Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hair-raising footage of police charging peaceful protesters singing 'Oh Canada' |

The New School at 90: What Would Dewey Do?

We need another Dewey system to organize the Internet

Posted via email from rakista's posterous

What about Don Quichotte?

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Associated Press: Former VP Cheney hospitalized

Former VP Cheney hospitalized

By BEN FELLER (AP) – 1 hour ago

WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Dick Cheney was admitted to the hospital Friday after experiencing discomfort, the latest health scare for the 69-year-old Republican leader who has a long history of heart disease.

Cheney was expected to remain at George Washington University Hospital over the weekend, said spokesman Peter Long.

It was not immediately clear whether Cheney's health concern was related to his previous heart troubles. He sustained his last heart attack, deemed a mild one, in February.

Cheney was not feeling well on Friday and went to see his doctors at George Washington University. On their advice, he was admitted to the hospital for further testing.

Cheney's heart attack earlier this year was his fifth since age 37. A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart muscle is blocked. In that episode in February, Cheney underwent a stress test and a heart catheterization.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A spokesman for Dick Cheney says the former vice president has been admitted to a hospital after reporting discomfort.

Spokesman Peter Long says Cheney was not feeling well Friday afternoon and was seen by his doctors at George Washington University. He was admitted to the university's hospital for more testing. Cheney has a history of heart trouble, although the cause of his latest health problem was not clear.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Dick Cheney is in the hospital, if he dies I'm going to bake a cake the shape of a flaccid elephant penis.

Posted via email from rakista's posterous

Saturday, June 19, 2010

AMERICAblog Gay: Gay Wal-Mart worker allegedly forced to wear special colored vest

From the Advocate via Joe My God. I'd like to hear more of the story than the Advocate reported. What do the coworkers say?

An 18 year-old employee at a Las Vegas area Wal-Mart says that after his bosses forced him to confirm his gayness, he was made to wear a special yellow vest and was shunned by his co-workers.
Back in March, 18-year-old Fernando Gallardo got a seasonal job at a Las Vegas Walmart, hoping to make a few extra dollars. But a few weeks into the job, Gallardo says, his immediate supervisor asked him "point-blank" in front of four of his coworkers if he was gay, and from then on alienated him from the 50 other associates at that location. "I told her yes, and after that she was very rude and short with me," he tells The Advocate. Gallardo says that soon after the incident, he was stripped of many of his daily duties and asked to wear a yellow vest and walk around the store. By mid May his supervisor and two other managers stopped talking to him completely.

Walmart attracts people who would of in the past worked blue collar jobs but now find themselves constrained to going from retail to retail job. They tend to encircle themselves in alternating layers of bigotry and religiosity to defend themselves from people they think of as acting better than them, coming from different background or trying to educate themselves.

My friend in Ohio worked in a Walmart through college and got a lot of hate heaped on him as he neared graduation, the managers resented his success.

Posted via web from rakista's posterous

Replay: Hidden Dimensions: Exploring Hyperspace | World Science Festival

Hidden Dimensions was originally recorded at the 2010 World Science Festival on June 5. Watch the livestream replay below and follow along with the original live blog coverage to the right.

Extra dimensions of space–the idea that we are immersed in hyperspace -- may be key to explaining the fundamental nature of the universe. Relativity introduced time as the fourth dimension, and Einstein’s subsequent work envisioned more dimensions still--but ultimately hit a dead end. Modern research has advanced the subject in ways he couldn’t have imagined. John Hockenberry joins Brian Greene, Lawrence Krauss and other leading thinkers on a visual tour through wondrous spatial realms that may lie beyond the ones we experience.

Other 2010 livestream replays currently available:

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Milkdrop 2 Presets

Milkdrop 2 Presets by yours trully.

Milkdrop 2 Presets by Rarian Rakista

What does American Minimum Wage look like in other countries?

Click the image to enlarge
The shocking disparities of labor cost
Source: Fixr

F.lux: software to make your life better

Ever notice how people texting at night have that eerie blue glow?

Or wake up ready to write down the Next Great Idea, and get blinded by your computer screen?

During the day, computer screens look good—they're designed to look like the sun. But, at 9PM, 10PM, or 3AM, you probably shouldn't be looking at the sun.


F.lux fixes this: it makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.

It's even possible that you're staying up too late because of your computer. You could use f.lux because it makes you sleep better, or you could just use it just because it makes your computer look better.

Posted via web from rakista's posterous

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

German court recognises gay Canadian marriage - Telegraph

Now the local registry office must at least list him as half of a "registered partnership", the Berlin administrative court found.

"The court agreed with the view of the authorities that he could not be registered as 'married' because a marriage under German law requires different-sex couples," it said in a statement.

"However the plaintiff could demand registry as a life partner because Canadian gay marriage largely corresponds under German law to a registered partnership."

The court said the policy would apply to any gay couple lawfully married abroad.

Germany's "registered partnership" law grants couples similar privileges to those of married spouses in areas including hospital visits, inheritance and adoption of children but stops short of equality, notably with tax benefits.

