Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rat-eating plant discovered in Philippines

A carnivorous pitcher plant that eats rats and insects has been discovered in the Philippines and named after Sir David Attenborough.

Click here to read the whole story via The Telegraph

Don’t like reading? Read on…

Just because you don’t enjoy reading a good book, doesn’t mean there aren’t many other uses for all of those books piled up in the attic.
Click here to see more ideas.

Friday, August 21, 2009

William Calley apologizes for My Lai massacre

By Dick McMichael - Special to the Ledger-Enquirer
William Calley, the former Army lieutenant convicted on 22 counts of murder in the infamous My Lai Massacre in Vietnam, publicly apologized for the first time this week while speaking in Columbus.

“There is not a day that goes by that I do not feel remorse for what happened that day in My Lai,” Calley told members of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Columbus on Wednesday. His voice started to break when he added, “I feel remorse for the Vietnamese who were killed, for their families, for the American soldiers involved and their families. I am very sorry.”

In March 1968, U.S. soldiers gunned down hundreds of civilians in the Vietnamese hamlet of My Lai. The Army at first denied, then downplayed the event, saying most of the dead were Vietcong. But in November 1969, journalist Seymour Hersh revealed what really happened and Calley was court martialed and convicted of murder.
Calley had long refused to grant interviews about what happened, but on Wednesday he spoke at a Columbus Kiwanis meeting. He made only a brief statement, but agreed to take questions from the audience.

He did not deny what had happened that day, but did repeatedly make the point — which he has made before — that he was following orders.

Make a shirt from a dollar bill

Start with a relatively clean, crisp bill. It will make it much easier. All folds should be sharply creased. It helps to go over the fold with a fingernail on a flat, hard surface.
This is the finished product. You can do it with the following steps from Stumble

As vets await checks, VA workers get $24M bonuses

Outside the Veterans Affairs Department, severely wounded veterans have faced financial hardship waiting for their first disability payment. Inside, money has been flowing in the form of $24 million in bonuses.

By KIMBERLY HEFLING, Associated Press Writer
In scathing reports this week, the VA's inspector general said thousands of technology office employees at the VA received the bonuses over a two-year period, some under questionable circumstances.
It also detailed abuses ranging from nepotism to an inappropriate relationship between two VA employees.
The inspector general accused one recently retired VA official of acting "as if she was given a blank checkbook" as awards and bonuses were distributed to employees of the Office of Information and Technology in 2007 and 2008. In some cases the justification for the bonuses was inadequate or questionable, the IG said.

Click here to read the rest
Reuters Photo above – A veteran walks through the lobby at the last reunion for World War II Veterans of the 10th Mountain Division.

Smokers decide to Grow Own Tobacco

By JIM CARNEY, The Akron Beacon Journal

AKRON, Ohio (AP) -- Standing on brown earth on a flat field hundreds of yards from the nearest road, Don Carey is surrounded by tiny plants.

He walks along a three-quarter-acre plot in a desolate spot in this rural township in northeastern Portage County and looks at the thousands of tobacco plants he is growing.Carey, 49, decided in April, when federal taxes on tobacco skyrocketed, to grow his own."I thought it was an April Fools' joke," he said of the tax increase that sent taxes on roll-your-own tobacco up 2,153 percent.

There is something "fundamentally wrong about picking on the smokers all the time," said Carey, whose experiment with growing tobacco comes as President Barack Obama last week signed the strongest anti-smoking bill in history.

The measure gives the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco for the first time.A general contractor who lives in Peninsula, Carey has been a cigarette and cigar smoker most of his adult life.But when April 1 came and he read that taxes on tobacco products increased, he took action.Carey went on the Internet and found places where he could purchase tobacco seeds.

Within about a week, he had received 40 types of seeds and his life as a tobacco farmer was planted."This project is something of an experiment to identify varieties of tobacco suitable for growing in our climate," Carey said.

Note: Photo is not of Don Carey referred to in this article.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Like at the snout on this guy! And those ears! He's so odd that he's cute...kinda of.
The long eared jerboa is a nocturnal mouse-like rodent found in the deserts of China and Mongolia. It has a long tail, long legs and extremely large ears. Being such a rare creature, it is in danger of extinction

Re-enacting the Vietnam War...the stupidist thing I ever heard of!

