Saturday, September 26, 2009

Medical pot proposal erases compassion

L.A. needs to regulate pot dispensaries, but this plan goes too far.

By Sandy Banks

“She didn't know whether she'd have the nerve to speak. But Judy Bowen signed the list and took a seat amid the pot smokers and growers, the lawyers and doctors, the Rastafarians and AIDS patients crowded into the Los Angeles City Council hearing room.
And when her turn came, she gripped her cane, made her way to the microphone and joined a chorus of would-be lawbreakers, there to fight a proposed ordinance that would ban the sale of medical marijuana in Los Angeles.
Bowen showed up at the council hearing because renegade marijuana shops have become the scourge of neighborhoods like hers in South Carthay, where a dozen storefront dispensaries have sprouted along Pico Boulevard between La Cienega and La Brea.”
Click here to read the rest of the story at The LA Times.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Judo For Junkies…

A new, and highly controversial treatment for people who are addicted to things, is sweeping the country.

Judo For Junkies is knocking the bejeezus out of people with no self- control. Got hang-ups? See Judo For Junkies - coming in a side street near you soon!

Technorati Tags: ,

Pointless research: silly science hopefully coming to a stop…

By Tom Chivers

The government has unveiled plans to allocate research funding according to how much “impact” the research has.

The plans have come under fire from academics, who say that curiosity-driven, speculative research has led to some of the most important breakthroughs in scientific history, including penicillin, relativity theory and the theory of evolution.

More than that, though, it might bring an end to the quirky, sometimes daft, sometimes weirdly inspired research that brings harmless entertainment and occasional enlightenment to armchair buffoons and science nerds everywhere.

Below, take a look at some of the best.

Chinstrap penguins can squirt poo up to 40cm, winner, Fluid Dynamics, 2005
"Pressures Produced When Penguins Pooh -- Calculations on Avian Defecation", Polar Biology, 2003

Rather sweetly, the researchers end their conclusions by saying: “Whether the bird deliberately chooses the direction into which it decides to expel its feces or whether this depends on the direction from which the wind blows at the time of evacuation are questions that need to be addressed on another expedition to Antarctica.” No doubt governments will be falling over themselves to fund that trip.

Click here to read more silly science projects from the Telegraph

Technorati Tags: ,,

42 college/school-related viewers have checked in during the last 24 hours


Derwentside College-Durham, United Kingdom; University of Newcastle Upon Tyne-United Kingdom; New Brunswick Department of Education-Dalhousie, Canada; Toronto District School Board-Canada; Alberta College of Art & Design-Canada; Durham District School Board-Whitby, Ontario, Canada; Fernandez College of Arts & Technology-Bulacan, Davao Del Sur, Philippines.

Across the USA:

 University of Massachusetts-Amherst; University of Wisconsin-Menomonie; Stamford Public Schools-Connecticut; Merrimack Education Center-Brockton, Massachusetts; People’s Academy-Morrisville, Vermont; Mason Consolidated Schools-Temperance,Michigan; Iowa State University-Ames; Claremore Public School-Coweta, Oklahoma; Broward County Public Schools-Sanford, Florida; Kentucky Department of Education-Owensboro; Washington School Information Processing Corporation-Valley; Austin Independent School District-Texas; University of Illinois At Chicago; San Diego County Office of Education-Poway, California; Utah Education Network-Monument Valley; Winston-Salem State University, North Carolina; High Desert Education Service District-Sisters, Oregon; Purdue University Calumet-Hammond, Indiana; Los Alamos Public Schools-New Mexico; San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools-Upland, California; State University of New Yory At Stony Brook; King’s County Office of Education, Fresno, California; University of Maryland-Hyattsville; Georgia Department of Education-Zebulon; Gwinnett County Public Schools-Lawrenceville, Georgia; North Carolina Research & Education Network-Concord; Georgia Perimeter College-Decatur; Maine Libraries/Department of Education-Turner; Colleges of the Fenway-Boston, Massachusetts; Osseo School District-Minneapolis, Minnesota; Lincoln Intermediate-Unit 12-Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Montclair State University-New Jersey; and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education-Lexington.

