smiley

User Image


What a gorgeous photograph!!
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 29th, 2010, 3:45pm

Looks like we've got someone else here who appreciates the beauty of flowers. smiley

User Image
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 29th, 2010, 5:12pm

on Jul 29th, 2010, 3:45pm, philliman wrote:
Looks like we've got someone else here who appreciates the beauty of flowers. smiley

User Image


Now I know I like Seeker! Beautiful Phil! Thank you!
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 29th, 2010, 5:16pm




Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 29th, 2010, 5:19pm




Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 29th, 2010, 5:22pm

New York Times

July 29, 2010
Nuclear Forensics Skill Is Declining in U.S., Report Says
By WILLIAM J. BROAD

The nations ability to identify the source of a nuclear weapon used in a terrorist attack is fragile and eroding, according to a report released Thursday by the National Research Council.

Such highly specialized detective work, known as nuclear attribution, seeks to study clues from fallout and radioactive debris as a way to throw light on the identity of the attacker and the maker of the weapon. In recent years, federal officials have sought to improve such analytic skills, arguing that nuclear terrorism is a grave, long-term threat to the nation.

The major goals of the federal efforts are to clarify options for retaliation and to deter terrorists by letting them know that nuclear devices have fingerprints that atomic specialists can find and trace.

The report, Nuclear Forensics: A Capability at Risk, was made public by the National Research Council, the research arm of the National Academy of Sciences. It summarizes a secret version completed in January. Three federal agencies the Department of Homeland Security, the Defense Department, and the National Nuclear Security Administration, which is part of the Energy Department requested the study.

The public report says that a series of factors threaten to undermine the nations ability to conduct nuclear investigations intended to learn the provenance of an explosive device, whether it is a true atomic weapon or a so-called dirty bomb that uses conventional explosives to spew radioactivity.

Although U.S. nuclear forensics capabilities are substantial and can be improved, right now they are fragile, underresourced and, in some respects, deteriorating, the report warns. Without strong leadership, careful planning and additional funds, these capabilities will decline.

Much of the forensic expertise is in the laboratories that maintain the nations nuclear arsenal. They had their heyday during the cold war and are now struggling to attract personnel, finance projects and carve out new identities.

The study was done by a dozen nuclear specialists from academia, industry, the military and the nuclear laboratories, including Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It was led by Albert Carnesale, a nuclear engineer and chancellor emeritus of the University of California, Los Angeles, who during the cold war represented the United States in atomic negotiations.

The panel sharply criticized the federal governments management of the forensic endeavor, saying several agencies shared responsibility for investigations but did so without central authority and with no consensus on strategic requirements to guide the program. The organizational complexity, the panel said, hampers the program and could prove to be a major hindrance operationally.

In addition, the panel cited a lack of skilled personnel, the use of outdated instruments and the existence of old facilities in need of upgrading. For general support, the forensics work depends on the nations program for maintaining its nuclear arsenal, the report noted, adding, however, that its funds are declining.

The report calls on the federal government to take steps to strengthen its forensic capabilities. It argues for the necessity of better planning, more robust budgets, clearer lines of authority and more realistic exercises.

In a preface to the report, Dr. Carnesale noted that the federal government had worked hard to improve the situation since the classified version of the report was issued in January, and that it had appeared to make progress.

Much work, he added, remains to be done.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/30/us/30nuke.html?hp

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 29th, 2010, 5:25pm




Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 29th, 2010, 6:22pm

Alien, Caponi picture from Italy 1993
We were right Phil. Two photos are here in the alien photo section.
User Image

This photo is fascinating
User Image

This one is just fun. The caption was "Roswell meeting"
User Image


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 29th, 2010, 7:09pm


"does this hairdo make my head look fat?"

User Image


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 30th, 2010, 07:03am

User Image

Morning! wink
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 30th, 2010, 07:38am

Wow! Chewy looks good in a bikini! grin

Good morning Phil!
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 30th, 2010, 07:40am


Please be an angel

User Image

www.soldiersangels.org


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 30th, 2010, 07:43am

New York Times

July 29, 2010
From Fires to Fish, Heat Wave Batters Russia
By CLIFFORD J. LEVY

RYBKHOZ, Russia This is a country that knows how to handle the cold, swaggering about during the most brutal of winters. But the heat is another story. And there has never been heat like this.

Here is how extreme it has become: Oymyakon in Eastern Siberia is considered one of the coldest places on Earth, with winter temperatures dropping to as low as minus 90 degrees. On Thursday, the thermometer also read 90 degrees. Plus 90. In the evening.

Much of Russia has been reeling. Forest fires have erupted. Drought has ruined millions of acres of wheat. More than 2,000 people have died from drowning in rivers, reservoirs and elsewhere in July and June, often after seeking relief from the heat while intoxicated. In Moscow alone, the number of such deaths has tripled in comparison with last year, officials said.

All week long, temperatures have been soaring to records, and on Thursday, they reached a new high for Moscow, 100 degrees. July has been the hottest month since the city began taking such measurements under the czars, 130 years ago, officials said.

At the Biserovsky Fish Farm in this suburb of Moscow, Ivan Tyurkin trudged along a pier and surveyed the breeding ponds all around him. He did not need a thermometer to figure out that the water was treacherously tepid. Dead trout, drifting like buoys, were evidence enough.

Last month, they were flipping and flopping and leaping, and Mr. Tyurkin was readying for another bountiful harvest. Now, with the weather finding seemingly endless ways of wreaking havoc across the country, the farm was in crisis.

This is all just very difficult to believe, Mr. Tyurkin said.

There has never been a summer like this, he said. Never. Not once.

That is a widely held view in Russia. New York, Washington and many other cities in the United States have certainly suffered from their own heat waves. But most Russians do not have air-conditioners, reasoning that they are not worth the investment given the typical summers here.

As if the heat were not enough, Moscow has lately been coated with a patina of smoke from fires that have broken out in dried-up peat bogs in the suburbs. Throw open a window in a desperate bid to catch a breeze and the unpleasant smell of smoke bounds in. One of the countrys chief medical authorities estimated that walking around Moscow for a few hours was the equivalent of smoking a pack or two of cigarettes.

A little respite from the heat is expected on Friday, when the temperatures are predicted to drop to 88 degrees in Moscow, but next week they may jump to 100 again.

When the heat wave hit Russia, agriculture seemed the first to fall victim across much of the country, with officials predicting that grain production could decline by as much as 25 percent. Now, fish farms like Biserovsky are struggling to keep their stocks alive.

Here in the village of Rybkhoz, a name derived from the Russian words for fish production, the artificial ponds have been nurturing fish for local consumption since Nikita Khrushchevs time.

Trout is a relatively new venture for the Biserovsky farm, underscoring Moscows prosperity. In Soviet times, trout let alone fresh trout was viewed as a delicacy, but these days, it is much more available. It often retails for $5 to $7 a pound.

Biserovsky also produces carp, which is heartier and able to endure warm water, so that harvest is not at risk at least not yet.

The farm said it had been expecting to harvest 100 tons of trout this year. Some died. The rest were prematurely sold often at deep discounts before they could be killed by the rising temperatures. About 30 percent of the live fish were in such bad shape that they could be used only for fish meal and other low-grade products.

With the current harvest gone, Mr. Tyurkin, who oversees the trout ponds at Biserovsky, has been intent on rescuing next years stock. His workers have been crowding the juvenile fish into a single pond that they have tried to cool down, as if it were a refugee camp for survivors of a great meteorological cataclysm.

We realize that this may not have a great chance of succeeding, but if we dont do this, they wont have any chance at all, Mr. Tyurkin said.

He explained that trout thrive in water that is 55 to 62 degrees. In recent days, the water temperature has spiked to as high as 85 degrees near the surface. The trout swim deeper to seek cooler water, but the lower they go, the less oxygen is available. They either overheat or suffocate.

Yuri Baranov, Biserovskys marketing director, said the heat had even paralyzed the farms ability to receive shipments of live trout that are raised elsewhere and then trucked here to be fattened up to their sale weight, usually about two pounds.

All around Russia, even in the north, they are having the same problems, Mr. Baranov said.

For now, the Biserovsky workers are pumping air into the ponds for the remaining stock, as well as circulating cooler water sucked up from the depths.

Mr. Tyurkin, with his expansive belly and equally expansive manner of talking about fish, was clearly pained by it all.

These are like my children, he said. We see them when they are little hatchlings, then we watch them grow. And normally, you see the result of our work. But now, just look at this. They start dying, they float, and thats it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/30/world/europe/30moscow.html?_r=1&ref=world

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 30th, 2010, 07:48am

LA Times

3 Americans killed in Afghanistan, making July deadliest month of war for U.S.
The Associated Press

4:43 AM PDT, July 30, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan

Three U.S. troops died in blasts in Afghanistan, bringing the death toll for July to at least 63 and surpassing the previous month's record as the deadliest for American forces in the nearly 9-year-old war.

The three died in two separate blasts in southern Afghanistan the day before, a NATO statement said Friday. The statement gave no nationalities, but U.S. officials say all three were Americans. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity pending notification of kin.

U.S. and NATO commanders had warned that casualties would rise as the international military force ramps up the war against the Taliban, especially in their southern strongholds in Helmand and Kandahar provinces. President Obama ordered 30,000 reinforcements to Afghanistan last December in a bid to turn back a resurgent Taliban.

British and Afghan troops launched a new offensive Friday in the Sayedebad area of Helmand to try to deny insurgents a base from which to launch attacks in Nad Ali and Marjah, the British military announced. Coalition and Afghan troops have sought to solidify control of Marjah after overrunning the poppy-farming community five months ago.

In Kabul, a crowd threw stones and set fire to an SUV after a traffic accident Friday in which two Afghans were killed and two were injured, according to traffic official Abdul Saboor. SUVs are associated with foreigners, but Saboor said the occupants of the vehicle fled the scene.

The tally of 63 American service member deaths in July is based on military reports compiled by the Associated Press. June had been the deadliest month for both the U.S. and the overall NATO-led force. A total of 104 international service members died last month, including 60 Americans.

The American deaths this month include Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin McNeley from Kingman, Ariz., and Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarod Newlove, 25, from the Seattle area. They went missing last week in Logar province south of Kabul, and the Taliban announced they were holding one of the sailors.

McNeley's body was recovered there Sunday, and Newlove's body was pulled from a river Wednesday evening, Afghan officials said. The Taliban offered no explanation for Newlove's death, but Afghan officials speculated he died of wounds suffered when the two were ambushed by the Taliban.

The discovery of Newlove's body only deepened the mystery of the men's disappearance nearly 60 miles from their base in Kabul. An investigation is underway, but with both sailors dead, U.S. authorities remain at a loss to explain what two junior enlisted men in noncombat jobs were doing driving alone in Logar -- much of which is not under government control.

Newlove's father, Joseph Newlove, told KOMO-TV in Seattle he too was baffled why his son had left the relative safety of Kabul.

"He's never been out of that town. So why would he go out of that town? He wouldn't have," he said.

Senior military officials in Washington, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said the sailors were never assigned anywhere near where their bodies were found.

A NATO official in Kabul shot down speculation the two were abducted in Kabul and driven to Logar -- the same province where New York Times reporter David Rohde was kidnapped in 2008 while trying to make contact with a Taliban commander. Rohde and an Afghan colleague escaped in June 2009 after seven months in captivity, most spent in Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan.

