Saturday, September 24, 2016

Getting psyched for Desert Trip 2016

I've been preparing for this road trip ever since we got our tickets in late May. Tonight I started putting together a Solar Shoebox Oven.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Cornell Lab of Ornithology ~ Sharon's view ~

My friend Sharon posted these amazing pics to her facebook page. (I added a few links to the project at the end too).      
 Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Yesterday I visited the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca with two friends from bird club. We went to see the mural that is being painted by Jane Kim illustrating one of each family of birds that exist in the world. The entire mural is about two stories high. The background is a map of the world and over it she is painting a life-sized bird from that part of the world representing one of the bird families--223 birds ranging from the hummingbirds to the ostrich. She has been working on it for a year and expects to finish by the end of 2015. Most of South America is done and a start has been made on Central America but Norh America is still blank. Her work is just incredible. We got to talk to her for a while before she went up on the lift to resume work.
We managed to get a little birding in, too.
 ~  Sharon      
Jane Kim at work--up on the lift to reach the top of South America
Australia, Asia, Antarctica, Africa, and Europe are done and most of South America. She still has Central America and North America to finish
Australia--The biggist bird is the Cassowary
Lyrebird from eastern Australia
Closeup of a Cassowary
Jeanne ~ very dino-ish
Splendid Fairy-wren, my favorite Australian bird
Asia. The biggest bird is in the hornbill family
Africa and Asia
These birds are in southern Africa right around the area I will be visiting in three months.
Petrels over the Southern Ocean
Great Gray Owl hovering over Scandinavia
Peregrine Falcon
It was fascinating to see this section of the mural with birds in various stages from preliminary sketches on paper placed on the map through birds with colors blocked in to some completely finished.
This Sun Bittern in full display is magnificent
Paper sketches just into Mexico mark the progress to date.
We were able to watch Jane Kim work from windows on the upper floor.
She paints in the background color in a flat coat then puts in the details to make it look three dimensional.
Attention to detail. These paintings are incredibly intricate.
There is already a neat mural of bird silhouettes on the opposite wall outside the gift shop.

Here's an update from artist Jane Kim, who's at work on her From So Simple a Beginning project. Eventually it will feature more than 250 birds and will be the most comprehensive bird mural ever painted. Here's the very first to take shape: the rare New Zealand Saddleback. Watch the video, then click through to support this great project:
From So Simple a Beginning - Painting the first bird
Jane Kim has painted the first bird of our From So Simple a Beginning mural project. The black-and-chestnut songbird is a Saddleback, or tieke, a threatened species from New Zealand. Learn more and support the mural project at         


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Paws & Claws ~ April, 2014 ~ Spawning Galaxies?

Spawning Galaxies?

Last week I had a big scare......

During my annual health tests, the doctors spotted something on my mammogram: a bunch of small bright spots in my right breast (Rose). I have gone through a few days of pure HELL, trying to reassure myself that this would turn out to be nothing, that this would be just another fibroid tumor (I am prone to those because I am a DES daughter. I have benign tumors in my ovaries & uterus, one in my right breast, and some in my thyroid gland).

I have been very lucky so far. A lot of people I know in my age group have had heart attacks, cancer, major surgery, and many other life-threatening problems. I have been very lucky: most of my minor problems resulted from being a DES daughter: reproductive problems, anemia, and hyperthyroidism: all treatable.

Tomorrow I will undergo further tests, and hopefully, get an answer.
Tonight I flip-flop between reasoned thought and fears & tears.


All is well! 

The new receptionist is not familiar with the terminology yet ~
when the doctor requested further tests, he was already pretty sure that everything was fine ~ he just wanted to make sure .When he compared the new scans with the last ones, in addition to the fibroid tumor I am used to, he noticed small bright spots ~ oil cysts, which are normal and usual for someone my age.

When he showed me the scans, I went from fear & tears to AWE.

See the small bright dots? They are small cysts, formed over time from a cloud of matter ~ kind of like my own little galaxies....
who knows?
Maybe Horton had it right....

Maybe I am growing my own little universes....

One of my heroes, Neil deGrasse Tyson, gave a famous talk about how we are all made of star-stuff. As I looked at the scan, I felt like I was looking at a picture of a young galaxy: new life starting as bright dots, lots of open space, etc.

Lisa Randall, noted Harvard Theoretical Physicist, remarked that the only reason we have not seen into the atom further is the limitations of our eyes and our technology.

Maybe there are tiny universes inside atoms.

It fits right in with my personal (tongue-in-cheek) belief 
that our whole universe is merely an atom 
in some other being's table leg 
(kind of puts everything into perspective).

The Most Astounding Fact - Neil deGrasse Tyson
'The Universe is in us'

In the history of physics, every time we've looked beyond the scales and energies we were familiar with, we've found things that we wouldn't have thought were there.~ LISA RANDALL, Discover Magazine, July 2006


That is what I was going through ~ 
My family and friends helped me get through it ~
I've posted this on facebook, and got quite a good response from it. 
I might include it in the next 'Paws'

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Paws & Claws ~ Sometime in May, from Somewhere in the Pacific Northwest

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; 

when the government fears the people, there is liberty. 

--Thomas Jefferson


2013 May 5 See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
A Supercell Thunderstorm Cloud Over Montana
Image Credit & Copyright:
Sean R. Heavey
Explanation: Is that a spaceship or a cloud? Although it may seem like an alien mothership, it's actually a impressive thunderstorm cloud called a supercell. Such colossal storm systems center on mesocyclones -- rotating updrafts that can span several kilometers and deliver torrential rain and high winds including tornadoes. Jagged sculptured clouds adorn the supercell's edge, while wind swept dust and rain dominate the center. A tree waits patiently in the foreground. The above supercell cloud was photographed in July west of Glasgow, Montana, USA, caused minor damage, and lasted several hours before moving on.

The world’s smallest movie

The movie, entitled A Boy and His Atom, was made by precisely placing atoms to form 242 stop-motion frames that were used to create the animation. It is about a character named Atom who befriends a single atom and goes on a playful journey that includes dancing, playing catch and bouncing on a trampoline. It’s not exactly riveting cinema, but that’s not the point.

“Capturing, positioning and shaping atoms to create an original motion picture on the atomic-level is a precise science and entirely novel,” said Andreas Heinrich, Principal Investigator, IBM Research. “At IBM, researchers don’t just read about science, we do it. This movie is a fun way to share the atomic-scale world while opening up a dialogue with students and others on the new frontiers of math and science.”

Developed in 1981 by Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer at IBM Zürich, the scanning tunneling microscope is based on the principle of quantum tunneling, which is an eye-wateringly confusing concept. Suffice it to say, it works on the fact that in quantum mechanics an electron is only “sort of” in any one place at any one time and may be somewhere else. This allows them to do things that should be impossible, like being on one side of an impenetrable barrier or gap and then show up on the other. It’s as if the electron just tunneled its way through, and hence the term “quantum tunneling.”

It’s in moving atoms that the team at IBM Almaden have made their innovation. The interaction between the probe and the atom is the same that controls chemical reactions. In other words, what makes one atom stick to another. This allows the scanning tunneling microscope to be used as a sort of quantum crane to pick up atoms and move them to exactly where the scientists want them to go.

For making the movie, they used a copper surface with the probe hovering one nanometer away. Atoms were picked up and arranged on the surface using a rather clever positioning method with the scientists listening to the atoms move. Since the microscope can’t move atoms and make images at the same time, the machine was designed to generate feedback noise as the atom moved, so the scientists would know when it shifts from one spot to the next. In this way, the atoms could be repositioned to build up the frames and create the animation.

There’s also blather about Moore’s Law – positioned to serve as a rationale for this clever “commercial”. John C. Dvorak and other curmudgeons long ago debunked that “Law” as self-fulfilling prophecy.
Still – the movie is cute and a clever example of the skill and capabilities of some atomic scientists and where we may go with the promise of this technology.
"A new study found out that having money and good looks does not make you happy. On the other hand, being broke and ugly is no day at the beach either." -Jay Leno

"The miniseries 'The Bible' was a big hit. Now it's being cut down to three hours so that it can be released in theaters. And apparently theaters will be able to feed an entire audience with just one bucket of popcorn." -Jimmy Fallon
2013 May 4
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
Hungarian Spring Eclipse
Image Credit & Copyright: Tamas Ladanyi (TWAN)
Explanation: Last week, as the Sun set a Full Moon rose over the springtime landscape of Tihany, Hungary on the northern shores of Lake Balaton. As it climbed into the clear sky, the Moon just grazed the dark, umbral shadow of planet Earth in the year's first partial lunar eclipse. The partial phase, seen near the top of this frame where the lunar disk is darkened along the upper limb, lasted for less than 27 minutes. Composited from consecutive exposures, the picture presents the scene's range of natural colors and subtle shading apparent to the eye. At next week's New Moon, the season's celestial shadow play will continue with an annular solar eclipse, the path of annularity tracking through northern Australia and the central Pacific.
2013 May 7
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
Galaxy Cove Vista
Image Credit & Copyright: Rogelio Bernal Andreo (Deep Sky Colors)
Explanation: To see a vista like this takes patience, hiking, and a camera. Patience was needed in searching out just the right place and waiting for just the right time. A short hike was needed to reach this rugged perch above a secluded cove in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in California, USA. And a camera was needed for the long exposure required to bring out the faint light from stars and nebula in the background Milky Way galaxy. Moonlight and a brief artificial flash illuminated the hidden beach and inlet behind nearby trees in the above composite image taken about two weeks ago. Usually obscured McWay Falls is visible just below the image center, while the Pacific Ocean is in view to its right.
A helping word to one in trouble is like a switch in a railroad inch between wreck and smooth, rolling prosperity." -Henry Ward Beecher

"All animals, except man, know that the principle business of life is to enjoy it." -Samuel Butler

"All mankind is divided into three classes: those who are immovable, those who are movable; and those who move." -Benjamin Franklin

A wife called her husband as she was driving to an appointment. She arrived, and the husband could tell from her voice that she was getting frustrated. Finally she said, "I know I had my cell phone with me. And now I can't find it!"

The husband replied, "Aren't you talking on it!?"

There was a solid period of stunned silence as the reality of the situation sank in - followed by, "You are NOT going to tell anybody about this!"

The topic for my ninth-grade class was palindromes, words or sentences that are the same read forward and backward. I asked the question "What is the first thing Adam said to Eve?" 

I was expecting the answer "Madam, I'm Adam," but one student had a better reply: 


"They say that when you have a baby, you lose 700 hours of sleep in the first year, but it's worth it when they're old enough to do the yard work." -Craig Ferguson

When the famous politician and orator William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925) was a young man, he went to the home of the father of his prospective wife to ask him for her hand in marriage. Bryan was determined to impress the father by quoting from the Bible, and he chose Proverbs 18:22: "He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD." 

Bryan was unnerved when the father replied by quoting Paul: "So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better." (1 Corinthians 7:38) 

Bryan, never at a loss for words, said: "Yes, but Paul had no wife and Solomon had 700. Therefore, I believe Solomon ought to be the better judge as to marriage." 

At the beginning of the school year, one seventh grader was reflecting on his chance at being the 8th grade valedictorian. He said his dad was valedictorian, his mom was valedictorian, and his sister was also valedictorian. He paused, leaned back in his chair and said, "Looks like the end of an era!" 
You can't always make the right decision, but you can always make the decision right.
--Thomas Murdock

Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now. 
--Thomas Jefferson

Military theory should be based on the assumption that uncertainty is inherent in the physical and social world, and unsolvable.
--Barry Watts as quoted in 'Science, Strategy and War'
In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.
--Dwight D. Eisenhower

Parents rarely let go of their children, so children let go of them. They move on. They move away. The moments that used to define them - a mother's approval, a father's nod - are covered by moments of their own accomplishments.

