Friday, December 31, 2010

As It Stands wishes it’s readers a Happy New Year!

Here we are. The last day of 2010 is fading away with every hour. Some people feel the urge to make new year resolutions that are usually broken before January ends.

Not me. I gave that practice up a long time ago. It was basically a recipe for failure.

I want to thank all of my readers for stopping by here and visiting my cyber home. You’re the reason I enjoy blogging. It gives me an opportunity to communicate with you and to share ideas and opinions.

As a Vietnam veteran with PTSD, I have little desire to go out in public. Crowds bother me. Being too close to people in public makes me nervous. I’m always watching my back. This blog has given me a viable alternative to communicating. It allows me to feel safe, yet to reach out to others and share my thoughts. Having access to the web, the biggest library in the world, has helped me expand my horizons and to do research that once took a lot of footwork and one-on-one meetings. I’m very thankful for this opportunity to be in touch with the world, without feeling any stress. I hope you keep coming back…

Here’s my message to you for 2011: Take each day like it’s your last, and don’t sweat the small stuff! 


New list released: word warriors vanquish 'viral,' eradicate 'epic'

“It's official: Viral went viral, and now it's been virtually vaporized.

Michigan's Lake Superior State University features the term linked to popular online video clips in its annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.

The 2011 list, compiled by the university from nominations submitted from across North America throughout the year, was released Friday.”

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sand Sculptures From Australia’s Creepy Crawlies Exhibition


Creepy Crawlies, the newest theme for Sandstorm Events’ annual Sand Sculpting Australia exhibition in Frankston, will once again see the best sculptors from around the world – from the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland and the UK, to Singapore, Canada and the USA. Go here to see more great sculptures.

From beetles, bugs and butterflies, to spiders, slugs and scorpions, the tiny creatures that inhabit our lives will be magnified and amplified in giant sand sculptures. Delicate dragonflies and enchanting ladybirds will mingle with bed bugs, fleas and other things that make you itch and your skin crawl!


Geraldine Doyle, inspiration for 'Rosie the Riveter,' dies at 86

“With a red and white bandana in her hair and factory worker uniform sleeves rolled up to reveal her bulging biceps, Rosie the Riveter was painted on a World War II recruitment poster in 1942.

But for four decades, the real Rosie the Riveter had no idea she was the woman who inspired it.


Read story here


Perhaps it was because Geraldine Doyle left her factory job after two weeks – or because she didn’t actually have bulging biceps – that Doyle, who died at 86 years old on Sunday in Lansing, Mich., didn’t know for so long that she was the model for what would became a symbol of women’s empowerment.”

One day, a United Press International photographer came to the steelworks factory and took a picture of Doyle leaning over machinery (right), a red and white polka-dot bandana covering her hair.

Child's play leads artist to find a whole new way of working

Blue boy At first glance these pictures look like nothing more than pixelated photographs but closer inspection reveals the images are actually created using thousands of wax crayons.Brown boy

Bored with paint and pencils, inventive artist, Christian Faur, turned to the childhood favorite for inspiration after seeing his young daughter using them.

Christian, from Granville, USA, starts each piece by scanning a photograph and breaking the image down into colored blocks.

He then places thousands of crayons into a grid - like colored pixels on a television screen - before packing the finished piece into a wooden frame. See more here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It was 1969 - The Year that the Army stopped Niagara falls

I was training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri in 1969. That’s where the Army Corps of Engineers was located. I was preparing to be a combat engineer and to go to Vietnam. My luckier comrades stayed stateside and worked on this project.

In 1969, the Army Corps of Engineers accomplished an awesome feat: They turned off Niagara Falls. They did it to clean up the area, and check for structural integrity. Here are pictures of this bizarre episode in structural engineering history.

