Saturday, August 14, 2010

As It Stand’s Sunday – Atrazine and Agent Orange. Once and Future Killers

images Take a look. Just another weed killer right? Wrong.

Four states are finding unacceptable levels of Atrazine, a deadly herbicide in their waterways.

People are drinking about ten times the safe level (EPA standards). 

If you live in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, or Kansas, you already know the EPA should have warned you about this last Fall. drinking-water-md

Atrazine is a descendant of Agent Orange. We all know what damage AO has caused, and is still causing. Will Syngenta (the company that produces Atrazine) take us down that same long ugly path?

See ya Sunday.

There’s One in Every Barrel - ‘Bad Apple’ Manager Indicted

Apple manager indicted on kickback charges

CUPERTINO, Calif. — A manager at Apple Inc. has been indicted by a federal grand jury in an alleged kickback scheme involving suppliers of iPhone and iPod accessories.

image source

Dog Gone! Spencer shredded Terry’s hope for school board position

Labrador mix chews up petition with almost 200 signatures

The Beaufort Gazette reported Friday that Terry Thomas of Lady’s Island had a petition with almost 200 signatures when he went out to check the mail. But when he returned from the mail box, Spencer, his 8-month-old Labrador and bull mastiff mix, had chewed up the petition.

Note - this isn’t Spencer shown here. It’s his body-double “Tank.” Go here to learn more about this inquisitive fellow.

Okay Now…Who Doesn’t Belong in this lineup?

image source

On the way to Ethics committee:view hypocrites feigning indignation

David Fitzsimmons / Arizona Daily Star,

Friday, August 13, 2010

Environmental solution - China's New Bus "Straddles" Cars


The finished project is known officially as the "3D fast bus," but the nickname "straddling bus" is no misnomer. 

The bus will literally straddle the road and carry a shocking number of people -- around 1300 passengers -- over cars and under overpasses.

Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment Co., Ltd, proposed the bus idea. They say the bus will travel at up to 60 km/h (about 37mph). Construction of the 186 km of rails that will carry the bus will begin at the end of the year.

TAKE ACTION: Don't let public transportation in the United States fall behind in environmental awesomeness.

Robot to expose hidden secrets of the Great Pyramid of Giza

I’m a sucker for Egyptian history and stories.

I love it when stuff like this is in the news.

Device will unlock Egyptian room that has been sealed for 4,500 years

Following in the footsteps of Howard Carter and Abbot and Costello, a specialized robot will penetrate deeper into the Great Pyramid of Giza than ever before. The robot, part of a years long exploration called the Djedi Project, will explore a shaft inaccessible to a previous robot, unlocking a room that has remain sealed for 4,500 years.

Related stories:

  • The Seven Ancient Wonders of the World
  • Amazing Egyptian Discoveries
  • How Were the Egyptian Pyramids Built?
  • Poison patrol: NOAA, FDA to test seafood for dispersants

    Image: Dispersant clotted oil and fresh crude float on surface nine miles from the Deepwater Horizon oil well spill source in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Agencies hope to reassure public, but some scientists remain skeptical

    PASCAGOULA, Miss. — Amid undying criticism over the large-scale use of Corexit in the Deepwater Horizon response, NOAA and the Food and Drug Administration are developing a lab test to detect traces of the chemical dispersant in seafood. The test, they hope, will finally put to rest concerns that poisons from the compounds used to break up the oil will linger in the food chain.

    Photo: A mixture of dispersant and fresh crude oil on ocean surface nine miles from the Deepwater Horizon oil well spill source in the Gulf of Mexico on May 6. In the effort to break up oil before it could hit beaches and marshes, oil spill responders applied more than 1.8 million gallons of chemical dispersant on the surface and at the source of the oil gusher.

    An unlucky day today? Friday the 13th and other superstitions

    Friday the 13th calendar image (© Derek P. Redfearn/Getty Images)

    Who doesn't look forward to Friday? People spooked by Friday the 13th.

    On this supposedly unlucky day, let's investigate some associated myths, plus a few other superstitions.

    Not worried or anything, but when is the next Friday the 13th?

