Friday, June 5, 2009

One in seven scientists make up fake results, say peers

From Times Online...

By Hannah Devlin

 Faking scientific data and failing to report commercial conflicts of interest are far more prevalent than previously thought, a study suggests.

One in seven scientists says that they are aware of colleagues having seriously breached acceptable conduct by inventing results. And around 46 per cent say that they have observed fellow scientists engage in “questionable practices”, such as presenting data selectively or changing the conclusions of a study in response to pressure from a funding source.

However, when scientists were asked about their own behavior only 2 per cent admitted to having faked results.

Click here to read the rest.

Image via

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The safest play to live in the world is New Zealand

 From Ynet  Israel News

Far, far away: New Zealand is the safest place in the world, while Israel is almost at the bottom of the new Global Peace Index (GPI), an annual ranking of 144 of the world's nations based of how peaceful they are, which was published Wednesday by British newspaper The Guardian.

The top of the list saw an overthrow, after Iceland lost its title as the safest place in the world and fell to the fourth place, following the financial collapse in the northern European island.

 Israel ranked fourth from the end, falling one place compared to last year. Even Sudan and Congo are considered safer. The Jewish state is followed by only Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq, which is still defined as the most dangerous country in the world despite the improvement in its security following the US activity there.

To find out where the United States ranks and more world statistics click here.

image via Google Images

How long do you plan on living? Find out you life expectancy here...

From the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network...

How long can you expect to live? We developed the Longevity Game to give you a peek into your future by identifying the factors that can lead to a healthier, more productive life.

At Northwestern Mutual, we know a thing or two about longevity because we’ve been tracking statistics that impact life since 1857. And that wealth of knowledge helped us shape the Longevity Game.

Through the game, we hope to give you insight into your daily lifestyle—plus tips on how you can make some positive changes.

 Click here to find out your expected life span.

Image via Google Images

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Trolls Exposed: what kind of troll is disrupting your online community?

I've encountered Satanists - The Wren's Nest who ran my July 20, 2008 column IRS Recognized The Church of Satan as a Religion

and now I've strolled into a troll's cave....


Check out The Joe Blow Report blog.

What's really interesting about "Joe Blow" is that he's threatening me -

to paraphrase:

"If he (Dave) honestly thought I, or any of us, were actually paranoid and hostile as he claimed, I doubt he would have the termerity, let alone the courage to say it directly to me."

What does a coward afraid to use his own name think he's doing by questioning my courage?

I made the mistake of making a comment on his (their) little hate-filled blog because he (they) devoted a post to attacking my column on trolls. Please read his (their) blog and see what you think. I probably should have realized he (they) are a paranoid lot of losers and just let them be. The thinly veiled threats warning me that I didn't have a clue who I was talking to is just further proof of the hate that is spewing out from The Joe Blow Report blog.


Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 05/31/2009 01:27:12 AM PDT

Don't feed the trolls.

You know the ones I'm talking about. They prey on news forums, chat rooms, and other online communities. Their purpose: to disrupt any conversation or thread, and to get an emotional response from some unwary person. Ignoring them and not responding to their posts is your best option.

What kind of people are trolls? They're cowards. Lonely cowards. Their posts seldom show any real imagination and often resort to childish name-calling.

Click here to read the rest.

image via Google Images

Savant Art: A window into their formidable brains

Click here to see a collection of art created by various prodigious savant artists from around the world. Each piece of art has been chosen because it shines some light on the way the mind of a savant works.

The above image

Pi Landscape, by Daniel Tammet

Daniel Tammet shot to fame when he set a European record for the number of digits of pi he recited from memory (22,514). He has also learned Icelandic in a week and made up his own language. How does he do it?
He attributes his ability to remember numbers to his mixture of autism and synaesthesia. The autism focused his mind on numbers at a very young age, while the synaesthesia allows him to visualize each number as having a particular shape, color and texture.
This leads him to a number landscape that is easier to remember than a simple string of numbers.
See Inside the mind of an autistic savant
(Image: Daniel Tammet)

Grin and Bear It: Ancient Death-Smile Potion Decoded?

 From National Geographic...

By James Owen

Thousands of years before the Joker gassed comic book victims into a grinning death, Phoenician colonists on the island of Sardinia (map) were forcing smiles on the faces of the dead.

Now scientists say they know just how the ancient seafaring traders created the gruesome smiles some 2,800 years ago—not with a toxic gas like Batman's nemesis but with a plant-based potion.

