Sunday, November 21, 2010

John Muir - his path into the wilderness

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Image: Muir Woods / Wikimedia Commons

I came back from helping Shawford people dig out the ancient Bishop's Drain and get water flowing. Then rather tired I dropped into a chair. I read the next chapter in a biography of US President Theodore Roosevelt, which described his camping trip in Yosemite with John Muir. I was reminded that many of the most beautiful and wonderful places on Earth were conserved and preserved as a direct result of John Muir, a thin and wiry farm labourer, scientist, mountaineer and wilderness champion who was born in 1838 in Dunbar, East Lothian.

After a few years in grammar school, John arrived in America on an overcrowded boat from Glasgow with his family. He was eleven. He worked as a farmhand for his father. 'A stern Calvinist', his father demanded that his son read only Scripture, but at the age of fifteen John defied his father's whip and began to walk his own road.

More at: http://www.britsattheirbest.com/

The 10 Highest State Income Tax Rates For 2011

Forbes Logo Forbes, The 10 Highest State Income Tax Rates For 2011:
  1. Hawaii:  11% ($200,000 single/$400,000 married)
  2. Oregon:  11% ($250,000 single/$500,000 married)
  3. California:  10.3% ($1,000,000 single & married)
  4. Iowa:  8.98% ($64,755 single & married)
  5. New Jersey:  8.97% ($500,000 single & married)
  6. New York:  8.97% ($500,000 single & married)
  7. Vermont:  8.97% ($379,150 single & married)
  8. Maine:  8.5% ($19,750 single, $39,550 married)
  9. Washington, D.C.:  8.5% ($40,000 single & married)
  10. Minnesota:  7.85% ($74,780 single, $132,220 married)

World's oldest wine and beer finally gets drunk after 200 years

World's oldest wine and beer finally gets drunk after 200 yearsFinnish divers recently discovered several crates of champagne and beer from a sunken ship that had been at the bottom of the Baltic Sea for nearly two centuries. The experts carefully identified, researched, and analyzed the alcohol...then they drank it.

The divers discovered the wreck just south of Aaland, a Finland-controlled archipelago of some 6,500 small islands in the Baltic Sea. Inside the sunken schooner, they found 168 bottles of champagne and an undisclosed amount of bottles of beer. The ship itself likely dates back to the second quarter of the 19th century, making its cargo almost certainly the oldest alcoholic drinks in existence. By comparison, the oldest wines in private hands are only thought to date back to the very end of the 1800s.

This entire story is a good reminder of a basic scientific truth - when in doubt, start drinking the 200-year-old booze.

American Wisdom

#blockquote

TSA Screening Soaks Bladder Cancer Survivor with His Own Urine

Thomas Sawyer is a bladder cancer survivor. He must use a urostomy bag, which collects urine from an opening in his stomach. On a recent trip he was asked to step aside for a pat-down. You know what happens next.

Myopic and it is not just Afgans

92% of Afghans Never Heard of 9/11

Fewer than one in 10 Afghans are aware of the 9/11 attacks and their precipitation of the war in Afghanistan, says a study from an international think tank.

The Most Endangered

The future of an entire species could rest on the shoulders of these rhinos. Males Sudan, 39, and Fatu, 10, and females Suni, 23, and Naijan, 21, represent the last hope for the survival of the Northern White Rhino subspecies. With only eight remaining in the world, conservationists at the Ol Peteja Conservancy in Kenya are hoping cupid will strike for the rhinos who are considered to be the most endangered large mammal on earth. The plight of the fours rhinos was first highlighted earlier this year through Stephen Fry's BBC documentary, 'Last Chance to See', when the four rhinos were dramatically rescued from captivity in the Czech Republic, and transported to Kenya in December 2009.

The future of an entire species could rest on the shoulders of these rhinos. Males Sudan, 39, and Fatu, 10, and females Suni, 23, and Naijan, 21, represent the last hope for the survival of the Northern White Rhino subspecies. With only eight remaining in the world, conservationists at the Ol Peteja Conservancy in Kenya are hoping cupid will strike for the rhinos who are considered to be the most endangered large mammal on earth.

Live Teddy Bears

A researcher carries giant panda cubs after a group photo is taken at the Bifengxia panda breeding centre in Ya'an, Sichuan province, China. A total of 16 panda cubs which were born in 2010 made their first appearance in public during a photo opportunity at the breeding centre today

A researcher carries giant panda cubs after a group photo is taken at the Bifengxia panda breeding centre in Ya'an, Sichuan province, China. A total of 16 panda cubs which were born in 2010 made their first appearance in public during a photo opportunity at the breeding centre today

For the Hunters

Amateur photographer Mark Bridger spotted was out walking in Knole Park, near Sevenoaaks, Kent when he saw an impressive antlered head seemingly popping out of the ground. In fact the stag was resting during the mating rut in one of dozens of 'cologne' holes dug by the animals around the park. The holes are carved out of the Autumn earth by the male fallow deer - who use them as a latrine which they then rub on their fur to attract females...

