Saturday, April 21, 2012

It’s optical illusion time: See ‘The Eclipse of Mars’ …

See a new color you’ve never seen before!!…Well… at least never before on your monitor.

It’s a startling example of how poor the green/cyan element is on TVs and monitors generally. The color you are about to witness is actually true Cyan … a color that is heavily diluted on the vast optical illusions 10 majority of monitors (thanks to color pollution). It’s a pity one needs an optical illusion to demonstrate this, but at least you can see what you’ve been missing ;-) Anyway on with the illusion….

Stare at the white dot in the center of the red circle. The longer – the better (two minutes and you’ll get a much stronger effect). Always try to keep focused on the white dot. It’ll be worth it.
Soon after staring, you’ll start to see a thin rim of light around the edge. Don’t stop staring though yet! Wait another minute – keeping your head perfectly still.

Once you’ve done this, slowly – move your head backwards – making sure to keep your eyes focused on the dot at all times. The circle’s rim will glow brilliantly with true Cyan! Keep on moving your head slowly backwards, and it’ll glow very hot!…

The blue/cyan color chart to the right isn’t part of the illusion, but there to demonstrate that the ultra cyan you have just seen is not in the monitor’s color palette! It should be, but isn’t.
It’s an amazing effect. (source)

Corruption Scandal: Wal-Mart Executives Activities During Mexican Expansion Under Scrutiny By Both Countries

Wal-Mart leadership covered up corruption committed during it’s Mexican expansion in 2005. It’s been a secret until now. The New York Times launched an investigation of Wal-Mart’s growth into Mexico last December after a whistleblower came forward with a lot of information. (See Video here)

“The New York Times obtained hundreds of internal company documents tracing the evolution of Wal-Mart’s 2005 Mexico investigation. The documents show Wal-Mart’s leadership immediately recognized the seriousness of the allegations. Working in secrecy, a small group of executives, including several current members of Wal-Mart’s senior management, kept close tabs on the inquiry.”

From the start Wal-Mart executives decided damage control was more important than fixing the situation. It’s this kind of culture that energized activists to protest against Wal-Mart’s business practices. Look at what their response to the news was: 

Wal-Mart dispatched investigators to Mexico City, and within days they unearthed evidence of widespread bribery. They found a paper trail of hundreds of suspect payments totaling more than $24 million. They also found documents showing that Wal-Mart de Mexico’s top executives not only knew about the payments, but had taken steps to conceal them from Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. In a confidential report to his superiors, Wal-Mart’s lead investigator, a former F.B.I. special agent, summed up their initial findings this way: “There is reasonable suspicion to believe that Mexican and USA laws have been violated.”

The The New York Time examination found credible evidence that bribery played a persistent and significant role in Wal-Mart’s rapid growth in Mexico, where Wal-Mart now employs 209,000 people, making it the country’s largest private employer.”

Why did Wal-Mart do such a stupid thing?

“Under fire from labor critics, worried about press leaks and facing a sagging stock price, Wal-Mart’s leaders recognized that the allegations could have devastating consequences, documents and interviews show. Wal-Mart de Mexico was the company’s brightest success story, pitched to investors as a model for future growth. (Today, one in five Wal-Mart stores is in Mexico.) Confronted with evidence of corruption in Mexico, top Wal-Mart executives focused more on damage control than on rooting out wrongdoing.”

Read the whole story here

Here in Humboldt County, folks are upset because we have a Wal-Mart store about to open at the Bayshore Mall on Broadway, in Eureka. A local blog – The Humboldt Herald – has an article today; Opposition to Wal-Mart universally understood  You might want to stop by and give it a read, just for the comments if nothing else.

No Clowning Around: Some People Have An Irrational Fear Of Clowns

                           Good Day Humboldt County!

Growing up I thought clowns were cool. Especially Bozo the Clown. From what I read recently everyone doesn’t look so kindly at clowns. As a matter of fact some people have coulrophobia (an irrational fear of clowns).

