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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Bison Vs. Barrycades. Barrycades Lose

Mark Steyn: Park Service Paramilitaries: The government has King John’s idea of public lands.

You should, of course, read the whole thing.

It is somewhat sobering to reflect that an English peasant enjoyed more freedom on the sovereign’s land in the 13th century than a freeborn American does on “the people’s land” in the 21st century.

And we’re talking about a lot more acreage: Forty percent of the state of California is supposedly federal land, and thus officially closed to the people of the state. The geyser stasi of the National Park Service have in effect repealed the Charter of the Forest. President Obama and his enforcers have the same concept of the royal forest that King John did. The government does not own this land; the Park Service are merely the janitorial staff of “we the people” (to revive an obsolescent concept). No harm will befall the rocks and rivers by posting a sign at the entrance saying “No park ranger on duty during government shutdown. Proceed beyond this point at your own risk.” And, at the urban monuments, you don’t even need that: It is disturbing that minor state officials even presume to have the right to prevent the citizenry walking past the Vietnam Wall.

I wonder what those Japanese and Australian tourists prevented from photographing bison or admiring a geyser make of U.S. claims to be “the land of the free.” When a government shutdown falls in the forest, Americans should listen very carefully. The government is telling you something profound and important about how it understands the power relationship between them and you.

Park Service sign of the day

via PowerLine.

Supercut: It's just a cat

Giant Soap Bubbles Exploding in Slow Motion

Japan's Straw Beasts Are Huge, Wonderful, and Highly Flammable

It's fall in Japan. And like every fall, rice is harvested, leaving behind straw to be hung and dried. In some rural areas, though, the rice straw has a special use: Making giant beasts.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Excellent infographic: Which birth dates are most common?

via Brain Pickings.

Tiffany meets Tolkien: Lord of the Rings Stained-Glass-Style Art

The Ring:
Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie
- The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Grey Havens: What can you see on the horizon? Why do the white gulls call? Across the sea, a pale moon rises, The ships have come to carry you home.
Eight legs nightmare

On two chairs beneath the bole of the tree and canopied by a living bough there sat, side by side, Celeborn and Galadriel. Very tall they were, and the Lady no less tall than the Lord; and they were grave and beautiful. They were clad wholly in white; and the hair of the Lady was of deep gold, and the hair of the Lord Celeborn was of silver long and bright; but no sign of age was upon them, unless it were in the depths of their eyes; for these were keen as lances in the starlight, and yet profound, the wells of deep memory. - The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

You cannot pass: "I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass."
—Gandalf to the Balrog.
Tolkien has, of course, inspired a lot of artists (And, of course, movies). Along with several illustrated editions of his works, there are some excellent collections of art alone.

Via Neatorama. View more over at the artist's gallery at deviantART. Prints are available at Leewiart.

A Quick Peanut Butter Test for Alzheimer’s Disease


The early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) may help reduce disability, enhance quality of life, and aid clinical trials. Portions of olfactory cortex are the initial sites of AD pathology and patients with AD often have more degeneration of their left than right hemisphere. Since the olfactory epithelium projects mainly to the ipsilateral olfactory cortex, patients with AD may demonstrate an asymmetrical (left greater than right) decrement of odor detection sensitivity. This retrospective, case-control study assessed a quick olfactory test that may help diagnose AD.


Participants with probable AD (N = 18), mild cognitive impairment (MCI, N = 24), other causes of dementia (OD, N = 26) and matched controls (OC, N = 26) were tested, with closed eyes, for their ability to detect an odor, one nostril at a time. A container of 14 g of peanut butter was opened, held medially at the bottom of a 30 cm ruler, and moved up 1 cm at a time during the participants' exhale. Upon odor detection, the distance between the subject's nostril and container was measured.


The mean odor detection distance of AD patients' left nostril (5.1 cm), and not their right (17.4 cm), was significantly less (F(3,90) = 22.28, p < 0.0001) than the other groups. The mean, standard error, and 95% Confidence Interval of the L–R nostril odor detection difference (cm) for AD were − 12.4 ± 0.5, (− 15.0,− 9.8); for MCI were − 1.9 ± 1.2, (− 4.2,0.4); for OD were 4.8 ± 1.0, (2.6,6.9); and for OC were 0.0 ± 1.4 (− 2.2,2.1).


