Saturday, November 20, 2010

Perchlorate Poisoning: water emergency declared in Barstow California


Barstow water supply shown to  be contaminated with perchlorate:

“Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency Saturday in Barstow after samples of the city's water supply were found to be contaminated with a chemical used in rocket fuel and defense manufacturing.”


Enhanced ‘pat-downs, full body scanners, and pissed-off travelers


The new enhanced safety procedures at airports is being met with a lot of resistance from the flying public.

The problem is some people feel like their being sexually assaulted. But what are the airlines to do? Safety has to come first. Doesn’t it?

Obama: TSA pat-downs frustrating but necessary

“President says enhanced airport security measures necessary to guard against new terrorist techniques”

Fed-up fliers protest airport security measures

“Online campaign urging travelers not to fly Nov. 24, refuse full-body scan”


TSA forces cancer survivor to show prosthetic breast

“Some fliers with medical conditions call new airport security procedures 'humiliating'”

Government insists full-body scanners are safe

“Radiation exposure is vastly lower than a single dental X-ray, TSA says”


TSA pat-down leaves traveler covered in urine

'I was absolutely humiliated,' said bladder cancer survivor

“A retired special education teacher on his way to a wedding in Orlando, Fla., said he was left humiliated, crying and covered with his own urine after an enhanced pat-down by TSA officers recently at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.”


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Wall Street Report: U.S. to lift lid on 'pervasive insider trading'

Executive tells clients he declined FBI's 'gracious offer to wear a wire and therefore ensnare you in their devious web'

“U.S. officials are preparing insider trading charges against a host of financial players, including investment bankers and hedge fund managers, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the matter.

The charges could surpass any previous investigations on Wall Street, and examine whether certain players garnered tens of millions of dollars in illegal profits, according to the newspaper.

The three-year investigation could expose "a culture of pervasive insider trading in U.S. financial markets", especially in ways private information is transmitted to traders through connected insiders, the newspaper said, citing federal authorities.” More here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Travel: Cats on a plane? Allergy sufferers can't escape

Image: Cat in carrier about to travel on an airplane

Some airlines allow 10 cats on a flight; all seats tested had traces of allergen

“Holiday travelers with cat allergies may find the best advice is beware in the air, according to a new study that says it’s nearly impossible to avoid feline fallout at 30,000 feet.

Whether it's residue from cats actually on board, or detritus carried by pet-loving passengers, the most common feline allergen was detected in 100 percent of aircraft seats tested — and in high enough amounts to trigger serious reactions in sensitive people, according to a report by Swiss scientists.”

Liberal Dutch marijuana policy taking another hit?

Image: A tourist smokes marijuanaNew proposal would block tourists from buying the drug

“The new conservative Dutch government wants to force the country's marijuana cafes to become "members only" clubs, a move that would effectively block foreigners from buying the drug.

If the idea ever becomes reality — it would be legally complicated and politically divisive — it would be the latest of the country's liberal policies to be scrapped or curtailed as the Dutch rethink the limits of their famed tolerance.” Full story.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rangel Runs Scared: House of Rats Turn On One Of Their Own

Chief House ethics lawyer: Rangel should be censured

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Science Alert: 3 New Distinctive Frog Species Discovered

Conservation International just reported the discovery of three new amphibian species in Colombia. The three species include: “a mysterious toad with ruby-colored eyes, a diminutive long-nosed beaked toad which hides in dead leaves, and a gorgeous new rocket frog with flashes of red on its legs,” (shown here) according to CI. All three species are new to science. Scientists were actually in Colombia to search for the Mesopotamia beaked toad, which hasn’t been seen in decades, and is listed as critically endangered.

Read more here

Science: MIT researchers create super efficient 'origami' solar panels

Solar panels nowadays are flat, but folding them like origami could dramatically boost the amount of power they produce.

MIT researchers have created an origami-like solar structure that is much more efficient than current flat panels.

Weird News: Cops say fake doc carried out breast exams in bars

Image: Kristina Ross

Okay. I’ve heard, and read jokes about guys trying to give free breast exams for kicks, but this has to be the first time I’ve heard of a woman doing it!

Apparently Kristina Ross was a man at some point ( Kristoffer Jon Ross) who now dresses up as a woman (her booking papers show “Male to female”),who has trouble getting dates or something.

My question is what woman would be stupid enough to get a breast exam in a bar? Really? Then again, if the women are drunk enough, anything could happen I suppose.

Female reportedly with criminal record as a man is held on $100,000 bond

“A woman posed as a physician and duped at least two other women into undergoing breast exams at her hands in Boise-area nightclubs, according to police.

Kristina Ross, 37, remains in the Ada County Jail on two felony counts of practicing medicine without a license. An Idaho judge set bond at $100,000 on Wednesday.”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Best time to see Leonid meteor shower is ... right now

Those with clear skies may see up to 20 meteors an hour on Nov. 17-18

The Leonard Meteor Shower of 2010 is peaking this week, and the best time to see the sky show is now.

The annual Leonids should be at their best through Thursday, according to skywatching experts. Avid skywatchers graced with clear skies may see between 15 and 20 meteors per hour.