Samer Gul, chief of Logar's Charkh district, said the two sailors, in a four-wheel drive armored SUV, were seen Friday a week ago by a guard working for the district chief's office. The guard tried to flag down the vehicle, carrying a driver and a passenger, but it kept going, Gul said.

Gul said there is a well-paved road that leads into the Taliban area and suggested the Americans may have mistaken that for the main highway -- which is much older and more dilapidated.

Elsewhere, violence continued Friday.

Four Afghan civilians were killed and three were injured when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in Zabul province of southern Afghanistan, provincial spokesman Mohammed Jan Rasoolyar said. When police arrived at the scene, Taliban fighters opened fire. One insurgent was killed, the spokesman said.

In Kandahar, a candidate in September's parliamentary election escaped assassination Friday when a bomb planted on a motorcycle exploded, city security chief Fazil Ahmad Sherzad said. The Interior Ministry said a woman and a child were killed and another child was wounded.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fgw-afghanistan-record-deaths-20100731,0,3020370.story

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 30th, 2010, 07:52am

LA Times

Disney agrees to sell Miramax Films to investor group led by Ron Tutor

The Los Angeles construction magnate and his partners, including Colony Capital, will pay about $660 million for the studio.
By Claudia Eller and Dawn C. Chmielewski, Los Angeles Times

July 30, 2010

After months of negotiations with various buyers that failed to bear fruit, Walt Disney Co. finally reached a deal to sell its Miramax Films unit in a deal that severs the independent movie pioneer's 17-year association with the Burbank studio.

Disney late Thursday signed a definitive agreement to sell Miramax to Filmyard Holding, an investor group led by Los Angeles construction magnate Ron Tutor, for more than $660 million, putting the future of the company with a long string of award-winning films into the hands of a Hollywood outsider.

Tutor and his partners, including Los Angeles private equity firm Colony Capital, delivered a nonrefundable down payment of $40 million to Disney on Thursday, which will be held in escrow until they secure all the financing by a closing date of no later than Dec. 3. Tutor and Colony Capital will each put up about $100 million of the purchase price, while minority investor Jerome Swartz, a retired engineer and philanthropist, is expected to contribute an additional $25 million to $50 million in equity.

Additional investors could be brought in, with the remainder of the purchase price to be financed with debt. It is unclear whether Morgan Creek Productions founder James Robinson, who initially planned to invest as much as $75 million and distribute the Miramax library overseas, will remain involved in the acquisition.

The deal brings closure to Disney's tortured process of trying to unload Miramax and its library of 700 movies that includes such titles as "Pulp Fiction" and "Shakespeare in Love." Under Chief Executive Bob Iger, Disney has shifted away from the low-return specialty film business and focused the studio on "branded," broad-appeal family entertainment. This year Disney shut down Miramax's operations, closing its offices in New York and Los Angeles and laying off 80 employees. "Although we are very proud of Miramax's many accomplishments, our current strategy for Walt Disney Studios is to focus on the development of great motion pictures under the Disney, Pixar and Marvel brands," said Iger in a statement.

Under its deal with Tutor, Disney has agreed to manage the Miramax library for one year. The new owners have an option to renew the arrangement for an additional year.

Tutor, chairman of Sylmar construction giant Tutor Perini Corp., plans to hire a seasoned movie executive to run Miramax and recruit a staff of as many as 50 employees. Plans call for the company to produce a few films a year to freshen the library to sustain its value. Declining DVD and television sales have depressed the value of older film libraries such as Miramax's.

Many people believed that the Miramax library and name would be reclaimed by founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein. But the brothers, backed by investor Ron Burkle, lost out in their bid for the company in May when they lowered their offer at the eleventh hour. Shortly thereafter, Disney turned to Tutor and his advisor, David Bergstein. But Bergstein's role diminished in recent weeks as Tutor sought to distance himself from his advisor's troubled financial history running small film companies.

Colony Capital principal Richard Nanula, a former chief financial officer at Disney, then assumed the lead in negotiations for Miramax. Colony, an equity fund founded by Thomas Barrack that specializes in distressed assets, has had little involvement in the entertainment business other than taking a stake in British movie theater chain Virgin Cinema in the 1990s. Colony also controls Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ct-miramax-20100730,0,3965361.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fbusiness+%28L.A.+Times+-+Business%29

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 30th, 2010, 07:57am

UFO Digest

Mars active industrial site located by remote viewing, JPL photos, corroborating Mars whistleblowers
Submitted by Alfred Lambremo... on Fri, 07/30/2010 - 00:44

An apparent active industrial site on the surface of Mars with a large nozzle shooting a liquid spray onto an apparent industrial waste area has been successfully located and explored in a remote viewing study conducted by the Farsight Institute in March 2010 using nine highly trained remote viewers and methodologies developed by the U.S. military.

According to the Farsight Institute, the original discovery of the active industrial site and giant nozzle spray was made by [Mars anomaly researcher] Patrick Skipper from photographs of the site taken by Jet Propulsion Laboratories (JPL).

Reporter Alfred Lambremont Webre attended a July 6, 2010 Montreal presentation of the results Mars remote viewing study by Dr. Courtney Brown, and the following is based on his notes.

During the presentation, Dr. Brown indicated that tentative results of the study, based on high clarity scores of the remote viewing sessions, included the following:

A large dome at the site is an artificial structure;

Tunnels connect various chambers at the site;

The original builders of the site were ancient;

Current occupants of the site do not understand its original technology;

The level of the original technology is high;

There is a shortage of spare parts at the site;

The site may be used for power or energy generation;

There are intense flashing lights at the site;

There is a sense of despondency among the occupants of the site;

There is a laboratory setting at the site, occupants wear uniforms, and there are more men than women;

The site occupants view this as a hardship post;

The site occupants cannot return home and knew that when they accepted;

There is No ET (extraterrestrial) content detected at the site;

The occupants at the site could be human;

The occupants of the site are of unknown origin;

The site may be a black budget operation.

The remote viewing interpretations of the site may be a decoding error.

Corroboration of Mars whistleblowers

As discussed in this Examiner.com article, the results of this independent remote viewing study of the Figure A Mars active industrial site appears to provide corroboration of eyewitness testimony given to reporter Alfred Lambremont Webre by whistleblowers who have visited or been stationed at secret, black budget installations.

Dr. Courtney Brown indicated to Alfred Lambremont Webre that he was unaware of the testimony of these independent Mars whistleblowers.

Independent Mars whistleblowers include former U.S. serviceman Michael Relfe, former DARPA Project Pegasus participant Andrew D. Basiago, and former DOD scientist Arthur Neumann. Michael Relfe has stated he was stationed for 20 years (Mars time) at a U.S. secret installation on Mars. Andrew D. Basiago has stated he visited U.S. secret installations on Mars twice in 1981. Arthur Neumann has stated he visited Mars for a project meeting at a secret U.S. installation at which Martian extraterrestrials were present. All three whistleblowers independently state they were transported to and from the U.S. secret Martian installations via teleportation facilities. A fourth whistleblower, Laura Magdalene Eisenhower, great granddaughter of U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, has stated she was the target of a 2006 attempted enrollment in a secret Mars colony.

A two-part video of Dr. Browns presentation of the remote viewing study of the Figure A Mars industrial site is available in the article below.

Continues at: http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-2912-Seattle-Exopolitics-Examiner~y2010m7d28-Remote-viewing-JPL-photos-identify-active-industrial-site-on-Mars-corroborate-Mars-whistleblowers

photo
http://www.ufodigest.com/article/mars-active-industrial-site-located-remote-viewing-jpl-photos-corroborating-mars-whistleblow

Crystal

edit: photo not photos

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 30th, 2010, 08:02am

Science Daily

Cell-of-Origin for Human Prostate Cancer Identified for First Time
ScienceDaily (July 29, 2010)

UCLA scientists have identified for the first time a cell-of-origin for human prostate cancer, a discovery that could result in better predictive and diagnostics tools and the development of new and more effective targeted treatments for the disease.

The researchers, from UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, proved that basal cells found in benign prostate tissue could become human prostate cancer in mice with suppressed immune systems, a finding that bucks conventional wisdom. It had been widely believed that luminal cells found in the prostate were the culprits behind prostate cancer because the resulting malignancies closely resembled luminal cells, said Dr. Owen Witte, a Jonsson Cancer Center member and director of the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center.

"Certainly the dominant thought is that human prostate cancer arose from the luminal cells because the cancers had more features resembling luminal cells," said Witte, senior author of the study and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. "But we were able to start with a basal cell and induce human prostate cancer and now, as we go forward, this gives us a place to look in understanding the sequence of genetic events that initiates prostate cancer and defining the cell signaling pathways that may be at work fueling the malignancy, helping us to potentially uncover new targets for therapy."

The study appears July 30, 2010 in the peer-reviewed journal Science.

The researchers took healthy tissue from prostate biopsies and separated the cells based on their surface marker expression into groups of luminal cells and groups of basal cells. Using viral vectors as vehicles, they then expressed altered genes known to cause cancer into both cell populations and placed the cells in mice to see which developed cancer, said Andrew Goldstein, a UCLA graduate student and first author of the study.

"Because of the widespread belief that luminal cells were the root of human prostate cancer, it would have been those cells examined and targeted to treat the disease," said Goldstein. "This study tells us that basal cells play an important role in the prostate cancer development process and should be an additional focus of targeted therapies."

In normal prostate tissue, basal cells have a more stem cell-like function, Goldstein said, meaning they proliferate more to re-grow human prostate tissue. Luminal cells don't proliferate as much, but rather produce major proteins that are important for reproduction. Something is going awry in the basal cells that results in cancer and Witte and Goldstein plan to study those cells to uncover the mechanisms that result in malignancy.

Currently, there is a dearth of knowledge about how prostate cancer develops to treat it effectively in a targeted way, as Herceptin targets an out-of-control production of growth factor receptors in breast cancer cells. The major targeted therapy used for prostate cancer is directed at the androgen receptor and it is not always effective, Witte said.

The new human-in-mouse model system developed in the study -- created by taking healthy human prostate tissue that will induce cancer once it is placed in mice instead of taking malignant tissue that is already cancerous and implanting it -- can now be used to evaluate the effectiveness of new types of therapeutics. By using defined genetic events to activate specific signaling pathways, researchers can more easily compare therapeutic efficacy. The new model, by deconstructing tissue and then reconstructing it, also will aid in analyzing how the cells change during cancer progression.

"There are very few examples of taking benign cells and turning them into cancer experimentally," Goldstein said. "We usually study cancer cell lines created from malignant tumors. This study resulted in the creation of a novel model system that is highly adaptable, such that we can test any cellular pathway and its interactions with other genes known to induce cancer, and we can start with any type of cell as long as it can be reproducibly purified."

In this system, Witte and Goldstein know the "history" of the cells that became cancer, unlike the cancer cells lines used in other work.

"We know those cells are malignant, but we don't know how they got there," Goldstein said. "By starting with healthy cells and turning them into cancer, we can study the cancer development process. If we understand where the cancer comes from, we may be able to develop better predictive and diagnostic tools. If we had better predictive tools, we could look earlier in the process of cancer development and find markers that are better than the current PSA test at catching disease early, when it is more treatable."

