Saturday, June 11, 2011

Mark your calendar: Very long total lunar eclipse coming Wednesday

Image: 1007 lunar eclipse

This month's full moon will pass almost directly through the center of Earth's shadow on Wednesday in what will be an unusually long total eclipse of the moon.

The lunar eclipse will occur just two weeks after a June 1 partial solar eclipse, when the moon blocked part of the sun as viewed from Arctic regions.

The eclipse won't be visible from North America due to its timing, which places the event in the daylight hours when the moon is behind the local horizon.

Story Here

Too much coffee makes you hear voices, study suggests

Good Morning Humboldt County!

Join me for a quick cup of Joe and go this morning. While we’re enjoying it there’s something you should know:

If you're hearing voices in your head, you may want to cut back on the caffeine. A recent Australian study showed a link between heavy coffee consumption, stress -- and auditory hallucinations.

Here's what happened: The volunteers listened to white noise played through a computer's headphones for three minutes. Every time they heard even a snippet of Bing Crosby's White Christmas, they were told to press a hand tally counter. (They weren't aware of the real point of the study -- they were told it was about auditory perception.)

The song was never played. But the participants who said they were very stressed, and very caffeinated -- those who regularly drank five or more cups per day, at 200 milligrams of caffeine each -- were more likely to imagine they'd heard it.

"We believe that high stress, in addition to taking high levels of caffeine, makes people yet more stressed and thus makes them more likely to 'overreact' to the environment -- i.e., to hear things that just aren’t there," explains Simon Crowe, the lead author of the study and a neuroscientist at Australia's La Trobe University, located in Bundoora, Victoria. The report was published in the April issue of the journal Personality and Individual Differences

It's worth noting here that there are some limitations to the study: The levels of stress and caffeine consumption were both self-reported by the 92 volunteers who participated in the experiment. And what if, somehow, the caffeine-stressball combo made participants more eager to try to please the researchers -- yes, of course we heard the song! It's lovely, isn't it?!

Then again, maybe that's just what the voices in my head are telling me.

How much caffeine do you consume each day?

story source

Friday, June 10, 2011

Who Would You Say is the Fifth Face of Mount Rushmore?

If you observe Mount Rushmore from certain point, you can see that four former US presidents aren’t the only ones present.

Turning the photo for 90 degrees (as seen below) can help you visualize the fifth persona even better! Who would you say it represents? Think this was by accident or intentionally planned?

I almost see Tricky Dick Nixon (the sagging cheeks). If it wasn’t for the broken nose, he would be my guess.

Anyway, here’s an interesting fact about Mount Rushmore: did you know that the four presidents carved into the granite were initially planned to be depicted from head to waist?

Unfortunately, lack of funding forced construction to its end. Either way, the memorial still attracts approximately two million people annually.

You can see Gutzon Borglum’s (the man behind the sculptures) original plans by visiting wikipedia.

The truth may never be known: new photos of spy plane launch Area 51 intrigue

Few things capture the public's curiosity like Area 51. The top-secret military base (which doesn't officially exist) has been the subject of conspiracy theories for decades. What actually went on there? Something tells us we'll never know for sure. However, a recently revealed series of photographs provides some tantalizing new clues.

The photos, which were published by National Geographic, show a titanium A-12 spy plane. In one image, the satisfyingly sci-fi-looking plane hangs upside down while it is prepared for radar testing. In another shot, a group of officials with heavy equipment "remove all traces of the A-12 spy plane" after it went down in the Utah desert in 1963.

See some previously unreleased photos of Area 51 See more Area 51 photos at National Geographic

Of course, the photos don't prove that alien life exists--but they do go a long way toward proving the government wasn't exactly forthcoming with what was going on at Area 51. Cue the "X-Files" theme song.

story source

Unseen pictures capture outbreak of Beatlemania

An autographed photo of The Beatles is displayed at an exhibition in Buenos Aires

Good Morning Humboldt County!

It’s time for a cup of Joe and go. I find it interesting when someone turns up with unseen historical photos. A few years back it was some Marilyn Monroe photos.

This introductory period for the Beatles didn’t impress me. As a matter of fact I thought they were a bunch of“Bubble Gummers” and ignored them. As the years went by I grew to like their material as they matured.