It is not until much later, as the skin sags and the heart weakens, that children understand; their stories, and all their accomplishments, sit atop the stories of their mothers and fathers, stones upon stones, beneath the waters of their lives.
--Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet In Heaven


Portland In The News: World Observer, KATU, Portland Pulp & More

The OLCC's nefarious vote to close down bar patios early was defeated this week just in time for 80 degree temps this weekend. In addition, Portland's bearded denizens can rest easy sitting out on said patios thanks to a study that says beards may reduce your chance of getting skin cancer, bacterial infections and asthma by covering your face in a hairy shield.

Speaking of furry faces, the Oregon Zoo's newest De Brazza's monkey has been named Augustus. The baby monkey is reportedly so cute it could sway Mayor Charlie Hale's decision to do away with Portland's mounted patrol, according to unreliable sources at PDX Pipeline HQ who have been looking at pictures of the baby monkey all morning.

Here's a roundup of the goings-on in Portland this week:

World Observer: Beards keep you young, healthy and handsome, says science

OregonLive: Oregon Zoo's new monkey named Augustus

KATU: Oregon bars with patios won't close at 1 a.m., commission says

Portland Pulp: Portland Mayor considers reigning in mounted patrol

KPLU: Seattle edges out Portland, named most-liked city


As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.~ Nelson Mandela
"Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight." 
- Phyllis Diller 

"If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything." 
- Mark Twain 

"Take the diplomacy out of war and the thing would fall flat in a week." 
- Will Rogers 
Before you dismiss the deliberate "dumbing down" of America as a right wing conspiracy theory, you had better pay serious attention to today's story.

A New Hampshire man who thought he had a decent ball toss says he lost his life savings, or about $2,600, playing a carnival game he claims was rigged.

Henry Gribbohm was attempting to win an Xbox Kinect at the Manchester carnival when things went awry. The 30-year-old was playing a game called Tubs of Fun in which contestants toss balls into a tub, but the balls kept popping out.

"It's not possible that it wasn't rigged," Gribbohm said. "You just get caught up in the whole 'I've got to win my money back.'"

Gribbohm lost $300, went home to get $2,300 more and soon lost all of that as well.

Manchester police are investigating the incident, and New Hampshire-based Fiesta Shows, which produces the traveling carnival, is pulling Tubs of Fun for the time being.

Gribbohm, who managed to win a stuffed banana before dropping $2,600, says he is considering a lawsuit.

"For once in my life I happened to become the sucker," Gribbohm said.
Life Isn't Worth Living
When Rod's wife ran away he got so depressed that his doctor sent him to see a psychiatrist. Rod told the psychiatrist his troubles and said, "Life isn't worth living."

"Don't be stupid, Rod," said the psychiatrist. "Let work be your salvation. I want you to totally submerge yourself in your work. Now, What do you do for a living?"

"I clean out septic tanks." Rod replied. 

QUOTE: "If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered."

HINT: (1809-1849), American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement.

ANSWER: Edgar Allan Poe.

Why do dimes, quarters and half dollars have notches around their edges, while pennies and nickels do not?
The US Mint began putting notches on the edges of coins containing gold and silver to discourage holders from shaving off small quantities of the precious metals. Dimes, quarters and half dollars are notched because they used to contain silver. Pennies and nickels aren't notched because the metals they contain are not valuable enough to shave.
Why are zero scores in tennis called 'love'?
In France, where tennis first became popular, a big, round zero on scoreboard looked like an egg and was called 'l'oeuf,' which is French for 'egg.' When tennis was introduced in the U.S., Americans pronounced it 'love.'
A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at. ~
 Bruce Lee

While they can't fly through the air with their flippers, many penguin species take to the air when they leap from the water onto the ice. Just before taking flight, they release air bubbles from their feathers. This cuts the drag on their bodies, allowing them to double or triple their swimming speed quickly and launch into the air.

Most penguins swim underwater at around four to seven miles per hour (mph), but the fastest penguin-the gentoo (Pygoscelis papua)-can reach top speeds of 22 mph!

Like other birds, penguins don't have teeth. Instead, they have backward-facing fleshy spines that line the inside of their mouths. These help them guide their fishy meals down their throat.

Penguins are carnivores: they feed on fish, squid, crabs, krill and other seafood they catch while swimming. During the summer, an active, medium-sized penguin will eat about 2 pounds of food each day, but in the winter they'll eat just a third of that.

Eating so much seafood means drinking a lot of saltwater, but penguins have a way to remove it. The supraorbital gland, located just above their eye, filters salt from their bloodstream, which is then excreted through the bill-or by sneezing!

Once a year, penguins experience a catastrophic molt. (Yes, that's the official term.) Most birds molt (lose feathers and regrow them) a few at a time throughout the year, but penguins lose them all at once. They can't swim and fish without feathers, so they fatten themselves up beforehand to survive the 2-3 weeks it takes to replace them.
Q and A Quickies --*
Q: What has eight legs and goes up and down?
A: A spider in an elevator!

Q: Why did the Sheriff use a ruler when he questioned the witness?
A: He wanted to get the story straight. 
One of the girls in the office is approaching her 40th birth- day and the rest of the stiffs were giving her a little hazing about it.

"Just think," one of the other hens observed, "you're an official cougar now."

"What's that?" she asked.

"Cougars are those sexy, middle-age women who hang out in bars and pick up young studs for a good time."

"I'm married!" she shot back indignantly.

Satan saw me standing in my office doorway and listening in to the conversation, "Hey, TZ, what's the name for a male version of a know...those pathetic forty and fifty-year-olds who hang out at the clubs and try to score with really young women?"

"They're called men."
The 30 Greatest Literary Detectives Of All Time
From Whodunit? It wasn't us, perhaps it was you. There's only one way to find out. Let's call for that most shadowy and exciting of literary creations - the crime-solving, riddle-repairing, mystery-mending sleuth. 

Visit: The 30 Greatest Literary Detectives Of All Time
"A woman in Colorado crashed her car and claimed that it was because she had hallucinations of vampires. I think that vampire is probably 'Count Crackula.'" -Craig Ferguson

Little kid catches his mom and dad having sex. He says, "What are you doing?"

His father says, "We are making you a little brother."

The boy answers, "Why don't you do it doggy style, and make me a puppy!"

A woman in labor is screaming profanity at her husband from her hospital bed.

He says, "Hey, don't blame me! I wanted to put it in your ass but no, you thought that might hurt!"

The day it all started was March 6, 1836. On that fateful day, Davy Crockett woke up and rose from his bunk on the main floor of the Alamo, and walked up to the observation post along the west wall of the fort. 

William B. Travis and Jim Bowie were already there, looking out over the top of the wall. These three great men gazed at the hordes of Mexicans moving towards the Alamo. 

With a puzzled look on his face, Crockett turned to Bowie and said, "Jim, are we, by any chance, having any landscaping done today?"
Milky Way Over Crater Lake            

         Photographer Ben Coffman took this panorama over snowy Crater Lake, Oregon:
You can see a few Lyrids in the photo (3 small ones on the left, in the Milky Way, and one larger one in the top right of the Milky Way). Andromeda can be seen near the tree to the left.
EarthSky has the larger pic: Link
Mount Etna
Mount Etna
On April 18, 2013, the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite observed activity on Mount Etna in Sicily. Ash and volcanic gases rose from craters near the summit; snow rested on the western slopes; and fresh lava flows leant a dark brown hue to the mountainside near the New Southeast Crater.
Early in April, Etna had appeared more whimsical, blowing smoke rings composed not of actual smoke, but of steam, volcanic gases, and some volcanic ash. Then ash emissions and Strombolian eruptions started on the evening of April 16 and continued through the following day, according to the Etna Observatory. On the morning of April 18, when the ALI image was acquired, the intensity and frequency of eruptions had increased and the volcano was in the middle of its eleventh paroxysm of 2013.
On April 20, yet another paroxysm began at New Southeast Crater. It was the twelfth of 2013, and the thirty-seventh since the start of the current series of eruptive activity. By April 20, lava fountains reached 800 to 1,000 meters (2,600 to 3,300 feet) into the sky, and a column of gas and volcanic ash blew eastward away from the volcano.
Located roughly 25 kilometers (15 miles) north-northwest of Sicily’s second-largest city, Mount Etna is a stratovolcano composed of layers of rocks, lava, and volcanic ash left by earlier eruptions. The summit reaches an altitude of 3,330 meters (10,925 feet) above sea level. People have lived around Etna for millennia, so scientists have one of the longest documented records of activity of any volcano in the world—dating back to 1500 B.C.
  1. References

  2. Etna Observatory (2013, April 18) Etna and Stromboli update. Accessed April 25, 2013.
  3. Etna Observatory (2013, April 20) The 20 April 2013 paroxysm of Etna’s New Southeast Crater. Accessed April 25, 2013.
  4. Global Volcanism Program Mount Etna. Smithsonian Institution. Accessed April 25, 2013.
  5. Klemetti, E. (2013, April 16) Explosions at Popocatépetl and “smoke” rings at Etna. Wired. Accessed April 25, 2013.
This week has been "National Princess Week," brought to you by Disney and Target. Yawn. Here's another idea: celebrate Disney villains. Read…
What Happens if the Moon Disappeared Tomorrow?        
In Tom Cruise's latest movie Oblivion, the Moon was destroyed by an alien being and that unleashed a series of natural disasters that wrecked the Earth. But what exactly will happen if suddenly the Moon disappeared tomorrow?
Larry O'Hanlon of Discovery News answers, with science:
We’d no longer watch the phases of the moon at night, but see a glittering cloud of debris which would probably be a lot brighter than the full moon, what with all those zillions of little surfaces to reflect sunlight. I know some astronomers who would really hate this new interference with their dark skies.
But if the moon were dragged off and completely removed, there would be none of its mass left to tug gravitationally on the Earth. One of the effects would be that we could throw out tide tables for good.
The ocean tides would still happen, but the bulge of water would follow the sun, so you could expect high tides around noon everywhere, everyday. I know some fishermen who would appreciate this.
Since the solid Earth flexes tidally, it makes sense that there might be some internal grumbling when Earth loses the moon. Earthquakes. Maybe a few volcanoes getting rowdy. That kind of stuff. But there’s no reason to worry (or hope) that California will fall into the Pacific.
The short answer? Nothing much will happen. The long answer? Read it over at Discovery News: Link
The Wave is the popular name of a series of rock formations in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, a nature preserve on the Arizona-Utah border. If there is any hope of surfing on dry land, this is the place to try it.
In 2008, a wild coyote boarded a train at the airport of Portland, Oregon and took a seat:
[...] but wildlife specialists removed and released it before the train took off.
Even so, the sneaky interloper is forever immortalized in a song: Sleater-Kinney's "Light-Rail Coyote."
It was one of five animals known to have used public transit to get around, including a pigeon, a goat, a cat and a monkey. You can read about them at the link.
Robert Popper and Peter Serafinowicz's creeptastic short film Building a Human is filled with bizarre, retrofuturistic comedy. Many human collaborators gave their lives in the making of this video—or at least afterwards. Read…
The neighbor's house was locked, but a troop of baboons didn't care because they just went in through the upstairs windows. Howard Fyvie and his friends in Betty's Bay, South Africa, called police and got access to the house when the owner could not be reached. It doesn't take long for this many baboons to do a lot of damage! -via Arbroath  
Trinity Site 
WSMR Public > Public Affairs > Trinity Site
Trinity TestOn July 16, 1945 the world changed with the explosion of the first atomic bomb. The explosion took place at Trinity Site which is on what is now White Sands Missile Range. Trinity is a national historic landmark which is open to the public twice a year. The following links will provide you with information on the history of the site, how to get there and some of the historic images.
Thanks, Ed
Cherokee Incense 