Posted via web from rakista's posterous

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


China is the only country in the world who sends North Korean refugees back to North Korea, this is a story about what happens to those people and people like them.  Where you and your entire extended family are consigned to a work camp till death, even children born there, die there.  

BBC News - Bloody Sunday report states those killed were innocent

breaking news

All those killed on Bloody Sunday were innocent, the Saville Report has ruled.

Thirteen marchers were shot dead on 30 January 1972 in Londonderry when British paratroopers opened fire on crowds at a civil rights demonstration.

Fourteen others were wounded, one of whom later died.

A huge cheer erupted in Guildhall Square in Derry as Prime Minister David Cameron delivered the findings which unequivocally blamed the Army.

The report said that the Army fired the first shot of the day in one of the most controversial state killings in the Northern Ireland conflict.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Cameron said what happened on Bloody Sunday was unjustifiable and wrong. He said his government and the country were "deeply sorry".

Army fired first shot

Mr Cameron said:

  • No warning had been given to any civilians before the soldiers opened fire.
  • None of the soldiers fired in response to attacks by petrol bombers or stone throwers
  • Some of those killed or injured were clearly fleeing or going to help those injured or dying
  • None of the casualties was posing a threat .... or doing anything that would justify their shooting
  • There was no point in trying to soften or equivocate - the events of Bloody Sunday were not justified
  • Many of the soldiers lied about their actions
  • What happened should never, ever have happened
  • Some members of the British armed forces acted wrongly
  • On behalf of the government and the country, he said he was "deeply sorry".

The report was commissioned in 1998 by the then Prime Minister Tony Blair under the auspices of former High Court judge, Lord Saville of Newdigate.

The Saville Inquiry took witness statements from hundreds of people and has become the longest-running and most expensive in British history.

It closed in 2004 with the report initially due for publication the following year.

It cost £195m and took 12 years to complete.

The Saville Report was made available to the families and their lawyers in closed sessions in Derry's Guildhall earlier on Tuesday.

Thousands of people are gathered outside the Guildhall to watch Prime Minister David Cameron deliver the report to Parliament on a huge screen.

Earlier, crowds retraced the steps of the original marchers from the Bloody Sunday memorial in the city's Bogside close to the spot where many of the victims died.

According to BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport, while it may not have been the bloodiest day in the history of the Troubles, "the significance of that day in shaping the course of the conflict cannot be overstated".

"The actions of the Parachute Regiment in shooting dead 13 unarmed civil rights protesters immeasurably strengthened Irish republicans' arguments within their own community and provided the Provisional IRA with a flood of fresh recruits for its long war," he said.

Our correspondent also said Bloody Sunday set in train the suspension of the Northern Ireland government in March 1972, which led to the decades of direct rule from London.

The full process of restoring devolution was only completed in 2010.

An inquiry chaired by Lord Widgery was held in the immediate aftermath of the killings but it failed to satisfy families of the victims.

Were you in Londonderry on Bloody Sunday? What are your memories of the day? Send us your comments using the form below.

Posted via web from rakista's posterous

Petraeus collapses - Jen DiMascio

Gen. David Petraeus collapsed in a chair under intense questioning from the leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday morning.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was just wrapping up a pointed round of questions about his support for the president's plan to start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July 2011. 

Petreaus was able to walk out of the hearing room.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said he doing better and that senators will soon make a decision about whether the hearing will proceed.

Posted via web from rakista's posterous

Christian Fundamentalist Self-Described Osama Bin Laden Hitman, Detained In Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — An American armed with a pistol and a 40-inch sword was detained in northern Pakistan and told investigators he was on a solo mission to kill Osama bin Laden, a police officer said Tuesday.

The man was identified as 52-year-old Californian construction worker Gary Brooks Faulkner, said officer Mumtaz Ahmad Khan.

He was picked up in a forest in the Chitral region late on Sunday, he said.

"We initially laughed when he told us that he wanted to kill Osama bin Laden," said Khan. But he said when officers seized the pistol, the sword and night-vision equipment, "our suspicion grew."

He was questioned Tuesday by intelligence officials in Peshawar, the main northwestern city.

Faulkner told police he visited Pakistan seven times, and this was his third trip to Chitral.

Police alleged the American intended to travel to the eastern Afghan region of Nuristan, just across the border from Chitral.

The area is among several rumored hiding places for the al-Qaida leader, who has evaded a massive U.S. effort to capture him since 2001. Bin Laden is accused of being behind the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, as well other terrorist acts.

Khan said Faulkner was also carrying a book containing Christian verses and teachings.

Story continues below

When asked why he thought he had a chance of tracing bin Laden, Faulkner replied, "God is with me, and I am confident I will be successful in killing him," said Khan.

Faulkner arrived in the Chitrali town of Bumburate on June 3 and stayed in a hotel there.

He was assigned a police guard, as is quite common for foreigners visiting remote parts of Pakistan. When he checked out without informing police, officers began hunting for him, said Khan.

U.S. Embassy spokesman Richard Snelsire said the mission had received notification from Pakistani officials that an American citizen had been arrested. He said embassy officials were trying to meet the man and confirm his identity.


