Dave Stancliff 2010-03-14 blogarama.com

Friday, March 19, 2010

Magnetic Hill in Ladakh, India is an optical illusion

Last fall I was talking about my “Bucket List” on this blog and how I ran across a “Magnetic Hill” while surfing the web. I thought it was real. It sounded like an interesting place to visit. But, thanks to an alert reader today, I now know the whole thing is a hoax! Oh well. Here’s some information you might find handy someday when you see or hear about a “mystery” or “gravity” spot for tourists.

A gravity hill, also known as a magnetic hill (and sometimes a mystery hill or a gravity road), is a place where the layout of the surrounding land produces the optical illusion that a very slight downhill slope appears to be an uphill slope. Thus, a car left out of gear will appear to be rolling uphill. There are hundreds of gravity hill locations around the world.

Explanation:

The slope of gravity hills is an optical illusion, although tour guides may claim natural or even supernatural forces are at work. The most important factor contributing to the illusion is a completely or mostly obstructed horizon; without a horizon, judging the slope of a surface is difficult as a reliable reference is missing. Objects one would normally assume to be more-or-less perpendicular to the ground (such as trees) may actually be leaning, offsetting the visual reference. The illusion is similar to the well-known Ames room, in which balls can also appear to roll against gravity. (PHOTO: Magnetic Hill in Ladakh, India )

Websites devoted to the paranormal also tend to have names like "Haunted Hill", "Magnetic Hill", or "Anti-gravity Hill", reflecting attribution of the properties of the area to the supernatural or magnetism. While humans also have a sense of balance to determine the inclination of the ground, visual cues can override this sense, especially if the inclination is shallow.

Related stories:

List of magnetic hills, a list of geographical gravity hills and their locations.

Mystery Spots and Gravity Hills at About.com

The Enigma Project

Scientific explanation of the phenomenon

Sloping off: Can cars roll uphill?

Going on Vacation soon? Here’s a few things to consider

We’re coming into that part of the year when Americans start going on vacations. I’d like to let people know that it’s important to do some research before going on vacation.

Going on vacation is a riskier proposition than ever before. Violence factors into spring break plans for college kids this year.

(right) Students visiting South Padre Island avoid short drive to Mexico

Image: Celebrity Mercury

Cruise ship plagued by illness returns to port

(Left)Passengers on Celebrity Mercury sickened on three consecutive sailings

Vacation Travel Club - MISLEADING SERVICES & PRICING

“The Vacation Travel Club representatives were "less than open and honest" with us when we attended their presentation. (Summer of 2008).”

How to Avoid Travel Club Scams and Ripoffs - How Not to Get Taken for a Ride

Report: Mini Vacations - Mini Vacations Vacation Rip Off Tampa Florida

Shell Vacation Time Share - Rip Off - Shell Vacations Complaint - Shell Vacations

Vacation Rentals Community - “Keith Briggs, owner of VRBO 10674, as at best a complete idiot and at worst a crook.”

Beware of Peabody Vacations! VACATION SCAM

If you do your research, you should have a great vacation. Happy travels!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Ten Biggest Misconceptions We Learn In School

 FROM PAUL’S PONDERING BLOG:

I do some teaching, and my kids are constantly turning in essays with tragically inaccurate examples, like "When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb..." or "Even Einstein got bad grades in school..." which society has for some reason decided to convince them are true. Actually, my kids are turning in examples more like "When Edison invented the atomic bomb..." or "When Ben Franklin signed the Magna Carta..."

1. Einstein got bad grades in school

Um... have you heard about this guy Einstein? Famous physicist? Relativity and all that? A genius, even? I'm pretty sure little Albert could handle his business in 4th grade arithmetic. Yes, contrary to popular belief, Einstein was a top student in elementary school, getting mostly top grades on the German grading scale of 1-6, which silly Americans later assumed, backwardly, were "D"s. The idea stuck because everybody loves the idea that their poor student can go on to great things. Sorry, parents, Einstein was teaching himself calculus at age 12.

Here’s the other nine misconceptions

Learn more about your ‘body burden’

Before we are even born, synthetic chemicals and heavy metals of all kinds begin building up in our bodies.  This chemical "body burden" is the focus of the information you will find on this web site.

The information on this site has been developed through the collaboration of health professionals, scientists, citizens groups and environmental organizations concerned about the chemical body burden we all carry and its health effects - known and unknown.

 

Idaho first to sign law against health care reform

C.L. "Butch" Otter

  This move by the state of Idaho has many ramifications. One thing that I see becoming more of an issue is state’s rights.

  Experts are saying that the Supremacy clause in the U.S. Constitution ranks over state law and that the so-called “Idaho Health Freedom Act” will be shot down in the courts when they sue.

