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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Excellent post: The Real Meaning of Free-Range Kids

At The Agitator.

Western Blue Jays Hold a Funeral for Dead Bird

When western scrub jays encounter a dead bird, they call out to one another and stop foraging.

The jays then often fly down to the dead body and gather around it, scientists have discovered.

PSA: Jehovah's Witnesses Tell Deaf People To Stop Masturbating

In sign language, of course.

Russian Troops Welcomed Into NORAD

Wired's Danger Room has information and links.

Pirate Bay founder arrested in Cambodia

Details at DVICE: Gottfrid Svartholm is known for two things. The first is founding The Pirate Bay, one of the most prominent torrent sites out there. The second is fleeing Switzerland and failing to serve a twelve-month sentence received for the first thing he's known for. Thursday, Svartholm was arrested in Cambodia.

"Cannibal! The Musical," Matt and Trey's musical before "Book of Mormon"

Trailer and full length film via Troma is below.

Cannibal! The Musical (1993), is an awesomely awful film about the pioneering raw foodist Alferd Packer, directed by (and starring) Trey Parker, also starring Matt Stone.

"Cannibal" is the true story of the only person convicted of cannibalism in America -- Alferd Packer. The sole survivor of an ill-fated trip to the Colorado Territory, he tells his side of the harrowing tale to news reporter Polly Prye as he awaits his execution. And his story goes like this: While searching for gold and love in the Colorado Territory, he and his companions lost their way and resorted to unthinkable horrors, including toe-tapping songs! Packer and his five wacky mining buddies sing and dance their ways into your heart...and then take a bite out of it! Cannibal! The Musical is Oklahoma meets Bloodsucking Freaks. Brought to you by the Troma Team and Trey Parker -- the Rogers and Hammerstein of Horror!

Amazon has DVDs from Troma, if you prefer. Below, watch it in entirety via YouTube. There's a Troma promo that runs up to about 2 minutes 20 seconds in.  via BoingBoing, which has additional comments and links.

Feds end probe of 'America's toughest sheriff' Joe Arpaio; no charges

Feds should have to pay legal fees on this.

Highlights of Barack & Michelle interview with Parade Magazine

How exciting!

Excellent post on Gender Pay Discrimination

The reason economists have trouble with the idea of rampant pay discrimination is that it defies common sense. Let's say I own a company and I am employing only men. Is it really true that I could fire all the men, replace them with women and lower my cost of labor by 23%? If I could do that why wouldn't I? If I were stupid enough not to do it, wouldn't a competitor of mine do it and drive me out of business?

via Professor Mark Perry at Carpe Diem.

Obama speech to soldiers met with silence

The troops’ silence continued through several obvious applause-lines.

Must read: The Green War on the Poor

At NRO, crunching the numbers:  The $2.78 trillion green tax would be spread nearly evenly on all Americans, not as a fixed “flat tax” percentage of income, but as a fixed cost regardless of income.

Divided evenly among 300 million Americans, the green tax works out to a burden of $9,270 imposed on every man, woman, and child. While this would be a pittance for the most affluent Americans, it would take away 40 percent of the total income of a family of four supported by two wage earners making the average U.S. salary of $45,000 each, and it would be a virtually fatal burden for the poor.

Friday, August 31, 2012

MSNBC producer at convention shoves man for heckling Chris Matthews

Matthews was hosting a show at a makeshift outdoor stage near the Tampa Bay Times Forum after Mitt Romney accepted the GOP presidential nomination. During a break, two men shouted, “Hey Chris, how’s that tingle up your leg?” The comment was a reference to Matthews’ 2008 comment that a Barack Obama speech sent a “thrill up his leg.”

According to witnesses, a shoving match ensued.

“Then this short dude who works for MSNBC pushed them,” said Toby David, who came to the defense of the two hecklers. Another witness, Kim Churchman, added, “One of them was smiling and didn’t know it was coming, and the guy just shoved him.”…

"He kept pushing them around, so I rolled over there. And the MSNBC guy says, 'You wanna get in trouble too?’ I said: ‘Who are you? A cop? If not, maybe I should make a call and we'll see who's in trouble.' 

via HotAir.

Joe Biden to table of (maybe) Greek men: “I’m Joe Bidenopoulos.

Biden's just the gift that keeps giving.

The Largest Moth in the World

The Largest Moth in the World 

Preparing for the DNC: Dems Giving Away Free Tickets To Obama’s Speech in Bars

“If less than 50 people arrive, everyone will get a pair! If more than 50 folks arrive, we will do a random drawing to determine our winners. There is no cost involved. We’re not selling the tickets, we’re giving them away.”

via Instapundit, who comments, "Someone needs to fill them in on the difference between “less than” and “fewer than.” Whoever wrote this must have had unionized teachers. . . ."