Full+Story]">This sky map shows where to look to see " shooting stars" from the Leonids this week. The best time to try to see the Leonids are in the last two or three hours before sunrise, when the moon has set.

No place like home: amazing imaginations produce unique abodes

Fascinating Underground Homes

 Klima Hotel (Bella Vista) (left), the semi-submerged underground hotel in Bozen, Italy.

Peeking out from underneath bumpy layers of greenery, this Swiss estate looks more like something out of a fairy tale than real life. Designed by Vetsch Architektur, the structure was built using earth house construction, resulting in an insulating blanket that protects it from rain, low temperatures, wind and natural abrasion.
For more amazing underground abodes, view the entire list at

Modern designs meets cave-dwelling with this eye-popping home (right) nestled inside of a 15,000-square foot sandstone cave in Festus, Missouri.

Built by Curt and Deborah Sleeper, the underground abode features smart examples of energy-efficient architecture like geothermal heating and passive design that keep the interior comfortable while completely eliminating the need for a furnace or air conditioning.

No insects left: another sign of the tough times we all live in

funnyads 5 Brilliantly Conceived Fun To See Humorous Ads (PICS)

Fred the Frog was spotted on Central Avenue in McKinleyville displaying this sign yesterday. I stopped and asked him what was up and he croaked “All the damn insect sprays around town have wiped out my food supply!

I can’t even find a fly!”

Alarmed at his predicament, I gave him a ride out into the countryside where there were no humans killing off his meals. Hopefully that will solve his problem. He certainly was happy when I dropped him off by a riverbank engulfed in insects. And that’s your “ribbiting” tale for today! 

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tattoo’s that fly off you for a Tuesday - and thoughts on the subject

Nearly everyone has a tattoo these days. Once the exclusive art of sailors, soldiers, Marines, and Bikers (in America), tattoos went mainstream in the last decade.

My wife has a tattoo of a frog and turtle hugging on her ankle. It’s in color and looks like a Disney rendering.

All three of my sons have tattoos.  Each of them have multiple tats on arms, back, and chest.

I don’t have a tattoo. I had plenty of chances to get one in the military when I was young, but never let the ink get under my to speak.

I’m not sure why. I have nothing against tattoos. I think they look cool….on someone else. 

Go here to look up 100s of tat’s at

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Livermore scientists are busy building a 'miniature star on earth'

Experiment: Scientists hope that their £2.2b 'miniature star on earth' will be the world's first fusion reactor by 2012

It may look like any average building but behind closed doors could lie the answer to safe renewable energy of the future.  

Here at the National Ignition Facility in Livermore California, scientists are aiming to build the world's first sustainable fusion reactor by 'creating a miniature star on Earth'.

Following a series of key experiments over the last few weeks, the $2.2 billion project has inched a little closer to its goal of igniting a workable fusion reaction by 2012.

According to the National Ignition Facility (NIF) team in Livermore, on November 2 they fired up the 192 lasers beams at the center of the reactor and aimed them at a glass target containing tritium and deuterium gas. Read more here

Public Scandal: Did PBS cut Tina Fey's Palin jokes? You betcha

Image: Tina Fey

Et tu PBS? I’m shocked and degusted at the same time.

Censoring Fey’s best lines in her acceptance speech speaks of a Conservative conspiracy among the producers. Everyone involved seems to be a bobble-head doll with a recording – “I don’t know what happened.” Or, “It was not a political decision…” Blah blah blah.

Comedian ripped former Alaska governor in humor prize acceptance speech

Scum slapping: Rangel found guilty of violating 11 House rules

Image: House Ethics Committee Begins Rangel Hearing

A House ethics panel has found Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel of New York guilty on 11 counts of breaking House rules.

This is just another example of how career politicians think they are above the law. Rangel has been getting away with his underhanded dealings for 50 years now…it’s about time someone did something.

The thing that bothers me the most? The worst he’s going to get is a slap on the wrist and then it’s back to business as usual. He’s not going to change his habits after this official mockery of justice. Why should he? If he’s not the poster child for term limits then I’d like to know who else is?

Monday, November 15, 2010

As the suns sets upon another day, it’s glory slowly goes away

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Climbers of the Holy Rocks: Meteora offers more than 50 rocky towers

Climbers of the holy rocks - Meteora, Trikala

Here’s a place for hard core climbers. If I was forty years younger (in my twenties), I would love to climb in this area.

Photographer’s Note:

“Apart from the huge cultural, religious and natural interest of Meteora, it is also one of the best regions in Greece for climbing. More than 50 rocky towers are waiting for those who like this sport. The history of climbing in this place dates back from the ancient times, when the ihnabitants of ancient Aeginio found shelter here, in order to avoid attacks from bandits.”

Photo By Hercules Milas

If you want to read more about the history of climbing at Meteora, just check THIS PAGE.

Kayaking the Thumb – A Field Report on the Experience

Kayaking the Thumb

Kayaking the Thumb

Kayaking the Thumb, Port Austin, Michigan: Photos & Trip Report (2009)

As It Stands: celebrating a quarter million readers in two years

Here’s a big shout out to my Budapest, Hungary viewer. You are my 250,000th reader. Thanks for stopping by today!