Ahmed reported from Islamabad. Associated Press writer Gul Hamad Farooqui in Chitral contributed to this report.

Get HuffPost World On Twitter, Facebook, and Google Buzz! Know something we don't? E-mail us at

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SC Democratic Primary Showing Strong Possibility of Fraud

OK, so in the few hours since I published this earlier post on the bizarre South Carolina Senate Democratic primary, things have been developing rapidly, and on a variety of fronts. I've received several emails from people I trust and respect, and the Vic Rawl campaign has now issued a statement about a study conducted by a political scientist and statistician I very much respect. For lack of a better way to unpack all of this, I'll just bullet point what I've learned or read, and then try to pull it all together in a summary at the end...


Monday, June 14, 2010

Skulls show New World was settled twice: study

Skulls show New World was settled twice: study

June 14, 2010 --> Skulls show New World was settled twice: study
Representation of the geographic dispersion models tested for the occupation of the Americas. (see scientific paper for details).
Two distinct groups from Asia settled in the New World and not one single migration as suggested by previous genetic studies, experts said Monday after comparing the skulls of early Americans.
Paleoanthropologists from Brazil, Chile and Germany compared the skulls of several dozen Paleoamericans, dating back to the early days of migration 11,000 years ago, with the more recent remains of more than 300 Amerindians.
"We found that the differences between Early and Late Native American groups match the predictions of a two-migration scenario far better than they do those of any other hypothesis," they said.
"In other words, these differences are so large that it is highly improbable that the earliest inhabitants of the New World were the direct ancestors of recent Native American populations."
Their landmark research found differences in the cranial morphology that could only be explained by the fact that the last of the Early and Late Native American groups came from outside the continent.
The experts agreed the differences were best explained by a scenario in which a first wave of settlers came across the Bering Strait from Northeast Asia followed by a second group from East Asia much later via the same route.
"We conclude that the morphological diversity documented through time in the New World is best accounted for by a model postulating two waves of human expansion into the continent originating in East Asia and entering through Beringia," they said.
"This disparity between our results and those of most points to a large gap in our understanding of the peopling of the New World."
More information: PloS ONE paper:

(c) 2010 AFP

BBC News - White rice 'raises diabetes risk', say US experts

White rice has a far higher glycaemic index than brown rice as well as minimal fiber and oils.  Replacing white rice with suitable brown rice and wholewheat bread could cut the risk of diabetes by a third, US experts say. 
White rice poses a serious diabetes threat because it causes steep rises in blood sugar, say Harvard researchers in Archives of Internal Medicine. Brown rice and other wholegrain foods are a healthier option as they release glucose more gradually, they say.
The study is based on questionnaires; some say the data is not robust enough to base firm conclusions on.

It may be that people who eat less white rice tend to live healthier lifestyles, for example.

'Brown is better'
In the study of nearly 200,000 US people, white rice consumption was linked to type 2 diabetes. 

After adjusting for age and other diabetes risk factors, those who ate five or more 150g servings of white rice per week had a 17% increased risk of diabetes compared with people who consumed less than one serving - about a cup of rice - per month.
Although few people - only 2% - in the study ate this much white rice, the finding was significant....
more at

White Rice has no taste, it is like shoving spoonfuls of flour in your mouth. Remember Homer and his bag of flour when you start eating white rice or white bread you lardos.

Hitler Baby Eating Caption Contest, I Win

Teenager Passes Out Marrying Cow He Had Sex With

Jakarta Globe

It was on a terrace between two paddy fields like this that Balinese teenager Ngurah Alit was caught having sex with a cow, who he claimed had flirted with him. (AFP Photo/Jewel Samad)

It was on a terrace between two paddy fields like this that Balinese teenager Ngurah Alit was caught having sex with a cow, who he claimed had flirted with him. (AFP Photo/Jewel Samad)

Teenager Passes Out Marrying Cow He Had Sex With

A Balinese teenager caught in the act of intercourse with a cow passed out on Friday when he was forced to marry the animal in a ceremony witnessed by hundreds of curious onlookers.

As the Jakarta Globe reported earlier in the day, Ngurah Alit, 18, an unemployed youth from the seaside village of Yeh Embang in Jembrana, was caught stark naked positioned behind the cow in a rice paddy field.

In his defence, Alit admitted to the act of bestiality but claimed the cow, which he believed was a young and beautiful woman, had wooed him with flattering compliments.

As part of a Pecaruan ritual, a ceremony to cleanse the village of the unholy act of a man mating with a cow, Alit was forced to “marry” the animal.

Alit, however, according to, passed out surrounded by locals and police, who were attempting to prevent a number of journalists from covering the spectacle.

It is unclear whether or not he got to say “I do.”

Alit’s collapse prompted his mother to begin screaming hysterically, while other family members shouted at photographers not to take pictures.

“Poor kid. He’s actually a quiet kid,” said one villager.

As part of the ceremony, Alit’s victim and new bride was drowned in ocean.

Alit, on the other hand, was symbolically drowned and bathed on the beach.