House panel probing stimulus cash for MSNBC ads

A House panel is calling on the U.S. Department of Labor to turn over all records involving a half-million dollar contract funded through President Obama’s $831 billion stimulus program that paid for more than 100 commercials on MSNBC.

Young Boy Meets the Bone Marrow Donor Who Saved His Life

Feel-good story and video.

Everything you never wanted to know about the mites that eat, crawl, and have sex on your face

This is the terrifying world of the Demodex mite. And by “terrifying world”, I mean your face. For anyone who wants to know more, and who isn’t currently clawing at their cheeks or bleaching their head (health tip: don’t), here’s everything you never wanted to know about your face-mites. via Boing Boing.

More Cowbell!

The new record is 1,003 students each ringing a cowbell at the same time.

Creepy anatomical structures made from food

More at That's Like Whoa

Mark Steyn vs Michael Mann - The climate change racket: Finally a 'day in court'?

Is the day that non-alarmists have long awaited finally upon us? The climate change racket on trial in a court of law?  

As National Review and Steyn have already indicated to Mann’s lawyers, sue away, bring it on! After all, it is high-time the real science was brought fully under public scrutiny.

Texas mayor attacked by his own ass, dies.

Texas mayor killed in apparent donkey attack.

Friday links

Star Trek v. Star Wars: A comparison in comics format.

Chocolate may protect the brain from stroke.

12 geeky projects you can do yourself, from scratch, over the Labor Day weekend.

Boy discovers whale vomit worth $65K.

Here's a working, full-size go-kart built entirely from Lego.

Airborne aircraft carriers.

How 13 Classic Video Games Got Their Names.

Dave Barry: GOP Convention draws to a close, and Tampa is safe again

Some day, years from now, some civic visionary will propose that, to enhance its national stature and reap vast financial benefits, Tampa should host another national political convention. And the people of Tampa, if they have any sense at all, will beat that visionary to death with sticks.

Read more here:

Read more here:

Romney's speech - video and full text

Mr. Chairman, delegates. I accept your nomination for President of the United States of America.

I do so with humility, deeply moved by the trust you have placed in me. It is a great honor. It is an even greater responsibility.

Tonight I am asking you to join me to walk together to a better future. By my side, I have chosen a man with a big heart from a small town. He represents the best of America, a man who will always make us proud – my friend and America’s next Vice President, Paul Ryan.

In the days ahead, you will get to know Paul and Janna better. But last night America got to see what I saw in Paul Ryan – a strong and caring leader who is down to earth and confident in the challenge this moment demands.
I love the way he lights up around his kids and how he’s not embarrassed to show the world how much he loves his mom.

But Paul, I still like the playlist on my iPod better than yours.

Four years ago, I know that many Americans felt a fresh excitement about the possibilities of a new president. That president was not the choice of our party but Americans always come together after elections. We are a good and generous people who are united by so much more than what divides us.
When that hard fought election was over, when the yard signs came down and the television commercials finally came off the air, Americans were eager to go back to work, to live our lives the way Americans always have – optimistic and positive and confident in the future.

That very optimism is uniquely American.

It is what brought us to America. We are a nation of immigrants. We are the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the ones who wanted a better life, the driven ones, the ones who woke up at night hearing that voice telling them that life in that place called America could be better.
They came not just in pursuit of the riches of this world but for the richness of this life.


Freedom of religion.

Freedom to speak their mind.

Freedom to build a life.

And yes, freedom to build a business. With their own hands.

This is the essence of the American experience.

We Americans have always felt a special kinship with the future.

When every new wave of immigrants looked up and saw the Statue of Liberty, or knelt down and kissed the shores of freedom just ninety miles from Castro’s tyranny, these new Americans surely had many questions. But none doubted that here in America they could build a better life, that in America their children would be more blessed than they.

But today, four years from the excitement of the last election, for the first time, the majority of Americans now doubt that our children will have a better future.

It is not what we were promised.

Every family in America wanted this to be a time when they could get ahead a little more, put aside a little more for college, do more for their elderly mom who’s living alone now or give a little more to their church or charity.

Every small business wanted these to be their best years ever, when they could hire more, do more for those who had stuck with them through the hard times, open a new store or sponsor that Little League team.

Every new college graduate thought they’d have a good job by now, a place of their own, and that they could start paying back some of their loans and build for the future.

This is when our nation was supposed to start paying down the national debt and rolling back those massive deficits.

This was the hope and change America voted for.

It’s not just what we wanted. It’s not just what we expected.

It’s what Americans deserved.

You deserved it because during these years, you worked harder than ever before. You deserved it because when it cost more to fill up your car, you cut out movie nights and put in longer hours. Or when you lost that job that paid $22.50 an hour with benefits, you took two jobs at 9 bucks an hour and fewer benefits. You did it because your family depended on you. You did it because you’re an American and you don’t quit. You did it because it was what you had to do.

