Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

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May next year not be as horrible as some are projecting... and may we survive whatever the Corporatocracy thinks up...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I'm almost embarrassed to admit

The temperature in Southern California was a warm 65 degrees and sunny....

but getting more rain tonight! Does that make it better?

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The people who will save the bees

Are our kids.

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Most elementary-school science experiments wind up gathering dust in the basement. This one found its way into a prestigious scientific publication, the Associated Press reports.

Biology Letters, a peer-reviewed journal of Britain's Royal Society, on Wednesday published a report (PDF, complete with colored-pencil diagrams) on how bumblebees see colors and patterns -- conducted and written by a group of 8- to 10-year-olds in Devon, England.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Word play

Adjust the number of words you want compared, and look at the graph. I think my favorite word embranglement wins the prize!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wheeee....

"We've undergone a corporate coup d'├ętat in slow motion," he said. "Our public education system has been gutted. Our infrastructure is corroding and collapsing. Unless we begin to physically resist, they are going to solidify neo-feudalism in this country."

"If we think that Obama is bad, watch the next two years because these corporate forces have turned their back on him," Hedges warned.

Hedges, author of "Death of the Liberal Class," said that his vision of America is one with a functioning social democracy, which stands in stark contrast to the nihilism of the corporate state.

"American workers, as they are repeatedly told, will have to become competitive with prison labor in China," he said. "That's where we're headed, and all the pillars of the liberal establishment are complicit in this."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

To hell with the bees

Better living through chemistry and all that.

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Leaked document shows EPA allowed bee-toxic pesticide despite own scientists’ red flags
So... our food and the bees we rely on to help make that food are not as important as the corporations which make the pesticide?
An internal EPA memo released Wednesday confirms that the very agency charged with protecting the environment is ignoring the warnings of its own scientists about clothianidin, a pesticide from which Bayer racked up €183 million (about $262 million) in sales in 2009.

Clothianidin has been widely used on corn, the largest U.S. crop, since 2003. Suppliers sell seeds pre-treated with it. Like other members of the neonicotinoid family of pesticides, clothianidin gets "taken up by a plant's vascular system and expressed through pollen and nectar," according to Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA), which leaked the document along with Beyond Pesticides. That effect makes it highly toxic to a crop's pests -- and also harmful to pollen-hoarding honeybees, which have experienced mysterious annual massive die-offs (known as "colony collapse disorder") here in the United States at least since 2006.

The colony-collapse phenomenon is complex and still not completely understood. While there appears to be no single cause for the annual die-offs, mounting evidence points to pesticides, and specifically neonicotinoids (derived from nicotine), as a key factor. And neonicotinoids are a relatively new factor in ecosystems frequented by honeybees -- introduced in the late 1990s, these systemic insecticides have gained a steadily rising share of the seed-treatment market. It does not seem unfair to observe that the health of the honeybee population has steadily declined over the same period.

According to PANNA, other crops commonly treated with clothianidin include canola, soy, sugar beets, sunflowers, and wheat -- all among the most widely planted U.S. crops. Bayer is now petitioning the EPA to register it for use with cotton and mustard seed.
The short answer is yes.

H/t to mahakal for the link.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

From now on

Any Republican (or Democrat for that matter) who declares loudly that he/she cares about the deficit deserves to be clapped in the stocks and pelted with rotten tomatoes.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Have a very merry ... minuet.


There are days in my life when everything is dreary
I grow pessimistic, sad and world weary.
But when I'm tearful and fearfully upset
I always sing this merry little minuet:

They're rioting in Africa
They're starving in Spain
There's hurricanes in Florida
And Texas needs rain.

The whole world is festering
With unhappy souls
The French hate the Germans,
The Germans hate the Poles

Italians hate Yugoslavs
South Africans hate the Dutch
And I don't like anybody very much

But we can be grateful
And thankful and proud
That man's been endowed
With a mushroom shaped cloud

And we know for certain
That some happy day
Someone will set the spark off
And we will all be blown away

They're rioting in Africa
There's strife in Iran
What nature doesn't do to us
Will be done by our fellow man.
Or Tom Lehrer might do:
When you attend a funeral
It is sad to think that sooner 'r l-
ater those you love will do the same for you.
And you may have thought it tragic,
Not to mention other adjec-
Tives, to think of all the weeping they will do - but don't you worry -
No more ashes, no more sackcloth,
And an armband made of black cloth
Will someday never more adorn a sleeve.
For if the bomb that drops on you
Gets your friends and neighbours too,
There'll be nobody left behind to grieve......