Rising PSA levels can indicate the presence of cancer that is already developing in the prostate. However, now that it is known that basal cells are one root of human prostate cancers, scientists can study pre-malignant basal cells and uncover what they express that the healthy ones don't, perhaps revealing a new marker for early detection, Goldstein said. Also, a therapy directed at the pre-malignant basal cells about to become malignant could provide a way to prevent the cancer before it becomes dangerous.

This year alone, more than 217,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Of those, more than 32,000 will die from their disease.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100729141136.htm

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 30th, 2010, 08:06am

Telegraph

World's strongest pint: Dutch brewer creates 80 proof beer
A Dutch brewer has created a 120 proof beer - or 60 per cent alcohol by volume - beating a Scottish company's bid to create the world's strongest brew.

Published: 3:27PM BST 29 Jul 2010

Nijboer's Almere-based brewery, 't Koelschip (The Refrigerated Ship), sells the new beer, which is dubbed "Start the Future", in a one-third litre bottle for 35 (29) each.

"You don't drink it like beer, but like a cocktail - in a nice whisky or cognac glass," Jan Nijboer, the brewer, told Dutch news agency ANP.

Mr Nijboer said he developed the new brew to keep up with Scottish outfits that were also pushing the boundaries of beer's alcohol content.

His previous record-holder, a beer called Oblix that was 90 proof (45 per cent alcohol by volume), was eclipsed by a Scottish beer that reached 55 per cent.

That beer, dubbed "The End of History," was announced last week by a small brewery called BrewDog. Only 12 bottles were made, each housed inside a stuffed dead animal and sold starting at 500 pounds each.

"It has become a little competition," Mr Nijboer said. "You should see it as a joke."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/7916704/Worlds-strongest-pint-Dutch-brewer-creates-80-proof-beer.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Seeker on Jul 30th, 2010, 09:48am

on Jul 29th, 2010, 5:12pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Now I know I like Seeker! Beautiful Phil! Thank you!
Crystal


The feeling is mutual grin
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Seeker on Jul 30th, 2010, 10:17am

on Jul 29th, 2010, 3:45pm, philliman wrote:
Looks like we've got someone else here who appreciates the beauty of flowers. smiley

User Image


Oh yes indeed!!! grin
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 30th, 2010, 8:06pm



User Image


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Luvey on Jul 30th, 2010, 8:35pm

Oh! Crystal, the bridge picture is just so beautiful.... it exudes warmth.... thank you so much for sharing.

Here is a picture I took while in South Carolina recently. Of course its not as beautiful as your bridge picture.... but beautiful nevertheless. grin

User Image

I am a flower lover too, so please keep the pictures coming. grin

Here is a picture I took in the gardens at the Royal Observatory in England recently.

User Image

This one was taken in South Carolina.

User Image

I was out of the car taking pictures of the mountains from the Blueridge Parkway in Virginia, and just getting back into the car when this beautiful butterfly flew past my nose and landed on the flower and posed for me. smiley

User Image

Soon, hopefully if the orchids are in bloom, I shall have some lovely shots of orchids in Thailand to share. grin


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 31st, 2010, 07:40am

Luvey's quote begins -
Oh! Crystal, the bridge picture is just so beautiful.... it exudes warmth.... thank you so much for sharing.

Here is a picture I took while in South Carolina recently. Of course its not as beautiful as your bridge picture.... but beautiful nevertheless.
- end quote

Luvey you are a great photographer! I can't claim the bridge photo. Here's where it was taken:

Japanese Garden, Royal Roads University, British Columbia

Here's the link. They have wallpaper you can download:
http://thundafunda.com/33/World-tour/Japanese%20Garden,%20Royal%20Roads%20University,%20British%20Columbia%20pictures.html

Crystal

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 31st, 2010, 07:42am

on Jul 30th, 2010, 09:48am, Seeker wrote:
The feeling is mutual grin


laugh
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 31st, 2010, 07:46am

NASA news

Spirit May Never Phone Home Again
July 30, 2010:

NASA mission controllers have not heard from Mars rover Spirit since March 22 as the rover faces its toughest challenge yet - trying to survive the harsh Martian winter.

Last year, Spirit became stuck in loose sand. This prevented the rover from driving to a sun-facing slope for the winter. On July 26, mission managers began using a paging technique called "sweep and beep" in an effort to communicate with Spirit.

"Instead of just listening, we send commands to the rover to respond back to us with a communications beep," said John Callas, project manager for Spirit and its twin, Opportunity, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "If the rover is awake and hears us, she will send us that beep."

Spirit is probably in a low-power "hibernation" mode. The rover was not able to get to a favorable [sun-facing] slope for its fourth Martian winter, which runs from May through November. The low angle of sunlight during these months limits the power generated from the rover's solar panels. During hibernation, the rover suspends communications and other activities so available energy can be used to recharge and heat batteries, and to keep the mission clock running.

Based on models of Mars' weather and its effect on available power, mission managers believe that if Spirit responds, it most likely will be in the next few months. However, there is a very distinct possibility Spirit may never respond.

"It will be the miracle from Mars if our beloved rover phones home," said Doug McCuistion, director of NASA's Mars Exploration Program in Washington. "It's never faced this type of severe condition before - this is unknown territory."

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/30jul_spirit2/

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 31st, 2010, 07:53am

The Guardian

WikiLeaks has blood on it's hands
by David Leigh guardian.co.uk, Friday 30 July 2010 19.02 BST

Julian Assange said WikiLeaks tried to follow a request to redact some names but the US refused to help.

WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, have come under attack from US officials and their allies for potentially endangering informants and troops in Afghanistan by posting the texts of thousands of leaked war logs.

The US defence secretary, Robert Gates, claimed in Washington: "The battlefield consequences are potentially severe and dangerous for our troops, our allies and Afghan partners, and may well damage our relationships and reputation in that key part of the world."

Gates said sensitive intelligence which could endanger informants had been widely distributed down to junior level in the US army, in a loose policy which might now have to be reconsidered.

"We endeavour to push access to sensitive battlefield information down to where it is most useful on the front lines where as a practical matter there are fewer restrictions and controls than at rear headquarters," he said. "In the wake of this incident, it will be a real challenge to strike the right balance between security and providing our frontline troops the information they need."

Admiral Mike Mullen, who chairs the joint chiefs of staff, said: "Mr Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family."

The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, called the disclosure of the names of Afghans who had co-operated with Nato and US forces "irresponsible and shocking". He said in Kabul: "Whether those individuals acted legitimately or illegitimately in providing information to the Nato forces, their lives will be in danger."

WikiLeaks withheld some 15, 000 intelligence reports to protect informants. But some of the posted texts contain details of Afghans who have dealt with the coalition.

Assange said today that they had tried to comply with a private White House request to redact the names of informants before publication. But the US authorities had refused to assist them.

He said in a statement: "Secretary Gates speaks about hypothetical blood, but the grounds of Iraq and Afghanistan are covered with real blood."

Thousands of children and adults had been killed and the US could have announced a broad inquiry into these killings, "but he decided to treat these issues with contempt''.

He said: "This behaviour is unacceptable. We will continue to expose abuses by this administration and others."

Meanwhile, both US and UK authorities remained silent about the disclosures in the 92,000 war log files that hundreds of civilians have been killed or wounded by coalition forces in unreported or previously under-reported incidents. The Ministry of Defence withdrew promises to make an official statement about US allegations that two units of British troops had caused exceptional loss of civilian life.

MoD sources said that at least 15 of the 21 alleged cases had now been confirmed, but they were unable to say what investigations had subsequently taken place, or when they would now make a statement.

A detachment of the Coldstream Guards was newly arrived in Kabul when innocent civilians were shot on four separate occasions in October-November 2007.

Several different companies of Royal Marine commands are alleged to have shot civilians who came "too close" to convoys or patrols on eight occasions in Helmand province during the six-month period ending in March 2008.

Sources said that the then Labour foreign secretary, David Miliband, was so concerned about civilian deaths that he helped push forward a UN resolution in 2008, setting up an UN system to monitor such casualties.

But it does not function effectively, according to the independent Human Rights Watch. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported 828 civilian deaths in 2008, thanks to "pro-government forces", saying force protection incidents, "are of continuing concern", where innocent drivers, car passengers or motorcyclists, are shot by passing troops.

The US authorities are concentrating their firepower on leakers and their friends. Gates said the FBI had been called in to widen the criminal investigation into Private Bradley Manning, who is in military custody charged with leaking a classified video showing Apache pilots gunning down two Reuters cameramen in Baghdad who they believed might be insurgents.

Manning is being moved from a military jail in Kuwait to Qauntico, Maryland, and the FBI will now be able to investigate civilians such as Assange, for possible conspiracy offences. Assange's whereabouts were unknown today.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/30/us-military-wikileaks-afghanistan-war-logs?CMP=twt_gu

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 31st, 2010, 07:58am

Guardian

Was Marden Henge the builder's yard for Stonehenge?Stone tools, flakes and the remains of a final feast at the site in Wiltshire hint that the huge sarsens that now stand at Stonehenge were brought to Marden Henge first.

Maev Kennedy guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 28 July 2010 17.28 BST

The famous sarsens may have been shaped at Marden Henge before being dragged to Stonehenge.
The last revellers seem to have cleared up scrupulously after the final party at Marden Henge some 4,500 years ago.

They scoured the rectangular building and the smart white chalk platform on top of the earth bank, with its spectacular view towards the river Avon in one direction, and the hills from which the giant sarsen stones were brought to Stonehenge in the other.

All traces of the feast the pig bones, the ashes and the burnt stones from the barbecue that cooked them, the broken pots and bowls were swept neatly into a dump to one side. A few precious offerings, including an exquisitely worked flint arrowhead, were carefully laid on the clean chalk. Then they covered the whole surface with a thin layer of clay, stamped it flat, and left. Forever.

In the past fortnight, English Heritage archaeologists have peeled back the thin layer of turf covering the site, which has somehow escaped being ploughed for more than 4,000 years. They were astounded to find the undisturbed original surface just as the prehistoric Britons left it.

"We're gobsmacked really," said site director Jim Leary.

Giles Woodhouse, a volunteer digger who must return next week to his day job as a lieutenant colonel in the army bound for Germany and then Afghanistan, has been crouched over the rubbish dump day after day, his black labrador Padma sighing at his side. He has been teasing the soil away from bone, stone and pottery so perfectly preserved it could have been buried last year.

"It gives one a bit of a shiver down the backbone to realise the last man to touch these died 4,500 years ago," he said. His finds, still emerging from the soil, will rewrite the history of the site.

Marden in Wiltshire has been puzzling archaeologists for centuries. It is set almost exactly half way between two of the most famous and tourist-choked sites in Britain, Stonehenge and Avebury, but it is far larger than either. The ragged oval of outer earth banks at Marden, completed by a bend of the Avon, enclose more than 14 hectares, compared with 11.5 hectares at Avebury, where the banks surround an entire modern village.

Famously to its comparatively few devotees and visitors, that is it is the biggest henge in Britain that isn't there, surrounding one of the biggest artificial hills in Britain, which isn't there either.

This is the first excavation since Geoffrey Wainwright, former chief archaeologist at English Heritage, explored one small corner of the site in 1969. What stunned the archaeologists when they started work three weeks ago was just how much is left.

Once your eye is in you can see it: the sweep of the ditches, the belt of trees hiding some of the earth bank, which still rises to three metres in some places, the stain in the grass marking the lost barrow and its massive surrounding moat, and the wholly unexpected discovery the second, smaller henge, so close to the modern houses that the roots of two trees at the foot of a back garden are actually growing into its bank.