    Next Search: Start nothing new

    Birth order: Sorry, kid, first-borns really are smarter

    Birth order makes a difference when it comes to brains, personality, study finds

    Birth order within families has long sparked sibling rivalry, but it might also impact the child's personality and intelligence, a new study suggests. First-borns are typically smarter, while younger siblings get better grades and are more outgoing, the researchers say.

    The findings weigh in on a long-standing debate: What effect if any does birth order have on a person's life? While numerous studies have been conducted, researchers have yet to draw any definitive conclusions.

    The results lend support to some previous hypotheses — for instance, that the eldest sibling tends to have higher aptitude. But the study also contradicts other proposed ideas, for example, that first-borns tend to be more extroverted.

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Eyes in the sky tonight – Perseid meteor shower visable

    Look to the skies between midnight tonight and dawn on Friday. Perseid meteors should be visible every night from now until next week.Perseid radiant

    The Perseids are produced by trails of grit left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle during its 133-year orbit. Earth starts plowing through the Swift-Tuttle debris in late July, and the height of the shower comes annually around… Aug. 12-13th.

    The Perseids are so named because they appear to emanate from a point in the constellation Perseus, also known as a "radiant." Because the radiant is in northern skies, Northern Hemisphere observers are in a more favorable position to see the shower. The strength of the shower varies from year to year, depending on what part of Swift-Tuttle's debris trail our planet moves through.

    Go to this NASA chat page and talk with Bill Cooke, the head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. He says this year is going to be a good viewing year.

    Guest Blog - Six Months to Go Until The Largest Tax Hikes in History


    I found this blog – Americans For Tax Reform – this morning. This article was written a month ago, but it’s still very timely.

    I’m interested in non-partisan assessments of our tax system. If this article would have stayed away from some Conservative catch phrases like “ObamaCare” it would have more validity. Talking about “Three Great Waves” crashing down on the economy sounds a bit too partisan to me. Biblical even.

    However, after reading the entire document (link provided below) I do agree with the contention that our taxation system is only going to stink more in 2011.  

    From Americans For Tax Reform:

    In just six months, the largest tax hikes in the history of America will take effect.  They will hit families and small businesses in three great waves on January 1, 2011:

    (N.B. This version of the document contains even more tax hikes than the original version did)

    Harlem Democrat Rangel's night for ethics amnesia

    Image: Rep. Charlie Rangel's birthday party

    Charlie’s “What me worry” attitude reflects a confidence that he’s going to get away with 20-terms of corruption.

    And why not? That’s the culture in Washington, where the powerful don’t pay for their sins.

    New York pols show up - some reluctantly - to congressman's bash

    It was the antithesis of Chelsea Clinton's wedding — a glittering social event on the New York political calendar that many prominent politicians wished (very privately) they did not have to attend and hoped (very secretly) would somehow be canceled.

    But Charlie Rangel's 80th birthday party and campaign fundraiser in the Grand Ballroom of the Plaza Hotel went off without a hitch Wednesday night . . . if you don't count the formal ethics charges filed against the 20-term Harlem Democratic congressman last month, his rambling and defiant defense of his conduct on the House floor Tuesday, and the last-hurrah aura to his re-election campaign. Grabbing a microphone at the beginning of the evening and abandoning any pretence of stiff formality despite the lavish setting, Rangel declared, "I've been to a lot of funerals, but this damn sure ain't no funeral, is it?"

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    Frozen Gourmet: corpse of renowned French chef found in freezer

    Maybe the headline should be:

    “Daughter Rats out Mom who put Boyfriend in the Deep Freezer”

    Or, “Woman endures Cold Shoulder from Boyfriend for Two Years before Telling Her Story” 

    Here’s the story:

    Body of Jean-Francois Poinard may have been hidden by girlfriend for two full years

    Jean-Francois Poinard (Courtesy of Jean-Stephane Poinard)

    “The corpse of renowned French chef Jean-Francois Poinard has been found in a freezer after his girlfriend confessed to her daughter that “something unfortunate” had happened to him.”

    top image source

    Slasker strikes again: Is Flint man the 17th victim of serial knifer?

    FBI Joins Michigan State Police To Find Flint Stabbing Suspect


    I’ve been doing research lately on serial killers (for a column) and have been following this sicko (police sketch shown here). So far, it’s hard telling what motivates him. The police are hesitant to say the attacks are racially motivated.

