Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Blue Money

One rich white guy doesn't like being compared to certain other rich white guys:
Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer insisted Tuesday that he’s not the left’s version of the Koch brothers. …

Charles and David Koch’s priorities “line up perfectly with their pocketbooks — and that’s not true for us,” Steyer said.

A Koch spokesman objected to Steyer’s characterization.

“That assertion is false and disingenuous, and people can see through that. Koch opposes all mandates and subsidies, even when they exist for businesses in which we operate. In doing so, we act against our self-interest. We have been consistent in this position for over 40 years,” spokesman Robert Tappan said in an email. …

But Steyer countered that there are major differences between himself and the Koch brothers, and he argued that his operation is “completely open” and transparent. “I think they have not been huge embracers of transparency,” he said of the Kochs.

“I think they’re in a very, very different position than me and from the people that I work with. And the fact that we’re on opposite sides of the table on a lot of issues — that is true. But the way that we’re approaching them is very, very different,” he said.
His money is "good..."

Nest Egg

Out: Protecting wildlife. In: Protecting traffic cams.
Maryland Transportation Authority reportedly removed a nest three times from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, before a branch was spotted lying before the camera again late Tuesday, according to the Baltimore Sun.

"We're concerned because she's blocking one of our traffic cameras that we use for monitoring traffic conditions at the bridge," John Sales, an authority spokesman told the Baltimore Sun.

“The camera moves back and forth and we notice whenever it does that the bird gets agitated,” he said.

Sales said the MDTA was given permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the nests as long as there were no eggs.

“I think it’s a wise decision,” Joel Dunn, executive director of the Chesapeake Conservancy told MyFoxDC.com.

“There are lots of other alternative sites for them to nest. In fact, we actually saw them flying just down the street here looking at a couple of other options,” he said.
The authorities are probably just unhappy that they can't ticket the birds...

NYPD #Fail

The NYPD tries Twitter:
The New York Police Department’s #myNYPD social engagement campaign went haywire after floods of disillusioned Twitter users used a hashtag as an opportunity to shed light on alleged police brutality.
Plenty of @NYPDNews followers used the disclosed hashtag to share chipper, smiling photos of themselves with NYPD officers across the city. The department’s official account retweeted these with pride but was also met with photos that were much less than positive.
Whoops...

Zoom

That's a fast elevator:
Hitachi has announced that its new high-speed elevator for the Guangzhou CTF Financial Centre will travel at a stomach churning 1,200 meters per minute (45mph), a speed that will allow it to reach the 95th floor in just 43 seconds.

Along with its sister machine it is to be the flagship of a 95 lift fleet that will bear economists, officials and guests up and down the 530 meter tall building. The sky scraper will even be fitted with double decker lifts to utilise all vertical space.

The company told reporters that the lift will employ the latest technologies to ensure a smooth ride and to prevent vibrations and noise.

The lifts safety was also guaranteed with state-of-the-art brakes fitted that can sustain temperatures of over 300 degrees Celsius and still operate.
Going up?

Falling Rocks

I was expecting an Earth-shattering kaboom:
Asteroids caused 26 nuclear-scale explosions in the Earth's atmosphere between 2000 and 2013, a new report reveals.

Some were more powerful – in one case, dozens of times stronger – than the atom bomb blast that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945 with an energy yield equivalent to 16 kilotons of TNT.

Most occurred too high in the atmosphere to cause any serious damage on the ground. But the evidence was a sobering reminder of how vulnerable the Earth was to the threat from space, scientists said.

The impacts were recorded by the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation, which operates a global network of sensors set up to detect nuclear weapon detonations. None of the asteroids were picked up or tracked in advance by any space- or Earth-based observatory
Bruce Willis was unavailable for comment...

Bonus Day

The IRS knows who to thank:
More than 2,800 workers got bonuses despite facing a disciplinary action in the previous year, including 1,150 who owed back taxes, said a report by J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration. The bonuses were awarded from October 2010 through December 2012.

George's report said the bonus program doesn't violate federal regulations, but it's inconsistent with the IRS mission to enforce tax laws.