“Only his clothes were thrown into the sea,” the villager said.

Village chief Ida Bagus Legawa declared that the village had been “cleansed” from the “defilement from the incident.”

Posted via web from rakista's posterous

Steven Pinker - Mind Over Mass Media ( The Internet Is Not Making You Dumb)

Truro, Mass.
NEW forms of media have always caused moral panics: the printing press, newspapers, paperbacks and television were all once denounced as threats to their consumers’ brainpower and moral fiber.
So too with electronic technologies. PowerPoint, we’re told, is reducing discourse to bullet points. Search engines lower our intelligence, encouraging us to skim on the surface of knowledge rather than dive to its depths. Twitter is shrinking our attention spans.
But such panics often fail basic reality checks. When comic books were accused of turning juveniles into delinquents in the 1950s, crime was falling to record lows, just as the denunciations of video games in the 1990s coincided with the great American crime decline. The decades of television, transistor radios and rock videos were also decades in which I.Q. scores rose continuously.
For a reality check today, take the state of science, which demands high levels of brainwork and is measured by clear benchmarks of discovery. These days scientists are never far from their e-mail, rarely touch paper and cannot lecture without PowerPoint. If electronic media were hazardous to intelligence, the quality of science would be plummeting. Yet discoveries are multiplying like fruit flies, and progress is dizzying. Other activities in the life of the mind, like philosophy, history and cultural criticism, are likewise flourishing, as anyone who has lost a morning of work to the Web site Arts & Letters Daily can attest.
Critics of new media sometimes use science itself to press their case, citing research that shows how “experience can change the brain.” But cognitive neuroscientists roll their eyes at such talk. Yes, every time we learn a fact or skill the wiring of the brain changes; it’s not as if the information is stored in the pancreas. But the existence of neural plasticity does not mean the brain is a blob of clay pounded into shape by experience.
Experience does not revamp the basic information-processing capacities of the brain. Speed-reading programs have long claimed to do just that, but the verdict was rendered by Woody Allen after he read “War and Peace” in one sitting: “It was about Russia.” Genuine multitasking, too, has been exposed as a myth, not just by laboratory studies but by the familiar sight of an S.U.V. undulating between lanes as the driver cuts deals on his cellphone.
Moreover, as the psychologists Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons show in their new book “The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us,” the effects of experience are highly specific to the experiences themselves. If you train people to do one thing (recognize shapes, solve math puzzles, find hidden words), they get better at doing that thing, but almost nothing else. Music doesn’t make you better at math, conjugating Latin doesn’t make you more logical, brain-training games don’t make you smarter. Accomplished people don’t bulk up their brains with intellectual calisthenics; they immerse themselves in their fields. Novelists read lots of novels, scientists read lots of science.
The effects of consuming electronic media are also likely to be far more limited than the panic implies. Media critics write as if the brain takes on the qualities of whatever it consumes, the informational equivalent of “you are what you eat.” As with primitive peoples who believe that eating fierce animals will make them fierce, they assume that watching quick cuts in rock videos turns your mental life into quick cuts or that reading bullet points and Twitter postings turns your thoughts into bullet points and Twitter postings.
Yes, the constant arrival of information packets can be distracting or addictive, especially to people with attention deficit disorder. But distraction is not a new phenomenon. The solution is not to bemoan technology but to develop strategies of self-control, as we do with every other temptation in life. Turn off e-mail or Twitter when you work, put away your Blackberry at dinner time, ask your spouse to call you to bed at a designated hour.
And to encourage intellectual depth, don’t rail at PowerPoint or Google. It’s not as if habits of deep reflection, thorough research and rigorous reasoning ever came naturally to people. They must be acquired in special institutions, which we call universities, and maintained with constant upkeep, which we call analysis, criticism and debate. They are not granted by propping a heavy encyclopedia on your lap, nor are they taken away by efficient access to information on the Internet.
The new media have caught on for a reason. Knowledge is increasing exponentially; human brainpower and waking hours are not. Fortunately, the Internet and information technologies are helping us manage, search and retrieve our collective intellectual output at different scales, from Twitter and previews to e-books and online encyclopedias. Far from making us stupid, these technologies are the only things that will keep us smart.
Steven Pinker, a professor of psychology at Harvard, is the author of “The Stuff of Thought.”

Palestinian Girls Scoop Award At World's Top Science Competition

UNRWA Girls Scoop "Special Award" At World's Top Science Competition

15 May 2010

Three girls from the UNRWA School at Askar Camp in Nablus have made history by becoming the first Palestinians to win an award at the world's premier youth science competition. Aseel Abu Aleil, Aseel Alshaar and Noor Alarada were competing with 1500 finalists from around the world.

They picked up a "special award in applied electronics" at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose, California.

The 14-year-olds scooped the prize for inventing an electronic "sensor cane" for the visually impaired, which for the first time sends an infrared signal downwards as well as forwards. Praising the originality of the invention, Mark Uslan, a Director at the American Federation of the Blind said: "Although various types of "laser canes" have existed since the early 1970s, the girls' design resolves a fundamental flaw in previous models by detecting holes in the ground."