By Dave Stancliff
It’s never
made any sense to me why someone would want to re-enact a battle, or a war.
War is not something to be proud of. It means that all chances of reasoning have failed. It means that innocent civilians have been killed. It means that soldiers on both sides are killed, or maimed for life physically or mentally.
War is chaos. Normal ways of thinking have to be modified so that a person can survive. Killing others before they kill you helps justify your actions. The instinct to survive is strong, and people will often do things that they would never have considered before. Like kill women and children.
When I read an article about military enthusiasts re-enacting the Vietnam War I was stunned. I’ve known for a long time that re-enactors having been doing the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and even the Spanish-American War. But Vietnam?
I suppose I can see the public’s interest in watching battles that happened over 100 years ago. What people wore, ate, and types of weaponry, is somewhat of a history lesson. But when the guns and cannons blaze and the re-enactors start falling in mock death, the whole thing becomes strange to me.
Is this a celebration of death? Is this really a history lesson, or just a chance for a bunch of guys and gals to dress up in period costumes and pretend to kill each other? There’s a general blood lust that lurks in crowds when scenes of violence are glorified. Secret desires to see what it would be like to kill another person stalks many viewers.
The ancient Romans were known for their bloodlust. Emperor’s had to satisfy the public by giving them gore masquerading as entertainment. There were no re-enactors in those days. Slaughter and mayhem were part of their normal lives.
America today reflects those bloody values in our sports and love for war. With the addition of mixed-martial-arts for both sexes, we see people "nearly" killed everyday. Little or no rules apply. Like the gladiators of old, we hold up our violent sport stars like idols, and worship them slavishly.
There’s no winners in war. In the end it’s just a feast for the grim reaper. We live with wars raging around the world in this new millennium, very much like the ancient Romans. Imperialism is alive and well in the USA.
I can’t imagine people watching a representation of a war that only ended 30 years ago. There’s thousands of survivors from both sides still dealing with the physical and emotional damage from that nasty little undeclared war. It’s not like seeing crude weapons from another era. Their still with us today.
The clothing that the Vietnamese survivors wear today is the same they’ve worn for centuries. The American veterans clothes from that era is also practically the same. There’s not much to be learned from that, is there?
So why the hell do people want to re-enact a shameful period of our history when we bullied another country for no good reason? We all know that for sure now. There’s no excuses to say what we did was righteous. It was wrong. All the more reason not to glorify it with some outdoor theater of the absurd.
The re-enactors will tell you it’s history and that they are honoring those that fought and died there. As far as I’m, concerned that’s bullshit! You don’t honor anyone by playing war games. What’s really happening is just another excuse to glorify war. And there’s always those folks who wished they had been in the military and now they have a chance to pretend they are.
Some of them might have been in the military but never saw action, and the opportunity to realize their dreams of killing becomes closer to reality. What’s next? Are re-enactors going to be doing the Iraq and Afghanistan wars before they even end?
Or, will they wait for a couple of decades and then re-enact our shameful grab for oil from those two nations?
As It Stands, war will always be wrong, regardless of how it’s portrayed.

Boys discover microbes that eat plastic

PhDs have been searching for a solution to the plastic waste problem, and this 16 year old finds the answer.

It's not your average science fair when the 16-year-old winner manages to solve a global waste crisis. But such was the case at last month's May's Canadian Science Fair in Waterloo, Ontario, where Daniel Burd, a high school student at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, presented his research on microorganisms that can rapidly biodegrade plastic.

NOTE: there are TWO high school students who discovered plastic-consuming microorganisms. The first was Daniel Burd (last year). The second was Tseng I-Ching (last month), a high school student in Taiwan.

Daniel had a thought it seems even the most esteemed PhDs hadn't considered. Plastic, one of the most indestructible of manufactured materials, does in fact eventually decompose. It takes 1,000 years but decompose it does, which means there must be microorganisms out there to do the decomposing.

Could those microorganisms be bred to do the job faster?
Click here to read the rest.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Upcoming release of convicted bomber stirs controversy

Should Scottish authortities release Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi?

Al-Megrahi, 57, has terminal cancer.
He was convicted in 2001 of taking part in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 on Dec. 21, 1988. The airliner — which was carrying mostly American passengers to New York — blew up as it flew over Scotland. All 259 people aboard and 11 on the ground died when the aircraft crashed into the town of Lockerbie.Should Scottish authorities release Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi?
Click here to read all about this story, and the many views people have on it.

Woman, 63, missing for 5 days found on raft

She survives with only two cans of Mountain Dew and a bottle of water
IOWA CITY, Iowa - A 63-year-old woman trapped on a small raft caught in tangled river brush could hear passing cars and people talking but wasn't discovered until a fisherman on his way to his favorite hole spotted her five days later, the woman's son said Tuesday.
Jeanne Schnepp's odyssey began last week with a fishing trip on a tiny inflatable raft along the Wapsipinicon River. But when the Iowa woman found herself on raging waters that nearly flooded the banks, she partially deflated the raft and headed for the side.
Water masked the brush, which caught the raft and held it — and Schnepp — for five days before rescuers pulled her from the river Monday afternoon.

Click here to read the rest from the Associated Press
Photo via AP

GOP Is In The Process of Cannibalizing Itself

Did you know that cannibalism is common in the animal kingdom?   It's also common in politics today as the Republican party turns inwar...