April 2013 Archives

Today's What If?

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hat tip to Peter R

Booze Type and Hangover Intensity

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I used to drink heavily back in the day (now it's rarely) but here's a sort of a PSA for those who still do or are about to:

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Congeners

PVNN

Congeners are toxic chemicals that are formed during fermentation, some liquors have more of them than others. These congeners are widely responsible for headaches. Simple digest: The clearer your drinks, the less problems you will have the next morning. (Correct only for brandy. Non filtered beer for example can be very good, specially because they contain a large vitamin b complex, which is important to protect you from brain pickling)

For instance:

* Vodka has less congeners than gin.
* Most scotch whiskey has about four times more congeners than gin.
* Brandy, rum and single-malt scotch have about six times more than gin.
* Bourbon drinkers ingest eight times the amount of congeners as do gin drinkers, and 30 times as much as vodka.
* Red wine has more congeners than white wine does.

What causes hangovers?

Dehydration
Alcohol is a diuretic, ie a drug that increases urination and flushes fluids from the body. Drinking coffee the next morning only increases this problem as coffee is also a diuretic.

Mild poisons in the drink
Complex organic molecules such as methanol and acetone are found in some drinks and are said to be responsible for hangovers rather than ethanol (alcohol). This view is by researcher Dr Ian Calder of the London based National Hospital for Neurosurgery.

Which Alcohol is worse?
Brandy is worst for hangovers, then in descending order are: red wine, rum, whisky, white wine, gin and vodka. The British Medical Journal did tests that showed drinking bourbon whiskey is twice as likely to cause a hangover than the same amount of vodka.

Too much alcohol
Too much alcohol depletes the body of necessary substances required to stay healthy, these include blood sugar, vitamins and minerals.

Wine - a bad harvest
If you are drinking wine that comes from a country where a small change in the climate can make a big difference to the quality of wine, eg France, Germany, New Zealand, then in a bad season the wine contains many more substances that cause hangovers.

Wine - drinking it too young
Almost all red wines and chardonnay are matured in oak barrels so that they will keep and improve. If you drink this wine younger than three years there will be a higher level of nasties that can cause hangovers. If left to mature these nasties change to neutral substances and don't cause hangovers. As a rule of thumb wine stored in oak barrels for six months should be acceptable to drink within the first year. If the wine is stored for twelve months or more in oak barrels it should then be left for at least four years. Some winemakers have been known to add oak chips directly into the wine to enhance flavors, especially in a bad season, and this can take years to become neutral.

Safety Tip!! Don't mix booze with Tylenol

One thing you REALLY ought to be aware of -- if you plan on living very long -- is that acetominophen (Tylenol) in combination with alcohol does HORRENDOUS liver damage. Alcohol alone damages the liver; and acetominophen (Tylenol) does a little damage to the liver; but if you mix the two, the damage you incur is EXPONENTIAL. I'm sure you can find plenty of medical journals to collaborate this if you want to. This made news a while back. You can literally wreck your liver in a very short time if you mix Tylenol with alcohol.


Old wives tales- Malarkey or not?

"A hair of the dog that bit you."

This remedy calls for having a drink the next morning for relief of a hangover. It is recommended that you have whatever you were drinking the night before, although a bloody mary is a common substitute.

Malarkey? No. When you wake up after drinking, you're coming off the effects of a mild overdose of a depressant. Having a drink helps to ease the symptoms, and a bloody mary contains lots of vitamins your body desperately needs. Unfortunately, you are merely putting off the side effects temporarily.

"Don't mix you liquors." or "Beer before liquor, never sicker. Liquor before beer, never fear."

This pokey old rhyme portends of bad things to come if mixing booze or if beer is consumed before liquor.

Malarkey? No. Mixing different types of alcohol makes it more difficult for your body to process congeners, because it your body has to identify and neutralize more varieties of congeners.

Carbonation speeds the absorption of alcohol, so drinking beer then liquor would cause the liquor to be absorbed at a faster rate than it would normally.

Plus, people tend to drink liquor faster than beer, which is more filling. So, switching to liquor from beer is likely to speed up your rate of liquor consumption after you're already halfway towards being in the bag.

Internet Obsession No.3

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10 top time-saving tech tips

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Don't be surprised if you don't know some of these handy dandy shortcuts.

How to Make Soldiers People

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We all know in the abstract soldiers get wounded and killed, but watch this video and tell me you wouldn't feel horrible and personally pained if any of these guys got hurt.

The guys with the mortar really crack me up each time I watch it.

A big salute to y'all guys! Great job and a serious from the heart thank you for the service.

Happy Birthday Helix

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Today is DNA Day - 60th anniversary of Watson and Crick's discovery

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Francis Crick sketched this diagram of the DNA double-helix molecule in a 1953 letter to his son, Michael.

By John Roach

The modern era of biology was launched 60 years ago today with the publication of a one-page paper in the journal Nature that described the DNA's double helix structure, a revelation of how organisms store biological information and pass it from one generation to the next.

The Nobel Prize winning discovery was published by the biologists James Watson, an American, and Francis Crick, an Englishman. In 2003, Congress declared that "DNA Day" was April 25.

The date is also special because it commemorates the completion of the Human Genome Project.

To learn more about the day and the discoveries it celebrates, check out the National Human Genome Research Institute's DNA Day Facebook page. Visitors are encouraged to suggest a "DNAnalogy" that helps explain what DNA is. For example, visitor Tom Wood writes that "DNA is like an architectural blueprint. The blueprint is the plan, but it's never the final result."

