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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Off-Duty US Sailor Knocks Out Dubai Rapist With Her American Thighs

An off-duty US navy sailor wrestled a bus driver to the ground and beat him into submission after he attempted to rape her at knife point, a court heard yesterday.

Prosecutors said that she knocked the knife from his hand, broke it in two, bit him in the hand, forced him to the ground and locked him between her thighs.

The woman, 28, was on 24-hour shore leave in Dubai and was attacked as she returned to the port where she was based after a day shopping.

Update: Hm. It turns out she wasn’t a US Navy sailor, but may have been a civilian mariner.

Diane Feinstein’s husband’s company lands big high-speed rail contract

Sister Toldjah:

Because, at nearly $35,000,000 per mile, they surely had to be the cheapest:
Out of the entire universe of those who could have won the first phase construction contract for California’s high speed rail boondoggle, who would stand out as the last person who would win it if there were no political patronage.
Put another way, who is the most likely person to win it if there is political patronage?
Both questions have the same answer: Richard Blum, the husband of California senator Diane Feinstein.
So, who won the contract? Blum, of course, as the principle owner of Tutor Perini, the lead firm in the three-firm consortium selected by the California High Speed Rail Authority.
Yes, Diane, it really does look that bad to us little people.

Gutsy Call on That Miranda Warning: Method of Detonation May Suggest 3rd Bomber At Bombsite

Links and more comments at Ace:

They seem to believe that the bombs were detonated line of site, by radio remote control.

I'm not sure why they conclude this next part: Ergo, the Tsarnaev's themselves could not have detonated them, and so there is a third party who manned the RCs.

I do not get that last leap, though, as I thought that last picture of the murderous brothers leaving the bomb site had them pretty close to the bombs. Not so close to be hit, but close enough to be moving with the fleeing crowd (and not even out in front of the fleeing crowd).

But it's worth keeping an eye on. I await the explanation for that Step 2 in the logic that seems to be missing at the moment.

Is Chocolate Good for You? Or Bad?

Read the whole thing at Bon Appetit.  Exerpts:

In 1988 alone, chocolate was scientifically accused of causing itching, causing migraines, and causing indigestion. In 1989, science found that the fat from cocoa butter is good for you, but since most chocolate also has milkfat in it, it's bad! And a 1990 article called "New Insights on Why Some Children Are Fat" continued the chocophobic trend, with a Dr. Stunkard noting that "no one binges on hard candies, which are pure cream and chocolate are more often the villains."

Harsh words. And things weren't getting any better. In 1992, science found that chocolate makes you fatter than alcohol if you're an alcoholic (but failed to mention if the inverse holds true for chocoholics), and followed up in 1993 with the painful finding that a chemical found in chocolate might give you kidney stones.

But soft! What light through yonder science breaks? It is 1996, the year that things started looking up for chocolate again! First, science found that chocolate definitely does NOT cause acne outbreaks (though it can still get stuck in your braces). Then, in what might be the best chocolate-related study of all time, science also discovered that chocolate could be used not only as a shock absorber in cars but as a quick way to fill potholes.

Elevator Riders Stand in Mini Social Hierarchies

Do you ever pay attention to where you stand when you ride an elevator?

Rebekah Rousi, a Ph.D. student in cognitive science, does. She conducted an elevator study in two of the tallest office buildings Adelaide, Australia, and after 30 rides, found that more senior men stand in the back, younger men stand in the middle and women of all ages stand in front.

Not only did people tend to stand in certain locations, but they also directed their gaze in particular areas. Men checked out the other riders as well as themselves, while women did not and only looked in the mirrors when another women was in the elevator car.

Hostess looking to get back in business, sans the union employees

More at HotAir:

Last fall, Hostess tried to readjust their struggling business model and keep the company (along with its 19,000-strong workforce) going strong by closing a few factories and downsizing workers’ wages and benefits — and the bakers’ union to which a big chunk of the Hostess workforce belonged didn’t like that all. Their resulting strike turned out to be a suicide mission, however; the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union might have thought they were calling the company’s bluff, but Hostess really could not afford to keep up the bloated pay structure, and the settlement failure meant liquidation and a whole lot of layoffs.