The neolithic buildings were not where others have looked for them, on the level in the centre of the henges, but on top of the bank.

"We've all been looking in the wrong place," Leary said, "there will have to be a major rethink about other henges. And it's actually almost terrifying how close to the surface the finds were there's also going to have to be a major review of our management plans for other sites."

The only known image of Hatfield Barrow an early 18th century map in the archives of the landowner, Corpus Christi College in Oxford shows the artificial hill as a jaunty little sandcastle sporting a cockade of trees. It once rose to a height of almost 15 metres, half the height of Silbury near Avebury.

The two antiquarians who burrowed like rabbits through scores of Wiltshire earthworks in the early 19th century, Sir Richard Colt Hoare and William Cunnington, punched a massive shaft through Hatfield Barrow in 1807. Their scrappy records torment the modern archaeologists, including references to animal bones, burned wood, and "two small parcels of burned human bones".

They left the shaft open, possibly intending to return in another season, and the mound collapsed. This is a phenomenon Leary knows well, having led the rescue excavation before the engineering works to stabilise Silbury, which was also left riddled with slowly collapsing holes by Georgian and later diggers.

The farmer at Marden filled in the moat, which an 18th century naturalist recorded as fed by a natural spring and never dry even in the hottest summer, and sold the collapsed hillock as top soil. Leary's massive trench has uncovered barely a trace of hill or moat.

If the hill disappointed, the excavations at one of the original entrances and at the small henge certainly do not. They are revealing what appears to be a broad gravelled ceremonial road leading towards the river. Discovering undisturbed neolithic surfaces and building platforms on this scale counts as a discovery of international importance.

There is no evidence of permanent occupation of the dwellings or the site as a whole. As in the work led by Professor Mike Parker Pearson at Durrington Walls, 20 miles away (he couldn't resist coming over to help dig, and some of his former students had the pleasure of giving him orders) the implication is of people gathering for seasonal rituals and feasting, and maybe a work camp.

"A completely artificial division has been made in the past between domestic and religious, recreation and ritual," Leary said. "We're going to have to rethink all that. It's not one thing or the other, it's everything mixed in together."

If it wasn't a village, or a temple, or a farm, or a cemetery, what was Marden for? Leary suspects the answer may be emerging in stone working tools, and flakes of sarsen, turning up all over the site. If you were going to drag sarsens the size of double decker buses from their original site to Stonehenge, he said, the obvious route is straight through a natural gap in the hilly landscape, which would take them through Marden.

The evidence that Marden was a sort of builder's yard for the most famous prehistoric monument in the world may have been in the mud under the boots of Leary's puzzled predecessors.

So why did the site's temporary occupants leave? Maybe with Stonehenge complete, the sarsens shaped into the giant trilithons that still fill the hordes of modern visitors with awe, their job was done. They tidied up nicely, turned out the lights, and left.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/jul/28/marden-henge-builders-yard-stonehenge

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 31st, 2010, 08:03am

Wired

Fifty years after physicists invented the laser, ushering in everything from supermarket scanners to music CDs, scientists have conceived its opposite the antilaser.

Unlike its more popular cousin, the antilaser is unlikely to take over the world. Still, it could be useful one day, for instance in new types of optical switches for computers.

No one has yet reported building an antilaser, but a theoretical description of one appears in a paper published July 26 in Physical Review Letters.

Its kind of surprising that weve been using lasers for 50 years or so, and only now somebody noticed something pretty fundamental, says Marin Soljai, a physicist at MIT who was not involved in the work.

Instead of amplifying light into coherent pulses, as a laser does, an antilaser absorbs light beams zapped into it. It can be tuned to work at specific wavelengths of light, allowing researchers to turn a dial and cause the device to start and then stop absorbing light.

By just tinkering with the phases of the beams, magically it turns black in this narrow wavelength range, says team member A. Douglas Stone, a physicist at Yale University. Its an amazing trick.

Stone and his colleagues thought up the antilaser while wondering what might happen if they replaced the material inside a laser that reflects photons the gain medium with a material that absorbs light. In the right configuration, the absorbing material sucks up most of the photons sent into it, while the remaining light waves cancel out by interfering with one another.

Stefano Longhi, a physicist at the Polytechnic Institute of Milan in Italy, calls the concept very clever and simple.

The Yale team refers to the device as a coherent perfect absorber. Another name is a time-reversed laser, since it is like running a laser in reverse using an absorbing medium rather than an amplifying one, says Yale postdoctoral fellow Yidong Chong.

Even though the antilaser absorbs perfectly, it does so only at specific wavelengths of light, making it unsuitable for applications like solar panels that take in a broad range of wavelengths. (Other, specially engineered materials called metamaterials can perform those kinds of absorptions.) But because the antilaser can switch from absorbing to nonabsorbing just by changing the wavelength of the incoming light, it could prove useful in optical switches for instance in futuristic computer boards that will use light instead of electrons.

Other Yale researchers, led by experimentalist Hui Cao, are now trying to build an antilaser. Stone says progress so far looks very promising.

One day the antilaser could even meet up directly with its relative, the laser. In a paper submitted for publication, Longhi argues it might be possible to make a device that combines an ordinary laser with one of these new absorbers in essence, a laser and antilaser in one.

Read More http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/07/antilaser/#ixzz0vGTA7x92

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 31st, 2010, 08:05am

Wired

WikiLeaks Posts Mysterious Insurance File
By Kim Zetter July 30, 2010 | 3:09 pm | Categories: Breaches, Wikileaks

In the wake of strong U.S. government statements condemning WikiLeaks recent publishing of 77,000 Afghan War documents, the secret-spilling site has posted a mysterious encrypted file labeled insurance.

The huge file, posted on the Afghan War page at the WikiLeaks site, is 1.4 GB and is encrypted with AES256. The files size dwarfs the size of all the other files on the page combined. The file has also been posted on a torrent download site as well.

WikiLeaks, on Sunday, posted several files containing the 77,000 Afghan war documents in a single dump file and in several other files containing versions of the documents in various searchable formats.

Cryptome, a separate secret-spilling site, has speculated that the file may have been posted as insurance in case something happens to the WikiLeaks website or to the organizations founder, Julian Assange. In either scenario, WikiLeaks volunteers, under a prearranged agreement with Assange, could send out a password or passphrase to allow anyone who has downloaded the file to open it.

Its not known what the file contains but it could include the balance of data that U.S. Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning claimed to have leaked to Assange before he was arrested in May.


In chats with former hacker Adrian Lamo, Manning disclosed that he had provided Assange with a different war log cache than the one that WikiLeaks already published. This one was said to contain 500,000 events from the Iraq War between 2004 and 2009. WikiLeaks has never commented on whether it received that cache.

Additionally, Manning said he sent Assange video showing a deadly 2009 U.S. firefight near Garani in Afghanistan that local authorities say killed 100 civilians, most of them children, as well as 260,000 U.S. State Department cables.

Manning never mentioned leaking the Afghan War log to WikiLeaks in his chats with Lamo, but Defense Department officials told The Wall Street Journal that investigators had found evidence on Mannings Army computer that tied him to that leak.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen strongly condemned WikiLeaks publication of the Afghan War log at a Pentagon press briefing on Thursday.

Gates said the leak had potentially severe and dangerous for our troops, our allies and our Afghan partners and said that tactics, techniques and procedures will become known to our adversaries as a result.

Mullen was even more direct and said that WikiLeaks might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or an Afghan informant who aided the United States.

Several media outlets have found the names of Afghan informants in the documents WikiLeaks published, as well as information identifying their location in some instances. A Taliban spokesman told Britains Channel 4 news that the group was sifting through the WikiLeaks documents to get the names of suspected informants and would punish anyone found to have collaborated with the United States and its allies.

Wired.com has sent a message to WikiLeaks inquiring about the file.

Read More http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/07/wikileaks-insurance-file/#ixzz0vGTqtG3M

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 31st, 2010, 08:13am

Wired Danger Room

Zzzzzzzz God, what a snoozer of a week in the Danger Room.

I mean, except for the exclusive look at the business dealings between the investment arms of Google and the CIA and the the tens of thousands of secret reports leaked from Afghanistan, not much happened around here, right? Yeah, we found some weird contradictions between those reports and our own wartime experiences, and some oh-so-minor discrepancies between the militarys public assessment of the Talibans arsenal and the documents. And, okay, there were those odd accounts of chemical weapon attacks and insurgents from Americas NATO ally, Turkey. But besides that? Zip. Nada. Just the Pentagons plea for better ray guns, the Marines struggle to get their stealth jet off of the ground, the Air Forces wacky fly-by-Wii project, and the Pakistanis strange cluelessness about the drones bombing their country. Bo-ring!

Things are liable to stay lame, now that Spencer is heading to Afghanistan. Wake me when its over


Ackerman In Afghanistan: See You Guys On Disney Drive
By Spencer Ackerman July 30, 2010 | 1:13 pm | Categories: Af/Pak
On Monday, Im getting on a plane at Andrews Air Force Base. A couple days later, Ill be in Afghanistan for nearly three weeks. Itll be my first trip back in two years, and my fourth warzone visit since 2006. When I was last in Kabul, Khost and Paktia, there was no troop surge, no population-protection strategy and no one combining Afghanistan and Pakistan into a flip bureaucratic shorthand. So its time to return for a ground-up sense of whats changed and what hasnt in Americas longest war.

The contingencies of embedding with the U.S. military make me reluctant to promise exactly where Ill be. But I can say that I expect to get back out east, near the Pakistani border, in order to make sense of whats happened to an area that used to be central to U.S. strategy against al-Qaeda and its Taliban allies and how U.S. troops protect a population thats dispersed in rural, austere areas. Thats not to say Ill only be focused on the groundpounders: one of my embeds is with an Air Force wing, so I can explore its under-reported contributions to counterinsurgency. Ill also be doing some unembedded reporting in the hopes of learning the wars impact on the Afghan people, whose perspective will be decisive, according to the current and former U.S. generals in command.

Send me tips, feedback and questions youd like answered, either in comments or through the email address listed on this site. Ill do the best I can, and Ill file as frequently as the Internet allows.

Vote: Afghan Wars Most Awesomely Bad Code Names
By Spencer Ackerman July 30, 2010 | 11:47 am | Categories: Af/Pak

What is it about naming operations in Afghanistan? British troops from the 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancasters Regiment began a difficult fight on Friday to clear the Taliban out of Helmand Provinces Nad Ali district, an effort known as Operation Tor Shezada. That sounds fine enough until you translate it into the Queens English, when it becomes Operation Black Prince. Doesnt that make the local government the dark ruler in question? The Brits might as well have called it Operation Harry Potter and the Haunted Hallows of Helmand.

Dont get us wrong. Were big fans of mean-muchacho names for operations here. The cheesier the better. But sometimes Afghanistan and Helmand in particular has tested our mettle. Remember last Decembers Marine push into Now Zad in Helmand? How could you forget: it was called Cobras Anger and it ended with the capture of Serpentor. Or how about the British operation in Helmand last summer, Panthers Claw? This is the Afghanistan war: [Animal's] [Menace]. Its turning into a furry convention gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Read More http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/#ixzz0vGVLLyPC

Crystal

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 31st, 2010, 08:16am

New York Times

July 30, 2010
China Imprisons 3 Men Who Maintained Uighur Web Sites
By ANDREW JACOBS

BEIJING Three men accused of endangering state security for their roles in maintaining popular Uighur-language Web sites have been sentenced to prison terms of 3 to 10 years, according to exile groups and court officials.