1 tsp. Powdered charcoal
1 tsp White Sage 
1 tsp Frankincense
1 tsp Juniper tips
1 tsp Desert Mugwort
1 tsp orris root powder
2 tsp gold Copal
2 tsp dried Yarrow flowers

Grind all, mix all, then add these oils:

4 drops Rose oil
4 drops Light Musk oil
3 drops Lavender oil

Add a "glue" base of gum tragacanth, or arabic, or karaya to form cones...) The incense can also be used as a powder
Curiosity On Mars
Curiosity cost: $800 million.
Curiosity personnel and technicians cost: $1,000 million.
Make Curiosity go to Mars cost: $2,500 million.
Arrive and draw a dick on Mars: IT’S PRICELESS!
Curiosity dicks
The Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge across the Seine.
Pont neuf means “new bridge.”
sensuousnesses palindrome
SENSUOUSNESSES is a circular palindrome — when written in a circle, it can be read both clockwise and counterclockwise.
In the three years since it first provided images of the sun in the spring of 2010, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has had virtually unbroken coverage of the sun’s rise toward solar maximum, the peak of solar activity in its regular 11-year cycle. This video shows those three years of the sun at a pace of two images per day.
New Punctuation
New punctuation
A Gentleman ought not to run or walk too fast in the Streets, lest he be suspected to be going [delivering] a Message; nor ought his pace to be too slow; nor must he take large Steps, nor too stiff and stately, nor lift his Legs too high, nor stamp hard on the Ground; neither must he swing his Arms backward and forward, nor must he carry his knees too close, nor must he go wagging his Breech, nor with his feet in a straight Line, but with the Inside of his Feet a little out; nor with his Eyes looking down, nor too much elevated, nor looking hither and thither, but with a sedate Countenance.
– Adam Petrie, Rules of Good Deportment, 1720
A 1936 poser by British puzzle maven Hubert Phillips:
A man I met in Fleet Street yesterday told me the following anecdote:
‘I met yesterday (he said) a friend of mine whom I had not seen since I was at Oxford. That was some years ago and we had not, during all that time, had any communication with one another. Nor had we at Oxford any friends or acquaintances in common.
‘I was delighted to see my friend, nevertheless. “I suppose,” I said, “that lots of things have happened to you.”
‘”Why, yes,” was the answer. “I am married now and this is my little girl.”
‘I looked at the child — a pretty little thing of about six. “And what is your name, my dear,” I asked her. “Margaret,” was the reply.
“Aha,” said I, “the same name as your mother’s.”
‘How did the speaker know?
The narrator was talking to the girl’s mother.
Global Internet Porn Habits
Ever wonder which states or countries are into what when it comes to what goes on behind closed doors? In this graphic below we take a closer look at the sexual interests of people around the planet.
Global internet porn habits
If you choose an answer to this question at random, what’s the chance that you’ll be correct?
(a) 25% (b) 50% (c) 0% (d) 25%
The Habeas Corpus Act of 1679 is a landmark in English law, permitting a prisoner to challenge the lawfulness of his detention. But Parliament passed it through an absurd miscount:
Lord Grey and Lord Norris were named to be the tellers: Lord Norris, being a man subject to vapours, was not at all times attentive to what he was doing: so, a very fat lord coming in, Lord Grey counted him as ten, as a jest at first: but seeing Lord Norris had not observed it, he went on with this misreckoning of ten: so it was reported that they that were for the Bill were in the majority, though indeed it went for the other side: and by this means the Bill passed.
That account, by contemporary historian Gilbert Burnet, is borne out by the session minutes. The act remains on the statute book to this day.
Girls and Boys
adj. having a desire for writing or authorship
A French tradition asks: If the handle of a certain knife is replaced whenever it is worn out, and its blade is replaced whenever it becomes worthless, does the knife itself become immortal?
In his 1872 short story “Dr. Ox’s Experiment,” Jules Verne mentions a curious tradition of marriage within the Van Tricasse family:
From 1340 it had invariably happened that a Van Tricasse, when left a widower, had remarried a Van Tricasse younger than himself; who, becoming in turn a widow, had married again a Van Tricasse younger than herself; and so on, without a break in the continuity, from generation to generation. Each died in his or her turn with mechanical regularity. Thus the worthy Madame Brigitte Van Tricasse had now her second husband; and, unless she violated her every duty, would precede her spouse — he being ten years younger than herself — to the other world, to make room for a new Madame Van Tricasse.
Is this a series of distinct marriages — or one immortal union?
Pirate Ship for Sale • Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 12:00 PM • 2
If you've ever wanted your very own pirate ship, the Gypsy Rose can be yours for the discounted price of $79,000! Captain Tim operates pirate cruises on the Mississippi River, and is selling an older model.
Built on 50′ 1988 Gibson houseboat. Brand new twin 454s, Kohler generator, V drives. Holds 30 people, looks like a Hollywood set! Great as a live aboard…and an AWESOME party boat! 2 bedrooms and 2 baths. Just surveyed for $110,00, will sell for $79,000 – trades considered.
See interior pictures and a video at Laughing Squid. Link
You know, it never occurred to me that Maneki Neko makes a perfect C2PO. But it has occurred to me that cats in Star Wars would have a perfect method for distracting the enemy. -via Tastefully Offensive
In 1985, workers renovating London’s Tate Britain art gallery discovered a handwritten message behind a wall in the rotunda dome:
This was placed here on the fourth of June, 1897 Jubilee year, by the Plasterers working on the job hoping when this is found that the Plasterers Association may be still flourishing. Please let us know in the Other World when you get this, so as we can drink your Health.
It was signed “W. Gallop, F. Wilkins, H. Sainsbury, J. Chester, A. Pickernell, Secretary.”
Mix Elmer’s glue with food coloring and paint it on to any glass to make it look like sea glass when dry.
In a bowl, you will want to add one teaspoon of glue, three drops of food coloring and 1 1/2 teaspoons of water ..
These look really nice with candles, or electric candles, glow sticks etc inside them.
and then when your done put a LED Battery Candle inside imagine how gorgeous that would look
or add a bit of Glitter to this for a Shimmer look
Seal the jar with Epoxy Glue or a Clear Varnish to last many years of use
Paint outside the Jars not inside
and Only White Elmers Glue Works 
On the pale yellow sands
Where the Unicorn stands
And the Eggs are preparing for Tea
Sing Forty
Sing Thirty
Sing Three.
On the pale yellow sands
There’s a pair of Clasped Hands
And an Eyeball entangled with string
(Sing Forty
Sing Fifty
Sing Three.)
And a Bicycle Seat
And a Plate of Raw Meat
And a Thing that is hardly a Thing.
On the pale yellow sands
There stands
A Commode
That has nothing to do with the case.
Sing Eighty
Sing Ninety
Sing Three.
On the pale yellow sands
There’s a Dorian Mode
And a Temple all covered with Lace
And a Gothic Erection of Urgent Demands
On the Patience of You and of Me.
– Lord Berners
The wheelharp is a fairly new musical instrument that produces the rich sounds of stringed instruments. A keyboard controls 61 bowed strings, so one musician can sound like an orchestra- or at least the string section. The wheelharp was inspired by the hurdy-gurdy, and comes in two models: the radial model, and one with a more conventional flat keyboard attached to the wheel. You can hear several sections of music played on the wheelharp at Antiquity Music. Link -via Metafilter
Professor Encourages His Students to Cheat in Order to Teach Them Game Theory   
Peter Nonacs, professor of biology at UCLA, teaches Game Theory in his Behavioral Ecology course. He told his students that for an upcoming exam, they could do anything that would normally be considered cheating:
A week before the test, I told my class that the Game Theory exam would be insanely hard—far harder than any that had established my rep as a hard prof. But as recompense, for this one time only, students could cheat. They could bring and use anything or anyone they liked, including animal behavior experts. (Richard Dawkins in town? Bring him!) They could surf the Web. They could talk to each other or call friends who’d taken the course before. They could offer me bribes. (I wouldn’t take them, but neither would I report it to the dean.) Only violations of state or federal criminal law such as kidnapping my dog, blackmail, or threats of violence were out of bounds. [...]
Once the shock wore off, they got sophisticated. In discussion section, they speculated, organized, and plotted. What would be the test’s payoff matrix? Would cooperation be rewarded or counter-productive? Would a large group work better, or smaller subgroups with specified tasks? What about “scroungers” who didn’t study but were planning to parasitize everyone else’s hard work? How much reciprocity would be demanded in order to share benefits? Was the test going to play out like a dog-eat-dog Hunger Games? In short, the students spent the entire week living Game Theory. It transformed a class where many did not even speak to each other into a coherent whole focused on a single task—beating their crazy professor’s nefarious scheme.
On the day of the hour-long test they faced a single question: “If evolution through natural selection is a game, what are the players, teams, rules, objectives, and outcomes?”
Most students responded by working together:
One student immediately ran to the chalkboard, and she began to organize the outputs for each question section. The class divided tasks. They debated. They worked on hypotheses. Weak ones were rejected, promising ones were developed. Supportive evidence was added. A schedule was established for writing the consensus answers. (I remained in the room, hoping someone would ask me for my answers, because I had several enigmatic clues to divulge. But nobody thought that far afield!) As the test progressed, the majority (whom I shall call the “Mob”) decided to share one set of answers. Individuals within the Mob took turns writing paragraphs, and they all signed an author sheet to share the common grade. Three out of the 27 students opted out (I’ll call them the “Lone Wolves”). Although the Wolves listened and contributed to discussions, they preferred their individual variants over the Mob’s joint answer.
In the end, the students learned what social insects like ants and termites have known for hundreds of millions of years. To win at some games, cooperation is better than competition. Unity that arises through a diversity of opinion is stronger than any solitary competitor.
But that wasn't the end of of Prof. Nonacs's instruction:
But did the students themselves realize this? To see, I presented the class with one last evil wrinkle two days later, after the test was graded but not yet returned. They had a choice, I said. Option A: They could get the test back and have it count toward their final grade. Option B: I would—sight unseen—shred the entire test. Poof, the grade would disappear as if it had never happened. But Option B meant they would never see their results; they would never know if their answers were correct.
“Oh, my, can we think about this for a couple of days?” they begged. No, I answered. More heated discussion followed. It was soon apparent that everyone had felt good about the process and their overall answers. The students unanimously chose to keep the test. Once again, the unity that arose through a diversity of opinion was right. The shared grade for the Mob was 20 percent higher than the averages on my previous, more normal, midterms. Among the Lone Wolves, one scored higher than
 Romanians Ring in the New Year with Bear Suits          