And someday that plant might be used to Botox-like effect, perhaps reducing rather than adding smile lines, the researchers speculate.

(Related: "Phoenician Blood Endures 3,000 Years, DNA Study Shows.")

Ancient Death Grins

By the eighth century B.C., Homer had coined the term "sardonic grin"—"sardonic" having its roots in "Sardinia"—in writings referring to the island's ritual killings via grimace-inducing potion.

Click here to read the rest.

Image via National Geographic Online

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Are urban villages in store for the city of Detroit?

Planners say Detroit could one day resemble the English countryside

From The Detroit Free Press...


In a new vision of Detroit's future, a team of visiting urban planners suggests the city might one day resemble the English countryside, with distinct urban villages surrounded by farms, fields and meadows.

The idea may sound improbable, but Alan Mallach, a New Jersey-based planner who led the visiting team, said Detroit is evolving in that direction anyway, with large chunks of the city now largely abandoned.

"In a way, think of it as a 21st-Century version of a traditional country pattern," Mallach said. "You have high-density development on one side of the street and cows on the other, quite literally."

The team's recommendations, contained in a draft report by a committee of the American Institute of Architects, are the latest in a flurry of ideas for dealing with Detroit's growing vacancy.

Click here to read the rest.

Image via The Detroit Free Press Online

There goes one of his nine lives:Cat survives a 26 story fall

From Gothamist...

By Jen Chung

WABC 7 had this crazy story over the weekend: A cat fell 26 stories from a lower Manhattan building—and survived! And the cat's name is...Lucky! Apparently Lucky's owner had left a window in her apartment open 6 inches wide—which is more than enough for any enterprising cat to wander through. Lucky decided to walk out onto the ledge, but he slipped.

What's also amazing is that a window washing crew across the street took pictures! See them here—WABC 7 describes them, "First of Lucky perched dangerously on the ledge, and then a stomach-turning shot of Lucky midair. Finally, they captured Lucky, after landing, on his feet on a neighbor's balcony 26 stories below." Lucky was hospitalized briefly and seems to be fine and as cute as ever, judging by the video.

If you have any pets, do not leave unscreened windows open more than a inch. Here's the ASPCA on high rise syndrome.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Animal Communication Project: FROG CALLS

Ever wonder what all the croaking is about when you hear Frogs communicating? You knew those "ribbits" had a story to tell. Here it is:

From the Animal Communication Project...

The concave-eared torrent frog (Amolops tormotus) produces and responds to ultrasonic calls.

   "As dusk falls over a swampy pond, the chorus begins. First one frog croaks, a little hesitantly. Soon another joins in. Suddenly the pond resonates with the voices of dozens of male frogs, each signaling his species, availability and qualifications as a father.

Two populations of the same species, separated geographically—a highway running through a swamp, for example—develop dialects, slight differences in their calls. In most species, only males call, though the female midwife toad out shouts her mate. A sudden foreign sound silences them one and all. But soon a single voice starts again, followed by another and another.

The sound of a pond full of frogs can reach deafening levels, far out of proportion to the tiny bodies producing the sound. An air sac on the floor of the frog’s mouth enables it to do two remarkable things. First, when it’s expanded, the sac acts as a resonator, like the hollow body of a violin. Second, by forcing air into the sac from the lungs, then back into the lungs, a frog can croak continuously, even under water. The loudest frogs breed in temporary ponds. When the water’s available, the males muster mates quickly, for all frogs lay eggs only in water, and the tadpoles must grow legs before the temporary ponds dry up.

Click here for the rest of the story.

Photo © 2006 Albert S. Feng

Hendrix murdered by his manager, says former aide

From The Independent People

By Sadie Gray

The rock legend Jimi Hendrix was murdered by his manager, who stood to collect millions of dollars on the star's life insurance policy, a former roadie has claimed in a new book.

James "Tappy" Wright says that Hendrix's manager, Michael Jeffrey, drunkenly confessed to killing him by stuffing pills into his mouth and washing them down with several bottles of red wine because he feared Hendrix intended to dump him for a new manager, according to a report in the Mail on Sunday.

In his book, Rock Roadie, Mr Wright says Jeffrey told him in 1971 that Hendrix had been "worth more to him dead than alive" as he had taken out a life insurance policy on the musician worth $2m (about £1.2m at the time), with himself as the beneficiary. Two years later, Jeffrey was killed in a plane crash.

Click here to read the rest.

Image via The Independent People

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...