Budapest (pronounced /ˈbuːdəpɛst/, also /ˈbʊdəpɛst/, /ˈbjuːdəpɛst/; Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈbudɒpɛʃt] ( listen); names in other languages) is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it serves as the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2010, Budapest had 1,721,556 inhabitants, down from 1980 peak of 2.06 million. The Budapest Commuter Area is home to 3,271,110 people. The city covers an area of 525 square kilometres (202.7 sq mi) within the city limits. Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with a unification on 17 November 1873 of right (west)-bank Buda and Óbuda with left (east)-bank Pest.

Historically, Aquincum, originally a Celtic settlement,was the direct ancestor of Budapest, becoming the Roman capital of Lower Pannonia. Magyars arrived in the territory in the 9th century. Their first settlement was pillaged by the Mongols in 1241-42. The re-established town became one of the centres of Renaissance humanist culture in the 15th century. Following the Battle of Mohács and nearly 150 years of Ottoman rule, development of the region entered a new age of prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries, and Budapest became a global city after the 1873 unification. It also became the second capital of Austria-Hungary, a great power that dissolved in 1918. Budapest was the focal point of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Hungarian Soviet Republic of 1919, Operation Panzerfaust in 1944, the Battle of Budapest of 1945, and the Revolution of 1956.

Synchronicity: Vietnam Veteran Shocked By 44 Year Old Coincidence

Vietnam War 1966

Sometimes a coincidence or coincidences can bring to the surface emotions locked away for years and years. It's as if the final part of the jigsaw is finally put in it's place.

This is such a story, first seen in the Star-Telegraph.

Photo - Soldiers Laying Down Covering Fire with machinegun - Vietnam 1966

Sunday, November 14, 2010

As It Stands: America's unstable neighbor poses a greater threat than the Taliban

By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 11/14/2010 01:29:46 AM PST

While our government is busy waging war in Afghanistan, a war on our own border is escalating and resulting in increased American causalities. "We have been at war here since 2003 and unfortunately we are familiar with the concept of death," Col. Bill Meehan, a spokesman for the Texas National Guard, recently told the national press.

Col. Meehan's comment came on the heels of the murder of a National Guardsman, Jose Gil Hernandez Ramirez, 21, of El Paso, who made the mistake of crossing over into the border city of Ciudad Juarez on personal business.

More than 6,500 people have been killed in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, since a turf war erupted two years ago between the Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels.

Another American who made a mistake and paid for it with his life was David Michael Hartley of Texas. He and his wife Tiffany were ambushed after crossing into Mexican waters with their personal watercraft on Falcon Lake, near the southern tip of Texas, on Sept. 30th.

According to a Houston Chronicle analysis of the U.S. State Department's death registry, 48 Americans were slain in Mexico during the first six months of 2010. The U.S. State Department says more than 80 Americans have been killed this year in Chihuahua, the state where Juarez is located. That's already more than the 79 homicides of U.S. citizens in all of Mexico in 2009.

In October, six U.S. citizens were killed in less than a week in Ciudad Juarez, including two students in the latest attack, according to U.S. officials. It has one of the world's highest murder rates, with more than 2,000 people killed this year.

Why are stories like this more commonplace every day? Perhaps because the war, and it is a war, in Mexico is spilling into U.S. territory with frightening regularity. The Mexican Gulf drug cartel has penetrated 270 U.S. cities according to recent Homeland Security reports. Atlanta, Georgia, is a major Gulf cartel smuggling hub according to the DEA and state authorities.

Our government needs to stop acting like the world's police force. We can't afford it. Mexican drug traffickers sell heroin and other drugs in our cities with impunity. What's happening on our borders and in our cities should be priority No. 1. National security should start at home.

Mexico is in a state of siege and shock from the increasing brutality of cartels who show the world who is really in control there. The Mexican media have all but surrendered to these cartels because the government can't protect journalists who dare to report their illegal activities. Freedom of the press is suppressed daily.

Despite this grim drama next door, our politicians have focused their efforts on Iraq and Afghanistan to “protect” our national interests. I question why they downplay this war in Mexico.

It's troubling being next to a country so corrupt its police are suspected of being connected to the cartels they fight.

Americans tourists traveling to Mexico are warned about certain areas, mostly in Northern Mexico (on our borders), acknowledged to be dangerous by both the Mexican government and ours. That is another concession to the power of the cartels, and yet another example of the control they exert throughout Mexico.

The big picture is we have an unstable country next door. An increasing number of its inhabitants flee to the U.S. seeking safety, as well as for financial reasons. Their war is spilling over into our country and our politicians prance around that reality, trying to act like they're doing something about it. The death toll is going up, not down.

This volatile situation is no secret. It's been going on for decades, and despite nice talk between our two governments about lofty trading goals and human rights, the reality is much more sober. We need to protect Americans from the war next store, and that takes money.

As It Stands, what's it going to take to get our politicians to recognize the war in Mexico endangers Americans more than the Taliban?

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...