Obama charges Iran with hiding nuclear plant

By Richard Wolf, USA TODAY

PITTSBURGH — President Obama and the leaders of Britain and France revealed this morning that Iran has been building an underground nuclear fuel enrichment facility for years without informing international inspectors.

The revelation, coming as world leaders began meetings here on the global economic crisis, was sure to put new pressure on Iran to come clean about its nuclear ambitions at a meeting next week or risk tough sanctions.

"The size and configuration of this facility is inconsistent with a peaceful program," Obama said. "Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow."

Two senior administration officials confirmed the existence of the secret facility to USA TODAY early this morning. It was first reported by The New York Times. Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy then accused Iran of repeated efforts to hide its nuclear sites, including this one south of Tehran.

Click here to read the rest.

PHOTO: Obama with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, right, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy leave the stage after making a joint statement on Iran's nuclear facility. Photo by Charles Dharapak, AP

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mysterious Crop Circles appear in Arcata

maze fly by 033 (2)

Pilots flying over the Pifferini Ranch have recently reported seeing these mysterious crop circles. It’s a first on the north coast where we seldom see UFOs (it’s either too foggy or raining too hard). This stark evidence isn’t as sinister as it may appear however…

Check out upcoming editions of The Times-Standard to get the story.

Photo taken by Richard R. Stancliff (my eldest son)

Census worker murdered - ‘Fed’ scrawled on his chest

 Was Bill Sparkman a victim of an anti-government killer? His mother thinks she knows what happened, but is waiting to see what the FBI come up with.

MANCHESTER, Ky. (AP) — When Bill Sparkman told retired trooper Gilbert Acciardo that he was going door-to-door collecting census data in rural Kentucky, the former cop drew on years of experience for a warning: "Be careful."

The 51-year-old Sparkman was found this month hanged from a tree near a Kentucky cemetery with the word "fed" scrawled on his chest, a law enforcement official said Wednesday, and the FBI is investigating whether he was a victim of anti-government sentiment. Click here to read the rest at USA Today/ AP Photo

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

There are some things you can’t hide…

R.J. Matson, NY, The New York Observer and Roll Call
Visit RJ -- E-Mail RJ

Technorati Tags:

Obama to world: Don't expect America to fix it all

 President Obama takes a calm, some say humble, approach to dealing with other nations. He’s trying to get the respect back for America that many countries lost under President Bush’s disastrous direction.

Will a more respectful approach make a difference? Who knows? It’s too early to tell after nine months in office.

The idea of mutual respect seems like a good place to start to me.

By JENNIFER LOVEN, AP White House Correspondent

“President Barack Obama challenged world leaders Wednesday to shoulder more of the globe's critical burdens, promising a newly cooperative partner in America but sternly warning they can no longer castigate the U.S. as a go-it-alone bully while still demanding it cure all ills.

"Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world's problems alone," said Obama in put-up-or-shut-up comments before a packed U.N. General Assembly hall. "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges." Read the rest here.

Photo and text via Associated Press

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

LEGO Artworks by Nathan Sawaya

1. Heartfelt

Some artists use paint, others bronze – But for Nathan Sawaya he chooses to build his awe-inspiring art out of toy building blocks. LEGO® bricks to be exact. The former corporate lawyer quit his job in 2001 to focus on becoming the world’s foremost LEGO artist.

With more than 1.5 million colored bricks in his New York studio, Sawaya’s sculptures take many forms.

Sawaya’s art is currently touring North American museums in a show titled, The Art of the Brick. It’s the only exhibition focusing exclusively on LEGO as an art medium. The creations, constructed from nearly one million pieces, were built from standard bricks beginning as early as 2002. More information on the tour, dates and locations can be found here.

A full-time freelance artist, Sawaya accepts commissions from individuals, corporations, and … well just about anyone with a good idea! He’s also available to design and build custom creations at events, photo shoots and conventions.

So let Sawaya know what you have in mind, he says, that there are literally no limits to what he can create out of LEGO.