  Critics also say that the state will have to hire another deputy attorney at $100,000 a year at a time when the Idaho coffers are empty and the state is looking at massive cutbacks in services.

I predict that this will be a “watershed moment” for states rights as 37 other states are looking at following Idaho’s lead. The Federal government is in for a fight.

Excerpt:

“Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter addresses the media during a news conference on Wednesday, March 17, 2010 inside his office at the Idaho statehouse in Boise, Idaho. On Wednesday Otter signed a piece of legislation that will require the state of Idaho to sue the federal government upon passage of health care reform which comes as Democrats in Congress hope to pass healthcare reform this weekend.” (AP Photo/Charlie Litchfield)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Awkward Office St. Patrick’s Day Bingo

Culture Buzz It's a big day! A day filled with potentially uncomfortable social situations at the workplace! You should easily be able to bingo on this because the people you work with always say such commonplace things. So keep track of your progress today and share the results below!

Awkward Office St. Patrick's Day Bingo

Facts & Myths about St. Patrick’s Day:

Fact: We really do all get very drunk on Paddy's Day in Ireland.
Myth. We all speak like Darby O'Gill
Fact: We normally focus on not wearing green.
Fact: McDonalds & Starbucks force green coffee and shakes on us too.
Myth: Irish alcoholism is a myth.
Myth: Leprechauns are real.
Fact: 99% of costume (novelty) leprachauns in Dublin are Eastern European and don't speak English.
Myth: Irish people take kindly to American tourists who wear green hats on any other day than St. Patrick's Day.
Fact: I have lived here my entire life and have never once heard someone say 'top o' the mornin' to ye' (I have also never heard anyone speak Irish who wasn't a complete douchebag). Now, you're ready to celebrate Paddy's (NOT Patty's) Day. Begorrah.

Thanks to BuzzFeed

Guest Opinion: John Cory says why he’s mad at both political parties

American flag behind barbed wire, and all that it implies, 06/15/09. (photo: Public domain)

GUEST OPINION

By John Cory

I am angry.

I'm tired of pundits and know-nothing media gasbags. I'm tired of snarky "inside politics" programming. I am sick of the bigotry and hatred of "birthers" and faux patriotic cranks and their GOP puppet masters. And I'm really pissed at the Democratic Party that confuses having a plate of limp noodles with having a spine.

I'm going to vomit if I hear the word "bipartisanship" one more time.

It was "bipartisanship" that gave us this activist conservative Supreme Court. A Supreme Court that says money is free speech and corporations are persons except when real people try to hold them accountable for their greed and poisonous ways.

"Bipartisanship" gave us the Patriot Act and FISA and illegal wiretaps and two wars and "free speech zones" and "no fly" lists. God bless bipartisan America.

I get nauseated every time the Senate explains how it takes a super majority to do anything for the American people. Tell you what Senate Bozos, if it takes 60 votes to pass legislation then it should take 60% of the popular vote to get you elected.

When some Tea Party crank says, "I want my country back," I respond, "No madam, you want your country backward."

When a deficit-mongering politician says, "How do we pay for this?" Why not ask, "What did you Republicans do with the surplus we Democrats left you?"

When a compassionate conservative says, "Healthcare reform is socialism," why not answer, "No, sir it is the moral and American way to care for people."

Yes, I can hear it now: "You are naïve and simplistic. These are complicated matters and require sophisticated solutions. Democrats are a big tent and strive for balance. But Republicans block our path at every turn. We are thinking and considering new ways to work in harmony with everyone."

Bite me.

The only thing you get with "harmony" is a Barbershop Quartet.

Democrats stop being Republican Lite. Stop whining about that mean GOP and their nasty messaging. Grow a pair, get a message, get a bumper sticker and hang it out there. Get some strong vivid talking points.

G-O-P = Greed Over People.

Greed Kills - jobs, people and the economy.

Terrorism is Viagra for Republicans: The more fear - the more excited they get.

When a soldier dies for America, who dares ask if they were gay or straight?

Don't act so shocked, Democratic Party. Have you looked around lately?

You're losing the young vote that showed up to elect Obama. You're losing those old enough to remember real Democrats. Why? Because you don't talk to them any more than you talk to me. You talk at me. You talk around me. You talk down to me. You talk about me. You don't talk with me. And you don't inspire and you don't champion and without that you are nothing more than an arbitrator of compromise and abdication.

You are facing a bully. Deal with it!

Republicans want the country backwards. They champion superstition over science because it entrenches ignorance and bigotry and captures the easily frightened.

Republicans treat the Constitution the way they treat the Bible, with selective interpretation and selective application to others while exempting themselves from judgment and accountability.

Republicans preach the gospel of fear because fear is darkness and darkness covers their theft of civil liberties and Constitutional principles.