"These awards are designed to recognize and reward IRS employees for a job well done, and that is appropriate, because the IRS should encourage good performance," George said. "However, while not prohibited, providing awards to employees who have been disciplined for failing to pay federal taxes appears to create a conflict with the IRS's charge of ensuring the integrity of the system of tax administration."
Or, not...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Jet Setter

Happy Earth Day, Obama style:
Not including his motorcades in Oso, Washington, the site of a recent devastating mudslide, his trip will consume an estimated 35,565 gallons of fuel.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the statistics arm of the Department of Energy, burning each gallon emits 21.1 pounds of carbon dioxide, bringing the president's Earth Day carbon footprint to more than 375.7 tons.

The White House did not respond to a question about any measures it might be taking – planting trees, for instance – to offset those emissions.
They've got more than enough hot air for climate change to go around...

For The Working Man

It turns out that the UAW didn't have much of a case in Tennessee:
“Our staff attorneys were down in Chattanooga today. They were prepared to present evidence and make the case in these hearings that the results of the election should stand.

“The UAW thought there was a chance they could hold this hearing and only have one side present it. They thought they would be able to cherry-pick the evidence and get the judge to order a re-run election on that basis,” Semmens said.

Semmens said UAW officials panicked once they learned the opposing side could cross-examine pro-union witnesses.

“When they realized that all of that was going to happen I think that’s a very big reason why they said, ‘You know what? We don’t want to go forward,’” Semmens said, despite the fact he previously complained of a pro-union bias among NLRB members under President Obama.

But even the UAW knew it didn’t have a strong enough case for an appeal, he said.
They couldn't muscle their way in after all...

Mind Readers

Telepathy, for real?
Mind reading technology isn't yet where the sci-fi thrillers predict it will go, but researchers like Just aren't ruling out such a future.

"In principle, our thoughts could someday be readable," said Just, who directs the school's Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging. "I don't think we have to worry about this in the next 5-10 years, but it's interesting to think about. What if all of our thoughts were public?"

He can imagine a terrifying version of that future, where officials read minds in order to gain control over them. But he prefers to envision a more positive one, with mind reading devices offering opportunities to people with disabilities — and the rest of us.
The tinfoil hat crowd was right? Who knew?

Aero Waves

What a win for Aero could mean:
If the Supreme Court rules that Aereo’s service is legal, the decision could throw a wrench into the highly lucrative broadcast business model, in which cable and satellite companies pay billions to the TV companies for the right to broadcast popular programming. Such retransmission fees are projected to reach $4 billion this year and $7.6 billion by 2019, according to research firm SNL Kagan.

The broadcasters say that an Aereo victory could prompt them to yank their programming from free TV and move it to pay channels like Showtime. The National Football League and Major League Baseball, which are supporting the TV companies, have threatened to take high-profile broadcasts like the Super Bowl and World Series to cable. Aereo says such a move would “disenfranchise” millions of Americans who still rely on antennas for local news and other programming.
To stream, or not to stream?

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Runner

He's the first American male to win the Boston Marathon since 1983:
Keflezighi crossed the finish line with a time of 2:08:37, 11 seconds ahead of second place finisher Wilson Chebet of Kenya.

The 38-year-old from San Diego looked over his shoulder several times over the final mile. After realizing he wouldn't be caught, he raised his sunglasses, began pumping his right fist and made the sign of the cross

Keflezighi is a three-time Olympian who won the 2009 New York City Marathon and a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. His previous best finish at the Boston Marathon was third in 2006.
Congratulations to all who attended.

Big Fish

Nessie, found at last?
Nessie’s fan club devotees say they have ruled out all other possibilities for the grainy image, including a floating log or a giant seal. But one skeptic, deep-sea biologist Andrew David Thaler, debunks the theory on his website SouthernFriedScience.com, saying that the image shows the wake of a boat.

One of the people who alerted the Loch Ness Monster Fan Club to the new images was Andrew Dixon, 26, a charity worker from Durham who told London’s Daily Mail he found it by accident.