Symptoms of coulrophobia can include sweating, nausea, feelings of dread, fast heartbeat, crying or screaming, and anger at being placed in a situation where a clown is present. It’s not a laughing matter for those with this phobia.

I can’t help wondering if modern day evil clowns like John Wayne Gacy have contributed to people’s fear of clowns. Modern literature like “It,” by Stephen King, has added to the clown’s growing bad reputation. Ronald McDonald even scares some kids. However, before these examples, clowns were already scaring people.

“For those infected with the panic, the monsters typically pounce with mammoth feet as high-pitched, almost-joyful squeals emanate from their frightful noses. Scarier still, these creatures tend to travel in tight clusters, often arriving in the same manner. One teeny-tiny car.

Based on responses to a recent story on the about a 95-year-old clown named "Creeky,” many people harbor the heebie-jeebies for men and women who traipse around in greasepaint, frilly orange wigs and gigantic bowties.” (Read full story here)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, April 20, 2012

Study claims people with multiple tattoos drink more booze

People with tattoos drink more than their tattoo-less peers, a new study from France suggests.

The researchers asked nearly 3,000 young men and women as they were exiting bars on a Saturday night if they would take a breathalyzer test. Of those who agreed to take it, the researchers found that people with tattoos had consumed more alcohol than those without tattoos, the researchers said.

Previous studies have shown that tattooed individuals are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex, theft, violence and alcohol consumption, compared to people without tattoos. (Read story here)

EAT UP: Eyeless shrimp and fish with lesions on today’s menu

I can’t stand seafood. When I see stuff like this (and people eating it) I gotta shake my head and ask if it’s worth it?

        Good Day Humboldt County!

 It’s a sad way for a proud country to end. Poisoned by greed, pollution, and politics. We can’t seem to stop killing ourselves.

It’s like a mass suicide. The evidence of our destruction on this planet is everywhere. This Sunday (4/22), As It Stands talks about how we’ve been shitting in our own back yard for too long! We’re paying a price today.

Americans worry less about pollution in down economy” is a glance at how desperate Americans have become with a flawed food chain and the other consequences of pollution. Stories of pollution have to be epic – like the Deepwater Horizon spill – to keep the mainstream media’s interest.

Now and then, we get updates like the story below (and video above)…reminders really…that we’re in trouble:  

“Fishermen are pulling more deformed seafood, like eyeless shrimp and fish with lesions, out of the Gulf of Mexico, and suggest that BP's 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill is to blame. Scientists, however, say they are more concerned about the long-term effects on populations of fish, like red snapper and grouper, than on the potential for making human consumers ill.

The Food and Drug Administration has also insisted that seafood from the Gulf is safe. Still, it's hard to feel assured when you see a black-gilled lobster - and realize the black is from contamination and not a Cajun-style preparation.” (Source) 

Related: Long-gone lead factories leave dangerous poisons

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pot-infused wine is all the rage in dope-friendly California

Red wine & marijuana (© John Foxx/Getty Images; Jupiterimages/Getty Images)

How could you make a substance like wine, with chemical properties that make you pleasantly woozy and a bit euphoric, any better? Infuse it with another substance whose chemicals make you pleasantly woozy and a bit euphoric, of course! Enter marijuana-laced wine. A bit like the pot brownie's more refined big sister, the aromatic red spirit is on the rise in California where increasingly lax pot laws have brought the decades-old fad back into fashion. The recipe calls for dropping a pound of pot into a fermenting cask of wine, which yields about 1.5 grams of weed per bottle. Plenty enough, I think, to get a group of sophisticated vintners chanting "duuuude" and eating Funyuns. (source)

Scientists say we’re using all – not part of - our brain, which surprises the hell out of me!

                      Good Day Humboldt County!

  For the longest time I really believed that humans only used a portion of the brains, and that a genius was somehow able to tap into the other unused areas. They accessed places that average guys like me would never see.

  I think I was comfortable with that. It’s an old well-traveled belief that there has to be a reason why some people are so exceptionally intelligent.