A Passion In Deed

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Texting as Evolution

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Who knew? Well, pretty much everybody.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Debunked: The Harvard study that Republicans used to push austerity

by Clare Kim

A 28-year-old economics graduate student has rewritten a study led by Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff that has been widely cited as the intellectual basis for worldwide government austerity measures. The Harvard study argues that higher public debt slows down economic growth when the GDP rises above a 90% threshold. But after an attempt to duplicate the Harvard study's findings, Thomas Herndon, a Ph.D student at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, ended up debunking Reinhart and Rogoff's economic theory and found that the Reinhart-Rogoff study was incorrect due to spreadsheet coding errors and selective data. Herndon did not attribute motive; he focused only on the statistical and computational inaccuracies of the influential paper.

Released April 17 by University of Massachusetts researchers, Thomas Herndon and his two economics professors, Michael Ash and Robert Pollin, published a paper pointing out several inaccuracies in Reinhart and Rogoff's paper. The "RR" study has been repeatedly used as an argument for pushing austerity and for the view that government deficits are economically threatening.

Herndon's study finds that their "results are not consistent with and do not confirm their findings" after uncovering flaws in their data analysis and computing method. Herndon clarified the Harvard study's "selective omissions and unconventional weighting" on Monday.

"We did use the terms 'selective' and 'unconventional' to describe the problems we saw with their paper, and we believe these are accurate characterizations. 'Selective' is an appropriate description because the data were 'selected' for exclusion," Herndon writes.

In terms of Reinhart and Rogoff's "unconventional" weighting system, Herndon points to a Excel spreadsheet error that compounds the growth-rate error. Herndon says, "It was the combination of the weighting system with the exclusion-for whatever reason-that combined to cause the most significant fall in average GDP growth. There is nothing inherently wrong with their weighting system. However it is unusual and it is their obligation to be open and clear in explaining why they used this unusual methodology."

Additionally, Herndon also uncovered a transcription error with Spain's average GDP growth. In one of Reinhart and Rogoff's tables, Spain's average GDP growth was entered at 2.8% instead of 2.2%. Two other samples showed five countries-Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, and Canada-were removed, adding to the amount of computational errors in the Harvard report.

Herndon concluded, "Contrary to RR, average GDP growth at public debt/GDP ratios over 90 percent is not dramatically different than when debt/GDP ratios are lower."

An addendum to Herndon's paper also defines a stronger causal relationship between economic and public debt. A contribution by his professor Arin Dube provides evidence that the causality runs the other way around -- from slow growth to high debt.

Reinhart and Rogoff responded to Herndon's claim, acknowledging several mistakes, but both economists contended that their study's general argument that high debt leads to slower economic growth could still be corroborated.

"It is sobering that such an error slipped into one of our papers despite our best efforts to be consistently careful. We will redouble our efforts to avoid such errors in the future. We do not, however, believe this regrettable slip affects in any significant way the central message of the paper or that in our subsequent work," Reinhart and Rogoff wrote.

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell said in his program Wednesday evening, "No matter how many times academics try to tell politicians that they cannot base policy action on any one study in any area of social sciences or natural sciences politicians refuse to learn that lesson. Republicans loved the 90% number. Because for once they had some science behind what they were saying."

Herndon, along with the economics department at UMass-Amherst, have undercut the austerity argument that there is no definitive threshold for the debt/GDP ratio relationship and that public debt holds a pivotal role in overcoming a financial recession-a topic that has been on the mind of every American.

The criminal justice system is more than adequate to deal with such acts of terror as these brothers recently committed in Boston. What they did was criminal and the surviving brother need not be handed over to some military tribunal for adjuration; he can be tried like any other violent offender.

Boston is 'terrorism' - but not Aurora, Sandy Hook, Tucson and Columbine?

Can an act of violence be called 'terrorism' if the motive is unknown?

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Glenn Greenwald

Two very disparate commentators, Ali Abunimah and Alan Dershowitz, both raised serious questions over the weekend about a claim that has been made over and over about the bombing of the Boston Marathon: namely, that this was an act of terrorism. Dershowitz was on BBC Radio on Saturday and, citing the lack of knowledge about motive, said (at the 3:15 mark): "It's not even clear under the federal terrorist statutes that it qualifies as an act of terrorism." Abunimah wrote a superb analysis of whether the bombing fits the US government's definition of "terrorism", noting that "absolutely no evidence has emerged that the Boston bombing suspects acted 'in furtherance of political or social objectives'" or that their alleged act was 'intended to influence or instigate a course of action that furthers a political or social goal.'" Even a former CIA Deputy Director, Phillip Mudd, said on Fox News on Sunday that at this point the bombing seems more like a common crime than an act of terrorism.

Over the last two years, the US has witnessed at least three other episodes of mass, indiscriminate violence that killed more people than the Boston bombings did: the Tucson shooting by Jared Loughner in which 19 people (including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords) were shot, six of whom died; the Aurora movie theater shooting by James Holmes in which 70 people were shot, 12 of whom died; and the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting by Adam Lanza in which 26 people (20 of whom were children) were shot and killed. The word "terrorism" was almost never used to describe that indiscriminate slaughter of innocent people, and none of the perpetrators of those attacks was charged with terrorism-related crimes. A decade earlier, two high school seniors in Colorado, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, used guns and bombs to murder 12 students and a teacher, and almost nobody called that "terrorism" either.