"It was a total fluke that I found it. I was looking at satellite images of my town and then just thought I’d have a look at Loch Ness. The first thing that came into my head when I saw it was, 'That’s the Loch Ness Monster.' It was the shape of it; I thought it had to be something more than a shadow,” Dixon told the Mail.

Cynic Chris Matyszczyk, of CNet, suggests the excitement may be manufactured by Apple, as the image can only be viewed on iPads or iPhones. “It's clear the company's executives have been worried that Samsung has stolen the mantle of cool…but surely Apple can have nothing to do with the revelation that the Loch Ness Monster has suddenly become visible on Apple Maps. And only on Apple Maps,” Matyszcyk wrote on the site.
Maybe Nessie just likes Macs better...

The Eye On Defense

Yes, CBS is ideologically skewed:
ATTKISSON: You know, it’s fairly well discussed inside CBS News that there are some managers recently who have been so ideologically entrenched that there is a feeling and discussion that some of them, certainly not all of them, have a difficult time viewing a story that may reflect negatively upon government or the administration as a story of value.

STELTER: So you’re saying they are liberal or Democrats?

ATTKISSON: I don’t know what their registered party is, I just know that the tendency on the part of some of these managers who have key influences has been they never mind the stories that seem to, for example, and I did plenty of them, go against the grain of the Republican Party, but they do often seem to feel defensive about, almost, personally defensive about stories that could make the government look bad. Even if it’s something as simple as a government waste story that doesn’t pinpoint anybody in particularly and it takes on both parties. It seems as though some of them were sensitive about any story that might appear as though it criticizes the government.
At least as long as it's a Democratic one...

Full Nest

They're the live-in generation:
At a time when the still sluggish economy has sent a flood of jobless young adults back home, older people are quietly moving in with their parents at twice the rate of their younger counterparts.

For seven years through 2012, the number of Californians aged 50 to 64 who live in their parents' homes swelled 67.6% to about 194,000, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.

The jump is almost exclusively the result of financial hardship caused by the recession rather than for other reasons, such as the need to care for aging parents, said Steven P. Wallace, a UCLA professor of public health who crunched the data.

"The numbers are pretty amazing," Wallace said. "It's an age group that you normally think of as pretty financially stable. They're mid-career. They may be thinking ahead toward retirement. They've got a nest egg going. And then all of a sudden you see this huge push back into their parents' homes."
You can't go home again-unless you have to?

Union Blues And Greens

Much to the consternation of environmentalists, unions are flexing their pro-drilling muscle:
The increasing use of union construction labor has given energy companies a powerful ally as drilling is debated in communities nationwide. Many Republicans have been pro-drilling, but now some unions traditionally associated with Democrats are using their political clout to urge politicians to reject bans on pipelines or drilling.

For example, LIUNA has urged members of Congress to support liquefied natural gas exports and regional gas pipeline expansions, and union members plan to participate in a pro-drilling rally in Pennsylvania's capital next month.

"The unions are powerful and influential," said David Masur, director of Penn Environment, which has been critical of the drilling boom.

The Marcellus and Utica shale fields, rich in natural gas and oil, lie deep underneath large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, and more than 6,000 new wells have been drilled there over the last five years.
The economic benefits do tend to have an impact on one's outlook...

Making The Rounds

House calls are back:
Home care is generally cheaper than hospital care, and for more than a decade, government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid have worked to create incentives for hospitals to switch to less-expensive treatment. Recently, under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare has begun to penalize hospitals when, under certain conditions, patients are readmitted within 30 days after discharge.

Some insurers, including Medicare, pay for house calls by doctors and nurses specializing in advanced care. In cases where insurance does not cover this type of palliative care, hospitals are financing it themselves, sometimes with grants.

Dr. Steven Pantilat, an internal medicine physician who leads the palliative care program at the University of California, San Francisco, says his hospital subsidizes some home care because “there is sufficient improvement in quality and costs to make the investment a good idea all around.”
The way things are going, this might be the best option available for most patients...