These pictures were taken by tourists who visited the dry falls in 1969. Environmental design blog Mammoth explains the context:

“For six months in the winter and fall of 1969, Niagara's American Falls were "de-watered", as the Army Corps of Engineers conducted a geological survey of the falls' rock face, concerned that it was becoming destabilized by erosion. During the interim study period, the dried riverbed and shale was drip-irrigated, like some mineral garden in a tender establishment period, by long pipes stretched across the gap, to maintain a sufficient and stabilizing level of moisture. For a portion of that period, while workers cleaned the former river-bottom of unwanted mosses and drilled test-cores in search of instabilities, a temporary walkway was installed a mere twenty feet from the edge of the dry falls, and tourists were able to explore this otherwise inaccessible and hostile landscape.”

via Mammoth  Photos from Russ Glasson's Flickr stream.


Whatever you do – don’t step on this guy’s prize front lawn!

Probation for killing after dog pees on prize lawn

Chicago-area ex-Marine will do no jail time for second-degree murder in 2009 shooting

“Charles Clements, 69, won't do any jail time for killing his neighbor Joshua Funches, 23, during an argument outside Clements' home. He could have been sentenced to as long as 20 years in prison, The Chicago Tribune reported.In May 2009, as Funches passed Clements' home while walking his fox terrier, the dog lifted its leg and relieved itself, witnesses said. The two men got into an argument.”

image source

Congressional redistricting: or how to rig an election

In a normal democracy, voters choose their representatives. In America, it is rapidly becoming the other way around

“All you need is the power to draw district lines. And that is what America provides: a process, called redistricting, which, through back-room negotiations too boring for most voters to think about, can distort the democratic system itself.”

Here are some very interesting examples of ‘Land Art’

sylvain-meyer01 sylvain-meyer05fROM fUBIZ – dAILY dOSE OF iNSPIRATION BLOG


Mélange de photographie, de nature et de style, le land-art de Sylvain Meyer s’illustre avec brio au travers de ces images. Grâce à son sens de l’observation, il passe des heures à collecter des éléments de la nature afin de créer une ambiance envoutante. Plus d’images dans la suite. sEE MORE HERE.



Here’s why your child's school bus has no seat belts…

Modern fleets aim to 'compartmentalize' pupils into a protective bubble

“Most school buses in the United States don't have seat belts or similar restraints to protect children in an accident. Federal law requires them in buses under 10,000 pounds, but that's only a small proportion of the school buses in use — picture those tiny 6- to 12-seater buses you sometimes see, which are usually fully tricked out for transporting disabled and other special-needs pupils.”


“But the standard long yellow school bus, which makes up about 80 percent of the nation's fleet, weighs in about 23,000 pounds, and its passengers sit much higher, making them safer in collisions. For those, federal education and transportation agencies leave the decision up to the states. And so far, only six require seat belts to be installed.”

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Is it time? E-mails, letters favor pardoning Billy the Kid

Image: Billy the Kid

Billy is one of my favorite characters from the Old West. I’ve read tons of articles, several books, and have chatted with some historians about him. I think he should get a pardon. What about you?

A website started in mid-December is the epicenter of the historical debate

“More people say they favor a pardon for Billy the Kid than oppose the idea after Gov. Bill Richardson's office set up a website and e-mail address to take comments on a possible posthumous pardon for one of New Mexico's most famous Old West outlaws.

Richardson's office received 809 e-mails and letters in the survey that ended Sunday. Some 430 argued for a pardon and 379 opposed it.

The website was created in mid-December after Albuquerque attorney Randi McGinn petitioned for a pardon, contending New Mexico Territorial Gov. Lew Wallace promised one in return for the Kid's testimony in a murder case against three men.”

Many U.S. companies are hiring ... overseas

One reason why U.S. unemployment remains as high as it is

Corporate profits are up. Stock prices are up. So why isn't anyone hiring?

Actually, many American companies are — just maybe not in your town. They're hiring overseas, where sales are surging and the pipeline of orders is fat.

More than half of the 15,000 people that Caterpillar Inc. has hired this year were outside the U.S. UPS is also hiring at a faster clip overseas. For both companies, sales in international markets are growing at least twice as fast as domestically.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Random Illusions for your entertainment on a rainy Monday..

Life And Death Arround You

This painting (right) is work from Alex Grey, an artist who does similar trippy pictures, usually oil on wood. How many faces can you find? There are seven if I see correctly. If you see more, be sure to comment!