  I admit I’ve been blissfully operating under the assumption there might even be a day when humans could use more of their brains and a worldwide Utopia would result. Everyone would be too smart to fight and be deceived by stupid, power-mongering individuals if they could use all their brain power right? That’s the way I had it figured. I should have known better.

The fact is, if we are already using all of our brain power (like the experts say below), then we are indeed in trouble. Just look at the world around us. For decades an urban myth – “we only use 10 percent of our brains” - traveled across the country and was accepted as gospel.

Turns out this urban myth wasn’t true:

“If we did use only 10 percent of our brains we’d be close to dead, according to Eric Chudler, director of the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering at the University of Washington.

With the rise of the human potential movement in the 1960s, some preached that all sorts of powers, including bending spoons and psychic abilities, were laying dormant in our heads and that all we had to do was get off our duffs and activate them.” (source)

I remember hearing in high school that if we only used 20 percent percent of our brainpower we’d be flying, reading people’s minds, and doing all kinds of cool things. I don’t recall that 10 percent figure being used…but I suppose it doesn’t matter one way or the other. The big surprise is that we’re using all of our brains (well, not all of us) and we’re not superhuman.

“The brain, Chudler said, isn’t like a disc drive with some set amount of capacity. It’s a dynamic maze of wiring where new connections can be created in response to new stimuli, or lost with disuse. And much of it is constantly occupied not with intellectual thinking, but running our systems. When recordings are made from brain EEGs, or PET scans, or any type of brain scan, there’s no part of the brain just sitting there unused.” (source)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

AS IT STANDS Features Pugs Gone Wild Part II : This Pug is for You!

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twopugs egtrwrgdfsgdsfdsfdsfsdfds part1

2012-04-09 16.02.06 (left) My 8-year old pug Millie contemplates her world from her special viewing spot.







I love Pugs. They are great companions and clowns that will always entertain you. If you ever get a chance to rescue one please do…you’ll never regret it!

Coalition calls for a Day of Action on 4/20 to Pressure President Obama to Stop Assault on Medical Marijuana Patients, Providers and Educators


On a traditional day of celebration for the cannabis community, this April 20 there will be a CALL TO ACTION to contact the Obama administration by phone, email and fax as well as visits to re-election headquarters in protest of misguided marijuana policies.

Submit Your Comments and Questions OnlineThe White House

Here’s Obama’s re-election site Headquarters

Got a beef with the Obama Administration’s stepped up efforts to criminalize medical marijuana patients and the dispensaries that serve them? Let the First Flip-Flopper (who did not keep his campaign promise to stop harassing states that allow for medical marijuana) know about it. Go ahead… Submit Your Questions or Comments Here

The medical cannabis community is demanding that we utilize our resources for safer communities by keeping cannabis away from our children by controlling and regulating it.  Contact the president to call a stop to failed and outdated policy of marijuana prohibition, which further drives control of the marijuana trade into the hands of violent drug cartels and other illegal operators, endangering both patients in medical marijuana states and citizens everywhere.  A few ideas:

1. Cannabis should be de-scheduled to allow for research and education.

2. An immediate cessation of all federal intervention in the legal medical cannabis system in California.

3. An immediate halt to any action that threatens the community, homeowners and jobs in California.

4. A response from the White House on the reasoning behind this latest assault and how it squares with Obama’s plan to expand the economy and a decent respect for democracy.  “We the patients” are “We the People”.


To find out about what you can do, visit -”

Oaksterdam’s employees are members of UFCW Local 5, an affiliate of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, the largest retail workers organization in the country.  Dan Rush, Director of UFCW’s Medical Cannabis and Hemp Division said, “We are very disappointed in this misguided enforcement action by the federal government.   Almost 100 of our members, my sisters and brothers, lost their jobs and benefits as a consequence of this raid.”  