Wheel In The Sky

It's certainly one way of getting there:
As unlikely as it sounds, officials believe the boy rode in the tiny, cramped compartment for almost five hours, at altitudes that reached 38,000 feet, without oxygen and under subzero temperatures.

"It sounds really incredible," said aviation expert Jeff Wise. "Being in a wheel well is like all of a sudden being on top of Mount Everest."

Between the oxygen depletion and the cold, life expectancy "is measured in minutes," Wise said.
But some people have survived. Since 1947, 105 people are known to have attempted to fly inside wheel wells on 94 flights worldwide, the Federal Aviation Administration's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute says. Of those, 25 made it through, including a 9-year-old child -- a survival rate of 24%. One of the flights went as high as 39,000 feet.

The conditions can put stowaways in a virtual "hibernative" state, the FAA says.

Someone could slip into unconsciousness so that the body cools and "the central nervous system is preserved," said CNN aviation expert Michael Kay. Also, he said, "there could be a situation where inside the bay is warmer than the external air temperature and you wouldn't get the instantaneous freezing of the skin."

Still, "for somebody to survive multiple hours with that lack of oxygen and that cold is just miraculous," airline analyst Peter Forman told CNN affiliate KHON in Honolulu.
That's one way to put it...

Take A Powder

Are you ready for...powdered alcohol?
This week, the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved the powdered booze product, and its makers hopes to unleash it on an unsuspecting public this fall.

Palcohol's website, which has since been scrubbed, once advertised the powder as the solution to many of the modern drinker's most pressing problems.
What could go wrong?

At Ease

The best campaign ad of the year?
As I’ve noted before, the knock on Cotton has always been that he’s too stiff and serious — that you’d rather have a beer with Pryor. This humorous ad (coupled with the music) shows Cotton’s personality, and undermines the notion that he’s aloof.

Brain Games

The man who became an accidental math genius:
“I watch the cream stirred into the brew. The perfect spiral is an important shape to me. It’s a fractal. Suddenly, it’s not just my morning cup of joe, it’s geometry speaking to me.”

Padgett’s world is bursting with mathematical patterns. He is one of a few people in the world who can draw approximations of fractals, the repeating geometric patterns that are building blocks of everything in the known universe, by hand. Tree leaves outside his window are evidence of Pythagoras’ Theorem. The arc that light makes when it bounces off his car proves the power of pi.

He sees the parts that make up the whole. And his world is never boring, never without amazement. Even his dreams are made up of geometry.

“I can barely remember a time,” the 43-year-old says, “when I saw the world the way most everyone else does.”
Never underestimate the man with a mullet...

Looking For David Gregory

The host of "Meet The Press" was apparently psychologically evaluated:
Gregory’s job does not appear to be in any immediate jeopardy, but there are plenty of signs of concern.

Last year, the network undertook an unusual assessment of the 43-year-old journalist, commissioning a psychological consultant to interview his friends and even his wife. The idea, according to a network spokeswoman, Meghan Pianta, was “to get perspective and insight from people who know him best.” But the research project struck some at NBC as odd, given that Gregory has been employed there for nearly 20 years.
Of course, he might have needed help in the past:

Hot Corn

Biofuel isn't better:
A $500,000 study paid for by the federal government and released Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change concludes that biofuels made with corn residue release 7 percent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional gasoline.

While biofuels are better in the long run, the study says they won't meet a standard set in a 2007 energy law to qualify as renewable fuel.

The conclusions deal a blow to what are known as cellulosic biofuels, which have received more than a billion dollars in federal support but have struggled to meet volume targets mandated by law. About half of the initial market in cellulosics is expected to be derived from corn residue.
The whole effort does seem a bit premature in hindsight...

Train Kept A Rollin'

Don't you hate it when that happens:

Imaginary Friends For Sale

Who wants to buy a friend?
Bots have been around for years and they used to be easy to spot. They had random photos for avatars (often of a sultry woman), used computer-generated names (like Jen934107), and shared utter drivel (mostly links to pornography sites).

But today’s bots, to better camouflage their identity, have real-sounding names. They keep human hours, stopping activity during the middle of the night and picking up again in the morning. They share photos, laugh out loud — LOL! — and even engage in conversations with each other. And there are millions of them.

