Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Scientists: Climate-Change 'Time Bomb' About to Go Off

There's a ticking time bomb underneath the oceans, and it's about to go off, some scientists say.

A Russian research ship trawling the Arctic off Siberia's northeastern coast has found huge amounts of methane bubbling up from the seafloor, according to reports in London's Independent newspaper and the Canadian Press wire service.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, trapping 20 times as much heat as carbon dioxide. While there's little of it in the atmosphere, there are gigantic frozen deposits of it, called methane clathrates, trapped in rocks in seabeds all over the world.

One of the leading global-warming doomsday scenarios involves all that methane thawing out as sea temperatures rise, then rushing to the surface and into the air, creating a runaway warming scenario.

Now there's some evidence that's beginning to happen.

"For the first time, we documented a field where the release was so intense that the methane did not have time to dissolve into the seawater but was rising as methane bubbles to the sea surface," Swedish researcher Orjan Gustafsson, aboard the Russian ship Jacob Smirnitskyi, told the Independent in an article published last week.  - fox

Methane bubbles may be the real reason for ship disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle. A large bubble can make the ocean lighter than air so a ship sinks like a stone within minutes.

Perhaps there is so much frozen methane under the ocean that it's release will cause a mass suffocation of life, by lowering the oxygen content or our air beyond our ability to survive.  This, some say, has happened before.
.. The oxygen-starved aftermath of an immense global belch of methane left land animals gasping for breath and caused the Earth's largest mass extinction, suggests new research.

Greg Retallack, an expert in ancient soils at the University of Oregon in Eugene, says his theory also explains the mysterious survival of a barrel-chested reptile that became the most common animal on the planet after the end of the Permian period, 251 million years ago.

Paleontologists have long puzzled over the mass extinction at the end of the Permian. There is no evidence for a large asteroid impact, but sharp changes in carbon isotope ratios indicate something triggered massive releases of frozen methane hydrates from under the sea floor and in permafrost. ... Bob Berner of Yale University calculated that a cascade of effects on wetlands and coral reefs would have reduced oxygen levels in the atmosphere from 35 per cent to just 12 per cent in only 20,000 years - a fleeting moment in geological time.

Retallack knows the effects of low oxygen levels all too well. "I've just about died of mountain sickness at [the equivalent of] 12 per cent oxygen" while working at high altitudes, he told New Scientist. "I know exactly what it's like."

Lungs used to higher oxygen levels strain desperately for oxygen, and fill with fluid. The lack of oxygen would have left most Permian land animals gasping for breath, suffering from nausea, headaches, and inflamed lungs. Marine life would have suffocated in the oxygen-poor water.

Yet the ungainly meter-long reptile Lystrosaurus survived because it had evolved to live in burrows, where oxygen levels are low and carbon dioxide levels high. It had developed a barrel chest, thick ribs, enlarged lungs, a muscular diaphragm and short internal nostrils to get the oxygen it needed. Retallack says Sherpas have developed some similar adaptations by living at high altitudes for generations.

While most Permian animals died gasping for breath, Lystrosaurus spread rapidly. In some areas, it accounts for 90 per cent of the fossils found after the extinction.

Oxygen depletion also could explain why coal swamps and coral reefs disappeared for millions of years after the extinction, says Retallack, as both are highly sensitive to oxygen levels....  - newsci

Massive releases of methane would eat up our oxygen creating water and carbon dioxide.

Methane and oxygen readily react to form water and carbon dioxide.
The reaction is exothermic, and CO2 and water are both at a
much more stable (lower) energy state than methane and oxygen. - anl

I've had several "end of the world" dreams. In one I'm in a room with a black hole. In another the Moon is crashing into the Earth. In another there is nuclear war. In one, fires are popping up all over the place from the ground. The methane scenario seems like it fits the last one.

But perhaps not. The wikipedia article says the latest estimates show there really isn't that much frozen methane after all. Good thing! Just in case, we should learn how to live where there is no oxygen, like the Crucian Carp pictured above.

9,000+ pieces of mail undelievered up to 3 years, no one cares.

Newman may have met his match.

More than 9,000 pieces of mail -- first class, magazines, priority parcels, etc. -- were discovered in a storage unit in Livingston County, stashed there by a carrier who just couldn't keep up with her route, authorities said Tuesday.

Some mail has postmarks from 2005.

Jill Hull, 34, was a rural carrier for 3 1/2 years until her resignation Aug. 16. Three weeks later, after she fell behind in payments, the storage space in Fowlerville was opened, revealing loads of undelivered mail, postal agent Douglas Mills said.

"When asked why she did it, Hull stated that she could not do the job but needed the job," Mills said in an affidavit to support a theft charge filed in federal court in Detroit.

Hull could not be reached for comment. A phone number listed for her was disconnected.

In a 1996 episode of "Seinfeld," Newman (Wayne Knight) stored mail in Jerry's storage unit instead of delivering it.

"This is an extremely rare occurrence," said Breck Nowlin, a senior agent with the Postal Service's Office of Inspector General. "The mail that was discovered and recovered was all intact. Nothing was opened." - mlive

Seriously, most mail is junk these days anyway, so no one cares.

Man dives in to save dog from shark in Fla. attack

A dog is recovering after a Florida Keys carpenter dove in to save his pet from a shark. Greg LeNoir said he took his 14-pound rat terrier Jake for a daily swim at a marina Friday. The five-foot shark suddenly surfaced and grabbed nearly the entire dog in its mouth. LeNoir said he yelled, then balled up his fists and dove headfirst into the water. He hit the shark in the back and the creature finally let go of the dog. Man and dog made it safely back to shore. The dog suffered bite wounds but was not critically injured. - AP

Later that day, in a well planned surprise attack, the Creature from the Black Lagoon erupted from LeNoir's toilet and hit him on the back in retaliation for the abuse to his pet shark.

Liquid Lenses Promise Picture-Perfect Phone Cam Photos

Despite their ubiquity, cell phones are not known for their ability to take picture-perfect photos. But budding "liquid lens" technology promises to change that by providing phone photogs with the autofocus capabilities lacking in today's cellular optics.

The latest advance in this area comes from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, here, where researchers have developed a liquid lens by placing a few drops of water into a cylindrical hole drilled in a Teflon surface and using a small speaker (that plays a high-frequency sound) to provide the resonance needed to move the water back and forth, changing the focus of the lens. Light passing through the droplets transforms them into a mini camera lens, which is capped on both sides with plastic or glass.

The experiment, led by Amir Hirsa, associate chief of graduate studies in the school's Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering, used the liquid lens to capture 250 images per second. - sciam

12-Year Old McDonald's Hamburger, Still Looking Good

The McDonald's hamburger on the right is from 2008; the one on the left is from 1996. And they both look fairly edible.