This non-invasive and inexpensive left–right nostril odor detection test appears to be a sensitive and specific test for probable AD.

Report: Credit Score to 'Have a Big Impact' on How Much People Pay for Obamacare Update: That report is wrong

Update from CNN: the Affordable Care Act only allows insurers to consider three criteria in determining premiums: age, location and whether the applicant smokes. "You cannot be charged more because of your credit score," says Peters.

This seems hard to believe, but that's what it says.

Thursday links

Child labor photos from the Library of Congress.

What is in Worcestershire Sauce and Why is It Called That?

Hand-Tinted Photos of Egypt from the late 19th century.

The Origins Of River Names.

Salvador Dalí Illustrates Don Quixote.

In case you haven't seen it already - Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise.

Here's one for Jonah: Pneumatic Tube Networks Then & Now.

In case you haven't seen it already - Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise

This hidden camera experiment captures the reactions of unsuspecting customers at a New York City coffee shop as they witness a telekinetic event. The stunt was made as a clever promotion for Carrie, the upcoming remake of the 1976 horror flick of the same name.

Child labor photos from the Library of Congress

There's a huge collection of these at the Library of Congress - the National Child Labor Committee Collection:
Founded in 1904, the National Child Labor Committee set out on a mission of "promoting the rights, awareness, dignity, well-being and education of children and youth as they relate to work and working." Starting in 1908, the Committee hired Lewis W. Hine (1874-1940), first on a temporary and then on a permanent basis, to carry out investigative and photographic work for the organization.
The book Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor is a photobiography of Lewis Hine, using his own work as illustrations.  Related books available here.
Amos is 6 and Horace 4 years old. Their father, John Neal is a renter and raises tobacco. He said (and the owner of the land confirmed it) that both these boys work day after day from "sun-up to sun-down" worming and suckering, and that they are as steady as a grown-up. Location: Warren County--Albaton, Kentucky
Some of the young cartoners in work room, Seacoast Canning Co., Factory #2. Five year old Preston working also. Location: Eastport, Maine.
"Boy Wanted" Sign. West 19[th] Street. Location: New York, New York (State) / L.W. Hine.
Night Shift Leaving for Home: Indiana Glass Works, 8:00 A. M., (See also Photo #91.) Location: Indiana.
Name: Norris Lovitt. Been picking for 3 years in berry fields near Baltimore, Md. July 8, 1909. Location: Baltimore, Maryland.
Callie Campbell, 11 years old, picks 75 to 125 pounds of cotton a day, and totes 50 pounds of it when sack gets full. "No, I don't like it very much." Location: [Potawotamie County, Oklahoma].
9 year old girl carrying garments down Blackstone Street, Boston, Mass., to a Hanover Street home. She finishes 8 pairs of trousers a day and gets 8 cents a piece. Location: Boston, Massachusetts.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mike Ditka: Obama Wouldn't Be in WH if I'd Challenged Him for Senate in '04

Former Chicago Bears legend and coach Mike Ditka said the biggest mistake he has ever made was not challenging then-state Senator Barack Obama for Illinois's U.S. Senate seat in 2004, saying he "probably" would have beaten Obama and prevented him from winning the White House.

“Biggest mistake I’ve ever made,” Ditka recently said at an event in North Dakota, according to the Dickinson Press. “Not that I would have won, but I probably would have and he wouldn’t be in the White House.”

Ditka decided against seeking the Republican Senate nomination in 2004 in Illinois. Obama's path to his party's nomination was made easier when details about Democrat Blair Hull's divorce came to light. Hull was a Senate candidate for whom David Axelrod had wanted to work before he signed on to Obama's campaign.

Then, details about the sex clubs that Jack Ryan, the Republican candidate, visited with his former wife Jeri were released from divorce files and sensationalized, forcing Ryan to withdraw from the race. That left Republicans with a barren field of candidates. Eventually, Obama ran against Alan Keyes, an out-of-state candidate whom Illinois Republicans chose to run against Obama. Obama clobbered Keyes in the general election by getting 70% of the vote en route to the Senate and ultimately the White House. 

Must Read: Parasitocracy - a uniquely intractable form of tyranny

I am not speaking of mere parasitism, the weakness of individual men who demand or cajole sustenance from others while contributing nothing in return. Rather, I am speaking of a systematic elevation of parasitism to the status of a ruling philosophy.