UNRWA’s Deputy Commissioner-General, Margot Ellis said: “The girls are part of the UNRWA's school system which is educating 500,000 children throughout the Middle East. Unfortunately, severe financial constraints threaten the continued provision of quality education to young Palestinian refugees like these girls from Nablus.

"These students show the enormous potential of Palestinian girls and boys. UNRWA in its education programmes wants to bring this out. I pay tribute to them and their teachers. It makes me wonder what we could achieve if our education system were not in the midst of a cash crisis."

UNRWA Spokesperson, Chris Gunness, explained: "UNRWA's science education costs 25 million dollars a year and with a 90 million dollar deficit across the Agency our funds will run out in a matter of months. In Gaza, we have had to turn thousands of children away from our schools this year."


Ilona Kassisieh
Public Information Office
Chris Gunness, Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 240 2659

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Jimmy Dean, singer, sausage businessman, dies at 81; known for 'Big Bad John' song

RICHMOND, Va. - Jimmy Dean, a country music legend for his smash hit about a workingman hero, "Big Bad John," and an entrepreneur known for his sausage brand, has died. He was 81.
His wife, Donna Meade Dean, says her husband died at 7:54 p.m. Sunday at their Henrico County, Va., home, south of Richmond.
She tells The Associated Press that he had some health problems but was still functioning well, so his death came as a shock.
Born in 1928, Dean was raised in poverty in Plainview, Texas, and dropped out of high school after the ninth grade. But he went on to a successful entertainment career in the '50s and '60s.
In 1969, Dean went into the sausage business, starting the Jimmy Dean Meat Co. He sold the company to Sara Lee Corp. in 1984.
© The Canadian Press, 2010

81, that ain't bad. I'm going to eat me some more sausage.

Hayabusa sample capsule photographed on the ground in Australia - Asteroid Return Mission

The Planetary Society Blog

By Emily Lakdawalla

Archive -->

Hayabusa sample capsule photographed on the ground in Australia

Jun. 13, 2010 | 19:23 PDT | Jun. 14 02:23 UTC
Oh my wonderful little flying saucer, you have been to an asteroid and back -- and you were burning like a star last night! And there you are, sitting quietly in the desert, just waiting to be retrieved...
Hayabusa sample return capsule sitting in the Woomera desert, Australia
Hayabusa sample return capsule sitting in the Woomera desert, Australia
On June 14, 2010, following its dramatic, fiery reentry the night before, the Hayabusa sample return capsule sat on the ground in the Woomera Prohibited Area, Australia, waiting to be retrieved. Credit: JAXA
Clearly I've been affected by reading so many automated translations of Japanese text over the last 24 hours. But this is such a welcome sight. To be perfectly honest, while I knew Hayabusa was going to crash to Earth, I don't think I ever believed the parachute and beacon would work, after the 3-year delay; I figured the battery wouldn't work and at best we'd have Genesis on our hands again, with the capsule crashed into the desert and broken open. I really never believed it would work so well. I'm sorry, Hayabusa mission and JAXA, for my lack of faith! You really have accomplished something amazing.

U.S. Discovers Over $1 Trillion Worth of Minerals in Afghanistan

" WASHINGTON — The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion (  This is what the are telling the Afghan Gov right now )  in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials. "

How Convenient, I wonder if the billion dollar spy satellites more powerful than Hubble orbiting the region like gnats after 9/11 took any notice, hmmmz indeed! 

Rab C. Nesbitt Syndrome is Spreading Throughout Scotland

According to a recent study

 " Almost the entire adult population of Scotland (97.5%) are likely to be either cigarette smokers, heavy drinkers, physically inactive, overweight or have a poor diet. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Public Health also found a strong association between the presence of several of these risk factors and low income. "

This can only mean one thing, and one thing only.  Rab C. Nesbitt is back in production after an 11 year hiatus.  The impenetrable Glaswegian accent of our favorite Calodonian scalawag is back and the whole of Scotland is taking part in the largest scale Reality TV/Sitcom fusion show ever.   

Anti-Gay Attack by Real Life Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street

Gay bashing, assault, theft and kidnapping is not funny, but don't they look like Bert and Ernie ?

They were last seen in the company of Oscar The Grouch.

JAXA's Hayabusa Asteroid Collection Mission on the Homestretch to Earth

Written by Nancy Atkinson

Hayabusa's sample return capsule descends under parachute toward the Woomera desert, Australia. Credit: Corby Waste and Tommy Thompson for NASA / JPL

After overcoming multiple serious glitches, and a three-year delay in its four billion miles (six billion kilometers) round-trip journey, JAXA's Hayabusa spacecraft is expected to land in Australia around 14:00 UTC on Sunday, June 13; (midnight local time in Australia, 11 pm in Japan and 11:00 a.m. ET in the US). Scientists and space enthusiasts alike are hoping there is some precious cargo aboard in the sample return capsule: dust from an asteroid.