Wellness educator and nutrition consultant Karen Hanrahan has kept a McDonald's hamburger since 1996 to illustrate its nonexistent ability to decay. Aside from drying out and bit and having "the oddest smell," it apparently hasn't changed much in the past 12 years.

This isn't the first time someone kept an uneaten McDonald's hamburger for an extended period of time for the sake of science. Or in the case of the Bionic Burger Museum, multiple burgers for over 19 years. There are even instructions on how to start your own collection of old, self-preserving burgers. - sseats

The fungal enzymes in the bun may help preserve it, but you'd have to do something special to the meat because it supposedly contains only, "100% pure USDA domestic beef, no additives, no fillers, no extenders."

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pirates die strangely after taking Iranian ship

EMPIRE STRIKES BACK: The Russian frigate Neustrashimy, which was sent to the coast of Somalia this week after a Ukrainian ship carrying arms, including 33 T-72 tanks, was also hijacked by Somali pirates Picture: AP

‘Our sources say it contains chemicals, dangerous chemicals’

A tense standoff has developed in waters off Somalia over an Iranian merchant ship laden with a mysterious cargo that was hijacked by pirates. Somali pirates suffered skin burns, lost hair and fell gravely ill “within days” of boarding the MV Iran Deyanat. Some of them died.

Andrew Mwangura, the director of the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme, told the Sunday Times: “We don’t know exactly how many, but the information that I am getting is that some of them had died. There is something very wrong about that ship.”

The vessel’s declared cargo consists of “minerals” and “industrial products”. But officials involved in negotiations over the ship are convinced that it was sailing for Eritrea to deliver small arms and chemical weapons to Somalia’s Islamist rebels. ...

About 22000 ships a year pass through the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aden, where regional instability and “no-questions-asked” ransom payments have led to a dramatic rise in attacks on vessels by heavily armed Somali raiders in speedboats. The Iran Deyanat was sailing in those waters on August 21, past the Horn of Africa and about 80 nautical miles southeast of Yemen, when it was boarded by about 40 pirates armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades. They were alleged members of a crime syndicate said to be based at Eyl, a small fishing village in northern Somalia.

The ship is owned and operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, or IRISL, a state-owned company run by the Iranian military. According to the US Treasury Department, the IRISL regularly falsifies shipping documents to hide the identity of end users, uses generic terms to describe shipments and operates under various covers to circumvent United Nations sanctions. The ship set sail from Nanjing, China, at the end of July. According to its manifest, it was heading for Rotterdam where it would unload 42500 tons of iron ore and “industrial products” purchased by a German client.

At Eyl, the ship was secured by more pirates — about 50 on board, and another 50 on shore. But within days those who had boarded the ship developed mysterious health trouble.  This was also confirmed by Hassan Allore Osman, minister of minerals and oil in Puntland, an autonomous region of Somalia. He headed a delegation sent to Eyl when news of the toxic cargo and illnesses surfaced.

He told one news publication, The Long War Journal, that during the six days he had negotiated with the pirates, a number of them had become sick and died.

“That ship is unusual,” he was quoted as saying. “It is not carrying a normal shipment.” The pirates did reveal that they had tried to inspect the ship’s cargo containers when some of them fell sick — but the containers were locked. ... - thetimes

World's tallest man to become daddy

The world's tallest person, 2.36m-tall Bao Xishun (R) of China and his pregant wife Xia Shujuan are seen at their home in Zunhua, north China's Hebei province on September 26, 2008. The couple got married last year, and Xia Shujuan is pregnant now and is expected to give birth around the upcoming national holiday. - 5d6d

Good luck. He's a really good guy from what I've read.

Putin Rears His Head Over Alaska Airspace! flash game

This dumb little game cracked me up. It is pretty dumb to make an enemy of Russia as Bush has been doing. Vote Obama (... since we can't have Nader, Kucinich, etc.)

'Super hot' chilli kills chef

Andrew Lee of West Yorkshire, England has become the first person(?) to die from super hot chillis. He was in perfect health and had just passed a medical exam at work.

Andrew Lee, 33, challenged his girlfriend's brother to a contest on September 19 to see who could make and eat the hottest sauce, London's The Times reported.The forklift driver from Edlington, West Yorkshire in England, made a tomato sauce with red chillies grown by his father, but after eating it suffered intense discomfort and itching. Mr Lee went to bed and asked his girlfriend, Samantha Bailey, to scratch his back until he fell asleep. When she woke in the morning he was dead, possibly after suffering a heart attack, The Guardian said. Paramedics were called to the home but were unable to revive Lee, who was lying on the floor, The Telegraph reported. ...

"Andrew just ate the chillies with a plate of Dolmio sauce. It was not a proper meal because he had already eaten lamb chops and potato mash after work," she said. "He apparently got into bed at 2.30am and started scratching all over. His girlfriend ... woke up and he had gone. It is incredible. Who would have thought he could have died from eating chilli sauce?" She said a post-mortem showed no heart problems. - smh

Freighter destroyed over Pacific

Europe's "Jules Verne" space freighter has destroyed itself in a controlled burn-up over the southern Pacific.

The 13.5-tonne cargo ship had completed a six-month mission to the space station and was packed with the orbiting platform's rubbish. Two engine firings were required to slow the freighter sufficiently to pull it into the atmosphere. The European and US space agencies had chase planes in the air to try to capture the fireball on video.

Astronauts on the space station reported seeing the light from the falling freighter. "Everything went correctly, nominally, smoothly. ... Most of the vehicle was expected to burn up in the descent; only fragments should have made it down to the ocean water. Computer modelling of the re-entry had put the impact time at 1346 GMT. - bbc

Man accused of posing as Dodger on field

A man faces criminal charges for allegedly stealing a uniform from Dodger Stadium and posing as one of the team's players.

Ronald Higgins pleaded not guilty to several charges Friday, including burglary and trespassing. The 47-year-old Higgins was arrested Wednesday morning after a security guard found him walking on the field in a Dodgers uniform and holding a glove with two balls. Higgins allegedly identified himself as a Dodgers player, but the guard recognized him from an earlier incident and called police. Prosecutors say Higgins' clothes were later found in the bat boys' locker room. It was not immediately clear where he got the uniform. If convicted, Higgins could spend nearly four years in state prison. -myway

In my world impersonating an officer might get you prison, say, if you shot someone while doing it... but impersonating a Dodger? Perhaps a psychiatric evaluation and some help. Four years in prison for being obsessed with an American dream? Let the man play. Who knows, he may be good.

Oldest Man Turns 113, Aims for More

The world's oldest man celebrated his 113th birthday Thursday in southern Japan, telling reporters he wants to live another five years. Tomoji Tanabe, who was born Sept. 18, 1895, received birthday gifts, flowers and $1,000 cash from the mayor of his hometown of Miyakonojo, on Japan's southern island of Kyushu.
Tanabe told reporters he wants to live "another five years or so," according to city spokesman Akihide Yokoyama. That was a slight downgrade from last year, when he said he wanted to live "for infinity." - aol

When 113 you reach, look as good you will not, hmm.