Photo: Alecsandra Dragoi
University of Portsmouth student Alecsandra Dragoi won the Youth Photographer of the Year award at the 2013 Sony World Photography with this stunning photo above. She captured the image at a New Year festival in Romania, where, apparently, men dressed up in real bear suits parade in the snow to ring in the new year: Link
On Dec. 6, 1917, an overnight express train bearing 300 passengers was approaching Halifax, Nova Scotia, when an unexpected message arrived by telegraph:
“Hold up the train. Ammunition ship afire in harbor making for Pier 6 and will explode. Guess this will be my last message. Good-bye boys.”
The train stopped safely before the burning French cargo ship Mont-Blanc erupted with the force of 2.9 kilotons of TNT, the largest manmade explosion before the advent of nuclear weapons.
The blast killed 2,000 residents, including train dispatcher Vince Coleman. He had remained at work in the telegraph office, sending warnings, until the end.
In 1982 Richard Feynman and his friend Tom Van Sant met in Geneva and decided to visit the physics lab at CERN. “There was a giant machine that was going to be rolled into the line of the particle accelerator,” Van Sant remembered later. “The machine was maybe the size of a two-story building, on tracks, with lights and bulbs and dials and scaffolds all around, with men climbing all over it.
“Feynman said, ‘What experiment is this?’
“The director said, ‘Why, this is an experiment to test the charge-change something-or-other under such-and-such circumstances.’ But he stopped suddenly, and he said, ‘I forgot! This is your theory of charge-change, Dr. Feynman! This is an experiment to demonstrate, if we can, your theory of 15 years ago, called so-and-so.’ He was a little embarrassed at having forgotten it.
“Feynman looked at this big machine, and he said, ‘How much does this cost?’ The man said, ‘Thirty-seven million dollars,’ or whatever it was.
“And Feynman said, ‘You don’t trust me?’”
(Quoted in Christopher Sykes, No Ordinary Genius, 1994.)
The Voice of Alexander Graham Bell    
Alexander Graham Bell worked with sound, tinkering with gadgets to help his wife, who was deaf, communicate. He is known as the inventor of the telephone. He gave the Smithsonian more than
Documents indicated that one wax-and-cardboard disc, from April 15, 1885—a date now deciphered from a wax inscription—contained a recording of Bell speaking.
You can hear that recording and read more about it at Smithsonian. Link
  • Only humans are allergic to poison ivy.
  • GUNPOWDERY BLACKSMITH uses 20 different letters.
  • New York City has no Wal-Marts.
  • “Ignorance of one’s misfortunes is clear gain.” — Euripides
For any four consecutive Fibonacci numbers a, b, c, and d, ad and 2bc form the legs of a Pythagorean triangle and cdab is the hypotenuse.
In the 14th century, an unnamed Kabbalistic scholar declared that the universe contains 301,655,722 angels.
In 1939, English astrophysicist Sir Arthur Eddington calculated that it contains 15,747,724, 136,275,002,577,605,653,961,181,555,468,044,717,914,527,116,709,366,231,425,076,
185,631,031,296 electrons.
“Some like to understand what they believe in,” wrote Stanislaw Lec. “Others like to believe in what they understand.”
One hot summer day in 1904, Speaker of the House Joe Cannon of Illinois visited the House dining room and asked for a bowl of bean soup. He was told that, in view of the sultry weather, it had been omitted from the menu.
“Thunderation!” Cannon roared. “I had my mouth set for bean soup! From now on, hot or cold, rain, snow, or shine, I want it on the menu every day.”
And so it has been, ever since. The recipe was published on the menu in 1955:
2 lb. No. 1 white Michigan beans.
Cover with water and soak overnight.
Drain and re-cover with water.
Add a smoked ham hock and simmer slowly for about 4 hours until beans are cooked tender. Then add salt and pepper to suit taste.
Just before serving, bruise beans with large spoon ladle, enough to cloud. (Serves about six persons)
pedal triangle theorem
From a point P, drop perpendiculars to the sides of a surrounding triangle. This defines three points; connect those to make a new triangle and drop perpendiculars to its sides. If you continue in this way, the fourth triangle will be similar to the original one.
In 1947, Mary Pedoe memorialized this fact with a poem:
Begin with any point called P
(That all-too-common name for points),
Whence, on three-sided ABC
We drop, to make right-angled joints,
Three several plumb-lines, whence ’tis clear
A new triangle should appear.
A ghostly Phoenix on its nest
Brooding a chick among the ashes,
ABC bears within its breast
A younger ABC (with dashes):
A figure destined, not to burn,
But to be dropped on in its turn.
By going through these motions thrice
We fashion two triangles more,
And call them ABC (dashed twice)
And thrice bedashed, but now we score
A chick indeed! Cry gully, gully!
(One moment! I’ll explain more fully.)
The fourth triangle ABC,
Though decadently small in size,
Presents a form that perfectly
Resembles, e’en to casual eyes
Its first progenitor. They are
In strict proportion similar.
The property generalizes: Not only is the third “pedal triangle” of a triangle similar to the original triangle, but the nth “pedal n-gon” of an n-gon is similar to the original n-gon.
Captured by Google Glass        
Google Glass, Jacob Andrews explains, won't change the Internet. It'll just carry the online experience to its inevitable conclusion.
In the future, you will never be offline.
The Lord is my Shepherd; my wants are a’ kent; the pasture I lie on is growthie and green.
I follow by the lip o’ the watirs o’ Peace.
He heals and sterklie hauds my saul: and airts me, for his ain name’s sake, in a’ the fit-roads o’ his holiness.
Aye, and though I bude gang throwe the howe whaur the deid-shadows fa’, I’se fear nae skaith nor ill, for that yersel is aye aside me; yere rod and yere cruik they defend me.
My table ye hae plenish’t afore the een o’ my faes; my heid ye hae chrystit wi’ oyle; my cup is teemin fu’!
And certes, tenderness and mercie sal be my fa’ to the end o’ my days; and syne I’se bide i’ the hoose o’ the Lord, for evir and evir mair!
– William Wye Smith, The New Testament in Braid Scots, 1904
In October 1885 Robert Louis Stevenson’s wife woke him out of a troubled sleep, and he cried, “O, why did you wake me? I was dreaming such a fine bogey tale.”
“One man was being pressed into a cabinet, when he swallowed a drug and changed into another being,” he told an interviewer later. “I awoke and said at once that I had found the missing link for which I had been looking so long, and before I again went to sleep, almost every detail of the story, as it stands, was clear to me.”
He wrote out the tale in three days and presented it to his wife, who said he had overlooked the allegory at the heart of the idea. He grew angry, paced his room, and reappeared. “You are right,” he said. “I have absolutely missed the allegory, which after all is the whole point of it.” He threw the manuscript into the fire and spent another three days rewriting it. In all he wrote 64,000 words in six days.
As he crossed to the United States in September 1887, he had an early intimation of the book’s fame: The ill-tempered pilot of his boat had been nicknamed Hyde, and his better-natured partner was called Jekyll.
Not a good first day as a newscaster
New KFYR news anchor AJ Clemente accidentally curses on air on his first broadcast on the Bismark ND station.
v. to quarrel about trifles
Skill. And a very sharp knife. And someone mentioned the advantage of a great cutting board. A whole watermelon is chopped and ready for salad in 20 seconds flat. (via Viral Viral Videos)
Sandy bottom4
DR. GALL: You see, so many Robots are being manufactured that people are becoming superfluous; man is really a survival. But that he should begin to die out, after a paltry thirty years of competition! That’s the awful part of it. You might think that nature was offended at the manufacture of the Robots. All the universities are sending in long petitions to restrict their production. Otherwise, they say, mankind will become extinct through lack of fertility. But the R.U.R. shareholders, of course, won’t hear of it. All the governments, on the other hand, are clamoring for an increase in production, to raise the standards of their armies. And all the manufacturers in the world are ordering Robots like mad.
HELENA: And has no one demanded that the manufacture should cease altogether?
DR. GALL: No one has the courage.
HELENA: Courage!\
DR. GALL: People would stone him to death. You see, after all, it’s more convenient to get your work done by the Robots.
HELENA: Oh, Doctor, what’s going to become of people?
DR. GALL: God knows, Madame Helena, it looks to us scientists like the end!
– From Karel Čapek’s 1920 play R.U.R., which introduced the word robot
Sight of a womans cleavage
Curiosity killed the cat
Curiosity killed the cat
Wringing a Wet Towel in Orbit
Explanation: What happens if you wring out a wet towel while floating in space? The water shouldn't fall toward the floor because while orbiting the Earth, free falling objects will appear to float. But will the water fly out from the towel, or what? The answer may surprise you. To find out and to further exhibit how strange being in orbit can be, Expedition 35 Commander Chris Hadfield did just this experiment last week in the microgravity of the Earth orbiting International Space Station. As demonstrated in the above video, although a few drops do go flying off, most of the water sticks together and forms a unusual-looking cylindrical sheath in and around the towel. The self-sticking surface tension of water is well known on Earth, for example being used to create artistic water cascades and, more generally, raindrops.
Here we have a mind-blowing confluence of cute: a cat, dressed in a shark costume, riding a Roomba, chasing a duckling around. And if that weren't enough, the dog shows up, dressed in his own hammerhead shark costume. The top YouTube comment:
Art no longer has any meaning. This is the finale. The beautiful long take at the end, holding the tension, breaking the fourth wall, daring the audience with its audacity and self-relexivity. Beyond masterful. Simply breathtaking.
The only thing that could possibly beat this would be if a sloth, a koala, and a red panda were to have a picnic together. -via Tastelessly Offensive
I dig out tiny caves, and store gold and silver in them. I also build bridges of silver and make crowns of gold. Sooner or later, everyone needs my help, yet many people are afraid to let me help them. Who am I?

Continue reading for the answer.
Highlight here for the answer: A dentist.
The Apple Detective The article at Mother Jones is titled Why Your Supermarket Only Sells 5 Kinds of Apples, but it barely touches on that question (the answer seems to be "because agribusiness"). It's really about John Bunker and his quest to cultivate heritage apple varieties before they are lost forever. See, apples are hard to breed. If you want more apples like the ones on a certain tree, you need to clone it by grafting.
Even when abandoned, an apple tree can live more than 200 years, and, like the Giving Tree in Shel Silverstein's book, it will wait patiently for the boy to return. There is a bent old Black Oxford tree in Hallowell, Maine, that is approximately two centuries old and still gives a crop of midnight-purple apples each fall. In places like northern New England, the Appalachian Mountains, and Johnny Appleseed's beloved Ohio River Valley—agricultural byways that have escaped the bulldozer—these centenarians hang on, flickering on the edge of existence, their identity often a mystery to the present homeowners. And John Bunker is determined to save as many as he can before they, and he, are gone.
Bunker is an apple detective, who looks for such old fruit-bearing trees in order to preserve their genes by grafting. Read about his work, and the history of apple cultivation in America. Link  -via Boing Boing
Birth control pills
A home carved into a cliff face has many advantages: it's climate-controlled, easy to defend, and sturdy. It takes quite some time to build, but once it's done, many generations can use it. Cliff homes exist all over the world. Environmental Graffiti introduces us to ten places with cliff dwellings, such as China’s Guyaju cliff dwellings, pictured here, that were built over 1,000 years ago and include hundreds of rooms and even stables for horses. Link -via the Presurfer  
Most of us dream about retiring early and living a long, happy life with complete financial security doing what we love. But can that be done without winning the lottery or getting millions from selling your dotcom?
The answer is yes, according to Mister Money Mustache, who's living proof that one can retire at 30 years old after working regular jobs with regular salaries.
In an interview with Kelly Johnson of The Washington Post, he told us how he did it:
Embrace challenge and shun convenience for its own sake. Ask, “Will this really make me happier in the long run?” about all life decisions. Realize that happiness comes from accomplishment and personal growth, rather than from luxury products. Seek out voluntary discomfort as a way to become stronger, rather than running from it. Develop a healthy sense of self-mockery, and acknowledge that you are a wimp in many ways right now (and only by acknowledging it can you improve). Practice optimism. And of course, ride a bike.
That’s pretty high-level stuff. If you just want the meat and potatoes: Live close to work. Cook your own food. Take care of your own house, garden, hair and body. Don’t borrow money for cars, and don’t drive ridiculous ones. Embrace nature as the best source of recreation. Cancel your TV service. Use a prepaid cellphone. And of course, ride a bike!
He wrote on his blog MrMoneyMustache:
For almost two years, I’ve been preaching a different brand of financial advice from what you see in the newspapers and magazines. The standard line is that life is hard and expensive, so you should keep your nose to the grindstone, clip coupons, save hard for your kids’ college educations, and save any tiny slice of your salary that remains into a 401(k) plan. And pray that nothing goes wrong in the 40 years of career work that it will take to get yourself enough savings to enjoy a brief retirement.
Mr. Money Mustache’s advice? Almost all of that is nonsense: Your current middle-class life is an Exploding Volcano of Wastefulness, and by learning to see the truth in this statement, you will easily be able to cut your expenses in half – leaving you saving half of your income. Or two thirds, or more.
You might not recognize this cowboy, but you know who he is. This is John B. Stetson, who went out West and dreamed up a wide-brimmed felt hat in 1865 to improve upon coonskin caps. The hat that later became known as the Stetson hat protected a man's eyes and face from the sun, and also channeled rainwater away. Read about Stetson and nine other men whose names live on in an article of clothing. Link  -via the Presurfer
Now, wait until I tell you what's in it first! Put down the mug and let me describe Barbara Kiebel's breakfast treat. It has Maker's Mark bourbon, vanilla ice cream, scratch whipped cream made with bourbon and scratch hot fudge made with espresso and coffee liqueur. Okay, now you can drink.
A Moral Principle met a Material Interest on a bridge wide enough for but one.
‘Down, you base thing!’ thundered the Moral Principle, ‘and let me pass over you!’
The Material Interest merely looked in the other’s eyes without saying anything.
‘Ah,’ said the Moral Principle, hesitatingly, ‘let us draw lots to see which shall retire till the other has crossed.’
The Material Interest maintained an unbroken silence and an unwavering stare.
‘In order to avoid a conflict,’ the Moral Principle resumed, somewhat uneasily, ‘I shall myself lie down and let you walk over me.’
Then the Material Interest found a tongue, and by a strange coincidence it was its own tongue. ‘I don’t think you are very good walking,’ it said. ‘I am a little particular about what I have underfoot. Suppose you get off into the water.’
It occurred that way.
— Ambrose Bierce, Fantastic Fables, 1898
Kamakazi of Sex
Kamakazi of sex
How did all FIVE of you get up there? A better question is, how are you all going to get down? Toward the end you'll see how they got up there, but that doesn't help when you're trying to back up and have more cats in your way. -via Daily Picks and Flicks
Undersea Predator Tag Team         
Groupers hunt for small fish in open water, but sometimes they will beckon to a moray eel or a  humphead wrasse to go hunting with them. Morays and wrasses will grab fish out of crevices and places a grouper can't reach -and if it flushes more of them out, the grouper can catch them. But what is weird is how the grouper recruits an eel, as observed by Alexander Vail from the University of Cambridge.
The groupers always summoned the wrasses and morays with a vigorous shimmy, but they also used a second, much rarer signal—a headstand, combined with head-shaking. Vail thinks it was a signal, one that said: “The prey’s in here, guys!”