Imaginary Stripes Illusion



A simple illusion, black strips running bottom-left to top-right.

----------------------------------------------------------------image sources

One for the books: Man faces charges for reading wife's e-mail

I wasn’t aware that this was a felony. It looks like I better study up more on internet laws and cases like this.

What other strange internet laws are there that could land me in jail? I’ll get back with you on this sometime.

Husband used his wife's password to access her Gmail inbox

“A Michigan man who says he learned of his wife's affair by reading her e-mail on their computer faces trial Feb. 7 on felony computer misuse charges.”

New Orleans law firm challenges Gulf seafood safety all-clear

Image: Environmental technician collects samples in Mississippi

'It is unethical to experiment with the health of the U.S. population or military members,' toxicologist says

“A New Orleans law firm is challenging government assurances that Gulf Coast seafood is safe to eat in the wake of the BP oil spill, saying it poses “a significant danger to public health.”

It’s a high-stakes tug-of-war that will almost certainly end up in the courts, with two armies of scientists arguing over technical findings that could have real-world impact for seafood consumers and producers.”

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Inquiring columnist asks: 'What's your Top 10 list for 2010?'

Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 12/26/2010 04:55:37 AM PST

Here we are, the day after Christmas, and I'm asking you to reflect upon the past year. I'd like to say it was “the best of times, and the worst of times” but Dickens beat me to it.

What a year. I won't even attempt to summarize it for you. Plenty of other writers are doing just that at this very moment. Some are on deadlines, glued to their computers, researching and writing stories about 2010.

You won't have to look too hard to find their stories:

The Top 10 Ecological Disasters of 2010; The Biggest CEO Screw-Ups for 2010; The Top 10 Paid Athletes, etc. Time Magazine has already told us who the Person of the Year is: Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of the omnipresent social-networking site Facebook.

Experts on the economy and politics will inform us what went right and what went wrong.

As I do every year, I'll ignore all those professionally gathered lists and weigh the year's worth on my own scales. I don't need someone to tell me the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was the number one ecological disaster for 2010.

While we're on the subject of the BP catastrophe, I just read a report that BP claims they didn't spill as much oil as our government said. They haven't offered any hard figures to back this claim that the U.S. oil spill estimates are 20 to 50 percent too high. No surprise there. BP isn't what you'd call a “good neighbor” by any stretch of the imagination.

Pardon me, I digress. If you're like me, you judge a year by your own personal experiences and views on the issues. If you lost your spouse, house, dog, and pickup truck, 2010 really sucked. It was a year to be forgotten with professional psychiatric help.

If you won the lottery, got all A's in school, and fell in love for the first time, 2010 was a banner year. A year to remember. A memory milestone.

When it all comes down to it, we know it was just another year. They come and go, after all. It's been like that for a long time. Nothing special really. Labeling it with a date makes it easier to keep track of things and provides a reference for future historians.

I've decided not to write my own or read mainstream Top 10 lists this year. As a newspaper editor, I had to spend countless hours making lists for annual Year in Review issues. I looked at this chore as a necessary evil because all newspapers, and some magazines, do the yearly wrap-up thing.

If for some reason I hadn't done a Year in Review in those days, irate readers would have stormed my office with torches and pitchforks. My publisher would have questioned my sanity. My staff would have desperately looked for something to write about to fill all that reserved Year in Review space. It wouldn't have been pretty.

So, I compiled endless lists and readers either liked them or they didn't. I secretly felt I was cheating, using year-old news as a filler where fresh news should go. I always put my best face forward (the one where I wasn't frowning from stress) when observing newspaper traditions. Even when I didn't agree with the traditions. Sometimes that's life.

I've been thinking this year -- always a dangerous proposition -- it would be fun to do something a little different. Readers like to see what other readers think about things. Especially in small communities. Letters-to-the-editor are always a well-read part of a newspaper. You might even read something by someone you know.

So how about it? What's your Top 10 List for 2010? Was it a good year or a bad year? Did anything on this planet particularly impress you? Was this a good year for entertainment? Did you see or hear things that gave you hope for humanity? Give it a try and share your Top 10 list for 2010.