Does Sarah Palin Drink Syrah Palin?

Democrats watching the presidential campaign may find it hard to swallow a glass of the syrah Palin. The organic red wine, pronounced "pay-LEEN sih-rah," comes from a small winery in northern Chile.

According to distributor North Berkeley Imports' Web site, the vintner's name "describes a ball that was used in an ancient game played by the Mapuche, a group of people indigenous to central Chile." - aol

Melamine found in Cadbury goods

The recall affects mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia

Preliminary tests have found melamine in Cadbury's Chinese-made chocolates, the company says.

At least 50,000 Chinese babies have fallen ill and four been killed by milk tainted with the industrial chemical.

Cadbury had earlier recalled 11 chocolate types from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia because of fears of contamination.

It remains unclear how much melamine was in the recalled products, a Cadbury spokesman told the BBC.

"It's early days, as these are preliminary findings from the tests," the spokesman said.

He emphasised that the only goods affected were those made in the company's Beijing factory, and not those produced in the UK or elsewhere. China's reputation for food safety has nosedived ... - bbc

Bees Can Count

Honeybees are clever little creatures. They can form abstract concepts, such as symmetry versus asymmetry, and they use symbolic language — the celebrated waggle dance — to direct their hivemates to flower patches. New reports suggest that they can also communicate across species, and can count — up to a point.

With colleagues, Songkun Su of Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, and Shaowu Zhang of the Australian National University in Canberra managed to overcome the apian impulse to kill intruders and cultivated the first mixed-species colonies, made up of European honeybees, Apis mellifera, and Asiatic honeybees, A. cerana. The researchers confirmed that the two species have their own dialects: foraging in identical environments, the bees signaled the distance to a food source with dances of different durations.

Remarkably, despite the communication barrier, A. cerana decoded A. mellifera's dance and found the food.

Also at the Australian National University, Marie Dacke and Mandyam V. Srinivasan trained European honeybees to pass a particular number of colored stripes in a tunnel to get a food reward, which was placed by a stripe. When they removed the food, the bees still returned to the same stripe.

Next, they mixed things up on the bees: they varied the spacing of the stripes, and even replaced stripes with unfamiliar markers. The insects consistently passed the same number of markers to approach the former reward site, demonstrating that they could count, up to four.

The studies burnish the impressive list of honeybees' known cognitive abilities, all achieved with a brain the size of a sand grain. - livesci

Image: A honey bee brain:
The Honeybee, Apis mellifera has been studied extensively with respect to its sensory and neural capacities in navigation, communication, visual and olfactory learning and memory processing. The Honeybee Standard Brain Atlas is calculated from 20 individual bee brain images that were immuno-stained, imaged as whole-mounts with the confocal microscope, and segmented along the borderlines of 22 neuropils. After correcting for global size and positioning differences, an average label image was created by repeated application of an intensity-based non-rigid registration algorithm. A three-dimensional surface model was reconstructed from this. Early applications of the Honeybee Standard Brain demonstrate the mapping procedure of individual electrophysiologically-recorded and intracellularly-stained olfactory interneurons. A detailed digital Atlas of the Honeybee antennal lobe is available and will be integrated into the Virtual Atlas of the Honeybee Brain. - link

Inflatable Surveillance Balls for Mars

By next fall, NASA plans to launch its biggest Red Planet rover yet, the $1.8-billion, SUV-size Mars Research Laboratory. Even though the MRL will be able to haul five times as much equipment as the Spirit and Opportunity rovers that are already on Mars, a group of Swedish researchers say that they could accomplish far more if accompanied by a squad of helper ’bots. Fredrik Bruhn, the CEO of Ångström Aerospace Corporation, and his colleagues have designed the small inflatable scouts to assist bigger, less mobile rovers in their hunt for signs of microbial life on Mars.

Each foot-wide, 11-pound ball can roll up to 62 miles, snap photos at any angle, and take soil samples, drawing its power from the solar panels on its shell. Unlike wheeled rovers, the rounded scouts have fewer motors to repair, never flip over, and are easier to seal from dust. Plus, they rarely get stuck. “The beauty of the system is it needs very little energy to go around rocks, so unless you’re landing on a surface that looks like a bed of nails, it should be fine,” Bruhn says. ... - popsci

Boeing 747 Gets Hit By Lightning

We're not alone . . . politician and pilot spot Black Triangle UFO

Dramatic eye-witness testimony was heard at a conference over the weekend which, delegates were told, provided "definitive" proof of recent UFO activity in the skies around north Dublin and Meath.

Footage, filmed on a camera phone at 10.35pm on August 3 near Dunboyne was also played and replayed to over 70 delegates who attended the fifth Irish International UFO conference in Carrick-on-Shannon.

The triangular shaped image, with lights at each point, which appeared to send a red laser-type light towards earth, drew gasps of amazement from the 70 or so delegates who attended the world premiere of the footage.

A senior garda officer who was driving when he noticed the unusual light formation in the sky stopped to film it.

"There is no footage like this in the world. It is the most amazing and spectacular I have ever seen," said Carl Nally, co-founder of UFO and Paranormal Research Ireland and joint author of 'Conspiracy of Silence'.

Five days earlier, on July 29, an off-duty pilot who photographed lightning from Howth pier just after midnight later noticed what appeared to be a triangular-shaped object to the right of the lightning fork in the developed image.

And Fianna Fail Town Councillor in Trim, Jimmy Peppard, ran indoors for a camera on August 8 when he spotted a triangular-shaped object measuring "about a mile in diameter" in the sky, where it remained static for about half an hour.

"What we have here is sightings of three objects east, west and south-east of Dublin airport, each five days apart by reliable and trained observers and even since I have arrived here I have received another image from a pilot," Mr Nally told the conference.

He later described the laser beam footage as the best footage on the planet and said it would be shown all over the world. "This is what the sceptics are crying out for. What all this footage has in common is that trained observers, honest people, took it. What better could you get than a senior garda, a politician and a pilot," he said. ... -ind

So.. where is the video?

Chemistry Provides Solution To Plug Pores In Teeth

A chemical mix imitating the minerals found in saliva, but at higher concentrations, can be added to toothpaste to plug tiny pores that lead to nerves. The exposed pores lead to nerves, causing pain and sensitive teeth.

For millions of people, the sharp pain and discomfort of sensitive teeth can make your favorite hot or cold foods impossible to enjoy.

Lyndsay Bare, a third-year dental student at the University of Maryland, can relate to anyone with sensitive teeth. "I would bleach my teeth late at night, and then I'd wake up in the morning and there would be just this searing pain," Bare says. The pain can be worse by hot and cold foods or just smiling on a cold, windy day. Over the counter toothpastes don't always work well.