Amateur photographer Mark Bridger was out walking in Knole Park, near Sevenoaaks, Kent when he saw an impressive antlered head seemingly popping out of the ground. The stag was resting during the mating rut in one of dozens of 'cologne' holes dug by the animals around the park. The holes are carved out of the earth by the male fallow deer. They use the hole as a latrine and then rub the scent on their fur to attract females...

Click on the link below.

Video: SNL On TSA

TSA

TSA WARNS: SUBMIT OR PAY...


HILLARY: NO BODY SEARCH FOR ME

Lucky Naughty Charms...From Paris

As a child, Lucky Charms was my favorite 'naughty' cereal.  I'm fairly certain that eating the cardboard box this cereal was packaged in would be more nutritionally sound than eating this cereal. Despite that fact, it was a treat and still reminds me of carefree summer days, waking up late and sitting around the kitchen table with a bowl of artificially flavored, artificially colored, artificially packaged and artificially delicious cereal.

Lucky Charms, the "Motel 6" of cereals.  What's new in cereal trends?  I'll give you a hint: think couture.  Think custom.  Think minimal.  Think the Ritz.

Stay tuned for a cereal trend alert....

    

The New Bill Of Rights...From Paris

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"Life in the T.S. of A."...From Paris

Today's WashPost, and the great George Will:

"What the TSA is doing is mostly security theater, a pageant to reassure passengers that flying is safe. Reassurance is necessary if commerce is going to flourish and if we are going to get to grandma's house on Thursday to give thanks for the Pilgrims and for freedom. If grandma is coming to our house, she may be wanded while barefoot at the airport because democracy - or the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment; anyway, something - requires the amiable nonsense of pretending that no one has the foggiest idea what an actual potential terrorist might look like.



But enough, already. Enough trivializing important values - e.g., air safety - by monomaniacal attempts to maximize them. Disproportion is the common denominator of almost all of life's absurdities. Automobile safety is important. But attempting to maximize it would begin (but by no means end) with forbidding left turns.

Bureaucracies try to maximize their missions. They can't help themselves. Adult supervision is required to stand athwart this tendency, yelling "Stop!"

Lordy Lordy, I Do Declare, Big Brother Is In My Underwear!...From Paris

The junk-yard dogs aka TSA screeners, have it rough.

I think we could be more sensitive to the TSA, and make this process a lot more efficient.  There is a simple obvious solution.

Why don't we all just show up at the airport wearing nothing BUT our underwear?  Men, wear your thongs.





  

Wow! And that is the highest % in 5 years.

 Click here to read 6.7% Of Vehicles Sold in U.S. Have Manual Transmissions

6.7% Of Vehicles Sold in U.S. Have Manual Transmissions

Even though manual transmissions have been in decline for decades, a new EPA report shows that 6.7% of new vehicles sold this year are equipped with a stick. Sadly, it's the highest percentage in the last five years

More speculation about what can not be proved.

Have we found the universe that existed before the Big Bang?

Have we found the universe that existed before the Big Bang? The current cosmological consensus is that the universe began 13.7 billion years ago with the Big Bang. But a legendary physicist says he's found the first evidence of an eternal, cyclic cosmos.

The Big Bang model holds that everything that now comprises the universe was once concentrated in a single point of near-infinite density. Before this singularity exploded and the universe began, there was absolutely nothing - indeed, it's not clear whether one can even use the term "before" in reference to a pre-Big-Bang cosmos, as time itself may not have existed yet. In the current model, the universe began with the Big Bang, underwent cosmic inflation for a fraction of a second, then settled into the much more gradual expansion that is still going on, and likely will end with the universe as an infinitely expanded, featureless cosmos.

Sir Roger Penrose, one of the most renowned physicists of the last fifty years, takes issue with this view. He points out that the universe was apparently born in a very low state of entropy, meaning a very high degree of order initially existed, and this is what made the complex matter we see all around us (and are composed of) possible in the first place. His objection is that the Big Bang model can't explain why such a low entropy state existed, and he believes he has a solution - that the universe is just one of many in a cyclical chain, with each Big Bang starting up a new universe in place of the one before.

Have we found the universe that existed before the Big Bang?

How does this help? Well, Penrose posits the end of each universe will involve a return to low entropy. This is because black holes suck in all the matter, energy, and information they encounter, which works to remove entropy from our universe. (Where that entropy might go is another question entirely.) The universe's continued expansion into eventual nothingness causes the black holes themselves to evaporate, which ultimately leaves the universe in a highly ordered state once again, ready to contract into another singularity and set off the next Big Bang

Read the rest of the article at:  http://io9.com/5694701/does-cosmic-background-radiation-reveal-the-universe-before-the-big-bang

The Trend?

Is Apple Helping To Create Rupert Murdoch's iPad-Only Newspaper, The Daily?

Rupert Murdoch thinks that the iPad is the beginning of the future of media. Steve Jobs agrees. That's why—according to WWD's sources—News Corp. is releasing an iPad-only newspaper called The Daily. Created with Apple's help, says the Guardian:

Dozer Driver Makes Fossil Discovery of the Century

An artist's reconstruction of columbi sergiodlarosa -- a Columbian Mammoth.