    One of the most terrifying aspects of being attacked by someone like him, is that you can’t prepare yourself. He’s good at getting people off-guard by asking them for directions or other ploys. He picks older, and weaker, targets for his wrath. Then he strikes.

    Somewhere, prowling the streets, this serial killer will meet his match (despite selecting apparently harmless victims). The night will come when he’s not going to be able to get away - and the police will confront him. Will he go down fighting? Or, will he quietly give up and go to prison? Once he’s behind bars, he’ll probably get someone to ghost write a book about his experiences. Someday, someone might make a movie about him.

    But right now, he’s still prowling the streets looking for a victim to senselessly stab. His single-mindedness speaks of cold anger. Maybe he’s reading the newspapers, and what they’re saying about them. Maybe he likes the publicity. Maybe he just doesn’t care. If that’s the case, then he’ll die with his knife in his hand…cursing the world. 

    Stabbing victim: Assailant resembled police sketch, but had an accomplice

    “A 47-year-old man who was stabbed multiple times Saturday in Flint, Mich., may be the 17th victim of a serial killer prowling the city.”

    UPDATE 8/12

    Israeli held in investigation of serial stabbings

    Looks like the cops got their man. The guy wasn’t even an American. There’s one thing this story doesn’t mention: twice, after attacking people, he was seen getting a ride from someone. Where’s that guy? 

    Stange Science: Invisibility cloak made of silk created

    Image: Silk and resonator

    I guess I’ve seen it all now. You can put on a cloak and be invisible.

    I’ve read many books, mostly fiction, that employed the use of a fabled invisible cloak. Now it’s a reality! Forgive me, but all I can say is…wow!

    Biomedicine, defense may benefit from scientists' research

    For the first time ever, scientists have created an invisibility cloak made from silk, and coated in gold.

    Invisibility cloaks, along with their optically exotic cousins, perfect absorbers and perfect reflectors and others, belong to a special class of materials known as metamaterials. Unlike most materials, which derive optical properties like color from their chemical make up, metamaterials derive their properties from the physical structure.”

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    Where was Ripley’s? A pea plant grew in a man’s lung and the guy survived

    This whole incident has me wondering if other plants have managed to grow inside of people? Just think if a marijuana seed did like this pea seed did…no…I guess that wouldn’t be good either.

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    The Rites of C.A.M.P : annual weed pulling time while wearing assault gear and carrying weapons

    Like every year, it’s no secret C.A.M.P is in the hills hunting for outdoor marijuana patches right now.

    For nearly 30 years, the Campaign Against Planting has waged a quixotic battle to eradicate California's outdoor marijuana industry.

    Last year was a record year for C.A.M.P, with 4.4 million plants seized. Authorities expect to match that figure this year, and they hope to surpass it to keep the federal funding flowing for next year.

    Has C.A.M.P made a difference these last three decades? Obviously not. Every year they pull more plants, and the planters compensate by growing more. The price of outdoor pot has actually gone down because of it’s availability. There’s other factors involved, but the point is C.A.M.P is a monumental waste of taxpayer money!

    Excerpt from article: 

    "CAMP is an enormous waste of money -- I've even heard law enforcement refer to this as helicopter rides," said Margaret Dooley-Sammuli of the Drug Policy Alliance in Los Angeles. "It's fun for them, but spending this money on that doesn't do any good, and that's a shame when we're in such dire budgetary shape on all levels."

    So what does the C.A.M.P crowd think about their annual eradication efforts?

    Excerpt from article:

    "I think we are making a difference," said CAMP spokesperson Gregory. "There are still plants out there, but at the same time, the way we look at it, they are willing to defend their grow sites, so we're obviously impacting them monetarily."

    Really? They defend their efforts by trotting out the assumption that they’re “impacting them (the growers) monetarily?” How stupid is that? If C.A.M.P is negatively impacting the growers why do they grow more every year? That’s according to C.A.M.Ps own statistics. Why do these wannabe air-borne warriors in their helicopters and assault gear, keep coming back every year?

    You probably already know the answer. It’s no secret. C.A.M.P gives the local law enforcement agencies money to pay local Rambo-types to tromp through the hills.This helps struggling departments with their budgets. The state may cut back on them, but those wonderful Feds show up every year with green in their hands - and the dictate: “Go forth and have some sport, while pulling weeds for Uncle Sam.”