Now, a new ingredient in toothpaste, developed by dentists, called Novamin, can dramatically reduce teeth sensitivity. Gary Hack, DDS, a dentist from the University of Maryland says, "It's totally natural, it's non-toxic, and it's providing the same minerals that your saliva has in the oral environment, just at a higher concentration." Teeth become sensitive when gum tissue recedes, exposing a tooth's roots. Roots contain small holes or tubules that lead to nerves. Novamin plugs up the holes cutting off contact with nerves and eliminating pain. "It can also help in preventing decay. We found that it can whiten teeth and can help with periodontal or gum disease as well," Dr. Hack says. Dentists also say that drinking too much fruit juice can cause teeth sensitivity.

Novamin is found in toothpaste available from your dentist. Bare can now recommend it to her future patients. "After I used it, cold air wasn't that big of a deal, neither was drinking cold liquids," she says. - scidaily

This from the Novamin web site. It beat Recaldent and it kills some bacteria, but only because it is alkaline.
Born of years of medical research; delivering just what mother nature intended. NovaMin can reverse the negative effects of time and age on our teeth.

As we get older, our teeth become more sensitive, more decayed and more stained. NovaMin offers a new millennium solution to these problems.

The origins of NovaMin go back to a chance encounter between a materials scientist and an Army Colonel and their conversation about helping to repair the shattered bones of soldiers who were battle wounded. That conversation led to a revolutionary bone repair material. After over a million patients benefited from that creation, researchers found a way to adapt the same technology for renewing the vitality of teeth. Thus, NovaMin was born.

NovaMin is a compound made from elements which are naturally critical for bone and tooth mineralization: calcium, phosphorus, silica, and sodium. Delivered in their common forms, these elements have very limited value in tooth health. Delivered together, in their rare ionic form, however makes them into powerhouses of tooth renewal. This is the magic of NovaMin. Of course, NovaMin contains nothing toxic or exotic - just the elements that mother nature intended.

Each microscopic NovaMin particle serves as a delivery system for these ions. When the particle is exposed to water (from your saliva or tap water) it instantly reacts - releasing billions of mineral ions that become available to the natural remineralization process in your mouth. It is this natural process that is the ideal rebuilder of tooth mineral. These ions, along with naturally occurring ions in your saliva, combine to form hydroxyapatite crystals, the special form of hard and strong mineral in your teeth. No other man-made material is known to directly lead to the formation of these crystals in the body. - novamin

So where can you get it? The only place I found was Oravive. Most of their products were out of stock, but I ordered $60 worth of "Oravive IMT Tooth Conditioner with NovaMin" based on what I read tonight.

Bob Lazar talks about S4 and ET UFOs

Assuming Lazar is on the level, and some believe he isn't, there are other possibilities besides aliens from another world. The "others" might be more advanced humans who went underground, a past ancient civilization that isolated itself in some hidden place on the earth, a compartmentalized project (our own secret craft), some other species (reptilian?) that evolved intelligence and is hiding out using advanced stealth technology (bigfoot suits?), etc.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

SpaceX Does It! Falcon I Reaches Orbit

It's all smiles for the gang at SpaceX. Falcon 1 has made history as the first privately-developed liquid fueled launch vehicle to achieve earth orbit... with the company's fourth Falcon I rocket performing flawlessly in a 10-minute ride to the heavens. ... At T-plus 10 minutes, Falcon I succesfully released its dummy payload... marking a wholly successful mission for the company, which has suffered through the failures of its first three launches. -aeronews

Obama slightly widens lead after debate, poll finds him more presidential

Here is some good news for those seeking change. I have to give people credit for this one. I thought McCain's attack stance in the first Presidential debate of 2008 would make him seem stronger and thus he would be seen as more presidential. I'm glad to be wrong in this case. His spot on MTV after the debates didn't hurt either.

Registered voters who watched the first presidential debate preferred Obama over McCain, 49% to 44%, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg survey shows. ... The much-anticipated first presidential debate between John McCain and Barack Obama on Friday appears to have helped Obama slightly widen a lead over his Republican opponent, a post-debate Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg survey shows.

Registered voters who watched the debate preferred Obama, 49% to 44%, according to the poll taken over three days after the showdown in Oxford, Miss. ... That is a small gain from a week ago, when a survey of the same voters showed the Democratic candidate with a 48% to 45% edge.

The poll also indicated that the younger, less-experienced Obama has made strides since last week in convincing Americans that he can handle the toughest challenges facing the country, including the economy and international affairs.

Obama was seen as more "presidential" by 46% of the debate watchers, compared with 33% for McCain. ...

The difference is even more pronounced among debate watchers who were not firmly committed to a candidate: 44% said they believed Obama looked more presidential, whereas 16% gave McCain the advantage. - lat

In other words, of the 60% who answered the question that one or the other was more presidential, 73% saw Obama as more presidential.

Illinois UFO's - Police witnesses to flying black triangle with cloaking device

Back on January 5, 2000 police officers and citizens of St. Clair County in Southern Illinois claim to have spotted a large, triangular unidentified flying object. Folks from Highland to Millstadt claim to have seen the object, and all described it as a big thick hovering triangle. However other than one blurry Polaroid snapshot, there were no photographs or videos to back up the eye witness claims.

Scott Air Force Base is directly below the UFO's alleged flight path, which made "military exercise" the most likely answer to these reported sightings. Alas, the airfield was closed that night, as was the control tower, and the military has denied any aerial exercises took place on the evening in question. - jaunted

Notice that in the video the officer says the 2000 silent triangular black UFO was trying to project the star field from above it underneath it as a way to camouflage itself. This is exactly what one of the 1997 Phoenix lights eye-witnesses I heard on Art Bell said about that massive soundless black triangle. This is not an isolated rare thing. Here is a map of triangle UFO sightings:

Map shows locations of Flying Triangle sightings and proximity to cities and Interstate Highways based on merged databases. Image Courtesy: NIDS

... During the ensuing years (2000-2004), NIDS received hundreds of reports from people in the United States and Canada reporting large triangular aircraft, often silent and often flying at very low altitude and at low air speed. In many cases, the objects were brightly lit. NIDS files also include reports of Flying Triangles from remote areas.

In mid 2004, NIDS reviewed its database that contains the locations of the Triangle sightings in the United States. The sightings of Triangles appear primarily adjacent to population centers and along Interstate Highways, with sightings clustered on both coasts.

NIDS has amassed almost 400 separate sightings of triangular/boomerang/wedge-shaped objects. Many of these craft are brightly lit, low flying, and traveling at unexpectedly low air speeds.

In earlier reports, NIDS outlined a tentative correlation between reported sightings of Triangles and the locations of Air Mobility Command and Air Force Materiel Command bases in the United States.

Like a Star Trek "uncloaking"

According to ground observers, the features of a Black Triangle are indeed impressive.

For example, the NIDS study includes the observation of a Port Washington Wisconsin person who encountered a large object that flew over her home at 500 feet altitude in October 1998. Her eyeing of the clear starry night was interrupted as the craft came into her field of view.