Medical cannabis pioneer and founder of Oaksterdam University, Richard Lee, is officially retiring to pursue drug policy reform full-time.  Dale Sky Jones, Oaksterdam’s executive chancellor, is licensing the Oaksterdam University curriculum to continue its stated mission of quality training for the cannabis industry.  Richard Lee promises he will still teach at OU, but he feels that continuing as president could draw further harassment to the school from the federal government.   He is formally stepping away to allow the school to fully separate itself from Lee and his other previously affiliated cannabis businesses, considered illegal under federal law.

The Chair of the Mendocino County (CA) Board of Supervisors, John McCowen, stated after US attorneys shut down his successful zip-tie program stated, “It's almost as if there was a conscious effort to drive [medical marijuana cultivation and distribution] back underground. My opinion is that's going to further endanger public safety and the environment – the federal government doesn't seem to care about that.”

Are you sick of Obama’s lack of concern for medical marijuana patients and the dispensaries that serve them?

I suggest you let Obama know he’s not getting your vote this November…for starters.


Dale Sky Jones, Executive Chancellor Oaksterdam University, phone: (949) 680-5452 or (510) 251-1544 - e-mail: twitter: daleskyones


Tom Angell, Media Relations Director
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition -phone: (202) 557-4979 - e-mail:


Dale Geiringer, Director, CA NORML - (415) 563-5858


John Vasconcellos, California State Senator (retired) (408) 298-1993


Goodbye Greenbacks – Hello Smart-Device Swiping someday soon


                Good Day Humboldt County!

No one can foretell the future. Our road ahead is a mystery. You can forecast something (make an educated guess), but cannot say for sure. In an interesting study, 1,021 nerds came to the conclusion we’ll be using our cell phones to purchase things because our $1, $5,$10,$20,$100 bills will no longer be accepted as payment for anything in some moneyless future.

Those sometimes crisp, often wrinkled, always bacteria laden greenbacks are doomed the tech experts say. No more pulling out your wallet or purse and fumbling around for the folding stuff. Of course, if you ever lose you cell phone you might as well commit hari kara!

I have my reservations about this forecast and hope it isn’t true. Actually, I wish everything would be free someday… but then there’s this pesky little thing called reality.

“Take a look at the green stuff in your wallet  (if you have any) and prepare to say goodbye to it in the future: By 2020, most Americans will be using their cellphones, not cash or credit cards, to make payments.

That's what 65 percent of the 1,021 tech experts surveyed by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University said is likely to be the case, with consumers not only adopting, but embracing, the use of "smart-device swiping" for purchases.

"So many people are already accustomed to buying a cup of coffee with a credit card that smart-device swiping is only a very small next step," John Pike, director of, told Pew in its report, "The Future of Money in a Mobile Age."
Mobile payment technologies are in the early stages in the U.S. among manufacturers: Google is among those leading the way with its Google Wallet partnership with Citibank and MasterCard, using near-field communication. The technology allows for very short-range communication between devices, such as a phone and a payment terminal. Google Wallet has only been available in the U.S. on the
Nexus S phone, which has a built-NFC chip.
Wireless carriers Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile have joined with credit card companies American Express, MasterCard and Discover, to develop a similar NFC program called "ISIS" that will be tested in pilot cities around the country mid-year.”

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Piúva (Tabebuia impetiginosa) tree in bloom in Brazil

Source     My night’s final act…drinking in the beauty and serenity of this tree


Cheap Secret Service agents cause flap in Columbia while Obama is busy bullying Latin heads of state to continue failed drug war

Obama boys …what are you going to do when the public is through with you?

I love it.

I got a great insight into how cheap Secret Service members are. Really?Ripping off a prostitute over $50.00! You gotta be kidding me. With what those Secret Service guys get paid you’d think they’d be a little more fair-minded in their business transactions.

It’s downright embarrassing for President Obama, who was busy bullying Latin American heads of state (during the Summit of Americas meeting in Colombia) into sticking with his failed drug policy. He promised them more taxpayer money (more than $130 million in aid) as long as they were good puppets and followed his lead.

Obama was pressed to open up a debate on legalizing and regulating drugs by sitting Latin American presidents like Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia and Otto Perez Molina of Guatemala, but he brushed them off with distain. 