The sentences, the outcome of a one-day trial last week, are the latest indication that Beijing is intensifying its crackdown on any dissent that questions Chinese rule in Xinjiang, the far western region where ethnic rioting last summer killed nearly 200 people, many of them Han Chinese whose growing numbers have stoked resentment among Uighurs.

Each of the accused men maintained a different site, each of which was shut down in the days after the unrest began in Urumqi, the regional capital. The three Web sites featured news articles and lively exchanges in Uighur, a Turkic language that is spoken by nearly half Xinjiangs 22 million people, the majority of whom are Muslim.

Friends and family members of the three convicted Webmasters said they were prosecuted for failing to quickly delete content that openly discussed the difficulties of life in Xinjiang and, in one case, for allowing users to post messages last summer announcing the protests that turned violent. Although the government maintains armies of paid censors, those who run Internet forums are ultimately responsible for removing so-called politically sensitive content.

Dilimulati Paerhati, the brother of one of the convicted men, has said he and his brother were scrupulous about deleting antigovernment postings on their site, Diyarim. He said his brother, Dilshat Perhat, even called the police to tell them about messages announcing the rally in Urumqi and was praised for his vigilance.

My brother didnt do anything, this guy was honest, Mr. Paerhati told a student newspaper in Britain, where he is studying. Wed never, never do anything against Chinese policy and the Chinese government.

In addition to his brother, who received a five-year sentence, the other convicted men are Nijat Azat, who was given 10 years, and Nureli, who received 3 years. A court official who answered the phone at the Urumqi Intermediate Peoples Court confirmed the sentences but declined to discuss the cases or give his name.

Although more than 1,000 people were detained in the days and weeks following the violence in Xinjiang at least two dozen have been sentenced to death Uighur exiles said the authorities appeared to be tightening the noose also around those engaged in nonviolent activities.

Last Friday, the government handed down a 15-year sentence to a Uighur journalist who wrote for another Web site. The writer, Gheyret Niyaz, was also convicted on state security charges, although his most egregious crime appears to have been giving an interview to a Hong Kong publication. Those who know Mr. Niyaz said they were stunned by the sentence, given his moderate political views.

Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the World Uighur Congress in Sweden, said his organization knew of at least 76 people who had been detained for activities related to the Internet. Nearly all of them, he said, have been held incommunicado.

He said the governments campaign against Web-based expression seemed to have a twofold purpose: preventing negative news from reaching the outside world and preventing Uighurs from sharing such news or government criticism with one another. It was only in May, after a 10-month blackout, that Internet service was restored to the region.

People have become terrified of surfing the Web, he said. Theyre afraid that they land on the wrong page or write the wrong thing and theyll be taken away.

Ilham Tohti, a prominent Uighur academic in Beijing whose own Web site has been blocked for more than a year, said the detentions had put a chill on communications and discourse among the countrys Uighurs, some of whom have a limited ability to read and write in Chinese. We dont have many outlets in the traditional media, he said. For the Uighur people, this is how we express ourselves, but at the moment, were being silenced.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/31/world/asia/31china.html?_r=1&ref=world

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Seeker on Jul 31st, 2010, 09:50am

on Jul 30th, 2010, 8:06pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
User Image



This, without question, is the most spectacularly beautiful photograph ever posted here!!! The composition, peaceful and inviting elements of the scene and the electric color of the fall folliage juxtaposed against the soft toned shades of the backdrop all combine to create a moving work of art. Thank you so much for gifting us with delight of this picture!! grin
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 31st, 2010, 09:57am

Beautiful pictures everyone! Thanks!

This is one of my favorites:

User Image

on Jul 31st, 2010, 08:05am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Wired

WikiLeaks Posts Mysterious Insurance File
By Kim Zetter July 30, 2010 | 3:09 pm | Categories: Breaches, Wikileaks

In the wake of strong U.S. government statements condemning WikiLeaks recent publishing of 77,000 Afghan War documents, the secret-spilling site has posted a mysterious encrypted file labeled insurance.

The huge file, posted on the Afghan War page at the WikiLeaks site, is 1.4 GB and is encrypted with AES256. The files size dwarfs the size of all the other files on the page combined. The file has also been posted on a torrent download site as well.

WikiLeaks, on Sunday, posted several files containing the 77,000 Afghan war documents in a single dump file and in several other files containing versions of the documents in various searchable formats....

I expect that they will try to shut down Wikileaks.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Luvey on Jul 31st, 2010, 10:04am

Oh! Wow Philliman, that is just GORGEOUS!!!
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Luvey on Jul 31st, 2010, 10:13am

on Jul 31st, 2010, 07:40am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Luvey's quote begins -
Oh! Crystal, the bridge picture is just so beautiful.... it exudes warmth.... thank you so much for sharing.

Here is a picture I took while in South Carolina recently. Of course its not as beautiful as your bridge picture.... but beautiful nevertheless.
- end quote

Luvey you are a great photographer! I can't claim the bridge photo. Here's where it was taken:

Japanese Garden, Royal Roads University, British Columbia

Here's the link. They have wallpaper you can download:
http://thundafunda.com/33/World-tour/Japanese%20Garden,%20Royal%20Roads%20University,%20British%20Columbia%20pictures.html

Crystal


Hi Crystal hon..... All it takes is an eye for beauty (which you have smiley ) and a camera.
The Japanese gardens at Hawaii airport are spectacular... Unfortunately when I went there a few years back I didn't have a camera on me. sad

I am heading to Thailand in a couple of months for a holiday so hopefully I will get some good pictures to show you. smiley The place I am staying is surrounded by orchid gardens. smiley

Btw, that was an interesting article you posted on prostate cancer. I read a few years back that they had found a cure for prostate cancer, which had a 90% success rate on even advanced prostate cancer. I cannot remember the name of the medication now, but I do remember it was supposed to be on the market by 2011.

Take care
Pen
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Seeker on Jul 31st, 2010, 11:04am

on Jul 31st, 2010, 09:57am, philliman wrote:
Beautiful pictures everyone! Thanks!

This is one of my favorites:

User Image


I expect that they will try to shut down Wikileaks.


Breathtaking, Phil! Absolutely breathtaking!
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 31st, 2010, 11:42am

Beautiful photo Phil! You can smell the flowers. And a warm breeze.

begin quote -
I expect that they will try to shut down Wikileaks.
- end quote

Oh yea! They are gonna be on them like ugly!
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Jul 31st, 2010, 11:46am

Hello Seeker, Phil and Pen,
These photos are so lovely. Thanks. I look forward to your Thailand photos.

begin Pen's quote -

I am heading to Thailand in a couple of months for a holiday so hopefully I will get some good pictures to show you. The place I am staying is surrounded by orchid gardens.

Btw, that was an interesting article you posted on prostate cancer. I read a few years back that they had found a cure for prostate cancer, which had a 90% success rate on even advanced prostate cancer. I cannot remember the name of the medication now, but I do remember it was supposed to be on the market by 2011.

- end quote

I hope they put something on the market soon. But will we be able to afford it? Ugh!
Crystal

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Luvey on Jul 31st, 2010, 12:08pm

Hi Crystal.... It is always the same isn't it, the minute they find a cure for anything either we never hear about it again, or when it comes on the market it costs an arm and a leg.... rolleyes

How on earth did I miss these posts!


Quote:
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Reply #191 on: Jul 21st, 2010, 10:58am
Pen you might enjoy a book by Jason Offutt called "Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us"

He interviewed people that had experiences like yours.

Crystal


I have seen many different types of shadow beings over the years, and could just about write a book myself. However I have never experienced those terrifying shadow beings that people report. And never want too! I have a feeling they are what the Native Americans call Raven Mockers.


Hi Philliman

Quote:
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Reply #192 on: Jul 21st, 2010, 1:33pm
on Jul 21st, 2010, 09:47am, Luvey wrote:
From my experience there are different types of shadows beings and some seem organized. I would like to know who and what they are.... and what is their purpose here.

Pen

Quote:
They might be aliens in a kind of "phased out"-state, being just partly in what we call our dimension, who knows.


Yes, I thought pretty much the same, but it wasnt until many years later. I had no idea at the timethey never harmed me, it was the fear of the unknown at the time that scared the heck out of me. Since that time I have seen quite a few, and they havent bothered me. Its more an inquisitiveness to find out what they are about.

Pen

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Jul 31st, 2010, 12:32pm

on Jul 31st, 2010, 10:04am, Luvey wrote:
Oh! Wow Philliman, that is just GORGEOUS!!!

Glad you like it, Pen. smiley
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Aug 1st, 2010, 07:53am

New York Times

August 1, 2010
Space Station Malfunction Prompts Shutdowns
By WILLIAM HARWOOD

One of two coolant systems aboard the International Space Station malfunctioned late Saturday, triggering alarms and extensive power shutdowns to keep critical systems from overheating.

The apparent failure of an ammonia pump in coolant loop A forced flight controllers to shut down two of four stabilizing gyroscopes, used to help control the space stations orientation, one communications channel and several computer control units. The astronauts also installed jumpers between the Russian Zarya propulsion module and the U.S. segment of the lab complex to maintain proper cooling.

"It seems like were in a sim right now," flight engineer Tracy E. Caldwell Dyson joked with flight controllers shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday, referring to training simulations.

NASA officials said the space station was in a safe, reduced-power configuration using coolant loop B. It took the astronauts several hours to complete the shutdowns, but flight controllers told them they could sleep late Sunday while analysis continued on the ground.

"Were going to be working hard overnight to figure out whats going on," astronaut James M. Kelly radioed from mission control shortly before the astronauts went back to bed. "By tomorrow, a little bit later on, hopefully well be able to send you up a little bit better idea of where we stand on everything."

The International Space Station is equipped with two independent coolant loops mounted on the labs main solar power truss that use ammonia circulating through huge radiator panels to dissipate the heat generated by the stations electronics.

While the loops are independent, the station cannot operate at full power with just one coolant loop. Spare components are on board, including two coolant system pumps, but installation is considered difficult and two spacewalks would likely be required.

Caldwell Dyson and Army Col. Douglas H. Wheelock were already planning to conduct a spacewalk Aug. 5 to mount a robot arm attachment fixture to the Zarya module and to rig the central Unity module for attachment of a storage compartment during a shuttle flight in November.

It is not yet known whether those plans will be affected by the problems with the coolant system.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/02/science/space/02shuttle.html?_r=1&hp

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Aug 1st, 2010, 08:01am

Telegraph

Astronomy Photographer of the Year shortlist revealed
A mass of gas and newborn stars and waves of light from the Aurora Borealis above a snowy landscape are among the scenes shortlisted for the Astronomy Photographer of the Year award.

By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent
Published: 9:00AM BST 01 Aug 2010

Amateur astronomers from around the world were invited to submit entries to the competition, run by the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, in conjunction with BBC Sky at Night magazine.

The competition has attracted more than 400 entries, ranging from snaps taken with hand-held digital cameras to deep space images obtained using sophisticated telescope equipment.