"Suddenly this monstrosity came out of the 'blue', just like a Star Trek 'uncloaking', no kidding...so quiet I couldn't believe it and so huge...no more than 500 feet or so up, and big enough to take up my field of sky vision," she reported.

Crude mathematics, the witness recounted, would make the vessel about 200 feet wide and 250 feet long. - space.com

Team finds Earth's 'oldest rocks'

Earth's most ancient rocks, with an age of 4.28 billion years, have been found on the shore of Hudson Bay, Canada.

Writing in Science journal, a team reports finding that a sample of Nuvvuagittuq greenstone is 250 million years older than any rocks known.

It may even hold evidence of activity by ancient life forms.

If so, it would be the earliest evidence of life on Earth - but co-author Don Francis cautioned that this had not been established.

"The rocks contain a very special chemical signature - one that can only be found in rocks which are very, very old," he said.

The professor of geology, who is based at McGill University in Montreal, added: "Nobody has found that signal any place else on the Earth." ...

Before this study, the oldest whole rocks were from a 4.03 billion-year-old body known as the Acasta Gneiss, in Canada's Northwest Territories.

The only things known to be older are mineral grains called zircons from Western Australia, which date back 4.36 billion years. ... They sent samples for chemical analysis to scientists at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, who dated the rocks by measuring isotopes of the rare earth elements neodymium and samarium, which decay over time at a known rate.

The oldest rocks, termed "faux amphibolite", were dated within the range from 3.8 to 4.28 billion years old. - bbc

Protest: 1000 bicycle nude in the streets of London

Ah, London. You never know what you will find in the streets. It could be 750 Gorilla's, or 1000 nude bicyclists. Actually, this one is old news, from four months ago, but I just now heard about it.
World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) is an international clothing-optional bike ride in which participants plan, meet and ride together en masse on human-powered transport (the vast majority on bicycles, and fewer on skateboards, rollerblades, roller skates) to "protest oil dependency and celebrate the power and individuality of our bodies" - wiki

The point of it all, based on the WNBR Web site is to say: Stop the indecent exposure of human beings to automotive emissions; stop the oil dependency. The ride also voices solidarity among cyclists, who ride city streets clogged with vehicles emitting nauseating toxins, standing up and saying “We’re here, and deserve to be. Share the road; share the air.” - sustain

On Saturday 14 June 2008 the fifth London Naked Bike Ride took to the streets of the capital, allowing riders to see the city sights from the comfort of their own bike or skates. The ride was easy and upbeat, and riders decorated their bodies and bikes with messages of protest against oil dependency and car culture. The ride finished in record time (possibly even too quickly), and the rider numbers remained 1,000 (as with last year). The public was very receptive and enthusiastically supported the protest messages. Here are some very unique photos from Ben Lovejoy and Ramon Andarias - wiki

The World Naked Bike Ride protest 2008.

750 gorillas run through London

The sixth annual 7km Great Gorilla Run started and finished at the London Underwriting Centre, off Mincing Lane, this morning.

About 750 runners joined in the monkey business - setting a world record for the largest ever gathering of people wearing gorilla costumes.

The event was staged by The Gorilla Organisation, a charity which protects the endangered species in central African rainforests.

Jillian Miller, The Gorilla Organisation director, said: “The event has got better every year and the atmosphere among the runners and spectators is incredible. We hope to raise £200,000.”

Conservationist and TV star Bill Oddie fired the starting pistol to set off the runners and handed medals to everyone who finished.

He said: “It is great that people are prepared to put so much effort into something so worthy, while maintaining such good humour.”

Race winner James Burton, 25, an account manager from Balham, south London, said: “I run regularly but it was much harder wearing the hot and heavy gorilla costume.” - thesun

Study Suggests Workspace Reveals Conservative or Liberal Tendencies

The researchers took inventory of five office locations — a commercial real estate agency, an advertising agency, a business school, an architectural firm and a retail bank — all in a large U.S. city. They had observers check out the workspaces of 94 male and female employees. The subjects' average age was 37. The snoopers had no idea of the workers' political orientation.

Political orientation was measured with survey questions.

Liberals' offices were judged as significantly more distinctive, comfortable, stylish, modern, and colorful and as less conventional and ordinary, in comparison with conservatives' offices, Jost said.

The researchers also sent snoopers into the living spaces of 76 undergraduates at the University of California, Berkeley, arriving at similar results.

"Conservative rooms tended to be cleaner, more brightly lit, better organized, less cluttered, and also more conventional and ordinary in terms of decoration," Jost said during a panel discussion on "The Neuroscience of Elections and Human Decision-Making" at NYU, adding: "Conservatives' rooms were rated by independent raters as better organized and tidier in general."

Specifically, individuals who reported a more conservative ideology also had bedrooms that contained more organizational and cleaning supplies, including calendars, postage stamps, ironing boards and laundry baskets.

Liberals' rooms on the other hand were marked by more clutter, including more CDs, a greater variety of CDs, a greater variety of books and more color in the room in general. -fox

... and in some cases, the mirrors on the ceiling were a dead giveaway. ;-) But seriously, my work spaces and bedroom does not fit either of these profiles. I must be a real independent. How about you? Does this seem accurate for you?

Russia’s strategic Tu-160 bombers set two world records

... The Tupolev 160 bombers completed the air alert mission along the coast of South America and took off from the air base in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday at 10:00 Moscow time. The flight route was designated above neutral waters of the Atlantic and the Arctic oceans.

The flights were performed in strict correspondence with the international rules for airspace use over neutral waters with no transgression of other countries’ borders.

The Tu-160 bombers landed in Venezuela September 10, after 13 hours of continuous flight. NATO’s F-16 fighters accompanied the Russian bombers over Iceland and the Norwegian Sea. There were no nuclear weapons on board the Tu-160 bombers, although the planes are capable of carrying 12 long-range cruise missiles on board.

The planes performed several flights over neutral waters in the water area of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

The Tupolev Tu-160 is a supersonic, variable-geometry heavy bomber designed by the Soviet Union. The Tu-160 is the heaviest combat aircraft ever built. The aircraft is similar to the B-1 Lancer, but 430mph (692 km/h) faster than the Lancer, and possesses greater range and payload capabilities. Produced 10 years later than the B-1, it flies at 10,000 ft (3,048 m) lower maximum altitude.

Introduced in 1987, it was the last Soviet strategic bomber designed, but production of the aircraft still continues, with at least 16 currently in service with the Russian Air Force.... - pravda

Santa Claus to run for U.S. president

A man who changed his name to Santa Claus three years ago has successfully registered as a presidential candidate in the U.S. state of West Virginia, local authorities said.

A total of 14 people, including an inmate at a Texas prison, have managed to register as write-in presidential candidates in the state, thanks to its simple registration process.