When doing their headstands, the groupers always swam over the location of hidden prey that they had failed to catch. They only used the move when a moray or wrasse was nearby, continued to do so until one arrived, and stopped as soon as one did.

Most morays and all wrasses headed towards the grouper’s location when they saw the signal, causing the prey to break their cover. (The fact that the prey didn’t abandon their hiding spots beforehand shows that the headstand itself isn’t a hunting tactic.) And when the morays ignored the headstand, the groupers actually swum after their partner and either performed their “recruitment shimmy” or forcibly tried to push the eels in the right direction.
The researchers were impressed, but they caution that such cooperative behavior doesn't necessarily mean these fish have high intelligence. See videos of the tag teams in action at Not Exactly Rocket Science. Link
Proven by Science: Men with Heavy Stubble are Most Attractive       
Why is Thor so attractive? Is it his godlike power or is it just because Chris Hemsworth has a heavy stubble? Science has the answer:
A new study shows that facial hair says a lot about a man and that attractiveness peaks at the "heavy stubble" phase. Researchers photographed 10 men at four stages of beard growth: clean shaven, 5-day "light" stubble, 10-day "heavy" stubble (shown), and fully bearded. Three hundred and fifty-one women and 177 heterosexual men viewed the photos and rated each face for attractiveness, masculinity, health, and parenting ability. Women ranked heavily stubbled faces as the most attractive. Participants said that the clean-shaven men looked about as healthy and attractive as those with a full beard, but rated the bearded men higher for perceived parenting skills. Light stubble got the short end of the stick, garnering low scores across the board from both men and women.
Link | The research paper over at Evolution & Human Behavior
What a fine looking tomato! Hiro, a hairstylist in Osaka, Japan, rendered this amazing haircut. It's one of many strange and lovely haircuts from Japan that Kotaku's Brian Ashcraft found. You can view the rest at the link.
Fundawear from Durex allows touch to be transferred over the internet.
When informed of the accession of Peter III of Russia in 1762, George III said, “Well, there are now nine of us in Europe the third of our respective names”:
  • George III, King of England
  • Charles III, King of Spain
  • Augustus III, King of Poland
  • Frederick III, King of Prussia
  • Charles Emanuel III, King of Sardinia
  • Mustapha III, Emperor of the Turks
  • Peter III, Emperor of Russia
  • Francis III, Duke of Modena
  • Frederick III, Duke of Saxe-Gotha
Such a coincidence was unprecedented in European history.
After sex comments
"Things are not bad in themselves, but our cowardice makes them so.” — Montaigne

Uncle John's Bathroom Reader; The Birth of the Dishwasher.
A Template for Scientific Press Releases and Science News Articles came from the Annals of Improbable Research. Remember it the next time you read a science press release.
How to Win Friends and Inoculate People reprinted from mental_floss magazine. With a bonus video.

Brainteasers from the Bathroom Readers Institute: Bridge Tournament and Diplomacy.
You know how it felt when you found out your boss was paying a co-worker more money than you for doing the same job? In this excerpt from a TED Talk, Frans de Waal presents a classic experiment in which capuchin monkeys were confronted with such unfairness. You'll get a kick out of the way the monkey reacts. You can see the full talk called Moral Behavior in Animals, which covers empathy, reciprocity, and cooperation, as well as fairness, at the TED site. Link -via Viral Viral Videos
Reese's Overload Cake        
Okay, you have three cake layers, two of them peanut butter flavor, and one chocolate cheesecake layer stuffed with chocolate frosting. Then the whole cake is smothered in peanut butter frosting and garnished with chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and pieces of Reese's Cups on top. All those parts except for the garnishes are made from scratch. You can make your own, because the complete recipe is it Hugs & CookiesXOXO. Link -via reddit
A classic song parody from a talented ensemble from a church in Tulsa Oklahoma.
 If one door closes and another one opens, your house is probably haunted.
Golf hazard
A worker grooms away tracks after an alligator crossed through a sand trap on the 14th hole during the first round of the PGA Tour Zurich Classic golf tournament at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, La., Thursday, April 25,
Richie Havens died of a heart attack on Monday at his home in New Jersey at the age of 72.
To Be 6 Again...
A man was sitting on the edge of the bed, watching his  wife, who waslooking at herself in the mirror. Since her birthday was not far off he asked what she'd like to have for her birthday.

'I'd like to be six again', she replied, still looking
in the mirror .

On the morning of her Birthday, he arose early, made her a nice big bowl of Lucky Charms, and then took her to Six Flags theme park. What a day! He put her on every ride in the park; the Death Slide, the Wall
of Fear, the Screaming
Roller Coaster, everything there was.

Five hours later they staggered out of the theme park. Her head was reeling and her stomach felt upside down. He then took her to a McDonald's where he ordered her a Happy Meal with extra fries and a chocolate shake.

Then it was off to a movie, popcorn, a soda pop, and her favorite
candy, M&M's. What a fabulous adventure! Finally she wobbled home with her husband and collapsed into bed exhausted. He leaned over his wife with a big smile and lovingly asked, 'Well Dear, what was it like being six again?'

Her eyes slowly opened and her expression suddenly changed.

'I meant my dress size, you retard!!!!'

The moral of the story: Even when a man is listening, he is gonna get it wrong.
Now this is just bad luck. 

80-year-old Miriam Tucker who was attending a charity event in Florida accidentally swallowed a $5,000 diamond she had just won. 

Organizers of the event placed $10 cubic zirconia stones in the bottom of 399 of 400 champagne glasses. The prized diamond was placed in the last.

Tucker told local media that she didn't want to put her finger in the glass to get the jewel. Instead she took a few sips of champagne. As she was talking and laughing with other women at the table, she realized she swallowed the jewel.

"What a dumb thing," she said.

Meanwhile, organizers and jewelers Joy Pierson and Andy Meyer were puzzled that no one came forward with the diamond.

As they hovered near the table, Tucker eventually spoke up. "She said she swallowed what was in her glass," Pierson said.

Event chairwoman Gina Roth insisted that Tucker follow her to a hospital for an X-ray. The diamond didn't show up, but Tucker already had a colonoscopy scheduled.

She told Dr. Bruce Edgerton what happened and he retrieved the diamond, put it in a bio-hazard bag and gave it to Tucker's daughter. After the procedure, they went to a jewelry store and had the diamond cleaned, tested and verified.

How would you like to be that jeweler. 

"It's an amazing story," said Tucker. She plans to bequeath it to her 13-year-old granddaughter, where the diamond will "stay in the family with a story to go with it."

A blonde and a brunette are walking downtown when the brunette sees her boyfriend in a flower shop. "Just great," the brunette complained to the blonde, "my boyfriend is in the flower shop buying me some flowers." 

The blonde responds, "Why is that a problem?" 

The brunette replies, "Because now he'll expect me to spend all weekend with my legs spread and my feet up in the air." 

"Why?" asked the blonde, "Don't you have a vase?" 

"DC Comics introduced its first-ever transgender character. The character is called 'Wonder If It's a Woman.'" -Conan O'Brien
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~World Record Skinny Dip
A world record has been broken at a Midway Beach in Gisborne New Zealand when 504 skinny dippers shucked their clothes and went skinny dipping and/or chunky dunking in Poverty Bay of the South Pacific Ocean.

A Missouri farmer in his pickup, drove to a neighbor's, and knocked at the door. A boy, about 9, opened the door. 

"Is your Dad home?" 

"No sir, he isn't; he went to town." 

"Well, is your Mother here?" 

"No sir, she went to town with Dad." 

"How about your brother, Howard? Is he here?" 

"No sir, He went with Mom and Dad." 

The rancher stood there for a minute, shifting from one foot to the other, and mumbling to himself. 

"Is there anything I can do for you? I know where all the tools are, if you want to borrow one, or I can give dad a message for ya." 

"Well," said the rancher uncomfortably, "I really wanted to talk to your Dad. It's about your brother Howard getting my daughter Suzie pregnant." 

The boy thought for a moment. "You would have to talk to Dad about that. I know he charges $500 for the bull and $50 for the hog, but I don't know how much he charges for Howard."
… Let the groom order the wedding cake.
Wedding cake

Indian newborn allegedly sold through Facebook --*

LUDHIANA, India - A newborn boy in Ludhiana, India, has been sold for $830 to a New Delhi couple in a Facebook deal, officials said. The alleged deal was uncovered when the infant's mother, Nooran, made a complaint to police that her baby went missing from the hospital where he was born, The Indian Express reported. The report said the boy allegedly was sold to Amit Kumar, who wanted to adopt a baby with his wife, and the deal was made by a hospital attendant named Gurpreet. The Indian Express said police have arrested Gurpreet, the boy's maternal grandfather Feroze Khan, his friend Irfan and nurse Sunita Rani, but Kumar was not yet in custody. The infant was recovered from Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi and returned to his mother, the report said. "A few months ago, I separated from my husband and came to my parents house," the mother said. "On April 14, I gave birth to a boy at Satyam Hospital. After delivery, I was told that my baby is dead. Later on, some people at the hospital told me that my father had sold the baby to nurse Sunita Rani." Nooran's father, an alleged drug addict, told the police he wanted to get the baby adopted as he did not want the expense of raising a child, the report said. 
I cover what's real, hide what is true, but sometimes bring out the courage in you. What am I?