If you like, you can send your list to me via this newspaper (letters to the editor) or e-mail me. I'll gladly read it. I might even share it (with your permission) with readers of my blog. I think your letters will provide far more interesting reading than the mainstream media has to offer.

As It Stands, it's time to say Happy New Year! I won't be back until 2011.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas! Inspirational people, extraordinary giving

$11.2 million in lottery winnings, a kidney, half your paycheck and more gifts that make a difference

"If everyone who considered his income 'ordinary' decided not to give, many of the most important causes could go unfunded," Beckstead added, also by e-mail. "Moreover, people of even modest income can make a significant difference in the lives of large numbers of people if they give a portion of their income to the right charities."

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve: Secret Santa, NORAD mum on how it tracks St. Nick

Image: Official NORAD tracking of Santa Claus

'Ultra-cool, high-tech, high-speed digital cameras,' radar, satellites and Canadian fighter jets all play role, insiders say

Lots of military secrets are hidden behind the gleaming walls of NORAD'S headquarters building, including this one: Just how do they get Santa's flight path onto their computer screens every Christmas Eve?

Tracking Santa's travels is a celebrated tradition at the North American Aerospace Command, and it unfolds Friday for the 55th year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

As It Stands: Recent Visitor Map for Dec. 23rd at 12:53 PST


Wishing all my viewers a Merry Christmas no matter where you are!

Holiday Grinch Bust 13-year Old Boy For Illegal Marker Possession

A 13-year-old boy was arrested Friday for using a permanent marker while in class at his Oklahoma City middle school, a violation of an obscure city ordinance…are you kidding me?

Sharpie possession was a misdemeanor...So I suppose if he had displayed a can of Krylon spray paint it would have been a felony? What if he had taken the can out of his pocket in an aggressive manner? Tasered or Pepper Spray? I don't care what the details are behind this. This country has gone nuts!

According to an Oklahoma City Police Department report, the boy was spotted “in possession of a permanent marker” by Roosevelt Middle School teacher DeLynn Woodside. The 50-year-old educator told cop Miguel Campos that the student was “writing on a piece of paper, which caused it to bleed over onto the desk.”Woodside, pictured at right, reported that the child, whose name was redacted by police from the report, attempted to hide the marker when she asked him for it. Strangely, Woodside’s Facebook page reveals that her “likes and interests” include the official “Sharpie Permanent Markers” page on Facebook.

Campos reported that he allowed Woodside, a seventh grade math teacher, to “sign a citation” against the boy, who was then transported to the Community Intervention Center, a juvenile holding facility. A police sergeant subsequently “booked the marker into the property room.”

A police spokesman referred to the student’s bust as a “citizen’s arrest” effectuated by Woodside.

The marker ban--which apparently is aimed at curbing graffiti--stems from a city ordinance making it illegal to possess spray paint or a permanent marker on private property (without the owner’s permission). (2 pages)


A great gift idea just in time for Christmas…

Two days left: Last-minute gifts that take seconds to deliver

Don't ship overnight, don't even leave the house — these gifts are instant and impressive

By Wilson Rothman and Winda Benedetti

  • One of the nice things about living in the future is that you can give meaningful gifts without ever getting up from your computer. No, we're not talking about gifting FarmVille livestock in Facebook — though those might get some people choked up with gratitude. But we're also not talking about anything you have to ship in advance or anything you even have to go to the store to buy.

    If you are in a ridiculous hurry, but you still care what your cherished friend or family member thinks about you, look into the following gift ideas. These are gifts that can be delivered in a matter of minutes or even seconds. And while they may be digital gifts, they'll mean as much as something tangible — and hopefully a whole lot more than some old virtual pig.

    Just be sure to follow up. If the e-mail notifying your loved one of your gift gets lost in the spam filter or some other back channel, all those generosity points will go to waste!