And who is going up in smoke?



And Britain.

And Russia.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Voyager 1

Sails closer to true interstellar space...
But now, after 33 years, that has changed: at 17 billion kilometers (10.6 billion miles) from the Sun, the spacecraft has reached the point where the solar wind has slowed to a stop. Literally, the wind is no longer at Voyager’s back.
There is gas between the stars, which astronomers call the interstellar medium. The solar wind blows out into it, slowing. There is a region, over a billion kilometers thick, where the solar wind plows to a halt, creating a roughly spherical shell around the solar system. That’s called the heliosheath, and it looks like Voyager 1 is now solidly inside it. In fact, it’s been there for four months or so; the scientists measuring the solar wind speed noticed it dropped to 0 back in June, but it took a while to make sure this wasn’t just some local eddy in the flow. It’s not. Voyager 1 now has calm seas ahead.
But the probe is still moving outward at 60,000 kph (38,000 mph). In a few more years it’ll leave the heliosheath behind, and when that happens it will truly be in interstellar space, the vast and nearly empty region between the stars. At that moment it will be the first human device ever to truly leave the solar system and enter the great stretches of the galaxy beyond.
To infinity and beyond!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Say you,

Say me....



And then there are those to whom English is a second language....
Bristol Palin went on official Palin family blog “The Facebook” today to attack Keith Olbermann and rouse the pity of the conservative faithful, just as her mother would. Touching. Instead of using the standard teenager speak she and her sister usually employ on Facebook, however, she translated her message to Olbermann with some interesting selections from a thesaurus.

Aliens!! Rat bomb sniffers! Sugar beets! Evil cuteness!

It must be aliens or a super secret spy mission for Bond. James Bond:
LOS ANGELES — The U.S. military's secretive X-37B unmanned spaceplane slipped out of orbit and landed itself in early morning darkness Friday at a California airbase after a successful maiden flight that lasted more than seven months, the Air Force said.
And then there's the rodents...
Reporting from Bogota, Colombia — Rats may soon become heroic figures in this nation's struggle to detect and dispose of land mines.

Early next year, anti-narcotics police will begin deploying squads of rats to sniff out land mines in remote areas of Colombia where leftist rebels and drug traffickers have planted hundreds of thousands of the deadly devices. It's an unconventional initiative in a country that is second only to Afghanistan in the number of land mine victims.

Using a project in Tanzania as a model, Colombian scientists have taught rats to detect mines buried as deep as 3 feet. The rats are conditioned to search and burrow down for explosives in exchange for the reward of sugar.
Monsanto!
DES MOINES, Iowa – A federal judge in California has ordered the removal from the ground of plants grown to produce seeds for genetically modified sugar beets, citing the potential for environmental harm.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White has again raised questions about the use of genetically modified crops and what will happen if growers aren't allowed to plant GMO seeds.
About 95 percent of the sugar beet crop has been genetically modified to resist the weed killer Roundup. The crop provides roughly half of the nation's sugar supply.
In his decision, White cited, "a significant risk of environmental harm."
Dangerous cute animals like the platypus. Be afraid!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

And now they are after our books

Because who doesn't want to protect their children from those bad nasty thoughts out there?
Good news, educators: the book-banners are more organized than ever! Instead of lone nuts calling for books to be banned, now it's national groups of nuts, like the Parents Against Bad Books in Schools. And what makes a book "bad?"

Here's PABBIS' explanation of its philosophical beliefs: "Bad is not for us to determine. Bad is what you determine is bad. Bad is what you think is bad for your child. What each parent considers bad varies and depends on their unique situation, family and values. The main purpose of this webpage is to identify some books that might be considered bad and why someone might consider them bad."

When Republicans have power

They threaten.

Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly explains:
Also note the unstated truth behind the threat -- Republicans will block literally everything until they're satisfied, at which point, they'll try to block literally everything anyway.
Tell me again why these people want to work in government?

Never mind.