It was impossible to excerpt anything from this - it's too cohesive.  Go read the whole thing.

The Little Eichmanns of the Government Shutdown

Obama and his minions have effectively declared all Americans the enemy in an attempt to make the impact of the government shutdown artificially painful.

This could not succeed without the assistance of a corps of facilitators, Little Eichmanns, if you will, who are willing to abuse their fellow citizens in order to better serve their master. The most prominent of these is a yob named Jonathan Jarvis who runs the National Park Service.

Since the shutdown began last week the National Park Service has lived up to its reputation as a churlish, imperious, and unreasonable steward of the nation’s parks and monuments. 
  • The World War II Memorial was shutdown. This is a memorial that has always had unrestricted access. 
  • The Vietnam War Memorial, another memorial that has had unrestricted access for decades, has been shutdown
  • The Lincoln Memorial, likewise open to the public around the clock, has been shutdown
  • The National Park Service has shut down the C&O Canal towpath. This national park has been open to bikers and hikers without monitoring for decades. 
  • The National Park Service has evicted homeowners from their homes simply because it is on land leased from the federal government. 
  • The National Park Service has ordered the closure of the privately owned and operated Claude Moore Colonial Farm. 
  • The National Park Service has closed a privately run hotel and restaurant on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. 
None of these facilities need any support whatsoever from the National Park Service. Instead of saving money, funds have been expended over and above requirements in pursuit of this asshattery. More importantly, none of this could happen without the willing and enthusiastic cooperation of bureaucrats whose first allegiance is to a political party and not to the American people. In fact, we know the National Park Service leadership has ordered park rangers to make life needlessly difficult.

The actions of Jon Jarvis and the National Park Service have been juvenile, mean spirited, and shameful.

Passenger lands small plane after pilot falls ill

Not sure what the big deal is - in the movies passengers land much bigger planes all the time.

LONDON (AP) — A passenger with no flying experience has safely landed a light airplane at a British airport after the pilot became incapacitated.

The plane, carrying two people, issued a mayday call as it approached Humberside Airport in northeast England on Tuesday evening.

Flight instructors talked to the passenger from the ground and after several attempts the aircraft landed safely, although with a thump. Some witnesses described the plane bumping on the runway and sparks coming off the front of it.

Rob Murray, one of the flight instructors, said the passenger had never flown a plane before and had done a "remarkable job."

Police said Wednesday the passenger was unhurt but the pilot later died. Their names have not been released.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Teachers Union Says Parents Have No Right To Know The Names of The Best Teachers…

EAST BATON ROUGE, La. – When it comes to the legal question of whether the East Baton Rouge Parish school district had the right to publish the names of teachers who were recently rated “highly effective” under the state’s new evaluation system, our guess is as good as yours.

But the real issue is why the East Baton Rouge Federation of Teachers is protesting the move in the first place.

It’s because teachers unions still want to the public to believe that all teachers are equally effective and should be compensated that way.

It’s a ridiculous argument that the union is pushing to protect its members who aren’t making the grade.

Tuesday links.

20 of the Funniest Business Names of All Time.

Gorgeous remastered and colorized images from the Civil War era, including Lincoln and Mark Twain.  Related, 40 Must-See Historic Photos.

If the wind reached 500 mph, would it pick up a human?

More Cowbell: How the Bovine Bell Became a Musical Instrument.

Do Lemmings Really Run Off Cliffs to Their Death?

Tom Hanks: The Movie. From Forrest Gump to Captain Phillips as one epic story.

Tom Hanks: The Movie. From Forrest Gump to Captain Phillips as one epic story

Via Daily Dot.  The top comment on YouTube sums it up perfectly:
“So basically Tom Hanks graduates from college and joins the space program to be an astronaut, but then he gets stuck in space, then he gets rescued, but his ship fails to land in the correct place, landing in remote waters next to a remote island and he's stuck on that island, then he goes out to the sea to escape and then he's found by a large cargo ship and drops his space travel career and eventually becomes the captain of that ship.”
Made me want to re-watch Forrest Gump!

Homemade Remake of the Scene in ‘Terminator 2′ Where T-1000 Kills John Connor’s Foster Parents

Behind the scenes:

Previous Homemade Remakes are here.  via Laughing Squid.