These imaginary citizens of the Internet have surprising power, making celebrities, wannabe celebrities and companies seem more popular than they really are, swaying public opinion about culture and products and, in some instances, influencing political agendas.
Perhaps it's not too surprising that imaginary friends were created by people with no real ones of their own...

It's In The Big Hole

Trying new ways of saving golf:
Many of golf’s leaders are so convinced the sport is in danger of following the baby boomer generation into the grave that an internal rebellion has led to alternative forms of golf with new equipment, new rules and radical changes to courses. The goal is to alter the game’s reputation in order to recruit lapsed golfers and a younger demographic.

“We’ve got to stop scaring people away from golf by telling them that there is only one way to play the game and it includes these specific guidelines,” said Ted Bishop, the president of the P.G.A. of America, who also owns a large Indiana golf complex. “We’ve got to offer more forms of golf for people to try. We have to do something to get them into the fold, and then maybe they’ll have this idea it’s supposed to be fun.”

Among the unconventional types of golf is an entry-level version in which the holes are 15 inches wide, about four times the width of a standard hole.

A 15-inch-hole event was held here at the Reynolds Plantation resort on Monday. It featured the top professional golfers Sergio García and Justin Rose, the defending United States Open champion.

“A 15-inch hole could help junior golfers, beginning golfers and older golfers score better, play faster and like golf more,” said Mr. García, who shot a six-under-par 30 for nine holes in the exhibition.

Mr. Rose said he was planning to use an expanded hole to reintroduce the game to his 5-year-old son, who rejected the game recently after he had tired of failing at it.

“Lately, I’ve been having a hard time getting him to pick up a club,” Mr. Rose said.
Golf does require discipline and work. Maybe that's part of the reason it seems so outdated...

The Image Makers

Can advertising be too manipulative?
A new bill introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives aims at curbing overzealous photoshopping of models and celebrities in advertisements.
Called the “Truth in Advertising Act,” the bill was co-sponsored by Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Florida and Democratic Rep. Lois Capps of California.
Advocates for the bill want more regulation for photoshopped images that appear in advertisements and other media.
“An increasing amount of academic evidence links exposure to such altered images with emotional, mental, and physical health issues, including eating disorders, especially among children and teenagers,” reads an excerpt of the bill. “There is particular concern about the marketing of such images to children and teenagers.”
Members of the Eating Disorder Coalition (EDC) met with lawmakers last month to lobby for the bill.
Seth Matlins, a marketer and an originator of the bill, said seeing his children react to advertising images without understanding they were manipulated made him want to work on the bill.
“In simplest terms we’re trying to protect the consumer,” said Matlins a partner with the EDC. “People are saying enough is enough. We are and have been manipulated by these ads for so long.”
And, yet, somehow, the rest of us without disorders seem to survive...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Red Cross

From Godless to God-fearing?
Officially, the People's Republic of China is an atheist country but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seem to have supplied.

Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao's death in 1976 signalled the end of the Cultural Revolution.

Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world's number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.

"By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon," said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule.

"It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change."
The Chairman must be spinning in his glass coffin...

Don't Mention The Malaise

For Democrats, some election-year advice:
Don't talk about the economic recovery. It's a political loser.

So say Democratic strategists in a blunt declaration that such talk skips over "how much trouble people are in, and doesn't convince them that policymakers really understand or are even focusing on the problems they continue to face."

In addition, Stan Greenberg, James Carville and others wrote that in head-to-head polling tests the mere mention of the word "recovery" is trumped by a Republican assertion that the Obama administration has had six years to get the economy moving and its policies haven't worked.

Coincidentally or not, Democrats have largely shelved the "R'' word.
If they talk about it too much, folks might realize it's not actually happening...