ANSWER: Makeup

QUOTE: "There are strings in the human heart that had better not be vibrated."

HINT: (1812-1870), English writer and social critic.

ANSWER: Charles Dickens.


The human heart can create enough pressure to squirt blood at a distance of 30 ft.

In a lifetime, the heart pumps about one million barrels of blood.

In 1707, medical pioneer John Flower of Staffordshire, invented a stopwatch to measure the human pulse.

The aorta has a diameter similar to a garden hose. Capillaries on the other hand are incredibly thin; it takes 10 of them to equal the diameter of a human hair.

The human heart beats about 100,000 times each day and about 35 million times in a year. The heart, during an average life span, will beat more than 2.5 billion times.

The first human-to-human heart transplant was in 1967. In Cape Town, South Africa, Dr. Christian Barnard successfully transplanted the heart of an 18-year-old car accident victim into Louis Washkansky. Washkansky only lived for 18 days before dying of pneumonia.

My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. 
--Barry Goldwater, The Conscience of a Conservative 

Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action comes, stop thinking and go in. 
--Napoleon Bonaparte


It always seems impossible until it's done. ~ Nelson Mandela 


Message in a bottle found 11 years after it was written --*

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia - A letter in a bottle found by two people fishing in Nova Scotia has led to a reunion of the friends who wrote it in 2002, "never [expecting] anyone to find it." Stephen Hennigar and Alexa Wray were fishing in the Shubenacadie River Wednesday when they found the discarded wine bottle, containing the letter and a few artifacts, CBC News reported. The letter, signed by two teens named Jill and Kelly, read: "The year is 2002. It would be cool if someone found this in the year 3002 or something. We hope it'll go very far." The letter referred to the Sept. 11, 2001, destruction of the World Trade Center and noted Osama bin Laden was "a wanted man." "So we can't let things like this go on any more." It was accompanied by photos of Jill and Kelly and some friends, and after CBC News first carried the story, Jillian Boyce and Kelly Johnston, both 25, said they were the ones who released the bottle. "I never really expected anyone to find it," Boyce said. Johnston said she hasn't seen Boyce "in many, many years." "It's crazy to think that after all this time a silly letter in a bottle could put us back in touch," she said. "Oh my god," said Boyce. "How did it not get ruined?" 


"According to a new survey, women say they feel more comfortable undressing in front of men than they do undressing in front of other women. They say that women are too judgmental, where, of course, men are just grateful. --Jay Leno

Lost Weapons

Swords in the ancient Middle East were made of a substance called Damascus steel, which was noted for its distinctive wavy pattern and famed for producing light, strong, and flexible blades. No one knows how it was made.
In defending Constantinople against the Muslims, the Byzantine Empire used something called “Greek fire,” an incendiary substance that was flung at the enemy’s ships and that burned all the more fiercely when wet. But precisely what it was, and how it was made, have been forgotten.
Lyssophobia is fear of hydrophobia.
  1. It is now true that Clarence will have a cheese omelette for breakfast tomorrow. [Premise]
  2. It is impossible that God should at any time believe what is false, or fail to believe anything that is true. [Premise: divine omniscience]
  3. Therefore, God has always believed that Clarence will have a cheese omelette for breakfast tomorrow. [From 1, 2]
  4. If God has always believed a certain thing, it is not in anyone’s power to bring it about that God has not always believed that thing. [Premise: the unalterability of the past]
  5. Therefore, it is not in Clarence’s power to bring it about that God has not always believed that he would have a cheese omelette for breakfast. [From 3, 4]
  6. It is not possible for it to be true both that God has always believed that Clarence would have a cheese omelette for breakfast, and that he does not in fact have one. [From 2]
  7. Therefore, it is not in Clarence’s power to refrain from having a cheese omelette for breakfast tomorrow. [From 5, 6]
During an appearance on The Dick Cavett Show in 1971, publisher and organic gardening advocate J.I. Rodale boasted, “I’m in such good health that I fell down a long flight of stairs yesterday and I laughed all the way.” When Cavett’s next guest, New York Post columnist Pete Hamill, joined them on the couch, Rodale made a snoring sound. Hamill told Cavett, “This looks bad.”
“The audience laughed at that. I didn’t, because I knew Rodale was dead,” Cavett wrote later in the New York Times. “To this day, I don’t know how I knew. I thought, ‘Good God, I’m in charge here. What do I do?’ Next thing I knew I was holding his wrist, thinking, I don’t know anything about what a wrist is supposed to feel like.”
Rodale had died of a heart attack. The episode was never aired.
So what exactly goes into a healthy compost pile and what do you need to do in order to turn it from grass, leaves and kitchen garbage into a valuable product you can use around your own home? 

The answer is very little. Basically keep it damp and attack it once a week with a shovel. 

What goes into your composting pile... 

Two parts brown to one part green. A compost pile is a teeming community of micro-organisms that help break down yard debris into compost. The best mix of nutrients for these microorganisms is two parts carbon-rich "brown" materials, such as dried leaves, mixed with one part nitrogen-rich "green" materials, such as grass clippings. 

A compost pile with these proportions of brown to green will promote large populations of microorganisms that will heat up yard debris and produce compost quickly. Other proportions of brown to green will create good compost, but will decompose more slowly. 

Maintaining your compost pile... 

* Compost piles or bins should be placed on flat ground, in an area that is convenient to the garden and easy to reach with a wheelbarrow. The best place for low-maintenance com- post pile is on the shady side of a building, like a garage, or under the shade of a tree, where it is easy to keep moist in summer. 

* Air. Composting is the natural, healthy decomposition of organic material by microbes and bacteria. In order to get these microbes and bacteria to thrive you need both air and moisture. Turning your compost heap once a week with a manure shovel or fork will ensure plenty of air. 

* Moisture. Compost materials should feel like a wrung out sponge; moist to touch, but no more than a few drops of water should come out when compost is squeezed in your hand. 

* During extended dry weather you should water your compost pile, and then only enough to moisten it, not drench the contents. 

* Proper temperature is very important. Much heat energy is released by microorganisms as decay occurs. Check the tem- perature with a thermometer. The experienced composter usually checks the temperature by putting his hand 8 inches deep in the pile. The compost should feel too warm to hold your hand in for more than a few seconds. The temperature of 140-150 F is needed to kill many of the pathogenic diseases and weed seeds. Failure to reach this temperature might be caused by too much water, improper aeration, too little nitrogen or too small a pile. 
112. ELLA WHEELER WILCOX: The Winds of Fate
QUOTE: "The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off." 

HINT: (1934-), American feminist, journalist, and social and political activist.

ANSWER: Gloria Steinem

“Illustrated Rebus”
From The Youth’s Companion, Sept. 25, 1879:
Why is this man likely to succeed in life?
Why do we know he has reached middle life?
How does the picture indicate his occupation?
He is bound to XL.
He is over forty.
He is in tent on letters.

Opposites Attract

In 1967 Dmitri Borgmann made his way from UGLY to BEAUTIFUL by means of dictionary definitions:
Kipling called words “the most powerful drug used by mankind.”

The term "Hula Hoop" came from British sailors who had seen hula dancing in the Hawaiian islands and thought the two looked rather similar. 

The original price of the hoop in 1958 was $1.98.

After the hoops was released in 1958, the company Wham-O sold 25 million in the first four months and over 100 million in its first year. 

Billy Joel referenced the sale of the 100 millionth hula hoop by Wham-O as one of the most significant events of 1959 in his song "We didn't Start the Fire." 

The 1980 World Hula Hoop Championship was held in more than 2,000 cities with an estimated two million participants.

The hula hoop craze of the late 50's can be traced to Australia, where children twirled hoops made out of bamboo. When the production of bamboo hoops could not meet the demand, Toltoys was engaged to make hoops out of plastic and sold 400,000 hoops in 1957.


Edwardian journalist Charles Cyril Turner, the world’s first modern aviation correspondent, describes a May morning alone in a balloon over Surrey:
Very slowly I approach a big wood. It would better express the situation were I to say that very slowly a big wood comes nearer to the balloon, for there is no sense of movement, and the earth below seems to be moving slowly past a stationary balloon. … Fifteen hundred feet up and almost absolute silence, broken occasionally by the barking of a dog heard very faintly, or by a voice hailing the balloon, and by an occasional friendly creak of the basket and rigging if I move ever so slightly. Then quite suddenly I am aware of something new.
The balloon has come down a little already, and I scatter a few handfuls of sand and await the certain result. But my attention is no longer on that, it is arrested by this new sound which I hear, surely the most wonderful and the sweetest sound heard by mortal ears. It is the combined singing of thousands of birds, of half the kinds which make the English spring so lovely. I do not hear one above the others; all are blended together in a wonderful harmony without change of pitch or tone, yet never wearying the ear. By very close attention I seem to be able at times to pick out an individual song. No doubt at all there are wrens, and chaffinches, and blackbirds, and thrushes, hedge sparrows, warblers, greenfinches, and bullfinches and a score of others, by the hundred; and their singing comes up to me from that ten-acre wood in one sweet volume of heavenly music. There are people who like jazz!
That’s from Turner’s 1927 memoir The Old Flying Days. Elsewhere he describes approaching the surface of the North Sea far from land: “We could hear the incessant murmur of the commotion of waters as the countless millions of waves and ripples sang together. Surely there is not in nature any sound quite like this, and only in a balloon can it be heard, for by the shore one hears only the turbulent noise of the waters breaking on land, and in any sort of ship the noise of the ship itself makes what to our ears would seem discord.”

"NBC has canceled its reality dating show 'Ready for Love' after three episodes. Viewers complained the show was complicated and confusing � marking the first time a dating show has been canceled for being exactly like dating." -Jimmy Fallon
115. M-O-T-H-E-R
115. M-O-T-H-E-R
Howard Johnson (1887-1941) was an American songwriter and lyricist who has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
M-O-T-H-E-R is a song written by Johnson in 1915.
It seems so right that I do a quote about mother’s this week (besides it being Mother’s Day on Sunday). I’m currently back home in Perth, staying with my parents in my childhood home where my mum is doting on me like I’m a kid again. I recently attended the funeral of the mother of a good friend of mine and I’ve also been spending time with my sister-in-law and two young nieces. So this week has been about loss, nostalgia and hope for the next generation of mother’s and children, which is all represented in the comic I drew.

Celebrate Health from

Whether you're hosting a Mother's Day tea this weekend or entertaining your
friends, impress your guests with these fresh and tasty brunch recipes.

Give your mom something she really needs—the gift of good health

Our simple recipes make your cupcakes even lighter

Secrets for staying healthy (and looking gorgeous!) in the sun
My wife is a very dedicated high school science teacher. She's so dedicated that she's taken time from her busy schedule to be a chaperone at this year's prom. 

So over the last week she said that her students have been going berserk over the prom. It's all they can focus on - that and 'Game of Thrones'. 

She told me that she overheard two high school girls talking about the very romantic ways their boyfriends asked them to prom. The one girl said something about a cutesy handwritten note, but the other had the most hilarious prom invite of all-time. 

This young lady said that her boyfriend sent her a picture of himself wearing nothing but a 6 oz. yogurt container on his twig and berries, and the ultimate question - Wanna go to prom with me? 

When she told me this all I could think about was the fact that a 6 oz. yogurt container was sufficient enough to cover up all of this guy's man-business. Come on, buddy. You have to be more creative and daring when taking such a photo for your lady. 