In the Boston case, however, exactly the opposite dynamic prevails. Particularly since the identity of the suspects was revealed, the word "terrorism" is being used by virtually everyone to describe what happened. After initially (and commendably) refraining from using the word, President Obama has since said that "we will investigate any associations that these terrorists may have had" and then said that "on Monday an act of terror wounded dozens and killed three people at the Boston Marathon". But as Abunimah notes, there is zero evidence that either of the two suspects had any connection to or involvement with any designated terrorist organization.

More significantly, there is no known evidence, at least not publicly available, about their alleged motives. Indeed, Obama himself - in the statement he made to the nation after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured on Friday night - said that "tonight there are still many unanswered questions" and included this "among" those "unanswered questions":

"Why did young men who grew up and studied here, as part of our communities and our country, resort to such violence?"

The overarching principle here should be that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is entitled to a presumption of innocence until he is actually proven guilty. As so many cases have proven - from accused (but exonerated) anthrax attacker Stephen Hatfill to accused (but exonerated) Atlanta Olympic bomber Richard Jewell to dozens if not hundreds of Guantanamo detainees accused of being the "worst of the worst" but who were guilty of nothing - people who appear to be guilty based on government accusations and trials-by-media are often completely innocent. Media-presented evidence is no substitute for due process and an adversarial trial.


Ritchie Havens Leaves the Stage

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One of the sweetest souls ever to grace the planet.


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"The promoters of the event actually appeared to Richie to perform for 20 minutes or so, because no one wanted to be first," Davidowitz told TODAY. "Instead of 20 minutes, the crowd kept him on stage for more than two hours with their cheers and demands for more."

After Woodstock, Havens started his own record label, Stormy Forest. He also worked as an actor, appearing in the London stage version of The Who's "Tommy" and in the 1977 Richard Pryor movie "Greased Lightning," about the first black stock-car driver to win an upper-tier NASCAR race.

"Richie Havens was gifted with one of the most recognizable voices in popular music," Havens' agent said in a statement. "His fiery, poignant, soulful singing style has remained unique and ageless since his historic appearance at Woodstock in 1969. For four decades, Havens used his music to convey passionate messages of brotherhood and personal freedom."

Havens was always grateful for his fans. "From Woodstock to The Isle of Wight to Glastonbury to the Fillmore Auditorium to Royal Albert Hall to Carnegie Hall, Richie played the most legendary music festivals that ever were, and most of the world's greatest concert venues," the statement went on to say. "But even when performing in a Greenwich Village coffeehouse or a small club or regional theater, he was eternally grateful that people in any number turned up each time to hear him sing. More than anything, he feels incredibly blessed to have met so many of you along the way."

havens2.jpgJanuary 21, 1941 - April 22, 2013

Thumb Orgasm

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Alrighty then.

Basically, I just like the headline pun.

My Orgasthumb

by Lynsey Hope

thumborgasm.jpg Rafe Biggs, 43, was left a quadriplegic after he broke his neck falling off a roof. He lost all feeling below the waist and feared he would never experience sexual pleasure again.

But a year later he enjoyed orgasmic sensations when a girlfriend massaged and sucked his thumb. Rafe, who now regards his thumb as a "surrogate penis," said: "I felt this build-up of energies and felt I was getting closer and closer to orgasm.

"When I did it was one wave of pleasure after another -- it was amazing. I never thought it would be possible, but massaging and sucking on my thumb, feels a lot like my penis used to feel -- it's really hot."

Rafe, from Oakland, California, now has regular sessions with sex therapist Lisa Skye Carle.

She said: "What Rafe is experiencing is a 'transfer orgasm' -- where another place on the body gives the same sensation. He has significant reduction in pain after a session."

Rafe is now trying to help others through his organisation Sexability. He said: "Sex is therapeutic and can really help disabled people."

Maybe 32 people owned it?

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SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- A video posted to the Internet shows police on the University of California, Santa Cruz campus confiscating what is described as a 2-pound marijuana joint Saturday.

According to various accounts on the Internet, the incident happened at an annual event that marks April 20, or 4/20, numbers which have become associated with smoking marijauna.

According to the website LiveLeak.com, the officers took the giant joint because it violated the weight limit set for carrying pot, which is one ounce.


The Political Aftershocks

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Hopefully the typical fear driven voices calling for more security and fanning the flames of racial and cultural oppressions like after 9/11 will be tempered by the fact that we are not the same nation we were back then. Somethings have been learned.


A Republican With a Good Idea

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Who wudda thunk it? Kudos.


Bill for compulsory science fiction in West Virginia schools

Republican state delegate Ray Canterbury says move would inspire pupils to use practical knowledge and imagination in the real world

by Alison Flood

A bill calling for science fiction to be made compulsory reading in schools has been proposed by a politician in West Virginia in order to "stimulate interest in the fields of math and science".

Science_Fiction_Wallpaper.jpgRay Canterbury, a Republican delegate, is appealing to the West Virginia board of education to include science fiction novels on the middle school and high school curriculums. "The Legislature finds that promoting interest in and appreciation for the study of math and science among students is critical to preparing students to compete in the workforce and to assure the economic well being of the state and the nation," he writes in the pending bill.

"To stimulate interest in math and science among students in the public schools of this state, the State Board of Education shall prescribe minimum standards by which samples of grade-appropriate science fiction literature are integrated into the curriculum of existing reading, literature or other required courses for middle school and high school students."

"I'm not interested in fantasy novels about dragons," Canterbury told Blastr in a recent interview. "I'm primarily interested in things where advanced technology is a key component of the storyline, both in terms of the problems that it presents and the solutions that it offers."