‘They have been gathering dust in a basement for more than 40 years, but now U.S. photographer Mike Mitchell has decided to auction a group of pictures which capture the moment the Beatles became a worldwide phenomenon.” Story Here

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, June 9, 2011

107 Americans killed last year: time to say adios to Mexico travel?

You couldn’t get me to go to Mexico if you offered an all expense paid vacation and a case of Jack Daniels.

Here’s why:

Mexico's drug war has claimed more than 34,000 lives in the past four years. Despite the increasingly bleak headlines that often mention shootouts, beheading and mass graves, Americans have continued to visit the troubled country -- until now.

The Wall Street Journal wrote that several tour operators and hotel chains have seen a decline in the number of Americans visiting Mexico. Rest of story here.

Multimillionaire pooch dies at age 12 (84 in dog years)

Image: Leona Helmsley and her dog Trouble

I have been channeling "Trouble" for quite some time. Trouble wants the estate to give me the balance of the inheritance so that Trouble can live and communicate thru me. Trouble has the answers to many of the world's problems and will only be too happy to share --- for a price.

From MSNBC’s Pet’s and Animals this afternoon:

Trouble, the beloved Maltese of billionaire Leona Helmsley who became an international celebrity when Helmsley died and left him $12 million, has died. The pampered pooch was 12 — 84 in dog years.

Interestingly enough, Trouble wasn’t the richest dog in the world when he died. That honor belongs to Gunther IV, a German dog left $372 million by his owner, reports Business Insider. Other mogul mutts include Miss Charlie Brown, an English cocker spaniel in South Dakota who stands to inherit $130 million from her mineral magnate owners. 

Oprah Winfrey’s will is rumored to have earmarked $30 million for the care of her pups.” Rest of the story here.

Popular Science picks top 10 inventions for 2011

Image: This crime-fighting armored glove has a wrist-mounted stunner and a video camera built in.

Good Morning Humboldt County!

It’s time for a cup of Joe and go. This morning let’s look at a little good old fashioned American know-how. Here’s some interesting inventions for 2011:

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Nationwide Trend: Seniors' medical pot collective stirs up trouble

Joe Schwartz is a 90-year-old great-grandfather of three who enjoys a few puffs of pot each night before he crawls into bed in the Southern California retirement community he calls home.

The World War II veteran smokes the drug to alleviate debilitating nausea and is one of about 150 senior citizens on this sprawling, 18,000-person gated campus who belongs to a thriving — and controversial — medical marijuana collective operating here, in the middle of one of the largest retirement communities in the United States.

The fledgling collective mirrors a nationwide trend as more and more senior citizens turn to marijuana, legal or not, to ease the aches and pains of aging. But in Laguna Woods Village, tucked in the heart of one of the most conservative and wealthiest counties in California, these ganja-smoking grandparents have stirred up a heated debate with their collective, attracting a crackdown from within the self-governed community.

PHOTO - Lonnie Painter, 65, who uses marijuana for medicinal purposes and is the director of a group known as Laguna Woods for Medical Cannabis, medicates at his home in Laguna Woods, California.

Read More Here

Weiner Wednesday: what’s he going to do for his next act?

Good morning Humboldt County!

It’s hard for me to pass up WeinerGate. I laughed so hard while watching Jimmy Fallon’s take on Weiner Boy, I had coffee coming out of my nose! I promise, this will be my last post on him.If I were a politician nowadays I wouldn’t even own a cell phone! Look at the all the trouble it’s getting these politicos in. They don’t seem to realize the world’s watching while they make monkeys of themselves. 

Weiner skit ends in injury for Jon Stewart

Conservative Twitter group warned 'schoolgirls' about Weiner

Fallon offers his risque take on Anthony Weiner

Link to Video – RNC Chairman says Weiner must go


Time for me to head on down the road

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

‘One Nation Tour’ set to go abroad: Margaret Thatcher refuses to meet with Sarah Palin & entourage

Who would of guessed the Sarah Palin traveling freak show had plans to travel abroad? The so-called One Nation Tour” already hit a detour when former British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, refused to meet with her. Can you blame Margaret? She’s just not interested in a retarded political wannabe’s extremist views, and un-educated take on the world.

I’d hazard to say Margaret got a kick out of Palin’s revisionist history where Paul Revere warned the British the Americans were coming! But, Margaret does have to keep up appearances and entertaining political clowns like Palin just wouldn’t do… my daw…ling!

From The L.A. Times this afternoon:

“Margaret Thatcher, the former British prime minister, is well respected by Sarah Palin, but it doesn't appear that the feeling is mutual.