For thirty years the Republican Party has claimed the mantle of law and order but now quake in dread of the American judicial system when putting terrorists on trial. How criminal is that?

Torture is illegal. Period. John Wayne and Jack Bauer were not our Founding Fathers - only in the make-believe world of Republican drugstore-patriots.

DADT needs to be repealed. Now. It is unconscionable, immoral, and disgusting.

Empathy, compassion and equality are not pejoratives. They are American values proven again and again throughout our history.

Republicans believe that bake-sales and cookies for chemotherapy best determine the value of life and healthcare because life is a pre-existing condition and the "free market" should not have to take on such a high risk - after all, no one gets out alive, so why should the corporation be left holding the bag? Unless of course the price is right.

Republicans believe that government should keep its hands off healthcare but should put its hands inside a woman's body.

Republicans believe in small government - small enough to hold the "right" people and small enough to be owned and operated by the "right" people. And who are the "right" people? Them. Not you.

Democratic Party, DNC, DLCC, DSCC or whatever your acronym - I have only one question for you: Really?

You can't win against these guys? You can't get your message out against these guys? You can't give America leadership against these guys?

Really?

PHOTO - American flag behind barbed wire, and all that implies. (Public domain photo)

‘Made in U.S.A.’ makes Cozy Coupe a rarity

Image: Image: Little Tikes General Manager Tom Richmond and a Cozy Coupe

This article is a last gasp effort to show we still manufacturer things in America.

You’ll notice, as you read, that this Cozy Coupe does have some parts manufactured overseas. The company is careful not to slam foreign toy makers because of this dirty little secret; the Coupe has been compromised!

I find it hard to celebrate this Cozy Coupe because if this is an example of an American success story we are truly in hot water…

Ride-along car is among very few toys still made in America

Excerpt:

“The Commerce Department estimates that 95 percent of the nearly $23 billion worth of toys sold in America in 2007 were imported, mostly from China, according to the latest industry report available. That's up from 85 percent just four years earlier.”

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Early-morning temblor jolts people awake, puts first-responders on notice in Southern California

I-5

When I first saw this headline I thought, “Big deal. A 4.4 is nothing.” Then I read the story and was surprised to see it did shake a few things up, including a stretch of Interstate 5.

Magnitude-4.4 quake shakes Southern California

“Though the quake was considered small in size, it was felt over a large swath of Southern California.

People from San Bernardino County to the east and Santa Monica to the west reported feeling the quake.

"The building started shaking. That's it. I'm used to it," downtown security guard Ruben Solis, 25, said from his booth in the high-rise district. Solis said he checked his monitors and no alarms were triggered. "I got up and went on patrol."

photo source

Iconic Items Not Made in the U.S.A.

Chuck Taylors

Here’s another dozen items that are no longer made in the good old USA:

“The granddaddy of all sneakers, the All-Star entered production in 1917 and took on basketball player and salesman Chuck Taylor’s name in 1923. Countless Americans used the high-top, rubber-soled kicks to establish their cred—from NBA star Julius Erving to the Ramones, Dr. House to Kurt Cobain. But when Nike bought Converse for $305 million in 2003, it moved production of all the company’s shoe lines abroad—even the cherished Chucks.”

Monday, March 15, 2010

People in power make better liars, study shows

Image: Jeffrey Skilling

This revelation will come as no surprise to the majority of Americans. I find it interesting that there was actually a study done to prove this.

In my opinion, all you have to do is follow politics. Every day brings revelations of more lies by politicians and the public becomes numb to their offenses.

So what can we conclude here? It’s really quite simple; people seeking power lie their asses off to get it.

Findings suggest that dishonesty comes more easily to those on top

Excerpt:

There’s old saying: power corrupts. And a new Columbia Business School study titled, “People with Power are Better Liars,” finds there may be some truth behind the cliché.

“People in power are able to lie better,” said Dana Carney, a management professor at Columbia Business School and one of the co-authors of the study. “It just doesn’t hurt them as much to do it.”

Above Photo source -

“Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling, who is serving 24 years in jail for his role in the energy giant's 2001 bankruptcy in one of the biggest corporate scandals in U.S. history, has appealed his conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court. His lawyers are challenging a 1988 federal law that makes corporate bosses liable to prosecution for depriving shareholders of "honest services."

View related photos

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Where the heck is Saint Helier?