"All they have to do is file a form at least 42 days before the election," a local electoral official said.

Santa Claus, who sports a long white beard, changed his name from Thomas O'Connor in 2005.

The write-in candidates' names will not appear on West Virginia ballots at the November election, but voters can write the name of any officially registered candidate on the ballot paper.

In 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War, the revolutionary movement the Yippies attempted to put forward a pig for U.S. president. The pig, along with seven Yippie members, was later detained by police.- rian

Anti-bear spray discharge closes Alaska airport

The airport serving Alaska's capital city doesn't have to worry about bears coming around anytime soon.

Juneau International Airport had to be evacuated Friday afternoon because of an accidental discharge of anti-bear spray.

The chemical comes in a canister like pepper spray but is used to defend against attacking bears.

Fire Chief Eric Mohrman says the spray spread through the building via the ventilation system. The terminal had to be cleared and the building aired out. One person was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

The airport reopened after about an hour and a half. - ap

Here are some directions for using anti-bear spray:
UDAP says: "If a bear is charging, begin spraying when it gets within 40 feet. It will run into the fog. If a bear is coming at you along with a strong wind, you may wish to wait until it is quite close before spraying." - happyrobot

A bear's top speed on the ground is 35 mph. Since there are 5280 feet in a mile, we can surmise that a bear charging at you will cover a distance of 40 feet in about 51 seconds.

Note: A Quarter Horse can run 47 mph and the fastest a human has ever been clocked is 27 mph. The "average top speed of an in shape male human being", however, "is between 15-18 mph."

Cost: In 2007 you could get an "8 ounce canister of Counter Assault Bear Deterrent at the REI in Encinitas -- $38 plus tax."

What are the ingredients of anti-bear spray?
Bear Pause is made by ChemArmor of Missoula and carried an EPA registration number (EPA Reg. No.71768-1). At issue is the chemical formula used in the spray. Capsaicin, the chemical that makes hot peppers hot ... - highb

And ... it may not work. Here are some more anti-bear tips, like playing dead, making noise, talking to it, keeping your dog away from it, and backing away slowly.

Cell Phone Subscriptions to Reach 4 Billion by End of 2008

Cell phone subscriptions worldwide are expected to reach four billion by the end of the year, the International Telecommunications Union said Friday, according to AFP. Growth in developing economies is credited with the surge in subscribers.

"Since the turn of the century, the growth of mobile cellular subscribers has been impressive," ITU said in a statement, according to AFP.

Cell phone subscriptions topped 3.3 billion by the end of 2007, and the growth is due mainly to markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China.

"These economies alone are expected to account for over 1.3 billion mobile subscribers by the end of 2008," the ITU told AFP.

China became the biggest mobile phone market this year, surpassing the 600 million mark, while India had around 296 million subscribers by the end of July, AFP reported. - fox

There and back again: China's first Spacewalk, Safe return.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Like Luke Skywalker's landspeeder? Meet the Caspian Sea Monster, aka Russian Ekranoplan, a secret waterspeeder.



Movie legend Paul Newman dies, 83

Hollywood legend Paul Newman has died of cancer at the age of 83, his spokeswoman has confirmed.

The blue-eyed star of films like Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid had died at home on Friday surrounded by family and close friends, said Jeff Sanderson. Newman was nominated for an Oscar 10 times, winning the best actor trophy in 1987 for The Color Of Money. His Butch Cassidy co-star Robert Redford led tributes, saying: "I have lost a real friend." - BBC

150 Students Disciplined, One Arrested After Breaking School Dress Code

Parents of students in an Orange County school will have to keep an extra close eye on what colors their children wear. A new dress code policy at Odyssey Middle School sparked suspensions and even an arrest.The new dress code was approved in April 2007 after a student advisory council reviewed it. A 7th grader's mother said her daughter was one of 150 students sent to the cafeteria Wednesday."I was upset because it's a constant thing with the kids, what they wear. They want them to tuck-in their shirts and we try to comply with the rules," said parent Dolly Ortiz.Administrators handed disciplinary slips to kids who wore black, white or red."I think it is absurd. I don't get the rule," said student Alexis Ortiz.The school district said the principal learned of a coordinated effort by some of the students to wear the same colors that are against the school's dress code. Some of the students were suspended and one was arrested.Eighth-grader Alex Nunez said he didn't know about the organized effort to protest the new policy. He was sent to detention because of his black shirt."I missed my first period and half of my second period class just to be in there waiting to write me up," said Nunez.Nunez's father said that he understood why administrators were trying to protect students from possible gang activity. On the other hand, he believes students' freedom of expression was being taken away."I don't want them to go back to school rebellious or worried about getting in trouble, because they're not going to be focused on the books," said parent Omaury Rodriguez.Teachers expect the dress code violations to continue meaning more students will be disciplined. - WFT

Grandpa Told He is Pregnant at Hospital

A patient treated for agonizing abdominal pain received this surprising news in the hospital?s paperwork: ?Based on your visit today, we know you are pregnant.? Surprising indeed for 71-year-old John Grady Pippen.

The staff at Curry General Hospital in Gold Beach gave the retired mechanic and logger the ridiculously happy news this month, along with some pain pills.

Hospital administrator William McMillan says an errant keystroke caused the hospital?s computer to spit out the wrong discharge instructions for the grandfather. - IPN

Nader is on the ballot in 45 states. Most polls say he is 3rd most popular

Quinacrine for chemical sterilization? Bad idea. What is better?

What is the most humane way to stop us from breeding?! If we don't find a way to control ourselves, the planet will do it for us when food and water become scarce and as our pollution causes climate changes which challenge our existence.
Quinacrine (trade name: Atabrine) is a drug with a number of different medical applications being initially used in the 1930s as an antimalarial drug. It has also been used as an antibiotic in the treatment of Giardiasis (an intestinal parasite)[1], and in research as an inhibitor of phospholipase A2. It has also been proposed for use in systemic lupus erythematosus.[2] ...

Controversially, quinacrine has been used as a method of non-surgical sterilisation. This method [3], was developed by Zipper et al who reported a first year failure rate of 3.1%.[4] Pellets of quinacrine and an anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen are inserted through the cervix into a woman's uterine cavity using a preloaded inserter device, similar in manner to IUCD insertion. The procedure is undertaken twice, first in the proliferative phase 6th to 14th of the menstrual cycle and again one month later. The sclerosing effects of the drugs at the utero-tubal junctions (where the Fallopian tubes enter the uterus) results in scar tissue forming over a six week interval to close off the tubes permanently.

In over 30,000 cases of quinacrine pellet sterilizations in Vietnam, 10,000 cases in India and 5000 cases in other regions not a single death has been reported;[5] which compares to the fatality rates of surgical sterilizations of 21 per 100,000 in India,[6] and in the US & UK of respectively 10 & 2 per 100,000.[7] ...