Obama: fundamental economic illiteracy or a deeply troubling readiness to mislead?

That's always been the question, hasn't it?  Are Obama and his fellow travelers, to reduce it down, stupid or evil?

Good article at NRO by Charles Cooke: Obamacare Snake Oil. As broken promises pile up — “Lower rates for all!” — the Left rolls out new sales pitches.

You should, of course, read the whole thing.  Excerpts:

Don’t look now, but as Obamacare’s critics are focusing incessantly on the abortive rollout of the law’s health-care exchanges, the Left is moving the goalposts in the broader debate — and rather spectacularly, too.

To recap, then: Before, during, and after passage, Americans were promised that Obamacare was going to lower premiums for “everyone” (the goal of merely maintaining premiums being too modest); it was not going to interfere with anybody’s health care or health insurance if they already had it; and it was not going change anybody’s patient-doctor relationship. The message was unmistakable: All the government wanted to do was extend health insurance to people who didn’t have it. This wouldn’t affect you. No need to worry. Period. Move along.

What was not claimed was that Obamacare was necessary because health care is a “right,” as the president has recently taken to arguing; that redistribution was critical for “fairness”; or that some would win and some would lose but that, overall, it would be a solid compromise. Instead, unmistakable promises, easy enough to check in the age of the Internet, were repeatedly made by the architects and cheerleaders of reform.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The new $100 bill

What You Need to Know About the New $100 Bill

"While performing surgery on a 76-year-old man he intentionally squirted fluids from the patient's scrotum into the air"

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The state medical board has filed a complaint against a Las Vegas urologist accused of squirting a patient's bodily fluid onto others during a surgery.

The three-count complaint filed against Dr. Avi Chaim Weiss on Sept. 26 says his actions bring the medical profession into disrepute.

Investigators say Weiss was performing an operation on a 76-year-old man last January when he intentionally squirted fluids from the patient's scrotum into the air and onto others multiple times.

The board says he didn't mention the incident in his report about the operation.

Weiss issued a statement Thursday saying the complaint was based on a misunderstanding. He said any splashing was an unintended consequence of doing a thorough job in the surgical procedure, and added that he plans to aggressively contest the complaint.

Must Read: When The Bleeding Heart Becomes The Iron Fist

Read the whole thing.  Excerpts:

Whatever the perceived shortcomings of Ted Cruz and his hardy band of stalwarts, they've performed a remarkable public service by highlighting the fate that awaits all who rub wrongly the translucently thin skin of King Barack the Petulant. The Spartans may have had their shields, Native Americans their tomahawks and arrows, the Samurai may have wielded his sword with all the deadly grace of a tiger in mid-attack, but pound for pound, nothing comes close to the audacious stupidity of "Barrycades" and people in pointy little Smokey the Bear hats, poised to protect America's monuments from law-abiding citizens.

What began as an effort to reverse a draconian law that even now exacts a high toll in terms of jobs lost and skyrocketing premiums, has become a contest of wills in which a President instructs his apparatchiks to inflict as much pain on the citizenry as possible. Chiefly instructive in all this is the salient reality that any person capable of wielding the instrumentalities of the state in a despotic manner in the present, will prove equally capable in the future when he controls your health care.

Biologist discovers new species up his nose after research trip to Africa

"When you first realize you have a tick up your nose, it takes a lot of willpower not to claw your face off," said Goldberg, a professor at the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. "But my sense of being grossed out was balanced by my scientific curiosity."

Goldberg only noticed the insect three days after his return to the US and removed the insect using a pair of forceps, a mirror and a torch. He then sent it off to have its DNA sequenced and compared it with the archives in the U.S. National Tick Collection at Georgia Southern University (home to the largest tick collection in the world). He found no match.

These ticks, from the genus Amblyomma (the same genus to which the tick up Goldberg’s nose belonged) are known disease-carriers, with the nose being their favourite haunt. Chimpanzees are frequent social groomers, removing parasites from each other’s fur as a bonding ritual, but they seldom check noses.

Goldberg’s discovery that these ticks also attempted to leap over to human nostrils was an insight into what he describes as “an underappreciated, indirect, and somewhat weird way in which people and chimps share pathogens.”