A fan of Isaac Asimov and Jules Verne, Canterbury believes that "one of the things about science fiction is that it gives you this perspective that as long as you have an imagination and it's grounded in some sort of practical knowledge, you can do anything you wanted to".

"In Southern West Virginia, there's a bit of a Calvinistic attitude toward life - this is how things are and they'll never be any different," he said. "[Science fiction] serves as a kind of antidote to that fatalistic kind of thinking."

Scientist and award-winning science fiction author David Brin, who has long fought for the educational value of the genre to be recognised, said it was "wonderful to live in a country where politicians can raise this possibility".

James Gunn, author, critic and a "grand master" of science fiction, agreed that "classrooms should expose more students to science fiction", and said that Canterbury's plan "sounds like an enlightened idea".

"As long ago as Future Shock, Alvin Toffler was calling for exposing young people to science fiction as 'a sovereign prophylactic' against 'the premature arrival of the future'. Today in an even more rapidly changing world, it is even more important for Toffler's purpose but also for making the kinds of informed decisions about present issues that will lead to better futures," said Gunn, who is founder of the Centre for the Study of Science Fiction at Kansas University.

"Because science fiction incorporates the one thing that is undeniably true in today's fiction - that the world is changing - it has the capability of shaping that change as well as adjusting to it. As I say in my signature motto, 'Let's save the world through science fiction.'

"Science fiction has the capability, at its best, of exercising the rational portions of the brain. You have to think to read it. And what the world needs now is people who can think better and more clearly and make good choices."

Brin, author of The Postman, has suggested a range of titles which might be useful in schools in the past, from "books that explore the edges of tolerance, like those of Octavia Butler and Alice Sheldon (James Tiptree, Jr)" to "books that ponder biological destiny, penned by Greg Bear and Joan Slonczewski", and "those by Robert A Heinlein, Arthur C Clarke, and Ray Bradbury that instruct almost invisibly, because the authors were teachers at heart".

He told the Guardian that he "approve[s] wholeheartedly" of Canterbury's plans - "though with a cavil - that 90% of the most recent wave of 'science fiction' tales appear to have been either gloomy dystopias or else fantasy tales wallowing in dreamy yearnings for a beastly way of life called feudalism".

"Some of the best science fiction deals with gloomy or dire topics, and often without happy endings. But always implicit in the best tales is the possibility that human beings might do better. That is why Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 ... qualify as 'self-preventing prophecies', having girded millions to help make their dark scenarios never happen. My own The Postman was an attempt at that territory," said Brin.

"But it is science fiction that offers hope for a better world that does the most good, in the long run. Star Trek did this, while confronting one after another potential pitfall or roadblock that might confront us along the way," said the author, also pointing to the authors Vernor Vinge, Neal Stephenson, Kim Stanley Robinson and Nancy Kress.

Bomber Capture

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Something St Sebastion

When a kid can take down a city.

And you've got to admit that escape scene he pulled is already legend, some even in Olympus blinked.

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The Mellonites and Sin

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...man holds the remedy in his own hands, and lets everything go its own way, simply through cowardice- that is an axiom."
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

The Urge to Purge

By Paul Krugman

mellon.jpgWhen the Great Depression struck, many influential people argued that the government shouldn't even try to limit the damage. According to Herbert Hoover, Andrew Mellon, his Treasury secretary, urged him to "Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers. ... It will purge the rottenness out of the system." Don't try to hasten recovery, warned the famous economist Joseph Schumpeter, because "artificial stimulus leaves part of the work of depressions undone."

Like many economists, I used to quote these past luminaries with a certain smugness. After all, modern macroeconomics had shown how wrong they were, and we wouldn't repeat the mistakes of the 1930s, would we?

How naïve we were. It turns out that the urge to purge -- the urge to see depression as a necessary and somehow even desirable punishment for past sins, while inveighing against any attempt to mitigate suffering -- is as strong as ever. Indeed, Mellonism is everywhere these days. Turn on CNBC or read an op-ed page, and the odds are that you won't see someone arguing that the federal government and the Federal Reserve are doing too little to fight mass unemployment. Instead, you're much more likely to encounter an alleged expert ranting about the evils of budget deficits and money creation, and denouncing Keynesian economics as the root of all evil.

Now, the fact is that these ranters have been wrong about everything, at every stage of the crisis, while the Keynesians have been mostly right. Remember how federal deficits were supposed to cause soaring interest rates? Never mind: After four years of such warnings, rates remain near historic lows -- just as Keynesians predicted. Remember how running the printing presses was going to cause runaway inflation? Since the recession began, the Fed has more than tripled the size of its balance sheet, but inflation has averaged less than 2 percent.

But the Mellonites just keep coming. The latest example is David Stockman, Ronald Reagan's first budget director, who has just published a mammoth screed titled "The Great Deformation."

His book doesn't have much new to say. Although Mr. Stockman's willingness to criticize some Republicans and praise some Democrats has garnered him a reputation as an iconoclast, his analysis is pretty much standard liquidationism, with a strong goldbug streak. We've been doomed to disaster, he asserts, ever since F.D.R. took us off the gold standard and introduced deposit insurance. Everything since has been a series of "sprees" (his favorite word): spending sprees, consumption sprees, debt sprees, and above all money-printing sprees. If disaster was somehow avoided for 70-plus years, it was thanks to a series of lucky accidents.