An artist's reconstruction of columbi sergiodlarosa -- a Columbian Mammoth.

An accidental discovery by a bulldozer driver has led to what may be the find of the century: an ice-age burial ground that could rival the famed La Brea tar pits.

After two weeks of excavating ancient fossils at the Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village, Colorado, scientists from the Denver Museum of Natural Science returned home Wednesday with their unearthed treasures in tow -- a wide array of fossils, insects and plant life that they say give a stunningly realistic view of what life was like when ancient, giant beasts lumbered across the Earth.

Since the team’s arrival in mid-October, scientists have extracted nearly 600 bones from about 20 different animals from the Pleistocene era, a period of time during the Ice Age. The remains of up to six different species have been exhumed, including five American mastodons, three Ice Age bison, a Jefferson’s ground sloth, a mule deer, a tiger salamander, and two Columbian mammoths.

The cultural hurdles of Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, American trainers are finding out that, "you can take the man out of the tribe, but you can't take the tribe out of the man". The Afghans, despite many being illiterate and not used to a lot of discipline, can be trained to at least appear to be effective soldiers. But once in action, they often revert to their tribal ways. These include a tendency to loot and, after accomplishing an objective, to slack off. Looting and celebrating any victory are long practiced cultural practices among the Afghan tribes. There is also an aversion to following orders from strangers. An older member of your family, or noted member of your tribe, yes. But some guy from another tribe with sergeants stripes on his sleeve or an officers insignia on his shoulder, not so much. Welcome to the 12th century.

Why fire codes and inspectors are important

Firefighters try to extinguish a fire at a building in Shanghai

Firefighters try to extinguish a fire at a building in Shanghai

TSA

“Heads up, got a cutie for you.”

What one of Janet Napolitano’s TSA “Screeners” told someone who was about to see an 18-year-old girl naked.

This is what a hero looks like

Louis Zamperini endures

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Last week's Wall Street Journal Saturday review section carried Steve Oney's moving joint profile of Laura Hillenbrand and Louis Zamperini, the subject of Hillenbrand's book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption. Zamperini competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and then served in the Army Air Corps during the war. David Margolick concisely summarizes what happened next:

In late May 1943, the B-24 carrying the 26-year-old Zamperini went down over the Pacific. For nearly seven weeks -- longer, Hillenbrand believes, than any other such instance in recorded history -- Zamperini and his pilot managed to survive on a fragile raft. They traveled 2,000 miles, only to land in a series of Japanese prison camps, where, for the next two years, Zamperini underwent a whole new set of tortures. His is one of the most spectacular odysseys of this or any other war, and "odyssey" is the right word, for with its tempests and furies and monsters, many of them human, Zamperini's saga is something out of Greek mythology.

Margolick comments on the "new set of tortures" Zamperini endured:

That story encompasses an aspect of the American experience during World War II -- the cruelty of the Japanese -- that, in an era of Toyotas and Samsungs and Hideki Matsui, has been almost entirely forgotten. (Forgotten in the United States, that is: Japanese sensitivities on the subject remain sufficiently high that Hillenbrand refuses to identify her translators there.) It's also yet another testament to the courage and ingenuity of America's Greatest Generation, along with its wonderful, irrepressible American-style irreverence: just hearing the nicknames -- many unprintable here -- that the P.O.W.'s bestowed on their guards makes you fall in love with these soldiers.

Reading Janet Maslin's review of the book last week, I felt bad not even to have heard of Zamperini previously. But, as Oney and Journal reviewer James Hornfischer point out, Hillenbrand hadn't heard of him either before she undertook the research for Seabiscuit.

Zamperini lives; he is 93.

THey are still out there and they are not at the airports.

Reichstag Attack Uncovered

Der Spiegel reports that al Qaeda is planning an attack on Berlin's Reichstag. Information on the plot comes from a tip received by a man who wanted to leave the terrorist organization:

According to information obtained by German security authorities, al-Qaida and associated groups are believed to be planning an attack on the Reichstag building in Berlin, the headquarters of Germany's parliament and also an attraction visited by thousands of tourists every day. As part of the attack, terrorists would seek to take hostages and perpetrate a bloodbath using firearms. ...

According to the caller, the terror cell is comprised of six people -- two of whom are believed already to have traveled to Berlin six to eight weeks ago, and are now staying in the city. Four other perpetrators -- a German, a Turk, a North African and a further man the jihadist could not identify -- are currently waiting to travel to Germany. The attacks are purportedly being planned for February or March.

Dems still spending money we do not have

Senate Approves $4.6 Billion for Black Farmers, American Indians...

Headlines of the day

Dems in disarray over raising taxes...


TSA WARNS: SUBMIT OR PAY

TSA Pat Down Leaves Bladder Cancer Survivor Humiliated and Covered In Urine...
Young boy strip-searched...

Lemonade:DaybyDaycartoon

Developing Story

EPA Overreach in the Age of Obama

Mission creeps

Completely out of touch

Pelosi: Remember How Hardly Anyone Noticed that I Was the First Woman Speaker?

“…I’m not a publicity seeker…”

Architecture is sexy!