The latest word from JAXA, as of this writing, is that all systems were doing well on Hayabusa. The teams assessed the trajectory of Hayabusa and confirmed that everything was nominal.

If all goes well, Hayabusa will release a canister that will land in the Woomera Prohibited Area in the outback of South Australia; Hayabusa itself will follow, putting on a show over Australia as it breaks up and incinerates in Earth's atmosphere.

You can follow the landing in several ways. A NASA team will be attempting to observe the re-entry of Hayabusa in a DC-8 plane, and they hope to have a webcast at this link.

There will be a "Hayabusa Live" website and a Hayabusa blog will be updated frequently, plus this Hayabusa Twitter feed.

Here's a link to a finder chart and more from Paul Floyd at his website, Night Sky Online.

The Hayabusa spacecraft, formerly known as MUSES-C launched on May 9, 2003 and rendezvoused with the asteroid Itokawa in mid-September 2005. Hayabusa studied the asteroid's shape, spin, topography, color, composition, density, and history. Then in November 2005, it attempted to land on the asteroid to collect samples but failed to do so. However, it is hoped that some dust swirled into the sampling chamber. You can listen to Universe Today writer Steve Nerlich (from Cheap Astronomy) tell the story of Hayabusa's trials and tribulations on this 365 Days of Astronomy podcast.

The aim of the $200 million Hayabusa project was to learn more about asteroids and to help in our understanding of the origin and evolution of the solar system.

If Hayabusa is indeed carrying samples from the asteroid, it would be only the fourth sample return of space material in history — including the moon matter collected by the Apollo missions, comet matter by Stardust and solar matter in the Genesis mission.

We're all hoping for the best for this first sample return from an asteroid, and it should be an interesting time in Australia. Dozens of scientists will be watching and waiting to see the return.

A view of Woomera from the Ghan train. Credit: Col Maybury

Plus, as Col Maybury from radio station 2NUR in Australia tells me, all traffic around the area will be stopped, including the Ghan train, one of the world's great trains that travels from south to north across the continent of Australia, and it happens to be passing through Woomera right at the time Hayabusa should be returning. Col said he called the train company, and was told that the train engineers are to keep a look out for the entry trail.

"So a mighty train named after Afghan camel drivers may have to halt for a small spacecraft or be hit by a flying object," Col wrote me in an email. He will have a live report on Radio 2NUR-FM on Tuesday the 15th at 10:20 am in Newcastle, 12:20 GMT, talking with the Woomera officials for a follow-up of the Hayabusa event.

Preliminary analysis of the samples will be carried out by the team in Japan, but after one year scientists around the world can apply for access to bits of the asteroid material for research.

Filed under: Asteroids

Tags: , ,

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Mossad agent arrested over Dubai murder will be extradited to Germany

Mossad agent arrested over Dubai murder

By Allan Hall
Last updated at 12:28 AM on 13th June 2010
An Israeli Mossad agent allegedly involved in the assassination of a Hamas leader in Dubai has been arrested in Poland.
The agent, named as Uri Brodsky, could now be extradited to Germany, which has accused him of obtaining a false German passport used by one of the killers.
Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, one of the founders of Hamas’s military wing, was found dead in a Dubai hotel on January 20.

The Mossad mission triggered international condemnation when it was revealed that stolen passport information – including that of 12 British nationals – had been used to allow the agents to enter Dubai.

The German passport of Michael Bodenheimer allegedly used by Uri Brodsky
Fake picture: The German passport of Michael Bodenheimer allegedly used by Uri Brodsky
Polish authorities said Brodsky, an Israeli citizen, was seized last week on a European arrest warrant as he flew into Warsaw airport. Germany claims he managed to obtain a passport under the name Michael Bodenheimer in June last year from officials in Cologne.

It is alleged that Brodsky managed to trick staff by claiming he was a relative
of a Jewish family named Bodenheimer, who had been thrown out of their home by the Nazis in the Thirties.

Under German law, relatives of those disenfranchised under the Third Reich’s race laws are entitled to claim citizenship of the modern state.
In a report due to be published tomorrow, German magazine Der Spiegel will revealthat international police agencies tracked Brodsky entering Dubai several times before January. German officials also claimed there is evidence that the home address given by Brodsky had been faked by Mossad and was near their base.

‘The agency must have counted on the fact that the citizen registry office in Cologne would have someone from the German Embassy check Bodenheimer’s background,’ the report in Der Spiegel says.

Brodsky is alleged to have been involved in logistics, providing paperwork, safe houses and other back-up for the 20-strong execution squad.

His arrest could pose serious problems for Israel, which has denied assassinating al-Mabhouh.
Israel is going to be paying the salaries of half the PR firms in the world with all their recent fuck ups. No amount of cheap diplomatic tricks will be bringing d├ętente to the severely strained relations Israel  has with the vast vast majority of the world. What Israel risks in refusing to acknowledge its intelligence and tactical failures is decades of strategic cold war as they pout like spoiled 40 year children in their single parent's basement.  This tragicomedy stars the US as an Archie Bunker-like bigot who will never admit their child can do any wrong as they fill the crawlspaces with the bodies of dead Palestinians and Hippies.  Maybe Cartman can have a cameo?