Among the entires to have been shortlist are a dramatic picture of the Great Orion Nebula, a hotbed of star formation around 1,350 light years away from the Earth the closest star forming region to our planet.

Photographer Marcus Davies captured an image of superheated gas and dust in the nebula which appears to be forming a rosebud-shaped red cloud around the bright blue spots of light from the newborn stars.

Another striking image, taken by Anthony Ayiomamitis, shows a giant yellow Moon as it rises behind the Temple of Poseidon in southern Greece.

When the Moon is low in the sky around the solstice, it creates an optical illusion that makes it appear larger than normal.

"We often get calls from people when this happens worrying that the Moon has moved closer," said Dr Olivia Johnson, astronomy programs manager at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, and one of the judges of the competition.

"The quality of the images we have received has been amazing. It is extraordinary what people can achieve from their back garden with just a hand-held SLR camera."

The competition is split into four categories: Earth and Space, Our Solar System, Deep Space and Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year. Entries closed on 16 July and the judges have now drawn up their shortlist before announcing the winners on 9 September.

One of the images to make it onto the shortlist shows the Large Megallanic Cloud, which is named after the explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who first spotted this small galaxy. The cloud orbits our own larger galaxy, the Milky Way.

Another image shows waves of light from the Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights, over Canada. The colourful displays in the sky are caused by charged particles interacting with molecules in the Earth's upper atmosphere.

Other photographers made use of the movement of the Earth to produce stunning pictures of star trails, created as our planet rotates on its axis through the night, causing the stars to appear like they have moved around in a circle in the sky.

Dr Johnson added: "With these kind of images, the trails really show the colour of the stars, which are determined by the temperature, age and what the stars are made of.

"These pictures really make you want to go out to find a dark part of the country and just look up at the sky."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/7920018/Astronomy-Photographer-of-the-Year-shortlist-revealed.html

Crystal


Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Aug 1st, 2010, 08:05am

LA Times

July 31, 2010 | 8:40 pm
Documents released by a congressional committee Saturday show that the U.S. Coast Guard appeared to flout a May 25 Obama administration directive that sought to limit the use of chemical dispersants on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to rare cases.

BP carpet-bombed the ocean with these chemicals, and the Coast Guard allowed them to do it, said Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the House energy and environment subcommittee. "After we discovered how toxic these chemicals really are, they had no business being spread across the gulf in this manner."

Dispersants were authorized by federal officials despite their toxicity because the ecological damage from oil was deemed to be worse. But scientists say that the chemicals, which break up the oil into tiny droplets, have contributed to large plumes of hydrocarbons below the ocean's surface. And it is unclear whether the danger to marine organisms may be higher from toxic dispersants or from oil.

Markey, who has been investigating massive use of toxic chemicals to disperse oil from the BP spill for several months, released the Coast Guard documents along with a stern nine-page letter to retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad W. Allen, the national incident commander. The letter described, based on the documents, a chaotic and indiscriminate decision-making process in allowing BP daily exemptions from the May 25 directive.

The documents show that from May 26 to mid-July, when the runaway oil well was plugged, more than 74 exemption requests from BP to spray surface dispersants were granted by the Coast Guard, usually within the same day. On five occasions BP requested advance approval to apply 6,000 gallons of dispersant each day to the ocean surface for an entire week, amounting to 35 days of pre-approved continuous use. Every request was approved.

The Environmental Protection Agency, although a party to the original directive, was virtually excluded from the daily decisions on chemical dispersants until June 22, almost a month after the directive, according to the documents. In early June, an EPA official complained that the approval process appears to be somewhat pro forma, and not as rigorous as EPA desires, according to one memorandum.

The documents also reveal contradictions in accounts of how much chemical dispersant was being used. According to DeepwaterHorizonResponse.com, the governments official website, 1.8 million gallons of dispersants have been sprayed on the surface of the gulf and beneath the water since the April 20 rig explosion. The validity of those numbers are now in question, Markey said, citing huge discrepancies that raise questions as to whether the Coast Guard exercised appropriate oversight.

The EPA calculates that the total use of dispersants underwater and on the surface declined about 72% from its peak after the May 26 order. But it is unclear whether most of the reduction came from underwater dispersants, as opposed to the surface dispersants permitted by the exemptions.

EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said in an e-mail, "The use of dispersant is always a difficult decision, with environmental trade-offs that must be taken seriously into consideration. As a result, its use in response to the BP spill was subject to numerous strict conditions once it quickly became apparent that BP wanted to use it in unprecedented quantities and in novel ways.

"Specifically, EPA approved subsea dispersant use only after requiring multiple tests to confirm its use would be effective 5,000 feet below the surface and only after BP was directed to put in place a comprehensive monitoring program that ensured close observation of the ecological impact.



"Soon after, following two days of skyrocketing dispersant usage by BP, which peaked at 70,000 gallons on May 24, mainly on the surface of the water, Administrator Lisa Jackson worked with then-Federal On-Scene Coordinator Rear Admiral Mary Landry to put in place a directive making dispersant use a last resort and capping its use both on the surface and sub sea.

"Administrator Jackson and Rear Admiral Landry also ordered BP to implement a 75 percent overall reduction of dispersant use from that peak usage."

The Coast Guard was authorized to grant waivers to increase dispersants, and "initally EPA was not involved in day-to-day decisions about granting such waivers, and EPA staff were notified after waivers were granted," he acknowledged.

"While EPA may not have concurred with every individual waiver granted by the Federal On-Scene Coordinator, the Agency believes dispersant use has been an essential tool in mitigating this spills impact, preventing millions of gallons of oil from doing even more damage to sensitive marshes, wetlands and beaches and the economy of the Gulf coast," Gilfillan wrote.

Responding to the Markey investigation, BP spokesman Steve Rinehart wrote in an e-mail, We were in regular communication with EPA on the topic of dispersant use and we followed the direction of the Unified Command, the federal agency in charge of spill response. He added that dispersant use was pre-approved as a response tool, and approved during the response, because it is effective and, on balance, less harmful than undispersed oil.

Coast Guard spokesman Mike Lutz said Saturday that he was unaware of the Markey documents, but would request official response.

--Margot Roosevelt

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2010/07/gulf-oil-spill-chemical-dispersants-coast-guard.html

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Aug 1st, 2010, 08:11am

Wired

DIY Wearable Computer Turns You Into a Cyborg
By Priya Ganapati July 30, 2010 | 3:15 pm | Categories: Hacks, Mods and DIY

Someday humans and computers will meld to create cyborgs. But instead of waiting for it, Martin Magnusson, a Swedish researcher and entrepreneur, has taken the first step and created a wearable computer that can be slung across the body.

Magnusson has hacked a pair of head-mounted display glasses and combined it with a homebrewed machine based on an open source Beagleboard single computer. Packed into a CD case and slung across the shoulder messenger-bag style, he is ready to roll.

A computer is a window to the virtual world, says Magnusson.

But as soon as I get up and about, that window closes and Im stuck within the limits of physical reality, he says. Wearable computers make it possible to keep the window open. All the time.

Magnussons idea is interesting though one step short of integrating a machine inside the body. In 2008, a Canadian filmmaker Rob Spence decided to embed a tiny video camera into his prosthetic left eye. Spence, who is still working on the project, hopes to someday record everything around him as he sees it and lifecast it.

For his wearable computer, Magnusson is using a pair of Myvu glasses that slide on like a pair of sunglasses but have a tiny video screen built into the lens.

A Beagleboard running Angstrom Linux and a Plexgear mini USB hub that drives the Bluetooth adapter and display forms the rest of this rather simple machine. Four 2700 mAh AA batteries are used to power the USB hub. Magnusson has used a foldable Nokia keyboard for input and is piping internet connectivity through Bluetooth tethering to an iPhone in his pocket.

Magnusson says he wants to use the wearable computer to augment his memory.

By having my to-do list in the corner of my eye, I always remember the details of my schedule, he says.

The innards of the homebrewed machine are glued to a CD case. The CD case is slung across the shoulder by attaching it to a strap using velcro.

photos after the jump
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/07/a-wearable-computer/

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Aug 1st, 2010, 08:18am

UFO Digest

Revisiting Edward J. Ruppelt
Submitted by Milton Brener on Fri, 07/30/2010 - 19:16

Revisiting Edward Ruppelt: Real skepticism is not a bad thing, and real skeptics deserve respectful consideration, no matter how much we disagree with them. Debunkers are those with an agenda requiring that they reject any suggestion of contrary evidence.

What brings me to all this is my recent reading of Edward J. Ruppelts The Report On Unidentified Flying Objects, 3rd edition. The 1st was published in 1951, almost prehistoric in the field of ufology. He added the last 3 chapters for the 3rd in 1955.

Ruppelt was the director of Project Grudge from late 1951 until it became Project Blue Book in March 1952; he remained with Blue Book until late 1953. Project Grudge was a shill for the Air Forces position of denial, something soon recognized by Ruppelt. He seemed more impressed with the operation of Blue Book. But throughout the course of his narrative, the insidious nature of the determination of the AF, and of much of the entire scientific community, to debunk, seemed to have impacted his point of view.I cannot help but wonder what his opinion would be today, but sadly, he died in 1960 at the age of thirty-seven.

Despite the books age it was a worthwhile read. It opens a door into the mind of a well intentioned, intelligent skeptic, and tells us much about their thought processes .Many of the naysayers now are just debunkers. but, depending on which poll one reads, there are about as many skeptics and debunkers as there are proponents. More important, the official position of the U.S. Government remains dedicated to the proposition that UFOs do not exist, mainstream science treats the subject with disdain, if not contempt, and the mainstream press ignores the subject as though it were Leprosy itself.

One of Ruppelts preliminary statements of the issue-in-chief is sound enough. He quotes the official Air Force position that There is no proof that such a thing as an interplanetary spaceship exists and he neatly describes the resultant conundrum:

What constitutes proof? Does a UFO have to land at the River Entrance to the Pentagon or is it proof when a ground radar station detects a UFO, sends a jet to intercept it, the jet pilot sees it, and locks on with his radar, only to have the UFO streak away at a phenomenal speed?

His question is right. His answer, 275 pages later is wrong. Let us look at the answer first, then at a very brief analysis of what lies in the intervening 275 pages, especially the first 247 of them as that is where the 1st edition ends. Four years had elapsed between his completion of those pages and the last three chapters. During that time, he says, he was frequently asked: What do you personally think? Do unidentified objects exist, or dont they? His answer: Im positive they dont. I was very skeptical when I finished my tour of active duty with the Air Force and left Project Blue book in 1953, but now Im convinced.

What has convinced him? 1) the recent development of long range radar and satellite tracking cameras that would have picked up any kind of spaceship coming into our atmosphere. There has been no indication of any unknown vehicle doing so; 2)Project Moonwatch, the Optical Satellite Tracking Program for the International Geophysical Year has had completely negative results for objects that could not be identified; and 3) In the 12 years since the first UFO report there is not one shred of material evidence of anything unknown, or photos of anything other than meaningless blobs of light.

The requirements of all three can easily today be satisfied; The examples are legion in my own book Our Interplanetary Future, among many others. To a lesser degree they could in his own time. But he reviewed the cases the government gave him to review.

What about reports of all the experienced observers? He is not only disdainful, but, he says, sick of the words. They are really no better than anyone else. Radar? No better than the operators. All of these highly trained people make all kinds of stupid errors when they see something they are not accustomed to seeing. Ruppelt apparently considers himself an exception to that rule. It was a fair fight, but somewhere along the line we lost him.