But driving home late from that second job, or standing there watching the gas pump hit 50 dollars and still going, when the realtor told you that to sell your house you’d have to take a big loss, in those moments you knew that this just wasn’t right.

But what could you do? Except work harder, do with less, try to stay optimistic. Hug your kids a little longer; maybe spend a little more time praying that tomorrow would be a better day.

I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed. But his promises gave way to disappointment and division. This isn’t something we have to accept. Now is the moment when we CAN do something. With your help we will do something.

Now is the moment when we can stand up and say, “I’m an American. I make my destiny. And we deserve better! My children deserve better! My family deserves better. My country deserves better!”

So here we stand. Americans have a choice. A decision.

To make that choice, you need to know more about me and about where I will lead our country.

I was born in the middle of the century in the middle of the country, a classic baby boomer. It was a time when Americans were returning from war and eager to work. To be an American was to assume that all things were possible. When President Kennedy challenged Americans to go to the moon, the question wasn’t whether we’d get there, it was only when we’d get there.
The soles of Neil Armstrong’s boots on the moon made permanent impressions on OUR souls and in our national psyche. Ann and I watched those steps together on her parent’s sofa. Like all Americans we went to bed that night knowing we lived in the greatest country in the history of the world.

God bless Neil Armstrong.

Tonight that American flag is still there on the moon. And I don’t doubt for a second that Neil Armstrong’s spirit is still with us: that unique blend of optimism, humility and the utter confidence that when the world needs someone to do the really big stuff, you need an American.
That’s how I was brought up.

My dad had been born in Mexico and his family had to leave during the Mexican revolution. I grew up with stories of his family being fed by the US Government as war refugees. My dad never made it through college and apprenticed as a lath and plaster carpenter. And he had big dreams. He convinced my mom, a beautiful young actress, to give up Hollywood to marry him. He moved to Detroit, led a great automobile company and became Governor of the Great State of Michigan.

We were Mormons and growing up in Michigan; that might have seemed unusual or out of place but I really don’t remember it that way. My friends cared more about what sports teams we followed than what church we went to.

My mom and dad gave their kids the greatest gift of all – the gift of unconditional love. They cared deeply about who we would BE, and much less about what we would DO.

Unconditional love is a gift that Ann and I have tried to pass on to our sons and now to our grandchildren. All the laws and legislation in the world will never heal this world like the loving hearts and arms of mothers and fathers. If every child could drift to sleep feeling wrapped in the love of their family – and God’s love -- this world would be a far more gentle and better place.
Mom and Dad were married 64 years. And if you wondered what their secret was, you could have asked the local florist – because every day Dad gave Mom a rose, which he put on her bedside table. That’s how she found out what happened on the day my father died – she went looking for him because that morning, there was no rose.

My mom and dad were true partners, a life lesson that shaped me by everyday example. When my mom ran for the Senate, my dad was there for her every step of the way. I can still hear her saying in her beautiful voice, “Why should women have any less say than men, about the great decisions facing our nation?”

I wish she could have been here at the convention and heard leaders like Governor Mary Fallin, Governor Nikki Haley, Governor Susana Martinez, Senator Kelly Ayotte and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

As Governor of Massachusetts, I chose a woman Lt. Governor, a woman chief of staff, half of my cabinet and senior officials were women, and in business, I mentored and supported great women leaders who went on to run great companies.

I grew up in Detroit in love with cars and wanted to be a car guy, like my dad. But by the time I was out of school, I realized that I had to go out on my own, that if I stayed around Michigan in the same business, I’d never really know if I was getting a break because of my dad. I wanted to go someplace new and prove myself.

Those weren’t the easiest of days – too many long hours and weekends working, five young sons who seemed to have this need to re-enact a different world war every night. But if you ask Ann and I what we’d give, to break up just one more fight between the boys, or wake up in the morning and discover a pile of kids asleep in our room. Well, every mom and dad knows the answer to that.

Those days were toughest on Ann, of course. She was heroic. Five boys, with our families a long way away. I had to travel a lot for my job then and I’d call and try to offer support. But every mom knows that doesn’t help get the homework done or the kids out the door to school.

I knew that her job as a mom was harder than mine. And I knew without question, that her job as a mom was a lot more important than mine. And as America saw Tuesday night, Ann would have succeeded at anything she wanted to.

Like a lot of families in a new place with no family, we found kinship with a wide circle of friends through our church. When we were new to the community it was welcoming and as the years went by, it was a joy to help others who had just moved to town or just joined our church. We had remarkably vibrant and diverse congregants from all walks of life and many who were new to America. We prayed together, our kids played together and we always stood ready to help each other out in different ways.

And that’s how it is in America. We look to our communities, our faiths, our families for our joy, our support, in good times and bad. It is both how we live our lives and why we live our lives. The strength and power and goodness of America has always been based on the strength and power and goodness of our communities, our families, our faiths.