You know what? I hope Obama is more than just embarrassed by the antics of his watchdogs. I hope those Latin American countries finally wise up and tell him to back off. If they have to form a coalition of countries to stand up for real drug reform through legalization – that would be a good thing.

Meanwhile, the theme song above is in honor of those cheap horny agents….

So what do you do when your 4 year-old is smarter than you?

                      Good Day Humboldt County!

In this merry game of life we all start out as babies, and presumably are on an equal playing field, unless a physical or mental disability is involved.

So what happens when your four-year-old takes a standardized intelligence test and scores a mere point less than Albert Einstein and famed physicist Stephen Hawkins! How do you handle that?

Did you know that there’s 3-year olds that are members of Mensa (a worldwide organization of exceptionally smart people)? Membership is open to people who score in the top 2 percent of any standardized test of intelligence (the group offers its own test and accepts scores from the 200 or so intelligence tests out there).

I’ve only known one card-carrying member of Mensa. I met him in college and he was a Russian exchange student named Gregory Bratoff. We worked on the school newspaper together and when the staff got our first computer in 1977 (An Edit Writer 2000 – strictly for setting headlines mind you) it was Greg who figured everything out within hours and became  our official headline setter. The machine was so big you had a seat and worked on this monstrous display monitor nestled in a metal shell four feet high).

We spent many hours together and I was amazed at what little common sense Greg had. I have numerous examples and perhaps on another occasion I’ll bring them all up. But for now, let’s take a look at little Heidi Hankins of Winchester, England, who recently took an IQ test that nearly put her score on level with Einstein and Hawkins.

In a recent article she was mentioned along with other child prodigies:

“Victoria Liguez, the marketing coordinator for American Mensa, would not disclose numbers for how many children are members in the United States. But the youngest U.S. Mensa member, she said, is age 3.

"She joined when she was 2," Liguez told LiveScience. The youngest member worldwide, Oscar Wrigley, reportedly joined at age 2.5 with an IQ of 160. (Overall, about 110,000 individuals across 100 countries are Mensa members, including about 50,000 in the United States.)

Both Liguez and Lawlis said that despite the stereotypes of awkward geniuses, the Mensa children they'd interacted with had all been very normal. It's often not until testing that the depth of the children's knowledge becomes clear, Lawlis said. "A kid's intelligence is [often] invisible," Lawlis said. "You don't usually know what a kid knows unless you ask them. … It's more of a discovery of what a kid's brain is capable of responding to." (Source/resources for parentsHere’s a link to the American Mensa chapter.

I guess I’m glad none of my three boys were Mensa members in diapers. It would have been tough dealing with a little smarty pants like that! And can you imagine when they hit their teens? At that age all teens think they know everything – except that yours would!

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, April 16, 2012

‘Enclothed cognition’ - Is a writer who wears a fedora more creative?

Post image for Want to Improve Your Attention? Wear a White Coat

         Good Day Humboldt County!

 I imagine we’ve all heard the phrase, “Clothes don’t make the man” in the course of our life experiences. In a slight twist to that old adage, researchers claim that people wearing white coats pay more attention to detail.

 The idea being that if you think you look like a scientist or doctor, you’ll act like them. No really. I’m not kidding. I can remember wearing a white sport jacket once and thinking I looked like Don Johnson in Miami Vice, but no one asked me for an autograph!

               Oh well, I’ll try to take this study seriously. You try your best too:  

“It's surprising how much simple movements of the body can affect the way we think. Using expansive gestures with open limbs makes us feel more powerful, crossing your arms makes you more persistent and lying down can bring more insights (read more here: 10 Simple Postures That Boost Performance).

So if moving the body can have these effects, what about the clothes we wear? We're all well aware of how dressing up in different ways can make us feel more attractive, sporty or professional, depending on the outfit, but can the clothes you wear actually change cognitive performance or is it just a feeling?

