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Friday, 01 December, 2006
When Whales Attack
Entertainment news: No Punishment for "Shamu".
... a stunt where the whale virtually catapults its trainer into the air from an underwater start, allowing the human to make a spectacular arc through the air before diving into the pool. Kasatka decided instead to drag trainer Ken Peters under by his left foot, first for more than half a minute; and then, after allowing him back up briefly for air, for more than a minute. Only Peters' cool ministrations to Kasatka and his fellow trainers use of hand-signals and underwater sounds prevented tragedy as a large audience watched, stunned. Peters is now in the hospital for a broken bone in his left foot.
There is no respite for Kasatka, however. She was back performing at SeaWorld on Thursday afternoon. The marine theme park does not believe in punishment and will not deprive her of food nor inflict anything corporal.
Well how nice of them. I'm sure they treat their animals very well at SeaWorld. But the fact is, they imprison these creatures and and force them to perform stupid tricks to entertain tourists. It's called exploitation.
Of Mosques And Pigs
According to KTRK, some people who live along Baker Road in Katy aren't happy with the Katy Islamic Association's plans to build a mosque, school and gym on property near their houses. They say they're worried about drainage and traffic: "It's not an appropriate place to have a mosque or church," resident Barbara Simpson told Channel 13. Some of the neighbors have even offered to buy the land back from the KIA for more than $1 million.
And then there's Craig Baker, who owns land adjacent to the KIA's lot. He's posted a large sign announcing pig races on his property on Friday nights - and if it happens to be true that racing pigs on a Muslim holy day might be a little offensive to the KIA, that's their problem, Baker said. "What does it matter?" he asked KTRK. "I can do whatever I want with my land, right?
By the numbers: 1 in 32 Americans in jails, on parole.
A record 7 million people - or one in every 32 American adults - were behind bars, on probation or on parole by the end of last year, according to the Justice Department. Of those, 2.2 million were in prison or jail, an increase of 2.7 percent over the previous year, according to a report released Wednesday.
More than 4.1 million people were on probation and 784,208 were on parole at the end of 2005. Prison releases are increasing, but admissions are increasing more.
What a negative headline! Why didn't they use this one? 31 in 32 Americans are not in jail, on parole.
I didn't know this: Fluorescent Scorpion in UV Light.
The chilly November nights here in Tucson drive our desert arachnids to seek shelter in nice warm houses, and I have recently been finding all sorts of eight-legged creepy-crawlers inside my house here, including two scorpions (shudder). I have been hoping to find a scorpion to photograph in UV light, so I decided to use these two home-invading scorpions for my photographic experiments.
Scorpions fluoresce because they contain a fluorescent protein in the hyaline layer of their exoskeleton. The ultraviolet light in the above photo appears dark blue-purple in color, and it colors anything that does not fluoresce this same color.
Advice From Hawking
One option: Move to a new planet, says Hawking.
The human race must move to a planet beyond our Solar System to protect the future of the species, physicist Professor Stephen Hawking has warned.
He told the BBC that life could be wiped out by a nuclear disaster or an asteroid hitting the planet. But the Cambridge academic added: "Once we spread out into space and establish colonies, our future should be safe."
He fails to address the key question: Why is this species even worth saving?
A press release from the White House: Menu for the 2006 Holiday Receptions.
Kittens are not on the menu this year.
Lunchbox UkesEat your lunch, then play a few tunes: LunchboxAlele.
I don't think I could trust a business that has an AOL Hometown web site.
Update: 12-Stringer informs us of a new spiffy site: Box-A-Lele Co.
This is interesting way to check out some new music: Musicovery.
At Flickr, mandydale's 30 days of pork. Here's Day 10:
Day 10 was a big day. A very big day in the realm of pork eating. A monumental day in fact. Min Suh and Ingrid drove up from Los Angeles, with a cooler in hand to make one of the best pork meals I had thus far. Here you see pork belly (looks a lot like bacon, but is cured differently) on a table-sized grill.
Hustling Poor People
Hmmmm... Affordable homes: Habitat for hustlers.
Habitat families are able to buy their homes for much less than full market value. A decade of rising prices has made them wealthier -- on paper. At the same time, many are short of cash and unsophisticated about credit. For brokers and lenders eager for refinancing business, the combination couldn't be better. "Habitat borrowers have targets on their backs," says Michael Calhoun, the president of the Durham (N.C.) Center for Responsible Lending.
Charles and Ann Williams of St. Paul, Minn., are prime examples. He's a janitor, she's a home-child-care provider, and they have three children. Their annual income is $18,187, supplemented by Social Security benefits. In 1995, they built a Habitat house and took a $64,000 mortgage. Because all original mortgages in the Habitat program are interest-free, their monthly payment was just $396.
That changed last year. An advertising flier that offered refinancing with New Century Financial in Irvine, Calif., looked tempting. Within three weeks, the couple had signed papers. The good news was that they were able to unlock $28,000 in equity, money they used to cover debts. But their new $81,000 loan carries an interest rate of 9% and payments of $872 a month, more than half of their monthly income. And the loan's adjustable rate could jump to 16% in two years.
Lenders must follow many disclosure rules. Being poor is no excuse for being stupid.
The Bush Trial
This looks like an interesting book: United States v. George W. Bush et al., by Elizabeth de la Vega.
In United States v. George W. Bush et al., former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega brings her twenty years of experience and her passion for justice to the most important case of her career. The defendants are George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Colin Powell. The crime is tricking the nation into war, or, in legal terms, conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Ms. de la Vega has reviewed the evidence, researched the law, drafted an indictment, and in this lively, accessible book, presented it to a grand jury. If the indictment and grand jury are both hypothetical, the facts are tragically real: Over half of all Americans believe the president misled the country into a war that has left over 2,500 American soldiers and countless Iraqis dead. The cost is $350 billion-and counting.
Science Meets The Scriptures
What is Creation Sensation?
Creation Sensation is devoted to the provision of quality science materials to help you and your child explore the world around you. As you learn about the world of nature without the influence of a secular, evolutionary worldview you will come to KNOW beyond a doubt that the Almighty God made all things.
For example: How old is the moon?
The moon is thought to be between 6,000 and 10,000 years old. This number is at least a half-million times smaller than the evolutionary 4.6 billion years. The creationism age is based upon two factors. First, there is a healthy skepticism of radioisotope dating results. Many hundreds of scientists worldwide question the vast ages assigned to rocks. These researchers are very interested in overlooked kinds of science data that support a recent creation. The second factor supporting a recent creation is the record of biblical history. The Bible most naturally allows for thousand of years of history, but not millions or billions of years.
Now that's quality science!
This is pretty good too: The Stench. It explains why a dead mouse smells bad.
Friday Open Mic
It's been so long, I almost forgot.
Saturday, 02 December, 2006
The Banjo Is Dead?
A new book was announced last month: Carole Wade's Death Throes and Demise of the Banjo. From the press release:
Today's banjo musicians have become boring. They talk excessively throughout their performances, grabbing one banjo to pick for a few minutes and then sharply turn around on stage to "hype" another banjo while at the same time same time "foot-stomping" frenetically. They repeat the same tired outdated story about themselves as they "skip-through" their alleged education from long-deceased traditional banjo musicians. Today's best known banjo players have never even taken the time to learn to read music!
That should be an interesting book. Obviously, Carole Wade has no idea what she's writing about. Right now, the banjo is more popular than it's been in a long time.
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