So it's more or less the usual stuff. In particular, like so many in his camp, Mr. Stockman misunderstands the meaning of rising debt. Yes, total debt in the U.S. economy, public and private combined, has risen dramatically relative to G.D.P. No, this doesn't mean that we as a nation have been living far beyond our means, and must drastically tighten our belts. While we have run up a significant foreign debt (although not as big as many imagine), the rise in debt overwhelmingly represents Americans borrowing from other Americans, which doesn't make the nation as a whole any poorer, and doesn't require that we collectively spend less. In fact, the biggest problem created by all this debt is that it's keeping the economy depressed by causing us collectively to spend too little, with debtors forced to cut back while creditors see no reason to spend more.

So what should we be doing? By all means, let's restore the kind of effective financial regulation that, in the years before the Reagan revolution, helped deter excessive leverage. But that's about preventing the next crisis. To deal with the crisis that's already here, we need monetary and fiscal stimulus, to induce those who aren't too deeply indebted to spend more while the debtors are cutting back.

But that prescription is, of course, anathema to Mellonites, who wrongly see it as more of the same policies that got us into this trap. And that, in turn, tells you why liquidationism is such a destructive doctrine: by turning our problems into a morality play of sin and retribution, it helps condemn us to a deeper and longer slump.

The bad news is that sin sells. Although the Mellonites have, as I said, been wrong about everything, the notion of macroeconomics as morality play has a visceral appeal that's hard to fight. Disguise it with a bit of political cross-dressing, and even liberals can fall for it.

But they shouldn't. Mellon was dead wrong in the 1930s, and his avatars are dead wrong today. Unemployment, not excessive money printing, is what ails us now -- and policy should be doing more, not less.

Police State: Boys & Their Toys

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Boss town.

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Pig Pig Jpeg

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I'm innocent, i tells ya...what the hell is a marathon?

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Perp walk

Guilford County Animal Control officer E. Afari carries a pig to his truck after catching it in Greensboro, N.C., on April 11. Residents called police after seeing the animal roaming loose. The first animal control officer who responded kept the pig calm in a grassy area next to a house until Afari arrived to help. Afari said the first officer did not have enough space in his truck for the pig and called for assistance. Officials at the scene said they did not know where the pig came from.
______________________________

It probably came one way by truck from Boston.

A Shameful Day in Washington

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Unbelievable stupidity and zero perspective.

1949

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What Things Cost in 1949:

Car: $1,650
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Gasoline: 26 cents/gal

House: $7,500 - $14,500

Bread: 14 cents/loaf

Milk: 84 cents/gal

Cigarettes: 10 cents/pack

Postage Stamp: 3 cents

3" TV $99.

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Howdy Doody merchandising tops $11 million for the year.

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Stock Market: 200

Average Annual Salary: $3,600

Minimum Wage: 40 cents per hour



Events in 1949

Ecuador
6.75 Richter scale earthquake in Ecuador kills 6000 and destroys 50 towns

Russia
Soviet Union tests its first atomic bomb.

NATO
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Established

Germany
Federal Republic of Germany officially founded
Berlin Airlift officially comes to an end on May 12th

Indonesia
Indonesia gains it's independence From Netherlands

China
The Communist People's Republic of China is proclaimed under Mao Tse Tung.

Taiwan
Republic of China / Taiwan on the island of Formosa comes into being following the defeat by Mao Tse Tung

Switzerland
The Geneva Convention is agreed providing an agreement on the treatment of prisoners

U.S.

RCA Perfects a system for broadcasting color television
First Polaroid Camera sold for $89.95
President Harry S. Truman authorizes $16 million in aid for Palestinian refugees
The Emmy Awards for US Television first presented
First Volkswagen Beetle The Peoples Car sold in US
NBA National Basketball Association NBA Comes Into Being

I'm Born
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So are:

Benjamin Netanyahu

Billy Joel

Bruce Jenner

Bruce Springsteen

Don Johnson

Garry Shandling

Gates McFadden

George Foreman

Gloria Gaynor

Jeff Bridges

Jessica Lange

John Belushi

Lionel Richie

Meryl Streep

Richard Gere

Ron Wyden

Sigourney Weaver

Tom Waits

Whoopi Goldberg


UK
De-Havilland Comet first commercial passenger jet airliner test flight

South Africa
Apartheid Made official Policy of National party in South Africa

Canada
Newfoundland Joins Canada Confederation


My Favorite New Young Artist

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I love where music and humans are evolving to. AfroMex futuristic R&B.

Wow on so many levels. I was really glad to discover he doesn't like being pegged to the bedroom boy label since he lives most of life out of it. That says a lot.

Miguel

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His SNL performance below is astoundingly fresh and dynamic, subtle and intimate:

Influences

Miguel identifies himself as part of the new wave of R&B artists that include Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, and Elle Varner. About.com editor Mark Edward Nero characterizes his music as "eclectic, artsy R&B-pop" Miguel cites musicians Prince, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Freddie Mercury, Phil Collins, Donny Hathaway, The Notorious B.I.G. and Kanye West, as influences,

in addition to expressing his admiration for Stevie Wonder, John Lennon and Diane Warren. Miguel revealed his desire to have worked with James Brown, whom he considers the "last innovator for me when it comes to soul". In addition to singing, Miguel also plays the guitar.

Musical style

Miguel incorporates R&B, funk, hip hop, rock and electronic styles into his music. Miguel described his sound as "nostalgic in a sense that it's familiar... it's shocking, edgy, energizing" In an interview with Paper magazine, he regarded his music as "fly, funkadelic, intergalactic-hip-hop-meets-sexy-orgasmic crazy, dope shit".