Perhaps the nature of the contorted scientific view of some scientists, involving as it does the disdain for eyewitness testimony, can be gleaned from the reaction of a panel of experts, the Robertson Panel, convened in January 1953 to view fifty of the best cases gathered by Blue Book. Each of the cases, says Ruppelt, had some kind of loophole, many being extremely small, but scientific evaluation has no room for even the smallest of loopholes and we had asked for a scientific evaluation. The scientists ultimately said, as summed up by Ruppelt, that they tried hard to be objective but all we had was circumstantial evidence. Good circumstantial evidence , but nothing concrete, no hardware, no photos showing any details of a UFO, no measured speeds, altitudes or sizes nothing in the way of good, hard, cold, scientific facts. They recommended increasing Blue Book size and monetary appropriations. Data that was out of the circumstantial-evidence class was badly needed.

Not all scientists were in agreement. According to Ruppelt, some of the scientists who sat in on the UFO hearing as spectators, felt that the panel was definitely prejudiced afraid to stick their necks out.

Ruppelt increasingly throughout the narrative of his book dwells on the meaningless cases that, he says, can be accounted for as planets, weather balloons, airplanes or helicopters, and throwing in for good measure, birds, bees and bugs. He adopts also the shopworn dicta that eyewitness reports are highly unreliable. Apparently he means all of them. Listen to witnesses to an automobile accident, he tells us, and the conflicting testimony you get. I dont know how many trials he has heard, but as a practicing lawyer for 35 years, I have participated in hundreds. Sometimes witnesses contradict each other; sometimes they do not. I have heard many contradictions about details of an accident, but never about whether there was an accident. Their contradictions are no more frequent, and much less confusing to most people, than are the contradictions among scientific experts.

Then there is the disdain of the panel for circumstantial evidence. What their idea of circumstantial evidence is, I do not know. But as far as I know, practically all scientific evidence is circumstantial. The only evidence that is not circumstantial is direct evidence, which is eyewitness testimony. Throw out both circumstantial evidence and eyewitness testimony and we might as well all go home. Case after case, cited by Ruppelt and other skeptics or debunkers, that find other perfectly natural explanations for a sighting, do so on circumstantial evidence, and most often even then, because the favored explanation could be the cause, often without the slightest evidence that it was the cause.

In courts of law, little distinction is made in the efficacy of eyewitness testimony versus circumstantial evidence. Courts habitually instruct juries that one can override the other depending on the force and probative value of each. Both civil and criminal cases have turned on either type alone.

And finally, in 1954 the Air Force asked for a review by theBattelle Memorial Institute,aninternational science and technology enterprise that explores emerging areas of science. It included almostthe entire Blue Book output, 3201 cases. It also asked that they review the findings of the Robertson panel. Ruppelt himself tells us that that the few cases that are unexplained (militaryspeak meaning can only be explained as extraterrestrial) could be explained if only there were more evidence; if those files were more complete.

The conclusion of the Battelle group: There was a significant difference in the percentage of cases (35%) held by the Robertson group to be unknown among the good cases, than among the worst cases (18%) Hence, contrary to Ruppelt, the more satisfactory the evidence, the more likely it was, even by the Robertson Panel, to be classified as unknown,

The former Secretary of the Belgian Government said it differently. After eliminating all other possibilities (unknowns) he said that the only remaining one was the hypothesis of extraterrestrial origin. The thought was echoed in 1985 by, among many others, Lord Davies, former member of the British House of Lords. If only one out of the thousands of who reported such sightings is telling the truth, he said, there is a dire need for us to look into this matter.

We need science for many things. We do not need scientists, particularly those with exaggerated views of their omniscience, to tell us what we saw. Neither do we need them in order to use that much denigrated quality known as common sense.

The author's book is "Our Interplanetary Future: A UFO Primer For Skeptics"

His web site is http://www.ourinterplanetaryfuture.com/

http://www.ufodigest.com/article/revisiting-edward-j-ruppelt

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Aug 1st, 2010, 08:23am

Guardian

WikiLeaks founder accuses US army of failing to protect Afghan informers
Julian Assange defends the whistleblowers' website after its publication of 75,000 leaked files of US army secrets
Carole Cadwalladr and Paul Harris The Observer, Sunday 1 August 2010

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has hit out at the US military, saying that it bears the ultimate responsibility for any deaths of Afghan informers in the wake of the publication by his organisation of 75,000 leaked files of American army secrets.

Assange and WikiLeaks, the whistleblowers' website that publishes leaked documents from around the world, have come under increasing fire amid accusations that publishing the files put people's lives at risk. But in an interview with the Observer, Assange said the blame for any deaths lay squarely with US military authorities.

"We are appalled that the US military was so lackadaisical with its Afghan sources. Just appalled. We are a source protection organisation that specialises in protecting sources and have a perfect record from our activities," he said.

WikiLeaks has been accused of disclosing the names of Afghan collaborators who may now be subject to reprisals. Critics also say that the information it published is unchecked and some of it may be of dubious provenance. But Assange responded to those claims by saying: "This material was available to every soldier and contractor in Afghanistan It's the US military that deserves the blame for not giving due diligence to its informers."

Assange insisted there was no evidence that anyone had been put at risk and that WikiLeaks had held sensitive information back and taken great care not to put people at risk. "Well, anything might happen, but nothing has happened. And we are not about to leave the field of doing good simply because harm might happen In our four-year publishing history no one has ever come to physical harm that we are aware of or that anyone has alleged."

However, he did concede that, if it was proven someone had been killed or injured because of the leak, then WikiLeaks would consider changing the way it operates. "We will review our procedures," he said. But that is unlikely to defuse the growing international row. Last week the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, branded Assange "irresponsible". The US defence secretary, Robert Gates, said he might have "blood on his hands".

At the same time US authorities are broadening their investigation into how the leak happened. The suspected leaker, Private Bradley Manning, is in custody. He has already been charged with passing on a video shot in Iraq of a US helicopter attack and 150,000 classified diplomatic cables. He is also the main suspect in the Afghan "war logs" leak. Now, according to a report in the New York Times, investigators are probing whether Manning acted alone or with others. The focus of the inquiry was on a group of people in Cambridge, near Boston in Massachusetts, who might prove to be the link between Manning and WikiLeaks.

Assange said he was undeterred by the attacks, and that traditional journalism had vacated a space into which WikiLeaks was stepping. "We are creating a space behind us that permits a form of journalism which lives up to the name that journalism has always tried to establish for itself," he said.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/aug/01/julian-assange-wikileaks-afghanistan-us

Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Aug 1st, 2010, 08:30am

UFO Blogger

USA UFO News : Rectangle UFO Sighting Over Chicago International Airport, USA 31 July, 2010

After China Xiaoshan Airport UFO, Williams Gateway Airport UFO, Arizona, USA
and City Of Siauliai, Lithuania UFO sighting now we have latest rectangle UFO sighting which is also over/near Airport.

According to eyewitness testimonial account who is also ready to go for lie detecting test "at 250PM while driving to work on 12:20 on 31 July,2010 I looked out my driver side window towards the Gary/Chicago international airport and noticed a large "banner" flying above the airport. I look back to read what the "banner" was advertising and I noticed that it wasn't a "banner" at all!

Gary is a city in Lake County, Indiana, United States. The city is in the southeastern portion of the Chicago metropolitan area and is 25 miles from downtown Chicago.

It was a large rectangular/square object about the size of 4 to 5 highway billboard signs and was yellow to orange in color.

It was very "dingy" but still transparent. I looked around and didn't see any other craft in the area. The object was actually about 1 mile WEST away from the airport and it was not moving or making any noise.

It's shape was perfectly rectangular/square like a playing card on it's side. The lines of the object were perfectly straight. It really stood out from the overcast clouds and sun because the clouds are more rounded in shape and they were slightly moving the object was not.

It also stood out because it was slightly yellow and orange. I felt bewildered for a moment and looked for anything that could tell me what this object was. There were no other craft, there weren't any strings attached, there were no external compartments or moving parts to it. It was just THERE, halfway up the skyline sitting very stoic and unnatural.

I slowed my vehicle down from about 40 mph to about 20 mph and watched it until I had to exit onto Cline Avenue to go to work. I would say that the entire incident only lasted 1 to 2 minutes. I continued to look back to try to find it but I couldn't.

By that time my view back towards the object was blocked by highway ramps and buildings. When I parked my car inside the parking garage, I tried again to get another view of the object but I could not.

There were too many obstructions blocking my line of sight. This feeling of embarrassment and bewilderment has stayed with me all day. I worked 330-1130PM tonight and felt that I HAD to tell somebody.

So I told my wife, I sent an Email to the Gary/Chicago international airport. I tried to call them but all I got was a recorded message.

Then I looked up MUFON on wikipedia and here I am telling my story. I do not believe in Aliens or things of that nature.

I know that I saw "something" today, but I do not know what it was.

I will tell anyone that wants to listen my story and I will take any lie detector test there is. I'll undergo any evaluation. I'm sure that there's an explanation for what I saw, and I would like to here it.


http://www.ufo-blogger.com/2010/08/ufo-sighting-chicago-international.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ufo_blogger+%28UFO-Blogger+Uncover+The+UFO+Truth%29&utm_content=Twitter

Crystal

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Aug 1st, 2010, 08:36am

Williams Gateway sighting report. We lived two miles from Williams Gateway when we saw an object (two lights, no solid object) the week of 9/11. All air traffic was grounded. We were out back about 9:00pm with the dogs when two lights in tandem circled the Valley several times then zipped off to the west like something out of Star Trek.
Crystal

USA UFO News - UFO Sighting Reported Near Williams Gateway Airport, San Tan Valley Arizona 30 July 2010

According to eyewitness testimonial- At approximately 9:21 p.m. on 30th July,2010 I was headed to McDonald's to get my children a snack but looked out my upstairs bedroom window, which faces a Northwesterly direction and noticed a bright light low on the horizon.

I looked at it a few moments recalling that Williams Gateway Airport is near the location but proceeded to get a bearing on distance and size and it just didn't seem to add up.

An airplane even of a large commercial type would be much smaller in size than this and I could follow its movement clearly.

A bit stumped I grabbed my cell phone keys and purse, I went downstairs and got in my car and proceeded to drive North. When I reached Hunt Highway approximately 2 to 3 hundred yards from my home the object.which appeared to be white lights in somewhat of a straight line with the center being out of 'line' it was just over the tops of neighboring houses moving at a pace that wouldn't of made sense if landing at Williams Gateway again the bright white lights which seemed to be in a line perhaps 'broken' in the middle.

Now appeared to be in a triangular shape gaining more clarity as it headed in a southern direction. I had driven approximately a mile and a half or so to McDonalds on the south side of the intersection of Hunt Highway and Bella Vista, when I called a friend of mine 'Jeff'who lives in Mesa near the Southern Avenue/U.S.60 intersection and asked him if he could see any 'odd looking' object in the sky the time is approximately 9:29 p.m.

He told me he was headed outside to take a look as I was giving him my description.I had pulled over into a parking spot in the McDonalds parking lot to continue my estimate of direction 'Jeff' should look towards..and estimate of location he informed me he was now driving down Ellsworth Road towards Williams Gateway Airport and said there was too many buildings trees etc obstructing his view.