Now, a buyout firm is looking to put Hostess’s bankrupt assets back into business; Ed mentioned yesterday that at least one plant should be up and running by July, and they’re planning on re-opening several other plants in short order — but they’re trying to do it without the union contract this time.

NYT: Breitbart was right about Pigford

More comment, and links, at HotAir:

It’s rare to get this kind of vindication, so let’s enjoy it in memory of Andrew Breitbart for as long as possible. For more than two years, Andrew and Lee Stranahan have investigated the Pigford settlement and the fraudulent claims that not only have cost taxpayers billions, but have left the original black farmers who sued the USDA over discrimination in the lurch. Today the New York Times reports what Andrew and Lee have been saying all along — that the Pigford settlement was a political hack job by Tom Vilsack’s Department of Agriculture, and that it’s a magnet for fraud.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Do different kinds of alcohol get you different kinds of drunk?

First off: alcohol is alcohol – which is to say that the alcohol in wine is the same as the alcohol in beer is the same as the alcohol in the unholy red-cup concoction at a dormroom game of King's Cup. That alcohol is ethyl alcohol, aka ethanol, and it'll get you drunk. The fact that liquor tends to contain higher concentrations of ethanol than wine, and wine higher concentrations than beer, means that the same volume of different alcoholic beverages will get you more/less drunk, ergo the "standard drink" rule, as defined by the National Institutes of Health:
In the United States, a "standard" drink is any drink that contains about 0.6 fluid ounces or 14 grams of "pure" alcohol. Although the drinks below are different sizes, each contains approximately the same amount of alcohol and counts as a single standard drink.
The standard drink model suggests that when it comes to behavioral effects, the only difference between a can of beer and a shot of whiskey is the mode of delivery. Ounce-for-ounce, an 80-proof shot of MaCallan's is a much more efficient ethanol-delivery system than a can of Bud Light. If you down a few shots of the former really quickly, you'll experience a rapid spike in your blood alcohol level, and, presumably, a rapid drop in your inhibition, sense of propriety, and so-forth. But any perceived difference between the drunk you feel from the liquor and the drunk you feel from beer has to do with the rate at which you consumed the ethanol, not the beverage via which you consumed it.
But what about hard alcohols that are comparable in ethanol concentration, and therefore equally efficient at getting you drunk? According to the Alcohol Is Alcohol argument, 80-proof tequila should have the same effect on you as 80-proof vodka, rum, gin or whiskey. Yet we all know someone who insists that tequila makes them wild, that whiskey makes them angry, or that gin makes them sad. Why is that?

Friday links

Wild Men of Europe: Animal Costume Traditions.

Eyeball Shaving in China.

What is the longest possible sunset you can experience while driving?

Gallery: stone bridges.

Need a smile? Watch this Evian "baby & me" video

And here are the Evian roller babies:

The Gonorrhea Doomsday Is Nigh

Gonorrhea, one of the the smartest of all the bacterial STDs, is on the rise. From Wyoming to Utah to Minnesota, there are reports of cases increasing, some by 74 percent—all on the heels of the first incurable strain hitting North American genitalia back earlier this year. And now, British doctors who devote their careers to studying The Clap are warning that the disease could be completely untreatable sooner than the U.S. elects a new president. "[T]here is a possibility that if we don't do something then it could become untreatable by 2015," professor Cathy Ison, head of the National Reference Laboratory for Gonorrhea in the U.K., told the BBC Wednesday.

"Untreatable," as Dr. Ison sees it, would be a nightmare scenario not only for patients bound to suffer complications like infertility and ectopic pregnancies, but also for doctors who could no longer break transmission, becoming unprepared to deal with more complex infections. And though Ison's warning of a gonorrhea doomsday is a hypothetical worst-case scenario, the troubling signs of growing cases and incurable strains are already here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

How Urine Can Be Used to Make Gunpowder (and Other Interesting Pee Facts)

It turns out that something that is (usually) flushed down the toilet can actually be recycled into a number of useful products. Comprised of water, calcium, chloride, potassium, sodium, magnesium, urea, creatinine, nitrogen, uric acid, ammonium, sulphates and phosphates, urine’s beneficial ingredients can be separated from its waste, and used to make fertilizer, medicine, brain cells and, yes, gunpowder.

Throughout history, some smart and adventurous people with strong stomachs have devised a number of ingenuous uses for their pee.