Miguel is often compared to Babyface and Prince. His vocals are influenced by classic rock bands such as The Beatles, Queen, The Police and Def Leppard. Brian McManus of The Village Voice writes that "[Marvin] Gaye, Prince, and (his comparison) Van Morrison all linger in his voice."

When he gets political / philosophical:


Mr Spunktinuity Passes

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Comedian Jonathan Winters dies at 87

His improvisational comedy inspired a generation. In a classic 1964 clip from "The Jack Paar Program," host Paar hands Winters a stick and the comic launches into four minutes of off-the-cuff prop humor, switching from an all-American fisherman to an Austrian violinist to a Spanish bullfighter.


By Anna Chan

Jonathan Winters, the actor and comedian who gained fame with his roles in "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," "The Loved One" and "Mork and Mindy" has died. He was 87.

Winters' agent told NBC News that the actor died of natural causes Thursday night at his home in Montecito, Calif. He was surrounded by family and friends.

Winters was born in Dayton, Ohio, on Nov. 11, 1925. His career kicked off when his wife, Eileen, encouraged him to enter a talent contest, which he won. That performance led to a DJ job at WING in Dayton in 1946, and he eventually moved to New York and became a performer at Manhattan's Blue Angel nightclub.

Winters worked as an actor in more than 73 movies and television shows, according to IMDb.com, and currently has two projects in post-production: the voice of Papa Smurf in "The Smurfs 2," due to be released in July, and a character named Dayton in "Big Finish," which is scheduled for late next year.

One of his most popular roles was that of Mearth, Mork (Robin Williams) and Mindy's (Pam Dawber) child, who was hatched -- as a fully grown adult -- from an egg Mork laid. The character was introduced during the show's fourth and final season in the hopes of improving the sci-fi comedy's ratings. Winters had previously made a guest appearance on the show in season three as Mindy's uncle Dave.
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He was insane and we loved it.

Thank you, Mr Winters, thank you.

Stuff to Make Your Day

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Or Lost in Translation fun.

Tears Don't Fall

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Why you better not cry in space

Alan Boyle

Is there anything Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield can't do? He's the commander of the International Space Station, a guitar-strumming space troubadour, a prolific orbital photographer and a frequent commentator about life in space. Hadfield seems to do it all, but apparently there's at least one thing he can't do -- namely, shed a tear in zero gravity.

Hadfield demonstrated why there's no crying in space last week, in an instructional video from the space station. He squirted water from a bottle into his eye, and then showed how the liquid just kept piling up on his face.

"If you keep crying, you just end up with a bigger and bigger ball of water in your eye," he said, "until eventually it crosses across your nose and gets into your other eye, or evaporates, or maybe spreads over your cheek -- or you grab a towel and dry it off. So, yes, I've gotten things in my eye. Your eyes will definitely cry in space. But the big difference is, tears don't fall."

"Tears Don't Fall" ... that sounds like a great title for Hadfield's next orbital ballad.

For more about the "no crying in space" phenomenon, check out The Atlantic's detailed explanation from January. And for more fun facts from Hadfield, watch his video guides to brushing your teeth in zero-G, shaving in space, how to clean up a space spill, and how to clip your fingernails on the space station.

Cicadas : 17 years in the making

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Tastes like asparagus or shrimp. Kewl.

Spring's cicada invasion generates early buzz

cicada.jpg

By Alan Boyle

After hanging around underground for 17 years, billions of flying bugs known as cicadas are due to sweep over the East Coast starting sometime in the next month. And although it's too early to predict exactly where or when the brood will appear, this spring's emergence should rate as the most closely watched bug-out in history.

"For entomophobes, this is the season of despair. For the entomophiles, this is the season of joy," said University of Maryland entomologist Michael Raupp, using highfalutin terms for bug-haters and bug-lovers.

The outbreak is expected to start in the Carolinas in April or early May, and work its way up northward to Washington, Philadelphia and New York by early June. Some observers have already reported the first signs of the emergence. The timing depends on the weather: Cicadas dig "escape chimneys" up from the ground where they've been maturing for the past 17 years -- and when the temperature reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius), that signals the insects to rise up, wriggle out of their shells, take wing and look for mates.

The bugs are mostly harmless to plants and humans. The worst a cicada can do is poke you with its pointy proboscis. But the 90-decibel buzz of a sky-darkening swarm can be a bit unnerving to the unprepared. Raupp recalls one harrowing tale from 1962's outbreak, when "the kids were shrieking in the playgrounds as cicadas divebombed them."

In Raupp's view, however, the pluses far outweigh the minuses. The cicada nymphs help aerate garden soil with their burrowing, and when they emerge, the bugs represent a culinary bonanza for birds and other species. (They're said to taste like asparagus. Or shrimp.)

Besides, cicadas are cool. "Without a doubt, they are a true marvel of nature and one that should be enjoyed whenever possible," Raupp writes on his Bug of the Week blog.

It's thought that the 17-year life cycle arose to keep the cicadas' predators off their game, and perhaps make the most of climatic variations. Scientists even suspect that the number 17's status as a prime number plays a role. (Some periodical cicada species emerge every 13 years, and 13 is also a prime number.)

This particular group of cicadas, known as Brood II, hasn't surfaced since 1996. But other broods have had their own day in the sun during the intervening years. The big ones include Brood X ("The Big Brood"), which last came out in 2004; and the 13-year Brood XIX ("The Great Southern Brood"), which emerged in 2011.


Do You Believe the Monkey Woman?

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Something not right here.

Brit Grandma Claims She Was Raised by Monkeys

Scott Stump

marina-chapman.jpgIn her new book, a British grandmother is claiming that she had quite a wild side in her youth.