Familiar with the area I told him it certainly wouldn't be long and he would definitely see it and as we were talking.I decided to pull out of McDonald's and try to follow this object in the sky which had now disappeared behind the buildings just North of my location.
I proceeded West on Hunt Highway when I noticed not one but two helicopters one coming from the east towards the west and one from the west coming in an easterly direction.
I asked Jeff if he could see the helicopters now that seem to be headed towards this objects direction. He said he could not. At this time I pulled off Hunt Highway onto the dirt approximately 300 yards from the entrance to Walmart and proceeded to watch this object in the sky It appeared very large and in a now definite triangular shape with the tip facing at 11 'o clock .staying stationary and three white lights on each side of the sides of the triangle but there appeared to be no bottom of the triangle it illuminated a sort of transparent light that shined just past the framing of the triangle.

There were also red lights in between the first and second lights on each side of the object. As I was quickly telling Jeff of these events the object lit up illuminated the object was clearly a triangle shape...dark in nature it seemed and bright bright white lights.

I do not recall seeing the red lights at this time. I needed to get off the phone with Jeff so I could take a picture of this object and perhaps roll my video cam but wanted to go back up the road to a bit higher ground to get a better position for the photo.

I made a 'U' turn back onto Hunt Hi-way headed East and this object was now at about 7pm from me just past my left shoulder driving.I was telling Jeff my location and direction of travel when I quickly pulled over into a tire store just West of the same McDonalds I was at prior.

I could not see past the buildings so I drove south in the parking lot until I could get a view now at about 4 or 5 o'clock from me and it was traveling at a swift pace in a southern direction again 'Jeff' was now asking me locations and my estimate of where this object might be from the direction of travel he was coming from.

I even recall asking him if he could see the bright star in the southwesterly direction.At this time I had turned around and proceeded to the McDonald's drive through (**laughing** ok...I've got hungry kids waiting!!) I then asked 'Jeff' if I could call him back in a minute.

The time is approximately 9;45 p.m. As I was leaving the drive through window I called 'Jeff' back approximate time is 9:47 p.m.

As I approached Hunt Highway driving east, I had to physically turn to look behind me to see if the object was still there. It was but now it was even higher in the sky.ch brighter and appeared to be very large.

Obviously I was a bit excited/panicked/shocked and 'Jeff' yelled at me on the phone to 'shut up'...and to 'get off the phone take pictures zoom in if you can and start taking pictures' regardless of if I thought they were good enough light enough etc.

I then got to Johnson Ranch Blvd turned south when I noticed that the vehicle in front of me, was also pulling off the road, (as I was...so I could take a damn photo!!) at that time Jeff' was listening to me tell him about the driver in front of me pulling over to look at this object as well......when I heard him say 'are you there' I responded 'yes' then we lost our connection. The approximate time is 9:51 p.m.

When I looked down at my phone I tried to bring my cell phone camera up on the menu. When I glanced back up at the object - it was moving at a pace that alarmed me.

The depth perception of this object was tricky I could clearly see it moving but too big to be that close?? It just didn't make sense and at that moment it completely disappeared. I yelled 'no no' continued to look for it in the sky and it was no longer there.

I pulled back onto the street and pulled up in my driveway where I proceeded upstairs with food in hand and ran to my bathroom window to see
if I could see the object in the same location I had seen it before I now saw bright white lights gradually fading in and out sometimes one light then two then four then back to three or one.

'Jeff' had called back approximately 9:53 p.m, when I told him I would get back to him.I was shooting photos I then proceeded to take photos-I climbed out my bedroom window facing North..onto the top of my backyard's patio roof...and began taking photos of the unstable lights. The lights flickered/faded in and out.. for approximately 20 to 30 minutes longer before never appearing again. I continued watching until nearly 1:30 am July 31st with no unusual activity.

I then sat down at my desk and began drawing a sketch of what I saw and its description as best I could.

I then began searching the internet to see if anyone else had reported seeing this object and/or these lights that is how I came to find this website. The time is approximately 3:41 a.m. July 31, 2010.source

photo and drawing after the jump
http://www.ufo-blogger.com/2010/07/usa-ufo-news-williams-gateway-airport.html
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Swamprat on Aug 1st, 2010, 10:43am

Morning, all!

Auntym posted this on Ufomania and I thought it was cute.... cheesy

Honest, Sweetheart!!

By now, everyone has heard of the Air Force's ultra-high-security, super-secret base in Nevada, known simply as "Area 51." Late one afternoon, the Air Force folks out at Area 51 were very surprised to see a Cessna landing at their "secret" base. They immediately impounded the aircraft and hauled the pilot into an interrogation room.

The pilot's story was that he took off from Vegas, got lost, and spotted the Base just as he was about to run out of fuel. The Air Force started a full FBI background check on the pilot and held him overnight during the investigation.

By the next day, they were finally convinced that the pilot really was lost and wasn't a spy. They gassed up his airplane, gave him a terrifying "you-did-not-see-a-base" briefing, complete with threats of spending the rest of his life in prison, told him Vegas was that-a-way on such-and-such a heading, and sent him on his way.

The next day, to the total disbelief of the Air Force, the same Cessna showed up again. Once again, the MP's surrounded the plane . . . only this time there were two people in the plane.

The same pilot jumped out and said, "Do anything you want to me, but my wife is in the plane and you have to tell her where I was last night!"

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Aug 1st, 2010, 10:57am

"The same pilot jumped out and said, "Do anything you want to me, but my wife is in the plane and you have to tell her where I was last night!"

Good morning SwampRat!
I loved this. grin
Crystal




Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Swamprat on Aug 1st, 2010, 12:38pm

Toxic Soup??!


CNN

Report: BP used excessive dispersants in Gulf oil spill


By the CNN Wire Staff
August 1, 2010 9:01 a.m. EDT

(CNN) -- New documents released by a congressional subcommittee indicate that Coast Guard officials allowed BP to use excessive amounts of chemical dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP used the chemicals to break up oil after the April 20 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion sent millions of gallons of crude gushing into the Gulf.

Despite a federal directive restricting their use, the Coast Guard routinely granted exemptions, said Rep. Edward J. Markey, chairman of the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee.

In May, the Environmental Protection Agency, along with the Coast Guard, ordered the oil giant to stop surface application of the chemicals during the oil spill except in rare occasions, according to a House subcommittee on energy and environment.

In rare cases, exemptions had to be requested, documents show.
"BP carpet bombed the ocean with these chemicals, and the Coast Guard allowed them to do it," Markey said in a statement Saturday. "After we discovered how toxic these chemicals really are, they had no business being spread across the Gulf in this manner."

The exemptions granted "were in no way rare," Markey said in a letter to retired Adm. Thad Allen, the former commandant of the Coast Guard who is now overseeing the federal response to the oil spill.
The Coast Guard approved more than 74 exemptions in 48 days, Markey said. In one instance, Coast Guard officials allowed the oil giant to use a larger volume of dispersants than it had applied for, he said.
Dispersants are "a toxic stew of chemicals, oil and gas, with impacts that are not well understood," Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, said in the letter to Allen.

Markey said the findings are based on an analysis by the Energy and Environment Subcommittee.

Calls to a BP press office and the Joint Information Center were not immediately returned.

"The use of dispersant is always a difficult decision, with environmental trade-offs that must be taken seriously into consideration," EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said Sunday. "As a result, its use in response to the BP spill was subject to numerous strict conditions once it quickly became apparent that BP wanted to use it in unprecedented quantities and in novel ways."

BP's use of dispersants peaked at 70,000 gallons on May 24, the EPA said. It was after that the EPA ordered the halt on its use, except for rare occasions. From the time that directive was issued, dispersant use dropped 72 percent, Gilfillan said.

Initially, the EPA was not involved in the day-to-day decisions about which exceptions were granted, but that changed in late June.

"While EPA may not have concurred with every individual waiver granted by the federal on-scene coordinator, the agency believes dispersant use has been an essential tool in mitigating this spill's impact, preventing millions of gallons of oil from doing even more damage to sensitive marshes, wetlands and beaches and the economy of the Gulf coast," Gilfillan said.

Markey said the subcommittee also found contradictions on how much chemical dispersant was being used. On other occasions, BP used more than the amount approved by the Coast Guard, Markey said in his letter.

The report brings into question the total amount of dispersants used in the Gulf. BP says it has used 1.8 million gallons to break up oil flowing from the Deepwater Horizon's ruptured well.

"The validity of those numbers are now in question," Markey said.

Read more:
http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/08/01/gulf.oil.spill/index.html?hpt=T1

Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Seeker on Aug 1st, 2010, 2:05pm

on Aug 1st, 2010, 10:43am, Swamprat wrote:
Morning, all!

Auntym posted this on Ufomania and I thought it was cute.... cheesy

Honest, Sweetheart!!

By now, everyone has heard of the Air Force's ultra-high-security, super-secret base in Nevada, known simply as "Area 51." Late one afternoon, the Air Force folks out at Area 51 were very surprised to see a Cessna landing at their "secret" base. They immediately impounded the aircraft and hauled the pilot into an interrogation room.

The pilot's story was that he took off from Vegas, got lost, and spotted the Base just as he was about to run out of fuel. The Air Force started a full FBI background check on the pilot and held him overnight during the investigation.

By the next day, they were finally convinced that the pilot really was lost and wasn't a spy. They gassed up his airplane, gave him a terrifying "you-did-not-see-a-base" briefing, complete with threats of spending the rest of his life in prison, told him Vegas was that-a-way on such-and-such a heading, and sent him on his way.

The next day, to the total disbelief of the Air Force, the same Cessna showed up again. Once again, the MP's surrounded the plane . . . only this time there were two people in the plane.

The same pilot jumped out and said, "Do anything you want to me, but my wife is in the plane and you have to tell her where I was last night!"


Hahaha!!! Great story, Swamprat! grin
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by philliman on Aug 1st, 2010, 3:21pm

on Jul 31st, 2010, 11:04am, Seeker wrote:
Breathtaking, Phil! Absolutely breathtaking!


on Jul 31st, 2010, 11:42am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Beautiful photo Phil! You can smell the flowers. And a warm breeze.

And how could I have missed these posts??!

You are very welcome of course. smiley

User Image
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Swamprat on Aug 1st, 2010, 4:23pm

Nature

http://www.wimp.com/naturephotos/
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Seeker on Aug 1st, 2010, 6:40pm

on Aug 1st, 2010, 3:21pm, philliman wrote:
And how could I have missed these posts??!

You are very welcome of course. smiley

User Image


And another gorgeous photo! This is MY idea of eye candy grin
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by WingsofCrystal on Aug 1st, 2010, 8:25pm

Hey!

User Image

Hope everyone had a good Sunday.
Crystal
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
Post by Luvey on Aug 1st, 2010, 10:20pm

on Aug 1st, 2010, 8:25pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Hey!

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Hope everyone had a good Sunday.
Crystal


Yes, thank you Crys... I had a lovely relaxing Sunday... and I hope you did too. grin

I love this picture...."Alice in Wonderland"... there are some interesting faces in those roses. Roses are my favourite.... I have so many growing in my garden... I lost count. cheesy

Also I wanted to comment on those beautiful "bridge" pictures.... Interesting symbolism in bridges. The bridge symbolizes the link between conscious and the unconscious... mind and matter. smiley

Please keep those beautiful pictures comi