A Little Rebellion

Antonin Scalia channels his inner Thomas Jefferson:
Speaking at the University of Tennessee College of Law on Tuesday, the longest-serving justice currently on the bench was asked by a student about the constitutionality of the income tax, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports.
Scalia responded that the government has the right to implement the tax, “but if it reaches a certain point, perhaps you should revolt.”
The justice was invited by the UT law school to present its annual “Rose Lecture,” and discussed events throughout his career such as his 1989 decision to rule with the majority that flag-burning was constitutionally protected speech. Scalia was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986.
A student tax protest?

Life Before Drudge

Even back in the early days of the Web, they were afraid:
The infamous 1995 "conspiracy commerce memo" tried to demonize and discredit alternative media outlets on the right to mainstream media organizations and D.C. establishment figures.
The memo notes that the "Internet has become one of the major and most dynamic modes of communication" and "can link people, groups and organizations together instantly."
"Moreover, it allows an extraordinary amount of unregulated data and information to be located in one area and available to all," the memo states. "The right wing has seized upon the Internet as a means of communicating its ideas to people. Moreover, evidence exists that Republican staffers surf the Internet, interacting with extremists in order to exchange ideas and information.”
The memo also states that conservative think tanks serve as a training ground for future leaders and says conservative institutions "are to today's media age of political organizations what the Democratic big city party machines were to the New Deal era of political organization"
The memo talks about the media frenzy, the blow back strategy, and slams outlets unfavorable to the Clinton White House as "sources without credibility" before calling Richard Mellon Scaife the "vanguard" of the conspiracy movement that spread stories and "theories" about Jennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, and Vince Foster.
“Scaife along with a handful of other wealthy individuals and foundations use their power to control the Republican Party's agenda and viewpoints," the memo says. "Scaife, in particular, is one of the major backers of Newt Gingrich. Interestingly enough, Gingrich's views on Vince Foster seemed to dovetail with Scaife's following Scaife's pumping of thousands of dollars into Gingrich's GOPAC's coffers."
Drudge forever changed journalism in January of 1998 when he reported that Bill Clinton had a sexual relationship with a White House intern and that Newsweek killed the story to protect its ally in the White House.
And thus it was that the narrative was lost by those then in power...

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Land, Lots Of Land

This land is whose land?
Lawmakers from Western states said Friday that the time has come for them to take control of federal lands within their borders and suggested the standoff this month between a Nevada rancher and the federal government was a problem waiting to happen.

"What’s happened in Nevada is really just a symptom of a much larger problem," Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart, a Republican, told The Salt Lake Tribune.

The lawmakers -- more than 50 of them from nine Western states -- made their proclamations at the Legislative Summit on the Transfer for Public Lands, in Utah, which was scheduled before this month’s standoff between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management.
....

The idea of Western states taking control of parts of wide tracts of federal land is nothing new. Those involved in the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion and similar movements have argued for decades that states and local governments west of the Mississippi River often can best manage the land and that doing so would allow them to use it to improve their economies.

On Friday, political leaders from the nine states convened for the first time to talk about their joint goal of wresting control of oil-, timber -and mineral-rich lands away from the U.S. government, according to the paper.

"It’s simply time," said Utah state Rep. Ken Ivory, a Republican who co-organized the summit with Montana state Sen. Jennifer Fielder. "The urgency is now."
The fierce urgency of land ownership...

The Chicago Way

Is Chicago cooking its crime stats?
...an investigation published by Chicago Magazine claims that the “progress” is an illusion. The article says that under pressure from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago cops have been reclassifying murders and violent crimes. The result is a nearly unprecedented drop in numbers.

"This is a betrayal of public trust in a sense that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Superintendent Garry McCarthy are public servants. They are paid by our tax dollars and we deserve in return truth from them,” said Elizabeth Fenner, Editor in Chief of Chicago Magazine.

McCarthy responded that the article is “patently false” and he criticized the near total reliance on anonymous sources. “I'm troubled by it because it hurts our credibility while we're trying to build our credibility," he said.
How can you build on a double negative like that?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Psycho Cat 2

Not another one:
"The cat ran and jumped on his leg and was like, attached to him," the cat's owner, who was clawed in the face, told News10.net. "He's never been an aggressive cat, he's never been mean, he just flipped."