Marina Chapman's book, "The Girl with No Name," claims that she was raised by monkeys in the Colombian jungle for about five years of her childhood, adopting their behavior and eating the same food. Chapman claims that a group of capuchin monkeys became her surrogate family after she was kidnapped and abandoned in a Colombian jungle when she was 4 years old.

She says she survived by eating the monkeys' discarded fruit and nuts, eventually forgetting her parents and even her own name. She also learned how to climb high in the trees, which she can still do today in her mid-60s.

"I learned from them,'' she told Michelle Kosinski on TODAY Tuesday. "They became my family.''

After living with the monkeys for several years, Chapman says she encountered hunters who tried to sell her into domestic slavery in the Colombian city of Cucuta. She then ran away and became a thieving street kid before being adopted by a loving family in Bogota as a teenager and giving herself the name Marina.

Her eye-opening tale has led to questions of whether it's not just the imagination of a child.

"It's not imagination,'' Chapman said. "I know. I know what I know, I'm very sure. You become resilient, and you survive."

"There's no evidence she's lying,'' Douglas Candland, a professor of psychology at Bucknell University specializing in feral children, told TODAY. "What happens over time is of course the more you tell the story, some aspects of it get sharper, and some get forgotten."

Chapman went from living in the wild as a child to living the domestic life when she met her husband at a church in Bradford, England, in 1978, after traveling there with a family who employed her. The couple has two daughters, Vanessa and Joanna, who convinced her that her amazing tale needed to be shared in a book.

"(Her story) made sense,'' Chapman's daughters told Kosinski. "When you are raised by her, you just find it normal.''

The daughters considered giving their mother a lie detector test, but instead they went to Colombia to try to verify her story. They say they tracked down locations and found people whom they claim corroborated their mother's story outside the jungle.

"Mom seemed more excited about finding her monkey family,'' Joanna Chapman told Kosinski. "She's learned recently that monkeys can live up to 55 years, and she's recently gone, 'They might be alive, I might find the one.'"

Twice in recent years, children have been found in the wild in Africa who were believed to have been protected by monkeys. Chapman, a grandmother of three, still occasionally embraces her wild roots, according to her family.

"She's just not a lady,'' Joanna joked. "Every morning she wakes up and she's like 'I have a house! I've got feet!' You know, the simple things."

Read an excerpt from her book: 'The Girl With No Name'

US as Tax Haven

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Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Childhood Crush Dies

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I was 8 or 9 and in love. Now she's gone.


Annette Funicello, beloved Mouseketeer, dies at 70

annette-funicello.jpg

Rust In Peace

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Margaret Thatcher, UK's 'Iron Lady,' dies

margaret-thatcher.jpg

The trail-blazing Conservative led Britain for almost 12 years and was a close ally of President Reagan. She was 87.

Ransomware

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Just a heads up about this relatively new form of malware. I haven't personally experienced it yet, but it looks like it would be scary to some people unaware of it being a fake warning. Use your malware and virus scanning to remove it...or search the web for removal techniques.

New Ransomware Tracks Your Browser History

A new variation of ransomware is capable of checking a users browsing history and leveraging that information within a fake law enforcement warning.

According a malware analyst that goes by the handle Kafeine, the ransomware shows a message with the logos of the US Department of Justice, Homeland Security, and the FBI, and includes information such as the user's IP address, host name, and the URL of a porn website (not necessarily illegal) that the user has recently visited.

It does so by checking the browser's history, comparing the sites it finds there with a remote list, and if it discovers a matching website URL, it displays it in the warning message..
-net-security.org | April 2, 2013 | Zeljka Zorz

image by malware.dontneedcoffee.com

The authors of police-themed ransomware are constantly trying to improve their success rate and this is just the latest in a long series of tricks they have added. Some variants are actually using the computer's webcam, if one is present, to take a picture of the user and include it in the message in order to give the impression that the authorities are recording the user. Another variant gives victims a deadline of 48 hours to pay the made-up fine before their computer drive is reformatted and their data is destroyed.
-infoworld.com| April 1, 2013 | Lucian Constantin

Lessig on Liberty and Loss

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When the pundits and the politicians say that change is impossible, [we must say,] 'That's just irrelevant.' We lose something dear ... if we lose this republic, and so we act with everything we can to prove these pundits wrong. - Lawrence Lessig

Local 4 Ft Lizard

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I live in Winter Haven just off Spirit lake Rd and this is a recently discovered neighbor:

wh.4ft.lizard.jpg

WINTER HAVEN, FL --

An exotic lizard that can grow up to four feet long has been spotted just outside of Winter Haven.

The lizard, which is known as an Argentine black and white tegu, was seen near Spirit Lake Road.

Wildlife officials are concerned because the lizards are not only large, but they also eat native wildlife and their eggs.

Officials hope to prevent the species from becoming established in Florida.

Paranoid conspiracy theories and conservative thinking.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Photographer Vivian Maier

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A rara avis

1955ny.jpg


This website was created by a man who bought a case of old negatives at auction for $380. He discovered that he had purchased over 100,000 photos that nobody had ever seen. They were taken by a woman, Vivian Maier, who never shared her work. I am late to the game, turned on to it by my son-in-law, Billy, who sent it along, but this has turned into a small art world phenomenon. Here is the site, with the story. I think its worth your time. You might want to begin with the two minute film. The photos, under "portfolios," are simply haunting. A wonderful, strange street photographer.

http://www.vivianmaier.com/

hat tip Mr Baker

Firefox 20

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Firefox 20 improves private browsing, fixes three critical flaws

By Sam Shead

Mozilla has fixed three critical security flaws and rolled out several new features with its latest browser update, Firefox 20.

firefox_20.jpgNew features include per-window private browsing, a new download manager and the ability to close hanging plug-ins separately.
Read this: Firefox 19 launches with native PDF viewer on board

Previous versions of Firefox had private browsing capabilities but they always required users to open a separate window. Firefox 20 allows users to browse privately without closing or changing their current browsing session.