There’s been 342 total visitors to this blog as of 1:00 p.m. PST today. Almost half have been International. I’m always amazed to find a Country/Island I never heard of. Today’s Island is - SAINT HELIER. Here’s what I found out about it:

Coat of arms}}} of Saint HelierSaint-Hélier      Location of Saint HelierSaint-Hélier in Jersey (Left)Coat of arms of Saint Helier Saint-Hélier - (Right) Location of Saint Helier Saint-Hélier in Jersey

Saint Helier (French language: Saint-Hélier, Jèrriais: St Hélyi) is one of the twelve parishes of Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands in the English Channel. St. Helier has a population of about 28,000, roughly 31.2% of the total population of Jersey, and is the capital of the Island (although Government House is situated in St. Saviour). The urban area of the parish of St. Helier makes up most of the largest town in Jersey, although some of the town area is situated in adjacent St. Saviour, with suburbs sprawling into St. Lawrence and St. Clement. The greater part of St. Helier is predominantly rural.
The parish covers a surface area of 4.1 square miles (10.6 km2), being 9% of the total land area of the Island (this includes reclaimed land area of 494 acres (2.00 km2) or 200 ha).
The parish crest is two crossed gold axes on a blue background, symbolising the martyrdom of Helier and the sea.

More International Visitors (as of 1:00 PST) were from:

Plovdiv, Bulgaria; Bandar Penggaram, Johor, Malaysia; Huddersfield, Kirklees, United Kingdom; São Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Zoetermeer, Zuid-holland, Netherlands; Dartford, Kent, United Kingdom; Antalya, Turkey; Luzern, Switzerland; London, United Kingdom; Redditch, Worcestershire, United Kingdom; Durban, Kwazulu-natal, South Africa; Rezekne, Latvia; Athens, Attiki, Greece; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Kiev, Kyyivs'ka Oblast', Ukraine; Longueuil, Quebec, Canada; Skopje, Karpos, Macedonia; Delhi, India; Parksville, British Columbia, Canada; Mumbai, Maharashtra, India; Caldicot, Monmouthshire, United Kingdom; Orthez, Aquitaine, France; Stilli, Aargau, Switzerland; Kiev, Kyyivs'ka Oblast', Ukraine; Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, United Kingdom; Bucharest, Bucuresti, Romania; Dunfermline, Fife, United Kingdom; Köln, Nordrhein-westfalen, Germany; Luzern, Switzerland; Antalya, Turkey; Dartford, Kent, United Kingdom; Dublin, Ireland; Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, United Kingdom; Lisburn, United Kingdom; Bristol, United Kingdom; Steenwijkerwold, Overijssel, Netherlands; Hradec Králové, Kralovehradecky Kraj, Czech Republic; Lisbon, Lisboa, Portugal; Birmingham, United Kingdom; Borovnica, Bohinj, Slovenia; Barnet, Hertford, United Kingdom; Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom; Kynsperk Nad Ohri, Karlovarsky Kraj, Czech Republic; Riyadh, Ar Riyad, Saudi Arabia; Store Heddinge, Storstrom, Denmark; Kosice, Slovakia; Hemel Hempstead, Hertford, United Kingdom; Nancy, Lorraine, France; Madrid, Spain; Hilversum, Noord-holland, Netherlands; Wynberg, Western Cape, South Africa; Stip, Macedonia; Paris, Ile-de-france, France; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Minia, Al Minya, Egypt; Birmingham, United Kingdom; Gdynia, Gdansk, Poland; Male, Maldives; Espoo, Southern Finland, Finland; Glasgow, Glasgow City, United Kingdom; Blacktown, New South Wales, Australia; Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; Bogor, Jawa Barat, Indonesia; Sofia, Grad Sofiya, Bulgaria; Lindfield, New South Wales, Australia; Stuttgart, Baden-wurttemberg, Germany; Rivne, Rivnens'ka Oblast', Ukraine; Saint Kilda, Victoria, Australia; Leigh, Lancashire, United Kingdom; Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; Rome, Lazio, Italy; Etikhove, Oost-vlaanderen, Belgium; and Nasik, Maharashtra, India.

images source

AS It Stands: Orientation study says getting lost could be in our genes

By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 03/14/2010 01:27:36 AM PST

Hi. My name is Dave and I have a reputation for getting lost.

I'm not sure where it started. I might have earned it in junior high when I got lost in the school's surrounding neighborhoods while running with the track team. Having “directional challenges” is a label I've tried to shed most of my life.

This is the part where I confess past orientation situations and feel real silly while doing it. For starters, I need a navigator when I go further from home than the local post office.

My friends and family accept this, and are willing to assume the navigator's role at a moment's notice. Once, when my three sons were very young, my wife and I decided to take them to this refuge for cats (it was called a “Cattery”) about an hour's drive from where we lived.

It should have taken an hour. Three hours later, I gave in to my wife and sons and stopped to get directions. All guys know this is hard to do. This incident is embedded in my sons' memories, and despite the fact they are men now and have their own children, they bring up the incident all too often at family gatherings.

Go here to read the rest.                                                                  image source