Recently the former Alaska governor revealed plans to take her "One Nation" road show across the pond next month, with a stop in London as she makes her way to Sudan.

"I am going to Sudan in July and hope to stop in England on the way. I am just hoping Mrs. Thatcher is well enough to see me as I so admire her," Palin told Britain's Sunday Times in an article titled "Reloaded and on a Mrs. T mission: the Palins are coming to Britain!"

But the woman affectionately dubbed the Iron Lady isn't interested in meeting with Sarah Barracuda during the hockey mom's trip.

"Lady Thatcher will not be seeing Sarah Palin. That would be belittling for Margaret. Sarah Palin is nuts," an unnamed "ally" told the Guardian.” - Andrew Malcolm

photos VIA Google images

Tuesday Talk: Americans rated most hilarious in global poll

Good Morning Humboldt County!

Have a quick cup of coffee with me this morning, as I’m shortening my morning format. Reader feedback tells me that people are more likely to comment if there’s a chance to at the end of a post – as opposed to five posts run together and only one area to comment.

The Germans have been voted the world's "least funny nationality" in a global poll, which names Americans the funniest overall and the Spanish the most amusing Europeans, ahead of the Italians and French.

I find it interesting that Americans were found to be so humorous. That’s a good thing I suppose. The good news for today is no rain. None predicted this week anyway. It’s good walking weather and that’s what I intend to do with my pug Millie this afternoon.

Whatever you do today, do it with gusto. Life’s too short not to. Time for me to walk on down the road…

image source

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sexting scandal exposed when Weiner admits it was ‘his weinie’

It’s spring and scandals are in the airwaves again. The latest candidate for the un-coveted “As It Stands” Politician Doing Wrong Again Award” makes a pretty good case for being stupid.

New York congressman: 'The picture was of me, I sent it'

After days of denials, a choked-up Rep. Anthony Weiner confessed Monday that he tweeted a photo of his bulging underpants to a young woman, and he also admitted to online exchanges with several women. He apologized for lying but said he would not resign.

image source

Maniac Monday: Americans are not happy and other stuff…

Image: Copenhagen

Good Morning Humboldt County!

Good to see you this morning. Have you got a cup of something hot and tasty to drink? All right then. Let’s take a look at the news of the day:

US doesn't make cut for happiest nations list

What makes people happy? The question, which has been debated by philosophers for centuries, now is being tackled by international bureaucrats and the results are interesting, to say the least. Old, stable nations of northern Europe took five of the top 10 spots on our list. These include Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, and Denmark. Switzerland is also on the list and has many characteristics in common with the Scandinavian countries. The resource-rich, English-speaking countries of Australia and Canada made the cut as well. Noticeably absent from the list are any OECD nations in Latin America, southern and eastern Europe and Asia. Many of the southern European nations like Greece, Portugal, and Spain are in economic trouble and have high unemployment.

PHOTO - Danish residents have consistently rated themselves as the happiest in the world for years in several different studies.

No joke! Your laugh lines may reveal bone health

Your laugh lines may offer clues to the health of your bones, according to a new study.

The results show that for women in their 40s and 50s, the worse their skin wrinkles are, the lower their bone density is.

"This information…may allow for the possibility of identifying postmenopausal women at fracture risk at a glance, without dependence on costly tests," said study researcher Dr. Lubna Pal, a reproductive endocrinologist at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn.

Humble cabbage becomes art

Ju Duoqi stocks up on cabbages in the Beijing vegetable market and then transforms the humble vegetables into works of art depicting beautiful women -- that sometimes leave very little to the imagination.

The 38-year-old said she started using cabbages in her work five years ago when she was looking for a way to bring her art together with everyday life.

"Cabbages come in different sizes and colors. Under different light and in different contexts, I can make cabbages into various forms and take photos of them that produce different moods," Ju said.


Wind power turbines in Altamont Pass threaten protected birds

Scores of protected golden eagles have been dying each year after colliding with the blades of about 5,000 wind turbines along the ridgelines of the Bay Area's Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area, raising troubling questions about the state's push for alternative power sources.

"It would take 167 pairs of local nesting golden eagles to produce enough young to compensate for their mortality rate related to wind energy production," said field biologist Doug Bell, manager of East Bay Regional Park District's wildlife program. "We only have 60 pairs."