    Anyone who has spent time researching the years of futile Summer raids knows they’re like playing a game on a Merry-Go-Round. Nothing changes no matter how many times you spin around. Well, one thing does change. The funding for C.A.M.P goes up every year, while other federal services are failing for lack of funds.

    This year the clowns are spending $3.6 Billion on their vendetta against marijuana. Yea…Billion. Hmmmm…I don’t know about you, but I could think of other federal programs I’d like to see funded with that money. Programs where the public actually gets their moneys worth by helping average Americans, and not just some local law enforcement agencies suffering cutbacks in the State of California.

    Murdering ‘Mundanes’ - The Order of the Nine Angels Mission

    Order Nine Angles

    I was doing some research on secret societies this morning and ran across this one.

    I’ve never heard of it, so it got my interest enough to share it with you.

    The Order of Nine Angles (ONA) is an ostensible secretive Satanist organization that surfaced amongst the people of United Kingdom is 1980s and 1990s:

    The society professes to be the followers of Satanism and regard it as highly individualized pursuit to create self-excellence and wisdom, by facing challenges and overcoming the physical and mental limits. At present, ONA is organized around secret cells known as traditional Nexions, and around in its words the sinister tribes. The ONA’s writings strangely consider human sacrifice as a means of eliminating the weak and claim that its sinister tribes are an important part of its sinister strategy to fabricate a new, tribal-based, more ominous way of life, and to disturb and eventually conquer the ordinary societies of what it calls the mundanes.

    Let’s take a trip today to the world’s strangest museums

    museum-bad-art-229x300[1] Across the world, there are museums of history, of art and of science. Some of the most famous include the Louvre, the Smithsonian and San Francisco’s Exploratorium.

    But for as many famous museums as there are around the world, there are just as many strange museums. To make it on this list, the wackier museum is the better. My favorite is:

    The Museum of Bad Art

    Founded in 1993, the Museum of Bad Art is “the world’s only museum dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition and celebration of bad art in all its forms.” Their mission: to bring the worst of art to the widest of audiences. With a collection of more than 400 pieces between two museums in Dedham Square and Somerville, Mass., these museums give new meaning to “can’t color between the lines.” See the Museum of Bad Art

    How rude! Why boorish behavior makes us cringe

    #29829 Clip Art Graphic of a Group of Rude People Holding up Their Middle Fingers by DJArt

    Witnessing rudeness ruins a good mood — and could even put hospital patients at risk

    “Rudeness, even if it’s not aimed at us, can derail a day. It can spoil a meal and ruin a good mood. It can hamstring creativity and hamper job performance. It makes us feel uncomfortable and conflicted: We don’t want to be involved, but we feel like we should be.

    As it turns out, people can be so distressed by rudeness they’ll stop patronizing a business after witnessing one worker berate another, researchers reported in a study published in the August issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.”

    image source

    Monday, August 9, 2010

    Here’s a list of 10 cool Castles and Palaces that would be interesting to visit

    Sit back, click here, and enjoy viewing some really stunning castles and palaces.

    HERE’S MY FAVORITE - The most famous of three royal palaces built for Louis II of Bavaria, sometimes referred to as Mad King Ludwig, the Neuschwanstein it’s a royal palace in the Bavarian Alps of Germany.

    Begun in 1869 and left unfinished at Louis's death in 1886, the castle is the embodiment of 19th century romanticism. In a fantastical imitation of a medieval castle, Neuschwanstein is set with towers and spires and is spectacularly sited on a high point over the Pullat River gorge.

    The construction of the castle was carried out according to a well thought-out plan. The castle was equipped with all kinds of technical conveniences which were very modern, if not to say revolutionary at that time. Running water on all floors.

    There were toilets equipped with automatic flushing on every floor. A warm air heating system for the entire building. American tourists are already familiar with Neuschwanstein; the sleeping beauty Castle in DisneyLand, was modeled on it. (Photo by grotsasha)

    Be assured: there’s no scheme too low for corporate insurance companies - or making a profit on soldiers' death benefits

    Image: U.S. Tombstones at Arlington National CemeteryWhy are large life insurance companies profiting from billions of dollars they hold on behalf of the families of fallen military service members?