Anarchist plot? 'Wave of terrorism', Blasts hit Rome embassies

Twin blasts target embassies in Rome

Explosions at Swiss, Chilean missions injure two people

“Package bombs exploded at the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome on Thursday, injuring the two people who opened them. The interior minister said anarchists were believed responsible and linked the attacks to similar bombings at embassies in Greece last month.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Decades on, EPA on verge of curbing use of rat poisons

Image: d-CON rat baits

Activists hope new rules will slash number of U.S. kids being sickened each year

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has known for a generation that kids have too-easy access to these super-toxic rat poisons. Every year, more than 10,000 kids are getting hold of them, and virtually all of the resulting calls to U.S. poison control centers concern children under the age of 3.

Black and Hispanic children living below the poverty line are disproportionately affected. For example, a study in New York found that 57 percent of children hospitalized for eating rat poison from 1990 to 1997 were African-American and 26 percent were Latino.”

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

31 cities’ tap water has cancer-causing hexavalent chromium, study says

The Environmental Working Group released a report Monday indicating that millions of Americans are regularly drinking hexavalent chromium, made famous in the film "Erin Brockovich" as a carcinogen, through their tap water.

The group -- whose study was first reported in a story Sunday by the Washington Post's Lyndsey Layton -- tested water from 35 U.S. cities and found that samples from 31 cities contained hexavalent chromium. The highest concentrations were found in Norman, Okla.; Honolulu; and Riverside, Calif. The substance had been a widely used industrial chemical for decades and has evidently leached into the groundwater in many areas.

[Related: Drilling ban follows concern over flammable water]

[Related: Leaking ice raises tricky climate issue]

[List: America's most polluted cities]

The list of cities found to have hexavalent chromium in the municipal water supplies

Strange Holiday Traditions Around the World in a few clicks…

"Krampus" (Austria and Hungary)
Krampus, Austria and Hungary

St. Nick’s devil-like counterpart has one task: to punish bad children before Christmas. In other words, he’s no jolly fat man. Instead, picture a red devil with cloven hooves, horns, and a long tongue (though he can take the form of a bearded wild man or huge hairy beast). Instead of a bag full of toys, Krampus carries chains and a basket for abducting especially bad children and hauling them to hell. Experience this holiday tradition at Krampusnacht parties and Krampus Runs, during which rowdy revelers cavort through town in beastly costumes.

There’s more here.

Feel Good Time: Bow to Wow roundup: Lucky dogs in new homes

If you're interested in finding information on how to adopt dogs like the ones seen on TODAY, please visit the Animal Care & Control of New York City's site at or call 212-788-4000.

I was looking for some positive news items this morning and found this story.

If you’re an animal lover, these dogs stories will warm your heart on this rainy day.

I shared this video with my Pug Millie, who approved of it.

'Rubber Man Syndrome' turns man into real-life Gumby

Stacy Lipson writes: Todd Shaeffer of Philadelphia can bend his fingers completely backward, fold his ears forward so they stay that way and perform other cringe-worthy feats that would be impossible for most of us.

“I see it as a blessing,” says Shaeffer, 27. “I used to think I was a superhero.”

As a kid, Shaeffer impressed his friends with stunts like spinning his head around 180 degrees to look over his back and wrapping his arms around his entire waist and touching his fingers together. While it sounds like something out of a circus show, Shaeffer suffers from Type 1 Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic disorder also called Rubber Man Syndrome that affects the connective tissue. .

Monday, December 20, 2010

‘As It Stands’ Scum Of The Month: Pedophilia author arrested

Image: Philip Ray Greaves II

Philip Ray Greaves II, author of pedophile how-to-guide (?Pueblo County Sheriff's Office via AP)

Philip Ray Greaves II, of Colorado, has been awarded the un-coveted Scum of The Month Award for December 2010. That puts this scum bag in the running for ‘As It Stands’ Scum of the Year Award.

The self-published book was removed from Amazon's Kindle store after it generated online outrage…

“Florida officials filed an obscenity charge Monday against the author of a self-published how-to guide for pedophiles that was yanked from last month.

Polk County sheriff's deputies arrested Philip Ray Greaves II hundreds of miles away from Florida at his home in Pueblo, Colorado, and charged him with violating Florida's obscenity law.”