Use of quinacrine for sterilization is highly controversial. The two leading promoters of quinacrine sterilization are Dr. Elton Kessel and Stephen Mumford, who both previously worked for the Family Health International (FHI), a non-profit agency that funded quinacrine research in Chile during the 1970s. Subsequent funding from the conservative Leland Fikes Foundation and the Scaife Family Foundation made it possible for Mumford and Kessel to provide quinacrine free of charge to researchers, clinicians, and government health agencies worldwide. Mumford and Kessel's gifts of quinacrine were made possible not only through family foundations, but also through the financial support of individuals such as Sarah G. Epstein and Donald Collins, both board members of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an organization advocating reduced immigration.

Risks of quinacrine sterilization include cancer, development of abnormal lesions in the uterus, severe pain, ectopic pregnancy and fetal exposure.[citation needed] The pellets have already been banned in India and Chile (Wall Street Journal, 10/19/98).

Quinacrine has never been approved by the FDA for sterilization. Despite this fact, Kessel and Mumford have solicited abortion providers in the United States to perform quinacrine sterilization. According to Kessel, official government approval through the FDA would have been "desirable but not necessary" because the FDA permits approved drugs to be used "off-label." The FDA, however, disagreed and in October 1998, it ordered Kessel and Mumford to destroy their existing supply of quinacrine tablets and to immediately stop all export and distribution of the drug. The FDA stated that quinacrine used for sterilizations was an "unapproved new drug and a misbranded drug in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act." and was an "unsafe use of this drug product.", with the FDA being "very concerned about the safety risks associated with the use of this drug and its effects on women and the fetus if a woman is or becomes pregnant." In addition to forbidding the marketing of quinacrine in the United States for sterilization purposes, the Warning Letter forbade the import of the drug into the United States or its exporting to another country. - wikipedia

The drug RU-486 is approved by the FDA to terminate pregnancy, but has side effects. There seems to be nothing completely safe and painless to prevent the human population from continuing to expand.

The Vice Presidential Debates, Biden v Palin

The Vice Presidential debates in five days, scheduled for Oct 2, 2008, will be interesting.

Biden has many more years of insider experience in foreign policy, and he is the current chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.  Will Obama be an agent of change with Biden as VP? Biden lost a past presidential bid due to his plagiarism of speech almost word-for-word, given by British Politician, Neil Kinnock.

Palin seems not as smooth as she'll need to be to handle a position of this power. Also, she does not fully understand what a Vice President does.

Hopefully she does now understand the duties of the job. This from Wikipedia:
As President of the Senate, the Vice President has two primary duties: to cast a vote in the event of a Senate deadlock and to preside over and certify the official vote count of the U.S. Electoral College. ... The informal roles and functions of the Vice President depend on the specific relationship between the President and the Vice President, but often include drafter and spokesperson for the administration's policy, as an adviser to the president, as Chairman of the Board of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), as a Member of the board of the Smithsonian Institution, and as a symbol of American concern or support. The influence of the Vice President in this role depends almost entirely on the characteristics of the particular administration. -wiki

True. If you work under G.W. Bush, for example, your job duties might include keeping public energy meeting results secret, orchestrating attacks like 9/11, the Anthrax attacksspying on Americans, outing CIA agents, shooting people (even his friends) in the face and promoting torture. I seriously doubt that Palin is "Cheney with lipstick" although environmentally she may be just as bad.

I'm looking on the bright side, no matter who wins, things have to get better than the last eight years (?)

Friday, September 26, 2008

My Reaction to the Presidential Debates

People pick their leaders based on who seems to be the top dog, and honestly, overall, I hate to say it, but I thought McCain came out looking a bit stronger. Not wiser. Not more honest. Not more correct. But more of a fighter. McCain showed he knows his history. He has met with foreign leaders and said he has been involved for 20 years in all major US national security decisions. He described himself as a maverick, as someone not liked for some of his decisions. He said he had selected another maverick as his VP.  On that note, Palin does not seem ready to me to be the second in command of the most powerful nation in the world, which shows McCain might make some disastrous mistakes in leading our country.

Obama was excellent at explaining different points of view. He seemed smarter, more diplomatic, and less dogmatic. He showed he supported the working class better. Obama pointed out his own Maverick side in that he opposed the war when it was unpopular and dangerous to do so. He showed he will use force when necessary, but that he would use diplomacy first. More importantly, his energy plan that will create 5 million new jobs for Americans and eliminate the need for oil from the middle east in 10 years.

We've had eight years of Republicans. It is time for a change.  Our chances for success as a nation and individually seem much better with him as president.

I'm looking forward to next few debates.

Here is a link to CNN live.

Below is a recent statement from Obama.

New clickjacking affects all browsers; cause remains unknown

Clickjacking isn't a new attack vector, but according to Grossman and Hansen, it's one that is "severely underappreciated and largely undefended." What makes the attack noteworthy, in this case, is that it appears to be completely browser-agnostic, and affects both Firefox 2 and 3, all versions of IE (including 8), and presumably all versions of Opera, Konquerer, Safari, and whatever other extremely marginalized and/or FailCat type of browser one might use to surf the web. The only browsers currently immune to whatever it is the two men discovered are text-based products, such as Lynx. ... Turning Javascript off is apparently useless—the attack doesn't use it. Instead, it takes advantage of what the two call a "fundamental flaw" inherent to all modern browsers, and an issue that cannot be fixed with a quick patch. Using a frame buster script will protect a person from assaults that utilize cross-domain scripting, but will not prevent the attack from operating normally if it's on a page the user is visiting. - atech

Al Jazeera journalist's six years in Guantanamo

You paid good tax dollars for what was done to this guy, who was told repeatedly by intelligence agents they knew he was innocent of any crime; doesn't it make you feel proud?!?!? - wrh

Presidential Debate 2008: Obama v McCain in Oxford, Mississippi

A transcript will be available here one hour after the debate.  The debates can be viewed live on CNN, here.

World CO2 emission levels at record, up 400%. China is #1.