That is the bedrock of what makes America, America. In our best days, we can feel the vibrancy of America’s communities, large and small.

It’s when we see that new business opening up downtown. It’s when we go to work in the morning and see everybody else on our block doing the same.
It’s when our son or daughter calls from college to talk about which job offer they should take….and you try not to choke up when you hear that the one they like is not far from home.

It’s that good feeling when you have more time to volunteer to coach your kid’s soccer team, or help out on school trips.

But for too many Americans, these good days are harder to come by. How many days have you woken up feeling that something really special was happening in America?

Many of you felt that way on Election Day four years ago. Hope and Change had a powerful appeal. But tonight I’d ask a simple question: If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn’t you feel that way now that he’s President Obama? You know there’s something wrong with the kind of job he’s done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him.

The President hasn’t disappointed you because he wanted to. The President has disappointed America because he hasn’t led America in the right direction. He took office without the basic qualification that most Americans have and one that was essential to his task. He had almost no experience working in a business. Jobs to him are about government.

I learned the real lessons about how America works from experience.
When I was 37, I helped start a small company. My partners and I had been working for a company that was in the business of helping other businesses.
So some of us had this idea that if we really believed our advice was helping companies, we should invest in companies. We should bet on ourselves and on our advice.

So we started a new business called Bain Capital. The only problem was, while WE believed in ourselves, nobody else did. We were young and had never done this before and we almost didn’t get off the ground. In those days, sometimes I wondered if I had made a really big mistake. I had thought about asking my church’s pension fund to invest, but I didn’t. I figured it was bad enough that I might lose my investors’ money, but I didn’t want to go to hell too. Shows what I know. Another of my partners got the Episcopal Church pension fund to invest. Today there are a lot of happy retired priests who should thank him.

That business we started with 10 people has now grown into a great American success story. Some of the companies we helped start are names you know. An office supply company called Staples – where I’m pleased to see the Obama campaign has been shopping; The Sports Authority, which became a favorite of my sons. We started an early childhood learning center called Bright Horizons that First Lady Michelle Obama rightly praised. At a time when nobody thought we’d ever see a new steel mill built in America, we took a chance and built one in a corn field in Indiana. Today Steel Dynamics is one of the largest steel producers in the United States.

These are American success stories. And yet the centerpiece of the President’s entire re-election campaign is attacking success. Is it any wonder that someone who attacks success has led the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression? In America, we celebrate success, we don’t apologize for it.
We weren’t always successful at Bain. But no one ever is in the real world of business.

That’s what this President doesn’t seem to understand. Business and growing jobs is about taking risk, sometimes failing, sometimes succeeding, but always striving. It is about dreams. Usually, it doesn’t work out exactly as you might have imagined. Steve Jobs was fired at Apple. He came back and changed the world.

It’s the genius of the American free enterprise system – to harness the extraordinary creativity and talent and industry of the American people with a system that is dedicated to creating tomorrow’s prosperity rather than trying to redistribute today’s.

That is why every president since the Great Depression who came before the American people asking for a second term could look back at the last four years and say with satisfaction: “you are better off today than you were four years ago.”

Except Jimmy Carter. And except this president.

This president can ask us to be patient.

This president can tell us it was someone else’s fault.

This president can tell us that the next four years he’ll get it right.

But this president cannot tell us that YOU are better off today than when he took office.

America has been patient. Americans have supported this president in good faith.

But today, the time has come to turn the page.

Today the time has come for us to put the disappointments of the last four years behind us.

To put aside the divisiveness and the recriminations.

To forget about what might have been and to look ahead to what can be.

Now is the time to restore the Promise of America. Many Americans have given up on this president but they haven’t ever thought about giving up. Not on themselves. Not on each other. And not on America.

What is needed in our country today is not complicated or profound. It doesn’t take a special government commission to tell us what America needs.

What America needs is jobs.

Lots of jobs.

In the richest country in the history of the world, this Obama economy has crushed the middle class. Family income has fallen by $4,000, but health insurance premiums are higher, food prices are higher, utility bills are higher, and gasoline prices have doubled. Today more Americans wake up in poverty than ever before. Nearly one out of six Americans is living in poverty. Look around you. These are not strangers. These are our brothers and sisters, our fellow Americans.

His policies have not helped create jobs, they have depressed them. And this I can tell you about where President Obama would take America:

His plan to raise taxes on small business won’t add jobs, it will eliminate them;

His assault on coal and gas and oil will send energy and manufacturing jobs to China;

His trillion dollar cuts to our military will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs, and also put our security at greater risk;

His $716 billion cut to Medicare to finance Obamacare will both hurt today’s seniors, and depress innovation – and jobs – in medicine.

And his trillion-dollar deficits will slow our economy, restrain employment, and cause wages to stall.