If it were me I'd of used something more comedic like a golf bag, coffee can, PVC pipe, fun noodle, crock pot, laundry basket, Christmas stocking, or a football helmet, but that's just me. 

And they say romance is dead. 

John Petrie’s Collection of

Winston Churchill Quotes



Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth
but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened.

"Happy Earth Day. Did you know there are Earth Day greeting cards? There is no better way to celebrate Earth Day than chopping down trees to make cards. -Jimmy Kimmel

"Yesterday was Earth Day, and you know what I found here on the 14th floor? � an old-fashioned coal-powered typewriter. I'm so embarrassed." -Dave Letterman

Can I Have the Day Off?

Smith goes to see his supervisor in the front office. "Boss," he says, "We're doing some heavy house-cleaning at home tomorrow, and my wife needs me to help with the attic and the garage, moving and hauling stuff." 

"We're short-handed, Smith" the boss replies. "I can't give you the day off." 

"Thanks, boss," says Smith, "I knew I could count on you!" 
Step outside after the first storm after a dry spell and it invariably hits you: the sweet, fresh, powerfully evocative smell of fresh rain.
If you’ve ever noticed this mysterious scent and wondered what’s responsible for it, you’re not alone.
Back in 1964, a pair of Australian scientists (Isabel Joy Bear and R. G. Thomas) began the scientific study of rain’s aroma in earnest with an article in Nature titled “Nature of Agrillaceous Odor.” In it, they coined the term petrichor to help explain the phenomenon, combining a pair of Greek roots: petra (stone) and ichor (the blood of gods in ancient myth).
In that study and subsequent research, they determined that one of the main causes of this distinctive smell is a blend of oils secreted by some plants during arid periods. When a rainstorm comes after a drought, compounds from the oils—which accumulate over time in dry rocks and soil—are mixed and released into the air. The duo also observed that the oils inhibit seed germination, and speculated that plants produce them to limit competition for scarce water supplies during dry times.
Portland In The News: Wired, Bloomberg, Portland Pulp & More

It's a beautiful day for a cold beer on a sunny patio in Portland, but don't get too cozy. The sinister overlords at the Oregon Liquor Control Commission are scheduled to vote on
time and service restrictions on Oregon patios today due to complaints from nearby residents who hate music, laughter and freedom.

Meanwhile, Portland company Citizen has
created a mobile device that could allow your boss to track your diet and exercise habits. Do you really want your employer to know about the hour a day you say you're going to the gym but in reality spend watching this video of a cat dressed as a shark on a Roomba over and over? Is nothing sacred?

Here's a roundup of the goings-on in Portland this week:

What if your boss tracked your sleep, diet and exercise?

San Francisco Chronicle:
Oregon bars with patios face time restrictions

The Top 12 American Boomtowns

Portland Pulp:
World's Tallest Bike also incredibly terrifying

My daughter and I went through the McDonald's take-out window and I gave the clerk a $5 bill. Our total was $4.25, so I also handed her a quarter. She said, "you gave me too much money."

I said, "Yes I know, but this way you can just give me a dollar bill back."

She sighed and went to get the manager who asked me to repeat my request. I did so, and he handed me back the quarter, and said "We're sorry but they could not do that kind of thing."
The clerk then proceeded to give me back $1 and 75 cents in change.

Do not confuse the clerks at McD's. Or do. Who knows, you might get lucky.

Our knowledge doth but show us our ignorance.
--Owen Feltham, Resolves, (1623), xxvii Of Curiosity of Knowledge 

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. 
--Thomas Jefferson

Military theory should be based on the assumption that uncertainty is inherent in the physical and social world, and unsolvable.
--Barry Watts as quoted in 'Science, Strategy and War'
 Scientists Figure Out What You See While You’re Dreaming

Read more:

"No Way You Live. No Way."


"Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" 

"Go ahead, make my day."

"Yippe-ki-yi-yay, Motherfucker." 

These are the lines I imagine the cop in today's story was reciting in his mind when he terrorized a teenager in line at a McDonald's drive up window in Georgia. 

Some people just shouldn't have guns, and this asshole is one of them. The incident took place earlier this week when the line at the McDonald's drive-thru was moving particularly slow. 

Off-duty officer Detective Sgt. Scott Biumi, 48, of the DeKalb County Police Department had apparently had enough. Leaping out of his car he approached the vehicle at the head of the line, a pickup truck being driven by a local, 18 year-old high school senior, and reaching through the open window stuck his gun in the kid's face. 

"And we were waiting on them to cook the food," said the teenager, "and the cop -- I didn't know at first that he was a cop -- pulled up behind us and waited two or three minutes.... And he got out and started yelling at us, 'Stop holding up the drive-thru line.' He walked back over to his car, got back in, and I said, 'Sorry for the inconvenience, Sir.' And he goes, 'Who has the loud mouth?' And I was, like, 'I said that.' He's like, 'Well, you never know who you're messing with. And there's some crazy people out there.' And that's when he pulled the gun on me, and kept on yelling at me for about thirty more seconds. And then walked off." 

Then the man got back into his car and drove away. 

The teen and his two friends who were also in the truck got the tag number and description of the man's car. 

Forsyth County Sheriff's deputies arrested Biumi and booked him in the Forsyth County jail. He was released the next day on a $22,000 bond.

The DeKalb County Police Chief has since placed Biumi on administrative leave with pay while the case is investigated. 

Administrative leave WITH PAY! Pull a gun on a kid and get a paid vacation. How do I get that job? There are plenty of kids I would love to pull a gun on and I could use a paid vacation. 

There is security camera video of the incident from McDonald's online if you want to look it up. 

Record-breaking Texas bass may be only one of thousands --*

HOUSTON - A 12 1/2-pound bass caught in Texas may be only the first of thousands of record-breaking fish sportsmen can expect to catch, researchers say. The fish, hooked recently in an East Texas lake, has been genetically linked to a 14-pound largemouth bass caught in December 2004 in a lake 450 miles to the south, the Houston Chronicle reported Friday. Jerry Campos caught the 14-pound fish on Falcon Lake in Laredo near the Mexican border. The bass, later named ShareLunker370, was entered into a program at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, Texas, in which fishermen share their prize catches with others. At the center, ShareLunker 370 bred with a female bass that produced 12,699 fingerlings. Some of them were retained at the center but 173 offspring were released into Lake Naconiche in East Texas. There's where the 12 1/2-pounder was caught by Allen Lane Kruse, whose catch set a water-body and catch-and-release record. The center releases fingerlings into more than 60 reservoirs in Texas, so another record-breaking catch is probably just waiting to be pulled out of the water.

Egypt’s Murals Are More Than Just Art, They Are a Form of Revolution

Cairo’s artists have turned their city’s walls into a vast social network

Read more:

Chicago City Guide

The Windy City is a cultural powerhouse boasting some of the country's finest skyscrapers, treasure-trove museums, and a revived restaurant scene.
Watch It Now: Chicago City Guide

What goes up but never comes down?

ANSWER: Your age.
Wanna bet?


QUOTE: "One person's weed is another person's wildflower." 

HINT: (1940-), American mystery writer, author of the China Bayles herbal mysteries.

ANSWER: Susan Wittig Albert.



Tulips are native to Central Asia. Although they are the quintessential Dutch flower, they actually originated in Central Asia, including Turkey, where the tulip is the national flower.

The English word tulip is derived from a Persian word, delband, which means turban. The flower was seen as turban-shaped, hence the name.

Tulips have been cultivated for over 500 years, starting at the point of origin.

The tulip was likely introduced to Europeans in 1554 via a gift from the Ottoman Empire. A European Ambassador was gifted seeds and bulbs, which he then passed to Roman Emperor Ferdinand I and his royal botanist, Carolus Clusius.

In the 1600s when tulips where introduced to Holland, the waxy flower became so wildly popular that an economy of trading known as tulipmania burgeoned nearly overnight. At the peak of tulip mania, some single bulbs sold for more than ten times the annual income of a skilled craftsman.

Tulips did not arrive to the United States until the 1800s. The first referenced account of tulips growing in the U.S. pinpoints Salem and Lynn, Massachusetts. A wealthy land owner, Richard Sullivan Fay, Esq., settled on 500 acres straddling the two towns and here he planted trees and flowers from all over the world.

Greetings Laff Lovers,

My golf buddies and I recently jumped on a plane to visit an old friend of ours who moved to Texas. We were there for four days and we played 36 every day.

At the airport on the way back they had set up the full-body scanning machines. "I don't feel like making my testicles glow, so may I please have a pat-down instead?"

"Earl!" the short, fat female TSA agent shouted, "we got another one don't wanna be x-rayed."

"Step aside Sir, and Earl will be here to administer the rub, I mean the pat-down."

Toothless Earl finally made it to me and explained how it was gonna be.

"OK," I said and he began.

When he got to my inner thigh I said, "Earl, I think I'm getting hard."

Earl didn't think that was too funny but the people around me did...and that just made Earl's hands a little heavier.

"Ow!" I said as the back of Earl's hand smacked my nuts. "OK, OK, I'm not hard anymore, take it easy. I still need those. My wife is a greedy lover."

"Boy," said Earl standing up and looking me in the eye. "I done patted you down and felt what you got, and I gotta say, your wife can't be too greedy."

Guys are like buses...if you miss one, another will be along soon. 

Girls are like buses too...sometimes you just need one for a quick ride. 

I was walking down an alley last night, when I heard, "Help! Help!" coming from behind a dumpster. Two thugs were trying to steal an old lady's handbag, but she was putting up a hell of a fight and wouldn't let go. 

I wondered if I should get involved, or keep walking and pretend I didn't see anything. 

I finally decided that I should help. 

She was a tough old bird, but the three of us finally got that handbag. 
"A brewery in Japan has introduced a beer made from elephant dung. How do you market something like that? 'I don't always drink beer, but when I do, I make sure it comes from an elephant's butt.'" -Craig Ferguson

"A study has found that some people can suffer symptoms of withdrawal when they are forced to stay away from social media sites. This is why I'm not even on Facebook. I update my high school yearbook manually with a pen." -Jimmy Kimmel

"A new study came out that shows that the germiest place in your kitchen is the refrigerator's vegetable drawer. After hearing this, most Americans said, 'We have a vegetable drawer?'" -Conan O'Brien

On a recent trip to Washington, D.C., my brother-in-law overheard a patriotic father pointing out a well-known building to his son. "You see that triangular-shaped octagon over there? That's the Pentagon."


Bryson Andres Meralco Event

My performance of Firework by Katy Perry accompanied by the Philippine Pop Orchestra at Meralco's Luminaries Event!

Bryson Andres new cover of OneRepublic's new song: Counting Stars
Summer is coming and that means all green homeowners will be thinking about starting their composting piles! 

Composting is the best way to dispose of yard waste and much of your household waste that usually ends up in the trash and eventually a landfill

Did you know that depending on the state, a typical U.S. household will produce yard waste up to 300 pounds of green trimmings and brush, 200 pounds of leaves, and 1,000 pounds of grass clippings...every year...every household? 
Most of that can not only be eliminated but turned into a valuable, money-saving product right in your own back yard. 
Home Composting...

* Composting, nature's own way of recycling, is the controlled decomposition of organic material such as leaves, twigs, grass clippings, and vegetable food waste. 

* Composting can be practiced in most backyards in a homemade or manufactured composting bin (some cities do require enclosed bins). If you really want to start simple you can just find a shady corner of your yard and start piling. 

* Eventually you're going to want a bin. Homemade bins can be constructed out of scrap wood, chicken wire, snow fencing or even old garbage cans (with holes punched in the sides and bottom). 