The cat, named Khat, reportedly even attacked firefighters who were sent to the Roseville home.

"We tried to push it into a cage, and it grabbed on to my engineer's boot and turnout bottom and was hissing and going off."

The station reported that the family suffered from superficial wounds and the cat was taken to the SPCA.
Presumably for therapy...

Paradise Lust

Finally:
House and Senate members are still negotiating on the version of House Bill 1926 they will send to the governor. But they agree that the crime bill should revoke a peculiar exemption that permits police to have sex with prostitutes.

Originally the bill would have ended the exemption. In February, the House Judiciary Committee amended the bill to preserve the exemption. The weakened bill passed the House. The Senate then amended the bill to end the loophole.

Democratic Rep. Karl Rhoads, the House Judiciary Committee chairman, said Thursday he wants to return to the bill's original language and bar police from engaging in sex or sadomasochistic acts with prostitutes.
They'll have to pay for it like everyone else...

Almost Earth 2

A near twin of Earth has been found:
The planet, known as Kepler-186f, is “more of an Earth cousin than an Earth twin,” Elisa Quintana, an astronomer at the SETI Institute at NASA Ames Research Center, told the journal Science. Quintana is the lead author of a report on the planet published by Science this week.

“This discovery does confirm that Earth-sized planets do exist in the habitable zones of other stars,” Quintana said during a Thursday news briefing at NASA Headquarters.

Kepler-186f goes around an M-type dwarf star that’s smaller and cooler than our sun. But it orbits much closer to its parent star than Earth does, within what would be Mercury’s orbit in our own solar system. Those two factors combine to produce an environment that could allow for liquid water on the surface, assuming that the planet had a heat-trapping atmosphere.
Greetings, cousin...

The Long Pipeline

The Obama administration needs just a little more time on this Keystone thing:
The indefinite extension could put off a decision on the pipeline, which would carry crude oil from Canadian tar sands to American refineries, until after November’s midterm elections.

“On April 18, 2014, the Department of State notified the eight federal agencies specified in Executive Order 13337 we will provide more time for the submission of their views on the proposed Keystone Pipeline Project,” the department said in a statement. “Agencies need additional time based on the uncertainty created by the on-going litigation in the Nebraska Supreme Court which could ultimately affect the pipeline route in that state. In addition, during this time we will review and appropriately consider the unprecedented number of new public comments, approximately 2.5 million, received during the public comment period that closed on March 7, 2014.

“The Permit process will conclude once factors that have a significant impact on determining the national interest of the proposed project have been evaluated and appropriately reflected in the decision documents,” the State Department statement continued. “The Department will give the agencies sufficient time to submit their views.”
Everything can wait until the last minute in an election year...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Flushed

Just ugh:
Portland officials said Wednesday they are flushing away millions of gallons of treated water for the second time in less than three years because someone urinated into a city reservoir.

In June 2011, the city drained a 7.5 million-gallon reservoir at Mount Tabor in southeast Portland. This time, 38 million gallons from a different reservoir at the same location will be discarded after a 19-year-old was videotaped in the act.

"The basic commandment of the Water Bureau is to provide clean, cold and constant water to its customers," bureau administrator David Shaff said Wednesday. "And the premise behind that is we don't have pee in it."

The open reservoirs hold water that has already been treated and goes directly into mains for distribution to customers.

The urine poses little risk — animals routinely deposit waste without creating a public health crisis — but Shaff said he doesn't want to serve water that was deliberately tainted.

"There is at least a perceived difference from my perspective," Shaff said. "I could be wrong on that, but the reality is our customers don't anticipate drinking water that's been contaminated by some yahoo who decided to pee into a reservoir."
Keep it clean, people...

Baby Bigots

Can babies be racist?
Forty white 15-month-old infants and their mothers participated in the study. The babies sat on their mother’s lap while watching toys being divided. One person divided the toys evenly, while another divided the toys unevenly.

The babies then were able to choose who to play with and 70 percent of the babies chose to play with the person who divided the toys evenly.

The researchers say that this showed that when people are the same race as the baby, the baby will choose their playmates based on fairness.