This agent with the help of Mossad faked a family history involving the holocaust to obtain a German passport, that should make the holocaust deniers giddy tonight.  Israel faking entire families that were killed in Shoah, how low can they go?

First Asteroid Sample From Japanese Space Probe Hayabusa - Sunday Morning

It appears as if the whole universe has subscribed to the JAXA twitterfeed for the Japanese space probe Hayabusa which took a chunk of the asteroid Itokawa, but it is just actually an error in the translation from the way Google Translate works.   It is currently 150k kilometers out still but is coming in fast.  If you want to see it as it happens don’t forget to follow Emily on Twitter to get live updates in English,  

Posted via email from rakista's posterous

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Morgan Goodwin: Breaking: 400 barrel Oil Spill in Salt Lake City

A Chevron underground pipeline burst early on June 12th, gushing crude oil into a nearby stream for several hours. The spill, in the well-to-do neighborhood surrounding Salt Lake's largest park, was gushing 50 gallons of crude per minute when responders arrived in the morning.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that residents 3 miles away smelled oil at 4am, the spill was officially reported at 6:45am, and the pipe was successfully shut-off by 8am. By then the oil had reached Liberty Pond (shown above) and was reported flowing into the Jordan River.
"In Liberty Pond the geese were brown - they're normally white - I've probably known those geese for years, because I've gone to that park all the time," said Ashley Anderson, a local climate activist.
Anderson gave me this account of the ground-zero-like scene at Liberty park during the press conference. "There were 25 firetrucks and hazmat suits everywhere. It smelled like the inside fo a garage with a diesiel truck running. The air was pretty bad."
Chevron officials told the media what had happened and promised to clean it up. "One resident had gathered up a bucket of rocks from the creek that were coated in oil. He brought them with him to the press conference and got in Chevron's face, saying 'you're going to pay for all this.' The Chevron spokesperson said 'of course we are'."

When I asked him if he believed Chevron, he wasn't optimistic. "Words are cheap, and corporations don't understand real costs, or they do and they're good at pretending like they don't." Anderson went on to explain that oil companies tend to be given free passes in Utah, which may soon be home to the United States first tar sands operation.
On Tuesday of this week, the Utah governor Gary Herbert released an energy plan where he asked: "Why are we drilling in the middle of the ocean where there is extreme environmental risk when we could be meeting the demand for domestic production from on‐shore development in areas with minimal environmental risk such as Utah?"

This year's string of coal mine disasters, natural gas explosions and oil spills are forcing American to answer the question: at what cost are we willing to continue using fossil fuels?
For more photos, visit the KSL oil spill slideshow.
Follow Morgan Goodwin on Twitter:

God just hates Mormon ducks or something, or maybe it is a Mormon God who saw  the ducks were gay and went old testament on them?  

New York, Paris and London healthcare compared, NY dead last

These are some of the questions addressed in Health Care in World Cities, a new book co-authored by Hastings Center scholar Michael Gusmano and published by Johns Hopkins University Press. The book, which compares New York, Paris, and London, provides insights into the possible effects of different health care systems on access to health care and the health of the populations.
Some of the book's findings question widespread assumptions about health care here and abroad. For example, previous studies have shown that the rate of revascularization, a type of , is four times higher in the U.S. than in other developed countries. But when the authors accounted for differences in the incidence of heart disease, they found that residents of New York (and the U.S. as a whole) had lower rates of revascularization than residents of Paris (and all of France). One reason is that large segments of the New York, and U.S., population do not have access to revascularization because they are uninsured.
Another conclusion in the book confirms earlier findings that disparities in access to health care are greater in the U.S. than in other counties. However, the authors found surprising disparities in Paris and London, too. Although each of these cities has a wealth of health care resources, "they have shocking - some would say embarrassing - health inequalities," the authors write.
The authors hope that their work stimulates policymakers in the cities studied, and in their nations, to consider the consequences of poor access to health care and the role played by the national health policies. "National policies that reduce financial barriers to and place greater emphasis on primary care improve access and reduce inequities, even in world cities that are marked by vast inequalities in wealth," says Gusmano. "The failure to address financial barriers to care in the U.S. has resulted in thousands of premature deaths and hospitalizations that could have been avoided."
The book grew out of the World Cities Project, a joint investigation of The Hastings Center, the International Longevity Center-USA, and New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service that is comparing the health, social services, long-term care, and quality of life in five of the world's largest metropolitan areas: Hong Kong and Tokyo, as well as the three cities compared in the book. Gusmano is co-director of the World Cities Project.
The book's co-authors are Victor G. Rodwin, a professor of health policy and management at New York University, and Daniel Weisz, a research associate at the World Cities Project, International Longevity Center.
The abandonment of single payer and the public option will haunt American healthcare for a generation as the half-assed solution of Obamacare condemns millions of American citizens to an early grave.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Hunted by Pentagon Over Massive Leak - The Daily Beast

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BS Top - Shenon Wikileaks Julian Assange Anxious that Wikileaks may be on the verge of publishing a batch of secret State Department cables, investigators are desperately searching for founder Julian Assange. Philip Shenon reports.