To the majority of Americans who now believe that the future will not be better than the past, I can guarantee you this: if Barack Obama is re-elected, you will be right.

I am running for president to help create a better future. A future where everyone who wants a job can find one. Where no senior fears for the security of their retirement. An America where every parent knows that their child will get an education that leads them to a good job and a bright horizon.

And unlike the President, I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs. It has 5 steps.

First, by 2020, North America will be energy independent by taking full advantage of our oil and coal and gas and nuclear and renewables.

Second, we will give our fellow citizens the skills they need for the jobs of today and the careers of tomorrow. When it comes to the school your child will attend, every parent should have a choice, and every child should have a chance.

Third, we will make trade work for America by forging new trade agreements. And when nations cheat in trade, there will be unmistakable consequences.

Fourth, to assure every entrepreneur and every job creator that their investments in America will not vanish as have those in Greece, we will cut the deficit and put America on track to a balanced budget.

And fifth, we will champion SMALL businesses, America’s engine of job growth. That means reducing taxes on business, not raising them. It means simplifying and modernizing the regulations that hurt small business the most. And it means that we must rein in the skyrocketing cost of healthcare by repealing and replacing Obamacare.

Today, women are more likely than men to start a business. They need a president who respects and understands what they do.

And let me make this very clear – unlike President Obama, I will not raise taxes on the middle class.

As president, I will protect the sanctity of life. I will honor the institution of marriage. And I will guarantee America’s first liberty: the freedom of religion.
President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. MY to help you and your family.

I will begin my presidency with a jobs tour. President Obama began with an apology tour. America, he said, had dictated to other nations. No Mr. President, America has freed other nations from dictators.

Every American was relieved the day President Obama gave the order, and Seal Team Six took out Osama bin Laden. But on another front, every American is less secure today because he has failed to slow Iran’s nuclear threat.

In his first TV interview as president, he said we should talk to Iran. We’re still talking, and Iran’s centrifuges are still spinning.

President Obama has thrown allies like Israel under the bus, even as he has relaxed sanctions on Castro’s Cuba. He abandoned our friends in Poland by walking away from our missile defense commitments, but is eager to give Russia’s President Putin the flexibility he desires, after the election. Under my administration, our friends will see more loyalty, and Mr. Putin will see a little less flexibility and more backbone.

We will honor America’s democratic ideals because a free world is a more peaceful world. This is the bipartisan foreign policy legacy of Truman and Reagan. And under my presidency we will return to it once again.

You might have asked yourself if these last years are really the America we want, the America won for us by the greatest generation.

Does the America we want borrow a trillion dollars from China? No.

Does it fail to find the jobs that are needed for 23 million people and for half the kids graduating from college? No.

Are its schools lagging behind the rest of the developed world? No.

And does the America we want succumb to resentment and division? We know the answer.

The America we all know has been a story of the many becoming one, uniting to preserve liberty, uniting to build the greatest economy in the world, uniting to save the world from unspeakable darkness.

Everywhere I go in America, there are monuments that list those who have given their lives for America. There is no mention of their race, their party affiliation, or what they did for a living. They lived and died under a single flag, fighting for a single purpose. They pledged allegiance to the UNITED States of America.

That America, that united America, can unleash an economy that will put Americans back to work, that will once again lead the world with innovation and productivity, and that will restore every father and mother’s confidence that their children’s future is brighter even than the past.

That America, that united America, will preserve a military that is so strong, no nation would ever dare to test it.

That America, that united America, will uphold the constellation of rights that were endowed by our Creator, and codified in our Constitution.

That united America will care for the poor and the sick, will honor and respect the elderly, and will give a helping hand to those in need.

That America is the best within each of us. That America we want for our

If I am elected President of these United States, I will work with all my energy and soul to restore that America, to lift our eyes to a better future.

That future is our destiny. That future is out there. It is waiting for us. Our children deserve it, our nation depends upon it, the peace and freedom of the world require it. And with your help we will deliver it. Let us begin that future together tonight.

Louisiana Teachers' Union Calls Black School Choice Group 'Pro-KKK'

Further information and links at American Thinker.

Justice Probe of CIA Actions Closed Without Charges

The department had already dropped most of the cases stemming from accusations that the CIA and other agencies committed abuses against detainees held by the U.S. after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But Attorney General Eric Holder last year ordered a criminal investigation into two detainee deaths, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, saying new evidence was available.

On Thursday, Mr. Holder said that remaining investigation also would be dropped. "The admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt," he said.

One box of Girl Scout cookies worth $15 billion?

An American experiment, so goofy-sounding that it has drawn little attention, points towards a cheap way of obtaining what is now a scarily expensive substance.