Go to Bored Panda and see the rest.

Technorati Tags: ,,

Are you ‘tire’d of the same old playgrounds?

Playgrounds have come a long way since the early days of hot, steel slides and open-backed infant swings.

Safety is a big issue on today’s playgrounds, but so is imagination and ingenuity.

Take a look at some of the many unusually cool designs popping up around the world.

 Nishi-Rokugo – Tokyo, Japan

In Japanese, Nishi-Rokugo means Tire Park. The Kawasaki plants are located not far away, so it’s possible they donated the 3,000 tires that make up the dinosaurs, monsters, bridges, slides, swings, and all the loose ones there for kids to stack and hop on.

Here’s nine more parks thanks to Funster

Technorati Tags:

People with 'no religion' gaining on major denominations

By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY

Americans who don't identify with any religion are now 15% of the USA, but trends in a new study shows they could one day surpass the nation's largest denominations — including Catholics, now 24% of the nation.

American Nones: Profile of the No Religion Population, to be released today by Trinity College, finds this faith-free group already includes nearly 19% of U.S. men and 12% of women. Of these, 35% say they were Catholic at age 12. Click here to read the rest.

FAITH & REASON: What's your religious path: Any, many, one or none?

Here’s a related article from MailOnline:

We've given up on churchgoing, but not on Christianity

Two in three of us never go to church, it has emerged.

Just one in ten attends a service every week, meaning most of the population only turn up for baptisms, weddings or funerals.

Britain has not, however, lost its faith.

More than half of us are still happy to describe ourselves as Christians, according to the survey by the charity Tearfund.

And around three million say they would only need the slightest encouragement to darken a church's door more frequently.

Read more here

Monday, September 21, 2009

Spider-Man lookalike lizard is latest exotic pet craze

A lizard that looks startlingly like Spider-Man - Mwanza flat-headed rock agama - has become the latest fashionable pet.

By Tom Chivers

The vivid red-and-blue coloring is almost uncannily like that of the Marvel superhero, and comic book fans have been flocking to exotic pet shops to snap them up.

Agamas like the Spider-Lizard, as it has become known make good pets, as they become tame and docile if handled regularly. However, they require specialist equipment in the UK to maintain their temperature.

It can grow up to a foot long, and the squeamish may find it a problem to feed – a balanced diet for an agama includes locusts, crickets, mealworms and waxworms.

Native to Kenya, the rock agama (Agama mwanzae) is unable to throw webs, but can change color – the brightly colored males will change brown at night or if frightened. They can also run on their hind legs, and – like Spidey – can scale vertical walls.

Credit: The Telegraph

The illitterate minority speaks out


These pictures say it all. Prejudice is still prevalent, and illiteracy is rampant in protests today.

Click here to see more signs at

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Current economy could use a Depression Glass success

By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 09/20/2009 01:27:09 AM PDT

Collecting memorabilia of any kind during this dreary economy may seem a crazy idea at first, but it has its merits.

During the Great Depression, Americans from all walks of life collected Depression Glass. It was inexpensive to make and was given away in promotions. Today you can get surprising prices for that glass.

By using “pressed” glass techniques, manufacturers were able save money and turn out a larger volume compared to hand-blown or cut glass production methods. The process involved pouring molten glass into molds of various patterns and pressing it to assume the shape of the mold.

The early patterns were etched, but hobnail glass, which first appeared in 1930, was the first real “hit.” Like families in today's tough times, during the Depression people spent what money they had on necessities like food. Shoppers could get free pieces of Depression Glass in boxes of oats and other foodstuffs.

The people who marketed Depression Glass sold it at an amazing variety of stores and sales outlets at affordable prices. Even the lower classes were able to enjoy attractive glassware.

Depression Glass came in a wide range of colors. You could collect it free by going to gas stations or signing up for bank accounts. Those early marketers didn't leave a stone unturned.

Some historians have even gone so far as to say the popularity of Depression Glass helped stimulate demand for consumer goods and household purchases, helping the country emerge from hard times.

Click here to read the rest at The Times-Standard.

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...