Adam and Galinsky (2012) tested the effect of simply wearing a white lab coat on people's powers of attention. The idea is that white coats are associated with scientists, who are in turn thought to have close attention to detail. What they found was that people wearing white coats outperformed those who weren't. Indeed they made only half as many errors as those wearing their own clothes on the Stroop Test (one way of measuring attention).

The authors dub the effect 'enclothed cognition', suggesting that all manner of different clothes probably affect our cognition in many different ways. This opens the way for all sorts of clothes-based experiments. Is the writer who wears a fedora more creative? Is the psychologist wearing little round glasses and smoking a cigar more insightful. Does a chef's hat make the resultant food taste better?”   (Source)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, April 15, 2012

AS IT STANDS: Our violent society is a breeding ground for bullies

                                                                                             By Dave Stancliff/For The Times-Standard
   Back in the 1950s,
when I was a kid, we had our share of bullies. They didn’t go unchallenged and sometimes found themselves on the receiving end of a good thumping. Normally, after the fight both parties went their way and that was the end of it.
   The crude education bullies got back then involved running into someone tougher than they were. When they met that person their attitude was adjusted and they took up other pursuits.
    That was the end of it. They didn’t come back with rifles and pistols and shoot their peers and school staff. Growing up, I never heard of a kid committing suicide because of bullies. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen back then, but it certainly wasn’t a common occurrence in the headlines like now.
    Bullying leads to death nowadays. Tragic stories of students committing suicide are too common. Two weeks ago, a Corpus Christa, Texas high school freshman, Teddy Molina, took his own life after he couldn’t stand being bullied any longer. Molina was mercilessly taunted because he was part Korean and part Hispanic.
    Authorities at Flour Bluff High School don’t think they have a bullying problem. A lot of parents with students there do. As controversy swirls about the school district, which says it has bullying information and programs for all ages, Molina’s parent’s and sister mourn his loss.

   At some point, and I honestly can’t say when it was, bullying became a major problem in American schools. Statistics show that bullying continues to increase with each decade. The current statistics on bullying in the classrooms of America are scary and sobering.  
                According to the National Education Association:
It’s estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students.
- Sixty-one percent of students said students shoot others because they have been victims of physical abuse at home.
- A bully is five times more likely to have a serious criminal record when he/she grows up.
- Two-thirds of students who are targets become bullies.
- Twenty percent of all children say they have been bullied.

- Twenty percent of high school students say they have seriously considered suicide within the last year.
- Twenty-five percent of students say teachers intervened in bullying incidents while seventy-one percent of the students say they intervened.
- The average child has watched 8,000 televised murders and 100,000 acts of violence before finishing elementary school.
  American schools harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million of their victims, according to Dan Olweus, of the National School Safety Center.

Other statistics from the National School Safety Center:
Fifty-six percent of students have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school.
- Fifteen percent of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school.
- Seventy-one percent of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.
- One out of twenty students has seen a student with a gun at school.
- 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.
 Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among people between the ages of 10 and 24, with males making up 84 percent of the approximate 4,400 victims reported a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hispanic and Native American teens and young adults have the highest rates of suicide-related fatalities.

  I could go on but you see my point. Something has to reverse the trend. If anyone believes that bullying doesn’t take it’s toll on families, schools, and society take another look at the statistics above. 
  There’s a lot of good information out there for parents dealing with bullies. For example check out Nickelodeon- Parents Connect at
  There’s a non-profit group that offers alternative support for bullies and people being bullied called Make Beats Not Beat Downs ( ) that partners with some of the most talented musicians nationwide.
   The resources are out there, and have been for some time, but the problem continues to plague our schools despite anti-bullying programs. Those programs do help some schools  cut bullying down as much as fifty percent. Bullying will never totally go away. How could it in a society that reveres a good smackdown?
   As It Stands, now more than ever parents must provide moral guidance and the confidence to deal with bullies, to help their children face the reality of our violent culture.


1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

2) Zero Bully

3) Wall Street Journal Headlines

4) Cloud Surfing

5) PAIRSonnalités | EN

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...