Two Tesla coils perform “Sweet Home Alabama”

Explanation from Youtube:

These are two gigantic solid state musical Tesla Coils. A Tesla Coil is a special type of transformer invented by Nikola Tesla that is able to generating extremely large voltages using a phenomenon known as electrical resonance. Each coil in this video is capable of generating a 13 foot spark. This equates to about 500,000 volts of electricity. 

The primary drive system for the coils consists of high power semiconductors arranged into an H-Bridge switching configuration. During a spark event, the coil is pulsed on for a few hundred millionths of a second. During this short time, thousands of amps circulate within the primary tank circuit and the energy is coupled into the secondary resonator through magnetism. 

So what appears to be a continuous burst of sparks is actually a specific number of sparks generated per second. By modulating the number of sparks that emit from the coil each second, different tones can be produced by the coils.

via Improbable Research.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Before-and-After Photos: Curiosity’s Laser Burns Holes in Martian Rock

At Wired.

Texas Voter I.D. law thrown out

Links and comments at Legal Insurrection.

More from Doc Zero.

Behind-the-scenes Godzilla photos

Lots of photos of the famed monster off duty.

Cookies Decorated as Organs & Body Parts

At London’s Pathology Museum.

Own e-books? Publishers to pay back millions over price fixing charges

Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster will award consumers monetary compensation if they purchased e-books from those publishing companies between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012.

I'm sure lawyers will get most of it.

The speech Nixon had prepared in case Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were stranded on the moon

For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.

Comments, full text and links at DVICE.  Read the whole thing.

Attention Browncoats: Check out this 10th anniversary Firefly poster

More information at BoingBoing.

MSNBS releases quick reference of all words construed as racist when spoken by Republicans

The Unseen Class War That Could Decide The Presidential Election

Read the whole thing.

Obama’s core middle-class support, and that of his party, comes from what might be best described as “the clerisy,” a 21st century version of France’s pre-revolution First Estate. This includes an ever-expanding class of minders — lawyers, teachers, university professors, the media and, most particularly, the relatively well paid legions of public sector workers — who inhabit Washington, academia, large non-profits and government centers across the country.

Essentially, the clerisy has become a new, mass privileged class who live a safer, more secure life compared to those trapped in the harsher, less cosseted private economy. 

New Airborne Defense Against Small Swarming Boats

A new system aims to spot those boats from above and target them with small bombs able to attack moving targets.

Apple's "Genius Manual"

How To Be a Genius: This Is Apple’s Secret Employee Training Manual.

It's a penetrating look inside Apple: psychological mastery, banned words, roleplaying—you've never seen anything like it.

via GeekPress.

Aussie billionaire: if you are jealous of those with more money, do something to make more money yourself

"If you're jealous of those with more money, don't just sit there and complain; do something to make more money yourself - spend less time drinking, or smoking and socialising, and more time working.

I like this response:

But that is not the Australian way, according to Aussie Home Loans founder and chairman John Symond.

"It sounds pretty tough to me," he said.

"You know, there's got to be a balance, but let's face it - one of the great things about Australia is having a bit of fun and having a drink, a barbecue, a few laughs.

Mom with shotgun chases off man who tries to kidnap her 2 year old

Home invasion.

Cow rescued by fire crews after getting stuck in tree

Happy ending.

The Ultimate Hurricane Reporter Fails Compilation

via Cynical-C.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wells Fargo Fires Iowa Worker for Minor 1963 Crime

He put a cardboard cutout of a dime in a washing machine nearly 50 years ago.

Zimmerman judge kicked off case

Links and details at Legal Insurrection.

Families of Fallen SEALs Sent Form Letters With President’s Electronic Signature


Hillary Clinton to Flee the Country During DNC.

Let’s face it, if you still had political aspirations, would you want to be anywhere near these losers?

CIA passed on bin Laden hit in 1999?

HotAir has comments, links and more information.  Read the whole post.

All the CIA had to do was green-light an assassination mission by the group run by Ahmed Shah Massoud, as they already had the route and locations bin Laden planned to use in his journey to Kandahar, and assure them that the group would get the $5 million reward if they succeeded.  The CIA flat-out refused, citing existing American law, and said that either OBL was to be captured alive or not at all.

How laugh tracks came to be

Laughter is contagious.

Wednesday links

1939 Map of Physics.

Water Castles.

The Book of Wonderful Characters.

12 bizarre gun designs that didn't catch on.

Ancient Minoan Culture Illustrated with Barbies (scroll down)

Home Remedies From 100 Years Ago.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mia Love: The America I know

The president’s policies have made minorities and the most vulnerable in society more desperate and dependent on government, less self-reliant, less upwardly mobile and ultimately less free. His America is an ever-expanding nanny state that is simply unsustainable and unhealthy for our people, our economy and our future.

170 ACORN-affiliated groups still active

The groups shared the same physical location, leadership or staff, or tax ID number as old ACORN chapters.