Prepare for some wild weather.
CO2 emissions accelerate 400% as world turns to dirtier fuels

With emissions growth accelerating 400 percent this decade, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose at a record clip in 2007, reports the Global Carbon Project's annual overview of the greenhouse gas.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations climbed 2.2 parts-per-million (ppm) in 2007 to 383 ppm. Since 2000 CO2 levels have risen 2 ppm annually, compared with 1.5 ppm during the 1990s, 1.6 ppm in the 1980s, and 1.3 ppm in the 1970s. Rising CO2 levels are the direct result of human activities, including fossil fuel combustion, cement production, and deforestation. The Global Carbon Project's (GCP) report shows that emissions from fossil fuels and cement have increased 3.5 percent per year since 2000, after increasing at a rate of 0.9 percent during the 1990s. The rate of emissions growth exceeds the highest estimates put forth by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). China is the largest industrial emitter of carbon dioxide (i.e. excluding emissions from deforestation), followed by the United States, E.U. countries, Russia, and India. ... - mon

despite years of effort, carbon dioxide emissions are increasing at an alarming rate of 3.5% a year– faster than the 2.7% predicted by the IPCC in their worst case scenario, and miles ahead of the 0.9% annual rise in the 1990s. Worst still, current measures have been based on a middle-ground IPCC scenario. Pep Candell from the Global Carbon Budget told me that this was “astonishing”. For the first time, we have hit 10 billion tonnes of carbon emitted annually. The other thing to note is that China and India are galumphing their way up the table of biggest carbon dioxide emitters. Ten years ago the top four were: USA, China, Russia, Japan. Today that list reads: China, USA, Russia, India – and I am assured by Candell that next year India will have jumped into third place. - nature.com

Swiss man flies over Channel on jet wing

He had nothing above him but four tanks of kerosene and nothing below him but the cold waters of the English Channel. But Yves Rossy leapt from a plane and into the record books on Friday, crossing the channel on a homemade jet-propelled wing.

Rossy jumped from the plane about 8,200 feet over Calais, France, blasting across the narrow body of water and deploying his parachute over the South Foreland lighthouse, delighting onlookers who dotted Dover's famous white cliffs, cheering and waving as Rossy came into view.

Backed by a gentle breeze, Rossy crossed the Channel in 13 minutes, averaging 125 miles per hour. In a final flourish, he did a figure eight as he came over England, although the wind blew him away from his planned landing spot next to the lighthouse.

"It was perfect. Blue sky, sunny, no clouds, perfect conditions," the Swiss pilot said after touching down in an adjacent field. He said he wanted to show, "it is possible to fly, a little bit, like a bird."

Onlookers scooped up their children, picnics and dogs to race to the landing site as Rossy posed for photographs. His ground crew doused him with champagne, and the pilot swigged greedily from the bottle as he waved to the band of onlookers gathered to cheer him and take pictures with cell phone cameras.

A small airplane zipped across the sky with a banner that read: "Well done Jet Man."

Rossy said he had watched passenger ferries cutting a path between the Britain and France as he tore through the air.

"I was happy to be faster than them," he said. The 49 year old said the Channel crossing was the realization of a dream. ... - ap

A face from ears: Palin is carved into cornfield

This undated photo released by Duke Wheeler shows a corn maze rendering of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin at Wheeler Farms in Whitehouse near Toledo, Ohio. The 16-acre cornfield has been carved up in the likeness of the candidate. (AP Photo/Duke Wheeler, HO)

An Ohio farmer would like to invite you to get lost inside the head of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

A 16-acre corn maze near the town of Whitehouse has been carved in Palin's likeness, complete with her familiar updo hairstyle and eyeglasses. Farmer Duke Wheeler says that Palin created a lot of excitement in the campaign and that he was hoping to generate some for this year's maze. Wheeler says it took an artist from Idaho at least eight hours to mow down stalks for the maze. - boston

A Town in Texas Ponders Mystery of 1897 Spaceman

Thursday, September 25, 2008

German dentist extracts payment from patient

A German dentist overpowered a female patient in her home and yanked out two dental bridges from her mouth because she had failed to pay her bill. The dentist from the Bavarian town of Neu-Ulm is now under investigation for assault and theft after arriving at the woman's home with his medical instruments to perform the unwanted surgery.

According to police, the dentist knocked on the door of the 35-year-old woman on Monday evening and without saying a word forced her into her living room and tied her hands. In a scene reminiscent of the movie Marathon Man, he then forced open her mouth and removed the £320 worth of dental work which the woman's insurance company had refused to pay.

According to the victim, he never said a word. "The dentist is being investigated for assault for the way he forced open her mouth, and theft for taking the bridges," said Christian Owsinski a police spokesman.

"The woman was in pain when she showed up at the police station."

Mr Owsinski said the dentist, who has not been named, had not been arrested. If convicted he could face discipline from both the health insurance company and the dental association that could jeopardise his practice. - telegraph

And I would not be convicted by a jury of my peers. Still crazy, after all these years.

Outdoor pools boost child's asthma risk: study

Swimming in outdoor chlorinated pools appears to increase the odds a child will develop asthma, Belgian researchers said on Thursday.

Other studies have linked chlorine and asthma but the new findings published in the European Respiratory Journal cast doubt on the idea outdoor pools are safer than indoor ones where chlorine vapors remains trapped inside an enclosed space.

"The more you swim, the higher the risk," said Alfred Bernard, a toxicologist at Catholic University of Louvain in Brussels, who led the study. "What is new in this study is that we looked at outdoor pools for the first time."

Asthma, which affects more than 300 million people worldwide, is the most common pediatric chronic illness. Symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing and chest tightness.

Bernard and colleagues showed that outdoor pools are just as or more risky than indoor ones because harmful vapors remain at the pool surface and do not drift away.

And because children tend to spend more time in pools they are more likely to swallow chlorinated water or ingest vapors containing chemicals that attack the cellular barriers protecting the lung from allergens, Bernard said. - yahoo

I spent so many hours in outdoor pools as a kid. Perhaps if I hadn't, I wouldn't now get a little wheezy when the air quality reaches the "Sersiouly dangerous for all humans" level.

Man Hit By Car, Then Train 6 Hours Later

A Boulder transient was hospitalized after he was hit by a train while walking his bicycle across a railroad bridge in Boulder early Wednesday, about six hours after he was hit by a car.

Police said it was the second trip to the emergency room in six hours for the unlucky man, who had been hit by a car Tuesday night. Boulder police spokeswoman Sarah Huntley said Robert Evans, 46, was found in a creek, about 4:45 a.m., 10 feet under the bridge, and was taken to Boulder Community Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Evans is recovering from injuries to his head and leg after he was clipped by the empty Burlington Northern Santa Fe coal train. Valmont Road and Pearl Street had to be closed for several hours, but have since reopened.The bridge, which is about 50 feet long, is only wide enough to accommodate the train tracks. It is intended for trains only and is marked with warning signs to deter pedestrians from using it.Evans is facing a possible ticket for trespassing, according to police. - 7

Letterman unloads on McCain for not showing up

RIAA loses $222K verdict against Jammy Thomas

Record companies have to actually show that people downloaded music from your computer, not just that you made it available. And, if they download the music to prove that you allowed people to download it, they too may be guilty of violating the copywrite law. Also, the fines thye are charging are completely absurd. Anyway, they lost in court. Hats off to U.S. District Court Judge Michael Davis. Richard Korman has a nice summary of the situation on zdnet.
"Requiring proof of actual transfers would cripple efforts to enforce copyright owners' rights online--and would solely benefit those who seek to freeload off plaintiff's investment," RIAA attorney Timothy Reynolds wrote in a court filing. Thomas is the only individual charged with copyright infringement by the RIAA who has taken her case to trial. - cnet