Not without my blow-dryer: Reality show uncovers strange addictions

I know some people who ought to apply to appear on this new series about strange addictions. How about you? Do you know some likely candidates who could tell their stories?

Joan Raymond writes:Most of us use our hair dryers to, well, dry our hair. But Lori Broady, 31, turns the dryer on, sticks it in her bed, and falls asleep to the soothing sound of hot air. She’s been doing this every night since she was 8 years old, despite knowing she may burn herself or start a fire. This, of course, raises the question: Why doesn’t she just buy a fan if she needs a little noise to fall asleep? Turns out, it's not that simple.”

Broady appears on the new TLC 12-part series, "My Strange Addiction," which premieres Dec. 29 at 9 p.m. Also featured are folks with other extreme behaviors like thumb sucking, toilet paper eating, "tanorexia" and even a guy in a relationship with a silicone doll.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

As It Stands: Is Assange a Robin Hood trying to take the high road by thievery?

By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 12/19/2010 01:28:25 AM PST

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange opened the 21st century version of Pandora's Box. He spread illegally obtained raw classified information on his website for the world to view. As a result, the journalism world may never be the same again.

WikiLeaks has exposed secrets about corruption in governments and corporations; embarrassing stuff that makes a good read, and some humanitarian issues that call for action.

So, who is this crusader for justice, this Robin Hood who leads his merry band of hackers and other followers on behalf of humanity? Should we trust the motives of this convicted computer hacker and alleged sex offender? If so, why? Because he's been the darling of hackers, anarchists, and international journalists since 2007, when he started WikiLeaks?

Assange recently turned himself in to British authorities and is currently out on bail awaiting extradition to Sweden for questioning about sexual misconduct with two Swedish women. Hardly a ringing endorsement for his character.

The question is, “How much good and bad has come of releasing those secret documents?” Assange claims he's a champion for truth. Whose truth would that be?

I question why he didn't hide the identities of Afghan informants in his revelation revolution. The Taliban picked right up on their names and promised to “punish them.” Make that murder them. Collateral damage? OK. At what point do these lives start counting?

Still, Assange has supporters. Recently, a loose-knit group of hackers who gather on the website under the name Anonymous called for cyber attacks against those who worked against him. They successfully attacked Mastercard, Visa, PayPal, the Swiss bank PostFinance, the Swedish government website and others who criticized or tried to shut down WikiLeaks.

These cyber attacks were called “Operation Payback” and “Operation Avenge Assange.” So far, the damage has been temporary. Innocent consumers have suffered financially from these retaliatory actions. More collateral damage.

 Which leads me to wonder, what's next if the British send Assange to Sweden and he's convicted of a crime? How will international hackers respond to that? After all, he's one of their own and used to go by the nickname “Mendax” -- a classical Latin word for “liar.”

He and two other hackers called themselves the “International Subversives” and regularly broke into the computer systems of some of America's most sensitive government installations, including nuclear weapon labs, before forming WikiLeaks. He's never made a secret of his hatred for the United States.

This is where it gets scary. Unknown, unorganized hackers have flexed their digital muscles in the name of Assange. Authorities can expect more trouble if things go bad for him. His followers threaten governments and corporations with impunity.

It's hard for me to believe that a so-called whistleblower organization involved in international espionage may change journalism for the better. In a recent MSNBC interview, Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at American University, said, “It's quite clear that the Espionage Act applies on its face regardless of whether the individual who is distributing classified information is the initial thief or an intermediary.”

That initial thief, Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, is no hero. He's been arrested and charged with the unauthorized use and disclosure of U.S. classified information. Spreading that information on WikiLeaks makes Assange a co-conspirator in the theft.

I'm having a hard time joining some of my peers who still support Assange. Someone who provides a website for the dissemination of raw data is not an editor or reporter in my book. Even calling him a whistleblower is misleading, because he's pursuing a personal agenda against the United States.

According to numerous media reports, Assange is leading a troubled life. His wife and child left him. He lost his main supporter and confidant, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who is launching a rival website called “OpenLinks” which promises to be more transparent than WikiLeaks.