    “Now, Shinseki and other Cabinet members have joined a growing number of lawmakers calling for an overhaul of insurer practices. Representative Debbie Halvorson (D-Ill.), has proposed a measure to set new rules for insurance companies that profit from accounts held for dead soldiers and veterans.”

    Start your engines: from humble to rumble - Sturgis turns 70

    Some 750,000 people are expected to attend the annual biker rally.

    Pee-Wee Herman will be there to share another great adventure with fans, and to raise money for charities.

     I spent a day in 1971, at this great motorcycle event.

    My hair was getting long (I got out of the Army in March) and I wore a leather vest with various Army patches and pot patches.

    I went there in my 1964 “Competition OrangeChevy Impala, as I didn’t have a motorcycle. I was wandering around the country living out of my car at the time, and happened to be in the right place to see it.

    I recall seeing a lot of hard core Bikers from the Hell’s Angels, Mongols, and other gangs. There were plenty of fights. The event wasn’t as homogenized as it is now. There were a lot of bad dudes who came looking for a good time back then. Maybe they still do, but I kinda doubt it from what I read in the article link above.

    What did I do that day? I honestly couldn’t give you a good accounting as I got gleefully smashed! I remember meeting a small group of Hell’s Angels from California. I was surprised because I knew one of them, Moon. He was from my old neighborhood in La Puente, and was a couple of years older than me. Anyway Moon lead, and I followed!

    Buying a Political Office – wealthy ex-CEOs seek power over the public sector

    Meg Whitman

    They once used wielded power in the private sector, and now that lust for power is spilling over into the public realm.

    Proving that money overcomes all when it comes in massive enough quantities, Meg Whitman (pictured),Linda McMahon,Rick Scott,Jeff Greene,and Rick Snyder are all shoveling millions into political ads this year.

    New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg holds the U.S. record for self-financing, spending $108 million, or about $185 per vote, to win a third term last year. Meg Whitman is challenging that with her cash infusion of $99 million.

    Wealthy political newcomers are spending big.

    “In the midst of one of the worst recessions in decades, a host of former corporate leaders are spending millions in their quest for elective office, using their personal wealth to push past the political machinery and their own lack of experience.”

    Sunday, August 8, 2010

    As It Stands: Accepting death is unacceptable to many Americans

    By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

    Posted: 08/08/2010 01:32:27 AM PDT

    ”When death comes around, nobody is willing to die and old age is no longer a burden.”

    -- Euripides, Greek poet, 480-406 B. C., Alcestis

    Death is as natural as birth, but we fear it in our society to the point of denial. The will to live is celebrated and “never give up hope because a miracle could happen” is an American belief. We've all heard metaphors like “it's not over till the fat lady sings” and other phrases glorifying those who fight death until the bitter end.

    My sister Marjorie fought breast cancer in the '80s and finally succumbed to it in 1987. When I say fought, I mean she went along with some traditional methods of treatment, and when they didn't work she turned to the alternate methods touted at the time.

    Laetrile was a popular alternative treatment for cancer then. She tried some of that vile concoction (it came in a brown bottle that had to be refrigerated), but couldn't stand the taste and disposed of it.

    Claimed as a cancer cure for years, there is no supporting evidence that Laetrile, also referred to as Vitamin B17, has any metabolic function or dietary benefit.

    For more information, Google “Food and Nutrition -- Laetrile,” or read “Unproven Methods of Cancer Management -- Laetrile” (source; Cancer J Clin; vol 41, ISS 3, 1991, P187-92 ref:35).

    Laetrile is illegal now, but back then people had easy access to it here in California. I know this because

    in 1979 I was introduced to a practicing Laetrile “doctor,” a Dr. H. Howard, by a friend.

    Howard had an impressive list of degrees after his name on his business cards and stationery. He claimed to be an expert in numerous medical fields, including the questionable practice of shilling Laetrile. He wanted someone to write a fictional book about how Laetrile saved the life of a Hartford, Conn., bank robber's wife. I know; an odd storyline, but he was loaded with money and looking for a writer.

    GO HERE to read the rest.

    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...