Milestones in Recorded Sound Through the Years

The ways in which recording methods have changed through the years and how music sounded in each era, from Thomas Edison’s 1887 phonograph to the ‘audio manipulation explosion’ in the 1990s.

Steyn: The Paramilitarized Bureaucracies

in the developed world, the paramilitarized bureaucracy is uniquely American. This is the only G7 government whose education minister has his own SWAT team — for policing student-loan compliance. The other day, the Gibson guitar company settled with the feds over an arcane infraction of a law on rare-wood importation — after their factories were twice raided by "agents" bearing automatic weapons. Like the man said, don't bring a knife to a guitar fight.

Dave Barry: GOP delegates get wild and crazy

In my opinion, one of the greatest things — if not THE greatest thing — about the American political process is that every four years it gives me the unadulterated joy of watching Republican convention delegates attempt to dance.

But before you sneer at the Republicans — for being unhip, for having a convention attended by (this is a rough estimate) maybe 14 members of minority groups — consider this: The party at Tropicana Field, huge as it was, was well organized: The food and drink were plentiful throughout the evening. When the Democrats hold events like this, there are always giant lines, and they run out of everything in 20 minutes. You should think about that when you’re deciding which of these two parties should run the country for the next four years.

Read more here:

500-pound Darth Vader cake

May the fork be with you.

Obama Raises CAFE Standards; GM Suspends Volt Production

So what a 50 percent increase over that will cost car companies is anyone’s guess – although be prepared, dear taxpayers, to open upyour wallets to provide retooling loans.

Images that show how a color-blind person sees the world

And why color-blindness might explain Van Gogh's genius.

There's also a tool and app which allows anyone to run their own photographs through color-blindness filter.
Both of my sons are color-blind, as was my father.

Excellent "fact checking" article: PolitiFiction

NRO: PolitiFact can’t be trusted to get the story right.

And @jonahnro recommends this related article: Lies, Damned Lies, and ‘Fact Checking’

School demands that boy must change his name from Hunter because it violates its weapons policy

In the interest of safety, a preschool is insisting that a deaf boy named Hunter change his name at school so people don't accidentally shoot and kill someone with their finger when they use sign language to say his name.

via Radley Balko.

Advance makes possible near-instantaneous DNA analysis

Just like on CSI!

Obama's $107 billion transportation plan: Trains and roads to nowhere

High speed trains to nowhere, trolleys, bicycles, buses, scenic byways, historic covered bridges and "community preservation".

Get drunk, wake up in the morning and realize you killed 70K chickens

Bad night for this 21 year old in Maryland.

Glenn Reynolds: Dead voters & a dying democracy

You might call our system “Third World,” but that would be an insult to the Third World. 

Related: When 1,099 felons vote in race won by 312

Iowahawk Guest Commentary By Barack Obama, Stargazer-in-Chief

But in our shared moment of grief, let us also celebrate his historic accomplishment in becoming the first astronaut eulogized by me, Barack Obama, our nation's historic first African-American president.

Related: To Honor Neil Armstrong, Obama Posts Photo of Himself.

Goethe was born 263 years ago today - some quotes and history

Grau, teurer Freund, ist alle Theorie
Und grün des Lebens goldner Baum.

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, (Faust, Part I, "Studierzimmer")

(All theory, dear friend, is grey, but the golden tree
of actual life springs ever green.)

Das is der Weisheit letzter Schluss:
Nur der verdient sich Freiheit wie das Leben,
Der taglich sie eroben muss.

- Ibid., Part 2, "Grosser Vorhof des Palastes")

(This is wisdom's final thought:
Only he earns freedom, as well as life,
Who day by day must conquer them anew.)

Wer nie sein Brot mit Tränen ass,
Wer nie de kummervollen Nächte
Auf seinem Bette weinend sass,
Der kennt euch nicht, ihr himmlischen Mächte.

- Goethe, (Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, Bk.2, Ch. 1)

(Who never ate his bread in sorrow,
Who never spent the darksome hours
Weeping and watching for the morrow
He knows ye not, ye heavenly powers.)

Wenn wir, sagtest Du, die Menschen nur nehmen, wie sie sind, so machen
wir sie schlecter; wenn wir sie behandeln, als wären sie sein sollten so bringen wir sie dahin, wohin sie zu bringen sind.

- Ibid, Bk, 8, Ch. 4

(Treat a man as he is, and that is what he remains. Treat a man as he can be, and that is what he becomes.)

Goethe is different and a wonderful fellow, the Ariosto at once, and almost the Voltaire of Germany.

- Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) (in Anne of Geierstein)

(Today is the 263rd anniversary of the birth of iconic German poet, novelist, and dramatist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) in Frankfurt am Main. Goethe studied law at Leipzig and Strasbourg but also began there his lifelong study of plants and animals. A major voice of German romanticism, he produced his first successes in the early Sturm-und-Drang ("storm and stress") period of his writing career, including the drama Götz von Berlichingen and the novel The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774). In 1775, Goethe began his long association with the dukes of Saxe-Weimar and eventually spent most of his life at their court in Weimar, for ten years as chief minister of state. A visit to Italy inspired his writing of Egmont (1788) and Torquato Tasso (1789), but he is best remembered for his monumental verse drama, Faust, which appeared in two parts, the first in 1808, the second after his death. Later in life Goethe was greatly influenced by the poet Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) and Persian verse, and in his old age, he produced some of his most lyrical poems. He ended his life as a reclusive, but revered figure, whose influence on European literature - and music! - has been incalculable. In the first act of Torquato Tasso, he wrote,

"Es bildet ein Talent sich in der Stille,
Sich ein Charakter in dem Strom der Welt."

(Talent develops in quiet places, character
in the full current of human life.)** )

* N.B. Italian poet Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533) is best remembered for his popular epic poem, Orlando Furioso.

** This is a relatively free version by Thomas Carlyle, who translated many of Goethe's works into English. (The last phrase might be more literally rendered, "in the stream of the world.")

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

Taken from Ed's QOTD, only available via email.  If you'd like to be added to his list, leave your email address in the comments.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Instant karma's gonna get ya: Man Steals Phone from Ebola Patient, Gets Ebola

Rather Darwinesque - he broke into a infectious disease ward to steal the phone.

Eight things you didn’t know you could do with human sperm

Sperm, along with its traveling companion, semen, are surprisingly versatile and adaptable substances.

Gitmo terrorist gets a kitten (not The Onion)

Did the Obama administration give a top KSM lieutenant at Guantanamo Bay a kitten?

Pompeii: August 24, 79 AD. The day started like any other day

An animated film depicting the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.

Taliban beheaded 17 civilians because they attended a dance party

The victims were part of a large group that had gathered late Sunday in Helmand province's Musa Qala district for a celebration involving music and dancing, said district government chief Neyamatullah Khan. He said the Taliban slaughtered them to show their disapproval of the event.

Harvard prof: intellectual diversity replaced by intellectual conformism

At WSJ - read the whole thing.

The increased political conformism at universities may be traced in part to the redefinition of diversity that accompanied the introduction of group preferences, aka "affirmative action." Schools instituting this policy never acknowledged that it conflicted with competing commitments to equal consideration "irrespective of race, religion, or gender," or that at least half the country questioned its wisdom.

The meaning of "diversity" has shifted from the intellectual to the racial-ethnic sphere, foreclosing discussion of certain subjects like affirmative action, gender differences and everything considered politically incorrect.

To Honor Neil Armstrong, Obama Posts Photo of Himself

Comments and links at Breitbart.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Man convicted of molesting a dead deer and shooting horse to have sex with it assaulted female cop after shoplifting from Walmart

Good news, ladies - I think he's single.

Dave Barry on the RNC convention in Tampa

I don’t know why anybody thought it was a good idea to hold a presidential nominating convention in Florida. This state has a terrible track record with presidential politics. Does anybody remember 2000?

Read more here:

And this: Until the weekend, Vice President Joe “Joe” Biden had also been planning to come; apparently he was unaware that this is the Republican convention. He changed his mind after a meeting with his top aides that may or may not have involved tranquilizer darts. So, tragically, Joe will not be here.

Read more here:

Astronauts couldn't get life insurance: here's how they self-insured

During the 60s and 70s it would appear that private life insurance was not available to astronauts.  Here's a good post about how astronauts of the time used their own autographs as a form of life insurance for their families.

Here is more.  Here is further explanation with photos.  Here is the Byrds tribute to Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins.

via Marginal Revolution.

Updated to fix broken link.

“The Mighty Ducks”: Where Are They Now?

A couple of well known names, lots of also-rans.

Though lumpish milk-livered pignut: Shakespeare Insult Kit

This has been floating around the internet for ages, but it's still fun.

Update on the mystery of exploding manure pits

Pop! Goes the Pig Dung

NASA discovers 100 million year old dinosaur footprints in its backyard

Information, discussion and links at io9 regarding this (and other) footprints found on the grounds of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

First they came for the athletes... Lance Armstrong and the Fiefdom Epidemic

Setting aside the question of his guilt or innocence, Lance Armstrong’s statement touches on the epidemic of quasi-governmental entities and big agencies increasing their reach and impact with significant enforcement power in this country.  This isn’t about USADA and cycling, but about essential freedom.

Remembering Neil Armstrong… When Men Walked on the Moon

Nice post here.

And this seems appropriate:
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
 - Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee, No 412 squadron, RCAF, Killed 11 December 1941

The History of the @ Symbol

At Smithsonian mag.  Also, The History of the Exclamation Point.

via Althouse.