PHOTO - Biologist Joseph DiDonato cradles a golden eagle chick for a Bay Area study. On average, 67 golden eagles are killed each year by wind turbines. (Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times


Conspiracy theories abound in American politics

Gulf of Tonkin incident

Osama bin Laden is alive and well. President Obama is a closet Kenyan. Arnold Schwarzenegger hid his out-of-wedlock child with the help of scheming reporters.

Most people dismiss such talk as obviously untrue, if not downright nutty.

But to the conspiracy-minded, those assertions are not just plausible but absolutely true, making them just the latest threads in a long American tradition of suspicion and skepticism that is woven deep within our political and cultural DNA.

PHOTO - Events such as the Gulf of Tonkin incident have convinced some Americans that their leaders are not to be trusted. In a 1964 press briefing, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara described "unprovoked and deliberate" attacks by North Vietnamese boats against U.S. destroyers. The claims were later revealed as a false pretense for plunging the U.S. deeper into the Vietnam War. (Bob Schutz / Associated Press)

I hope you enjoyed our time together. It’s time for me to head on down the road…

Sunday, June 5, 2011

As It Stands: Summer vacations: Costly, stressful, but oh, those memories!

Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 06/05/2011 02:40:23 AM PDT

Listen closely. Can you hear it? The high-pitched chords of “School's Out” from Alice Cooper's 1972 title track single is playing on iPods across the country. Summer vacation is upon us. Let the rituals begin.

Americans love vacations. We love to be entertained. We love to travel. With the current weak economy, however, a lot of us won't be loading up the family SUV and going very far down holiday road.

The price of gas alone is a daunting obstacle. Those with urban beasts that gulp a gallon every 10 to 25 miles will have to look for vacations near home if they don't want to spend all their money on fuel. Somewhere really close. Like maybe the next county.

Forget about flying. Not only has it become so costly you don't dare take a carry-on bag (the prices are going up, up and away), you might also be selected to be groped just because.

But I digress. We're talking about kids getting out of school and parents who feel a lemming-like urge to go somewhere special and prevent their whiny complaints about being bored.

Have you ever seen the movie “Family Vacation?” If you can't afford to go anywhere this summer, rent it for a good laugh. It'll also drown out the kids' whining if you turn the volume up high enough!

I remember going on old Route 66 from California to Ohio and back for a family reunion during the summer of 1966. I was 16 and my brother was 14. We fought every inch of the way. My mother's dire threats didn't carry much weight as she was in the front seat with Dad, and they couldn't reach us in the back of that 1964 Chevrolet Impala without stopping the car.

We didn't have video games or cell phones to entertain us, so we played classic games like “Slug Bug.” You remember that one, don't you? Whoever saw a VW first shouted, “Slug Bug!” and got to slug the other person on the shoulder. Those were simple times.

When I graduated from high school in 1968, a buddy and I took off for the ultimate summer vacation. We drove his black Slug Bug up the west coast to Canada, across Canada to Winnipeg, down to Minnesota, over to Ohio and New York, south to Georgia, and finally west again on Route 66, back to California.

You'll never guess how much we spent on gas. My buddy Larry, who has always been a hoarder (he calls it collecting), has every receipt for gas we bought on that trip! No kidding. It cost us $312.44!

He still proudly shows those receipts to anyone who'll listen to the story of our amazing summer vacation. Yes, he has food receipts, too, but I don't think he's added those up. They don't make as good a topic for conversation as the gas ones.

My wife and I don't worry about summer vacations anymore. We're retired. There's no longer need to shudder when the schools let out in June and our three sons get bored. No sweat now. No stress. If we feel like going somewhere, we still go, but usually prefer to travel when the weather's cooler.

Summer vacations are all about adventure and fun. Sometimes more adventure than fun, but that's life. It's a time for making memories. “Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it,” said Russell Baker. If you've ever had a bad sunburn from going to the beach in the summer, this observation may be especially poignant to you.

I'd like to give you a list of cheap places to travel this summer, but it's all relative. Have you been saving all year and do you now have a comfortable “nest egg” to crack for a family-friendly resort in Cancun?

Or, like many Americans this year, are you going to go a little deeper in debt and head for a theme park in the lower 48?

As It Stands, (in my best Michael Buffer's voice): Let's get ready ... to trav ... el!

Websites carrying this column:

Beach Vacation Home News -

Poll With Us – Your voice makes a difference

Tremont City, Ohio

Family Beach Vacations

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...