Is WikiLeaks a real journalistic organization devoted to truth and the betterment of mankind? Is Assange a modern-day Robin Hood stealing information for the masses? Or is WikiLeaks just a gathering of computer hackers, self-avowed humanitarians and assorted disgruntled individuals all pursuing personal agendas against the established governments of the world?

As It Stands, before people try to make Assange a legend, it might be a better idea to see how his story plays out.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Assange backlash: could WikiLeaks provoke U.S. crackdown on leaks?

'The consequences of (Assange's) behavior for the American press could be stark and painful'

“WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange's crusade for greater official transparency could backfire by provoking a U.S. government crackdown on leaks that might entangle even journalists, legal experts warn.”

‘As It Stands’ will take a look at Julian Assange Sunday, and will ask the question “Is he Robin Hood feeding the masses information?”

Bank of America cuts off WikiLeaks payments

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Bank of America Corp said on Saturday it will not process payments intended for WikiLeaks, which has angered U.S. authorities with the mass release of U.S. diplomatic cables.

The largest U.S. bank by assets joins a growing group of financial services companies, including MasterCard, PayPal and Visa Europe, that are restricting payments to the global organization which has said its next large document release will be bank information.”

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ever heard of the Human-Animal Hybrid Prohibition Act of 2009?

So there I was… 

Stumbling through cyber space when I found out about this interesting legislation. I never heard of it. Okay, big deal, I know. But don’t you think it’s strange? What prompted this Bill? Did someone with a warped sense of humor play modern day Frankenstein and get caught? If so, I sure would like to read about it. Meanwhile, here’s  S.1435:

111th CONGRESS - 1st Session - S. 1435

July 9, 2009

To amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit human-animal hybrids.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

    This Act may be cited as the `Human-Animal Hybrid Prohibition Act of 2009'.
    Congress finds that--
      (1) advances in research and technology have made possible the creation of human-animal hybrids;
      (2) human-animal hybrids are grossly unethical because they blur the line between human and animal, male and female, parent and child, and one individual and another individual;
      (3) human dignity and the integrity of the human species are compromised by human-animal hybrids;
      (4) the uniqueness of individual human beings is manifested in a particular way through their brain and their reproductive organs/cells; and
      (5) with an increase in emerging zoonotic infection threatening the global public health, human-animal hybrids present a particularly optimal means of genetic transfers that could increase the efficiency or virulence of diseases threatening both humans and animals.
                               GO HERE TO READ THE REST                               image source

          Here’s a look at where ‘As It Stands’ visitors are coming from today


          Scientists Disrupt Moral Reasoning With Magnets To The Skull

          Scientists Disrupt Moral Reasoning With Magnets To The Skull

          Want to make somebody lose his belief that harming somebody else is wrong? All you have to do is hold a special magnet up to his head in the right place.

          Using a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation - in which magnets are used to disrupt neural activity in specific parts of the brain - scientists managed to "turn off" people's moral centers. According to a recent release from PNAS, which published the results of the study:

          “Liane Young and colleagues applied transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to disrupt neural activity in an area of the brain known to process information about beliefs and then asked twenty subjects to rate actions on a scale from one (morally forbidden) to seven (morally permissible). The researchers report that study participants judged actions in which a person believes he or she will cause harm to another person-but fails to do so-were more morally permissible during TMS application to the brain region responsible for processing beliefs, compared to when TMS was not applied, or applied to other brain regions.”

          photo and text source

          Fancy Florida ATM skips the folding cash, spits out gold

          Image: Berlin's First

          Can’t you just see some gangsters stealing the whole machine?

          Machine that dispenses shiny 24-carat gold bars, coins installed at Boca Raton mall

          BOCA RATON, Fla. — Shoppers who are looking for something sparkly to put under the Christmas tree can skip the jewelry and go straight to the source: an ATM that dispenses shiny 24-carat gold bars and coins.

          Dog gone this is cute: See happy Pugs with Santa Claus

          There’s more Pugs sitting with Santa Clauses right here.

          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...