The researchers then tried another experiment. For the second test, 80 white 15-month-old babies watched as toys were distributed. This time half the babies watched as more toys were given to the Asian recipient; and the other half watched as more were given to a white recipient.
The babies were then let to choose a playmate and more times chose the white recipient.

“If all babies care about is fairness, then they would always pick the fair distributor, but we’re also seeing that they’re interested in consequences for their own group members,” Sommerville said.

Researchers say that these findings take race into account when babies choose a playmate.
“Babies are sensitive to how people of the same ethnicity as the infant, versus a different ethnicity, are treated – they weren’t just interested in who was being fair or unfair,” Monica Burns, co-author of the study and a former UW Psychology undergraduate student, and currently a psychology graduate student at Harvard University, said. “It’s interesting how infants integrate information before choosing who to interact with, they’re not just choosing based on a single dimension.”

Sommerville did point out that this research does not mean that babies are racist.

“Racism connotes hostility,” she said, “and that’s not what we studied.”
But is that what is being taught?

Faking The Grade

The class that wasn't there:
John Dunphy Jr., who was named principal of Philadelphia’s High School for the Creative and Performing Arts in July, was removed by the district in October for allegedly creating a phony world history course and then doling out fake grades to 18 juniors at the school, the Philadelphia Daily News reports.

It’s unclear why Dunphy invented the class, which is required for graduation from the school, which has a national reputation in arts education and has produced musical groups like Boyz II Men and musicians such as Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, the drummer for The Roots.

The development has forced Philadelphia school district officials to report the matter to the state Department of Education, which may trigger a formal investigation into the incident, the newspaper reports.

“The kids were never enrolled in this independent-study class,” one parent, who requested anonymity, told the newspaper.
If you want an imaginary education, this is the way to go...

Cookie Madness

It was a bad cookie:
“Right off the bat 15 percent of people can have a psychotic reaction and someone who has never used before is at an even greater risk,” said addiction expert Dr. Christian Thurstone.
Thurstone is an addiction expert with Denver Health and said unlike smoking marijuana which makes it’s way quickly to the brain. Ingesting it means it takes longer to impact the body and to feel a high.
“Using edibles it can be very easy to over consume a marijuana edible,” said Thurstone.
In this case Pongi’s friends said the dispensary clerk “advised they divide the cookie into six pieces and eat one piece at a time.”
They also said after 30 minutes “Levi said he didn’t feel anything and he ate the entire cookie immediately.”
Before the end of the night his friends said Pongi began to act strangely and paranoid and then began to destroy things in their hotel room.
One friend told police he “tried to grab Levi because Levi was getting ‘crazy’ destroying lamps and TV. Levi ran out of the room and jumped off the balcony.”
Yes, it can mess you up.

Liar In Chief

This doesn't bode well for the Legacy:
Sixty-one percent of respondents in the poll released Thursday said Obama lies at least some of the time on important issues. An additional 20 percent said he lies every now and then.

Only 15 percent believe the president is completely truthful.

Predictably, Republicans were more likely to believe Obama is a liar, with 85 percent saying he lies some or most of the time. Thirty-one percent of Democrats said the president is always truthful.

What's interesting is that independents were slightly more likely to believe Obama lies at least some of the time — 63 percent, compared with 61 percent for the total sample.
You can still fool some of the people some of the time-if they want to be fooled...

Blown Away

Are wind farm subsidies just a fad after all?
Experts at Capital Alpha Partners, one of a burgeoning group of research firms that provides political intelligence for investors, wrote last week that the appetite on Capitol Hill for continuing the wind energy production tax credit (PTC) is declining.

In a report obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, Capital Alpha writes that a combination of flagging political will and changing market environments could signal the decline, and possibly the end, of the two-decades-old tax credit for the wind industry.

"There comes a time when subsidies which are popular to start with become less popular as conditions change," the report says. "The wind PTC may be reaching that point-not just because some in Congress are losing patience with the so-called tax extenders, but also because fundamental market conditions are putting the traditional utility model under stress."
If you build it, they may not fund...