Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Things that make you go eep!


  Dying Honeybees: It Was the Insecticides All Along
With news that the U.S. honeybee population has been so devastated that some beekeepers will qualify for disaster relief dollars, comes a report from Purdue University that one of the causes of honeybee deaths is - as long suspected - neonicotinoids.
I say one of the causes, because the article does. In fact, the levels of neonicotinoid contamination of the powder used to spread seeds - up to 700,000 times the lethal dose - suggest that this pesticide may be the major, or precipitating, cause, with Varroa mites and other problems simply the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

  Snakes blamed for ‘severe declines’ in Florida wildlife
But from 2003-2011, surveys spotted a 99.3 percent decrease in racoons, 98.9 percent fewer opossums and no rabbits or foxes, said the article authored by Michael Dorcasa at Davidson College in North Carolina and colleagues at the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation and the National Park Service. Surveys also saw 94.1 percent fewer white-tailed deer and 87.5 percent fewer bobcats. These “severe apparent declines in mammal populations… coincide temporally and spatially with the proliferation of pythons in Everglades National Park,” said the study. During that period, annual removals of Burmese pythons have risen from less than 50 per year to 300-400 annually.
Bus-sized asteroid shaves by Earth
WASHINGTON: An asteroid about the size of a bus shaved by Earth on Friday in what spacewatchers described as a "near-miss", though experts were not concerned about the possibility of an impact. The asteroid, named 2012 BX34, measured between 8 and 18 m in diameter, said Gareth Williams, associate director of the U.S.-based Minor Planet Centre which tracks space objects. The asteroid had been unknown before it popped into view of the Catalina Sky Survey at Mt. Lemmon Survey in Arizona, and the Global Remote Telescope Network (GRAS) Telescope at the Magdalena Ridge Observatory in New Mexico Arizona on Wednesday. It came within 59,044 km of Earth on Friday, said Williams, which is equivalent to about 0.17 times the distance separating Earth and the Moon. "It's a near miss. It makes the top 20 list of closest approaches ever observed."
UPDATE: Walker's Goons and Facebook Threats: You Signed a Petition, So We Know Where You Live!
The Government Accountability Board has been working long hours to scan the 1.9 million signatures into online and publicly accessible pdfs. They are done with the Senate petitions, and are just now finishing up the Walker signatures. The files are arranged as scanned pdf pages in sequences of 50, and can be seen here. A rightwing Walker support group, Verify the Recall, has been creating searchable databases of these pages, crowd-sourcing the data entry. It has been only a matter of (brief) time before the first threats of retaliation against petition signers should surface.
Optical illusion.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Recent history...

As an 'historian', Newt should remember this...


and realize we may be momentarily distracted by snark and speeches, but people will recall his hypocrisy in the end....

Forever doomed

The film industry... and their hysterical reaction to every new technology that 'threatens' their very existence.  (via Bryan of Why Now?)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Things and stuff

At least we'll have somewhere to move to when we wreck this one:  Rise of the Super-Earths Astronomers have discovered a giant new kind of planet that could hold life -- and they could change everything

Good.  Is anyone paying attention?  Ahmadinejad says Iran ready for nuclear talks

Monsanto, bringing chemicals to your stomach via genetically altered food. Millions against Monsanto. Leaked: US to Start ‘Trade Wars’ with Nations Opposed to Monsanto, GMO Crops And Monsanto's herbicide Roundup linked to infertility.  But what's not to like?

Superbugs spied off the Antarctic coast...  Didn't Godzilla start this way?

Gutting public schools because the Koch brothers want you dumb.

And uh... duh:
Low IQ & Conservative Beliefs Linked to Prejudice

*edited for crappy grammar.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


What the net could look like if corporations get between you and what you want, big blocks of black.... Who is saying no to SOPA and PIPA.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Martin Luther King

‎"There are certain things in our nation and in the world which I am proud to be maladjusted and which I hope all men [and women] of good-will will be maladjusted until the good societies realize — I say very honestly that I never intend to become adjusted to — segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few." MLK, 1963

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Virginia Foxx... instead of looking for the kill..

Is feeding from the trough.
Unfortunately, there is more bad news. Foxx recently introduced HR2117: "To prohibit the Department of Education from overreaching into academic affairs and program eligibility under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965." In other words, "no regulations allowed." Dismantling oversight, transparency, disclosure and regulation is a necessary condition for the for-profit colleges to continue their parasitic business plans, and the industry is looking for people just like Foxx to represent them so they can reconfigure government to aid and abet their plunder.

Paid industry go-fers like Foxx are everywhere. The corporate media, such as The Washington Post (owner of Kaplan University) or any of the cable or "corporate news networks" continue to advance the notion of for-profit colleges as "real" colleges and universities, when, in fact, they are nothing more than diploma mills that steal money from Title IV funds and leave students - mostly minority and working-class students - with phony degrees and in debt peonage for life. Add to this the amount of money these schools pay for marketing and advertising, especially in low-income and minority neighborhoods and venues - a whopping 25 percent or more of their costs - and we see that these companies are set for spiraling growth unless the system is changed.
And this is the whole point: by commodifying education and removing public competition through outright ownership of the government, the for-profit neoliberal providers will continue to snake into the public treasury and nefariously destroy education and intellectual life in America and internationally, where they are now busy creating new burgeoning markets while leaving deracinated youth in their wake. These vulture capitalists will stop at nothing in their efforts to reduce education to little more than a commercialized online video game show - a project which, if successful, will have the consequence of destroying both intellectual life and democratic reality. 

Touching the third rail?

Romney and Bain Capital?  Do it again, Newt and Rick!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I accidentally deleted my last Friday cat.  With a hat.  Can't have that.


Monday, January 09, 2012

Greece, Russia... it's all the same

To Fox News...

And by the way... This last week was the warmest on record for the US.  Not that it means anything to anyone except beige-wearing, latte-drinking, tree-hugging liberal islamofascistic socialists.

Quietly trying to gut public schools.

The Germans have plans to keep net neutrality...  German Hackers Are Building a DIY Space Program to Put Their Own Uncensored Internet into Space

Don't tell anybody, but Medicare is still more cost-efficient than private insurance

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Do you know how many food items have corn products in them?

Over the holidays, the USDA approved a strain of Monsanto's genetically engineered corn that can now be planted freely in the environment and distributed throughout the U.S. food supply, with no oversight or efforts to track its safety. Monsanto says the strain is drought-tolerant, but the USDA itself has actually found otherwise. Instead, the agency ignored its own results as well as concerns from the public, which has little trust in the safety of the crop. Nearly 45,000 public comments were written in opposition to the particular corn variety and only 23 comments were written in favor, according to the Cornucopia Institute.
Update: Bugs may be resistant to genetically modified corn. Imagine our surprise!  Who could have predicted?

 And there's more! Back in July 2011: 270,000 Organic Farmers Sue Monsanto. Their case update here.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Weather or whether, Sherlock...

Extreme Weather:


And more pictures.

The year in pictures. One, two and three.

 How to Occupy Populism.

The reason why corporations are dangerous without regulations?  Psychopaths are in power.

 Reviewers really liked the BBC's second season of Sherlock.