Mozilla said that private browsing can be used to shop for a birthday present or check multiple email accounts simultaneously.

Firefox 20 also gives desktop users a new Safari-like download manager that pops out from the toolbar, enabling users to monitor, view, and locate downloaded files without having to switch to another window.

The complete list of new features that are built into Firefox 20 can be found on the official changelog.

The three flaws listed on Mozilla's security advisories page which are fixed in Firefox 20 include a bypass of System Only Wrappers that can allow protected nodes to be cloned, a WebGL flaw which only affects Linux users using Intel Mesa graphics drivers and a range of memory safety hazards.

The latest release in Mozilla's six-month update cycle is available to download now which is available to download on Windows, Linux, Mac and Android.

Users of previous desktop versions of Firefox should be able to upgrade to Firefox 20 automatically. The Android version of Firefox 20 is available through the Google Play Store.

Chris Brown has dropped a brand new video for his song "Fine China" off his upcoming album "X".

Forced acting and cheap script, but the choreography and music are great and there's a definite maturity about the performer and his music that allows him to tribute MJ in a solid and comfortable way and still make it his own. It's one of the best things he's done in my book. And it maybe even comes with a nod to a public apology to Ms Rh and to womanhood in general.

Fine China

"It's alright
I'm not dangerous
When you're mine
I'll be generous,"

Still possessive.


c.brown.fine.china.jpg

Conservative Constipation

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Lessons From a Comeback

By Paul Krugman

Modern movement conservatism, which transformed the G.O.P. from the moderate party of Dwight Eisenhower into the radical right-wing organization we see today, was largely born in California. The Golden State, even more than the South, created today's religious conservatism; it elected Ronald Reagan governor; it's where the tax revolt of the 1970s began. But that was then. In the decades since, the state has grown ever more liberal, thanks in large part to an ever-growing nonwhite share of the electorate.

As a result, the reign of the Governator aside, California has been solidly Democratic since the late 1990s. And ever since the political balance shifted, conservatives have declared the state doomed. Their specifics keep changing, but the moral is always the same: liberal do-gooders are bringing California to its knees.

A dozen years ago, the state was supposedly doomed by all its environmentalists. You see, the eco-freaks were blocking power plants, and the result was crippling blackouts and soaring power prices. "The country's showcase state," gloated The Wall Street Journal, "has come to look like a hapless banana republic."

But a funny thing happened on the road to collapse: it turned out that the main culprit in the electricity crisis was deregulation, which opened the door for ruthless market manipulation. When the market manipulation went away, so did the blackouts.

Undeterred, a few years later conservatives found another line of attack. This time they said that liberal big spending and overpaid public employees were bringing on collapse.

And the state has indeed spent the past few years facing a severe fiscal crunch. When the national housing bubble burst, California was hit especially hard, and the combined effects of the plunge in home prices and the economic downturn led to sharply reduced revenue. Once more there were gleeful pronouncements of imminent doom: California, declared one pundit after another, is America's Greece.

Again, however, reports of the state's demise proved premature. Unemployment in California remains high, but it's coming down -- and there's a projected budget surplus, in part because the implosion of the state's Republican Party finally gave Democrats a big enough political advantage to push through some desperately needed tax increases. Far from presiding over a Greek-style crisis, Gov. Jerry Brown is proclaiming a comeback.

Needless to say, the usual suspects are still predicting doom -- this time from the very tax hikes that are closing the budget gap, which they say will cause millionaires and businesses to flee the state. Well, maybe -- but serious studies have found very little evidence either that tax hikes cause lots of wealthy people to move or that state taxes have any significant impact on growth.

So what do we learn from this history of doom deferred?

I'm not suggesting everything in California is just fine. Unemployment -- especially long-term unemployment -- remains very high. California's longer-term economic growth has slowed, too, mainly because the state's limited supply of buildable land means high housing prices, bringing an era of rapid population growth to an end. (Did you know that metropolitan Los Angeles has a higher population density than metropolitan New York?) Last but not least, decades of political paralysis have degraded the state's once-superb public education system. So there are plenty of problems.

The point, however, is that these problems bear no resemblance to the death-by-liberalism story line the California-bashers keep peddling. California isn't a state in which liberals have run wild; it's a state where a liberal majority has been effectively hamstrung by a fanatical conservative minority that, thanks to supermajority rules, has been able to block effective policy-making.

And that's where things get really interesting -- because the era of hamstrung government seems to be coming to an end. Over the years, California's Republicans moved right as the state moved left, yet retained political relevance thanks to their blocking power. But at this point the state's G.O.P. has fallen below critical mass, losing even its power to obstruct -- and this has left Mr. Brown free to push an agenda of tax hikes and infrastructure spending that sounds remarkably like the kind of thing California used to do before the rise of the radical right.

And if this agenda is successful, it will have national implications. After all, California's political story -- in which a radicalized G.O.P. fell increasingly out of touch with an increasingly diverse and socially liberal electorate, and eventually found itself marginalized -- is arguably playing out with a lag on the national scene too.

So is California still the place where the future happens first? Stay tuned.

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