Pentagon investigators are trying to determine the whereabouts of the Australian-born founder of the secretive website Wikileaks for fear that he may be about to publish a huge cache of classified State Department cables that, if made public, could do serious damage to national security, government officials tell The Daily Beast.

The officials acknowledge that even if they found the website founder, Julian Assange, it is not clear what they could do to block publication of the cables on Wikileaks, which is nominally based on a server in Sweden and bills itself as a champion of whistleblowers.

“We’d like to know where he is; we’d like his cooperation in this,” one U.S. official said of Assange.

American officials said Pentagon investigators are convinced that Assange is in possession of at least some classified State Department cables leaked by a 22-year-old Army intelligence specialist, Bradley Manning of Potomac, Maryland, who is now in custody in Kuwait.

And given the contents of the cables, the feds have good reason to be concerned.

As The Daily Beast reported June 8, Manning, while posted in Iraq, apparently had special access to cables prepared by diplomats and State Department officials throughout the Middle East, regarding the workings of Arab governments and their leaders, according to an American diplomat.

The cables, which date back over several years, went out over interagency computer networks available to the Army and contained information related to American diplomatic and intelligence efforts in the war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq, the diplomat said.

American officials would not discuss the methods being used to find Assange, nor would they say if they had information to suggest where he is now. "We'd like to know where he is; we'd like his cooperation in this," one U.S. official said of Assange.

Assange, who first gained notoriety as a computer hacker, is as secretive as his website and has no permanent home.

He was in the United States as recently as several weeks ago, when he gave press interviews to promote the website’s release of an explosive 2007 video of an American helicopter attack in Baghdad that left 12 people dead, including two employees of the news agency Reuters.

Wikileaks has not replied directly to email messages from The Daily Beast.

However, in cryptic posts this week on the website Twitter, Wikileaks referred to an earlier Daily Beast article on the investigation of Manning and said that it “looks like we’re about to be attacked by everything the U.S. has.”

In one post, the site said that allegations that “we have been sent 260,000 classified U.S. embassy cables are, as far as we can tell, incorrect.”

Pentagon investigators say that particular post may have been an effort by Wikileaks to throw them—and news organizations—off the track as the site prepared the library of State Department cables for release, officials said.

“It looks like they’re playing some sort of semantic games,” one American official said of Wikileaks. “They may not have 260,000 cables, but they’ve probably got enough cables to make trouble.”

In another cryptic Twitter post, the site said that while the State Department might be alarmed about the prospect of the release of classified cables, “we have not been contacted.”

American officials were unwilling to say what would happen if Assange is tracked down, although they suggested they would have many more legal options available to them if he is still somewhere in the United States.

Our Foreign Policy has relied on too much two-facing for too long. Before we commit ourselves to another 50 years of Janus diplomacy give a chance for the light of day to all the kludge and drudge of anti-communist paranoia morphing into anti-terrorist paranoia.

I wish Julian luck.

Posted via web from rakista's posterous

Burgers becoming more dangerous than bombs

More people die each year in the United States from tainted food than from the September 9/11 attacks but the regulations that in the past protected consumers are being eroded under the auspices of Food Manufacturing Lobbies who promote efficiency over safety, consumption over reduction and productivity over protection.  Our food supply has never been more vulnerable to negligence as well as the more nefarious elements in our society and the world who would want to do harm against US citizens, oh you know terrorists?  

Perhaps the next attack is not going to be a bomb but a burger, E. Coli being trivial to modify for weaponization and beef patties reaching millions of mouths before recalls can have effect has the potential to be an embarrassing back door congress insists must stay open for their friends in industrial food production and farming.   1/3rd of America eats fast food every day and we have no idea how many burgers are out there anymore.  It can take weeks to track down all the beef involved in an accidental E. Coli outbreak and if they hit multiple targets it may be months before anyone could munch on a burgers and fries.  
Rarian Rakista

Plutocrats Malign Honest Scientists

The assault by the Republicans (cryptofascists) on our research and development sector have reached a troubling pitch with the revelation that a longstanding claim of the far right ideologues and their corporate masters that the scientific consensus known to listeners of Limbaugh and followers of Fox as the Global Warming Conspiracy will reportedly be stripped from any EPA report, findings or policy documents if Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) the Palin protoge has her way.  

The chance of this passing is almost nil but it should be made clear that Blanche Lincoln (D) is reportedly eager to proclaim her allegiance to the big polluters that have funded her for all of her stay in public office.    

Monkeywrenching science that by all appearances must inspire a generation to work past the status quo for a revolution in energy policy is being peddled away for the sake of a few more billion in the pockets of already ludicrously wealthy plutocrats.   The folk who are heading dinosaur burning energy firms command a shattering assault on an already shredded social contract which while founded on principles of equity has been delivered most of us unto the burning rubbish the rich throw out their high windows.    

  If there is to be a minimum wage there must be a maximum wage, pass it on.  

Rarian Rakista