* Ideally you will want your bin to be about four-to five-feet square and no more than three feet deep, in a shaded area, and someplace where it is convenient to get to with your composting materials and water. You can even dig out a shallow, 6-inch pit to get started. 

If small groups are included in the decision-making process, then they should be allowed to make decisions. If an organization sets up teams and then uses them for purely advisory purposes, it loses the true advantage that a team has: namely, collective wisdom.
--James Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds

To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father's has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association-the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it. 
--Thomas Jefferson

Take a long-term view, and the interests of customers and shareholders align.
--Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon


And he whom you cannot teach to fly, teach to fall faster!


Part of making a good decision is just making a decision. You can't always sit and weigh the pros and cons. There just isn't time for that. Making a good decision means sticking with your choice and dealing with what comes with it. Being able to deal with the consequences-that's making a good decision.
--JX Burros, author

The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it. 
--Thomas Jefferson

The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits. 
--Thomas Jefferson

That’s not a mutant crab monster chasing squirrels – it’s a robot inspecting powerlines



Warming up for sex under infrared lights – photographer Leonhard Foeger documented the process as workers collect semen from breeding bulls at an artificial insemination centre in Hohenzell, Upper Austria.

Warm is good.


Honey is the only food on the planet that will not spoil or rot. What it will do is what some call 'turning to sugar'. In reality, honey is always honey. However, when left in a cool dark place for a long time it will "crystallize". When this happens loosen the lid, boil some water and sit the honey container in the hot water, but turn off the heat and let it liquefy naturally. It is then as good as it ever was. Never boil honey or put it in a microwave. This will kill the enzymes in the honey.

Cinnamon and Honey

Bet the drug companies won't like this one getting around. Facts on Honey and Cinnamon:
It is found that a mixture of honey and Cinnamon cures most diseases. Honey is produced in most of the countries of the world. Scientists of today also accept honey as a 'Ram Ban' (very effective) medicine for all kinds of diseases. Honey can be used without side effects for any kind of diseases.
Today's science says that even though honey is sweet, when it is taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm even diabetic patients. Weekly World News, a magazine in Canada, in its issue dated 17 January,1995 has given the following list of diseases that can be cured by honey and cinnamon, as researched by western scientists:


Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder, apply it on bread instead of jelly and jam and eat it regularly for breakfast. It reduces the cholesterol in the arteries and saves the patient from heart attack. Also, those who have already had an attack, when they do this process daily, they are kept miles away from the next attack. Regular use of the above process relieves loss of breath and strengthens the heart beat. In America and Canada, various nursing homes have treated patients successfully and have found that as one ages the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged; honey and cinnamon revitalize the arteries and the veins.
Arthritis patients may take daily (morning and night) one cup of hot water with two tablespoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. When taken regularly even chronic arthritis can be cured. In a recent research conducted at the Copenhagen University, it was found that when the doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon Honey and half teaspoon Cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week (out of the 200 people so treated) practically 73 patients were totally relieved of pain -- and within a month, most all the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis now started walking without pain.


Take two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it. It destroys the germs in the bladder..


Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of Cinnamon Powder mixed in 16 ounces of tea water given to a cholesterol patient was found to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours. As mentioned for arthritic patients, when taken three times a day, any chronic cholesterol is cured. According to information received in the said Journal, pure honey taken with food daily relieves complaints of cholesterol.


Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and, clear the sinuses.


Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomach ache and also clears stomach ulcers from its root.

According to the studies done in India and Japan, it is revealed that when Honey is taken with cinnamon powder the stomach is relieved of gas.


Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacterial and viral attacks. Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron in large amounts. Constant use of Honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles (where DNA is contained) to fight bacterial and viral diseases.


Cinnamon powder sprinkled on two tablespoons of honey taken before food is eaten relieves acidity and digests the heaviest of meals.

A scientist in Spain has proved that honey contains a natural 'Ingredient' which kills the influenza germs and saves the patient from flu.

Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, when taken regularly, arrests the ravages of old age. Use four teaspoons of honey, one teaspoon of cinnamon powder, and three cups of water and boil to make a tea. Drink 1/4 cup, three to four times a day. It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests old age. Life spans increase and even a 100 year old will start performing the chores of a 20-year-old..

When throat has a tickle or is raspy, take one tablespoon of honey and sip until gone. Repeat every three hours until throat is without symptoms. 
Three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder paste. Apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it off the next morning with warm water. When done daily for two weeks, it removes all pimples from the root. 

Applying honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts on the affected parts cures eczema, ringworm and all types of skin infections.


Daily in the morning one half hour before breakfast and on an empty stomach, and at night before sleeping, drink honey and cinnamon powder boiled in one cup of water. When taken regularly, it reduces the weight of even the most obese person. Also, drinking this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.


Recent research in Japan and Australia has revealed that advanced cancer of the stomach and bones have been cured successfully. Patients suffering from these kinds of cancer should daily take one tablespoon of honey with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder three times a day for one month .

Recent studies have shown that the sugar content of honey is more helpful rather than being detrimental to the strength of the body. Senior citizens who take honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts are more alert and flexible. Dr. Milton, who has done research, says that a half tablespoon of honey taken in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder, even when the vitality of the body starts to decrease, when taken daily after brushing and in the afternoon at about 3:00 P.M., the vitality of the body increases within a week.


People of South America, gargle with one teaspoon of honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water first thing in the morning so their breath stays fresh throughout the day.


Daily morning and night honey and cinnamon powder, taken in equal parts restores hearing. Remember when we were kids? We had toast with real butter and cinnamon sprinkled on it!


Just mash potatoes plain with butter or you can add yummy ingredients like cooked bacon, cheese, parsley, green onion, garlic, etc. Stuff in to a greased muffin tin, run a fork along the top and brush with melted butter or olive oil. Bake at 375 degrees or until tops are crispy and golden.

Yes we still need carbs in our diet even when we are trying to lose weight so this is a great way to stick with portion control!!!

Also remember there are varying sizes in muffin pans so you can choose the serving size!! Using mini muffin tins you can turn this into a healthy alternative to chips or wedges too. You still get the soft potato centre with the crunch on the outside without all the fat!!!!
In case you've missed it, this is the video appeal for Storyknife.
See what Storyknife is all about – in 97 seconds.

Here is Mike Dunham's great Storyknife writeup in the Anchorage Daily News.
Author Dana Stabenow hopes to turn her success into a legacy that will benefit future women writers

The symphony musicians had little confidence in the person brought in to be their new conductor. Their fears were realized at the very first rehearsal. The cymbalist, realizing that the conductor did not know what he was doing, angrily clashed his instruments together during a delicate, soft passage. The music stopped. The conductor, highly agitated, looked angrily around the orchestra, demanding, "Who did that? Who did that?"


Employer: "Where did you receive your training?"
Applicant: "Yale."
Employer: "Great, what's your name?"
Applicant: "Yim Yohnson." 


Q and A Quickies --*

Q: What animal has more lives than a cat? 
A: A frog. It croaks every night..

Q: If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring? 
A: Pilgrims. 

Montana man reunited with woman-hating macaw*

GREAT FALLS, Mont. - A Montana man was reunited with his scarlet macaw after five years thanks in part to the bird's distaste for women. Mike Taylor of Great Falls said his bird, Spike, goes by the nickname Love Love and he discovered after adopting the avian with his then-fiancee several years ago that Love Love disliked women due to being abused by a previous owner, the Great Falls (Mont) Tribune reported Tuesday. Taylor said his wife sold the bird when the couple split up about five years ago and he "always wondered" what became of the bird. Taylor said he had his answer when a friend, Steve Caldwell, recognized the bird at Montana's Parrot & Exotic Bird Sanctuary in Butte. "He says, 'Oh, by the way, I seen your bird,'" Taylor said. Taylor said he soon got in touch with Lori McAlexander, executive director of the sanctuary, and was able to convince her of his story by describing the bird's blind eye, toenail deformities, penchant for saying "love love" and his hatred of women. McAlexander said the bird was donated by a woman named Sonia who was bitten mere days after purchasing him. She said only male handlers had been dealing with Spike due to the animal's violent distaste for women. Taylor was reunited with Love Love Sunday at the sanctuary and was able to bring him home with his original cage and the toys that went along with him when his wife sold the bird. "He's just a really neat bird," Taylor said. 

"Our bodies are our gardens to which our wills are gardeners." 
- William Shakespeare 

"As long as you derive inner help and comfort from anything, keep it." 
- Mahatma Gandhi 

"Death is only going to happen to you once; I don't want to miss it." 
- Jim Morrison 

10 Once-Great TV Shows (And The Exact Moments They Started to Suck)

From io9: "We all live in fear of the day when Game of Thrones starts to suck. We've lived through this trauma before - many great television shows went astray, often due to one highly questionable decision. Here 10 once-terrific shows, and the exact moment they started to suck.
Visit: 10 Once-Great TV Shows (And The Exact Moments They Started to Suck)


What could be better than coming up with an excuse you don't have to fret over? This handy gadget can write more than three million of those lifesavers for you!

Real Signs In Shop Windows

Signs In a clothing store: "Wonderful bargains for men with 16 and 17 necks."

In the window of an Oregon general store: "Why go elsewhere to be cheated, when you can come here?" 

In a Pennsylvania cemetery: "Persons are prohibited from picking flowers from any but their own graves."

On a Tennessee highway: "Take notice: when this sign is under water, this road is impassable."

From the safety information card in America WestAirline seat pocket: "If you are sitting in an exit row and can not read this card, please tell a crew member." 

On a Maine shop: "Our motto is to give our customers the lowest possible prices and workmanship."

On a delicatessen wall: "Our best is none too good." 

"My family is really boring. They have a coffee table book called Pictures We took Just to Use Up the Rest of the Film." --Cynthia Levin 

"There's got to be something wrong with people who go to Star Trek conventions. I mean, I like Mary Tyler Moore, too, but I don't rent out a big hall and dress up like Rhoda." --Andy Kindler 

"I'm a grown woman but my father still thinks I know nothing about my car. He always asks me, 'You changing the oil every 3,000 miles?' 'Yes, Dad. I'm also putting sugar in the gas tank. That way my exhaust smells like cotton candy.'" --Mimi Gonzalez 

A professor stood before his class of twenty senior organic biology students, about to hand out the final exam.

"I want to say that it's been a pleasure teaching you this semester. I know you've all worked extremely hard and many of you are off to medical school after summer. So that no one gets their GPA messed up because they might have been celebrating a bit too much this week, anyone who would like to opt out of the final exam today will receive a 'B' for the test."

There was much rejoicing in the class as students got up, walked to the front of the class, and took the professor up on his offer. As the last taker left the room, the professor looked out over the handful of remaining students and asked, "Anyone else? This is your last chance."

One final student rose up and opted out of the final.

The professor closed the door and took attendance of those students remaining. "I'm glad to see you believe in yourselves," he said. "You all get 'A's."


While we were working at a men's clothing store, a customer asked my coworker to help her pick out a tie that would make her husband's blue eyes stand out.

"Ma'am," he explained, "any tie will make blue eyes stand out if you tie it tight enough."

There are two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you've made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you've made a discovery.
--Enrico Fermi


When faced with two equally tough choices, most people choose the third choice: to not choose.
--Jarod Kintz, This Book Title is Invisible

The only good thing about having your back to the wall is that it makes it really easy to choose which way you're going to go.
--Jim Butcher, Cold Days

The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. 
--Thomas Jefferson

There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.
--Nelson Mandela


I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it. ~ Thomas Jefferson


"New York City is considering a law to ban people from wearing costumes in Times Square after a man dressed as the Cookie Monster shoved a little boy. In his defense, Cookie Monster said, 'Boy not give up cookie.'" -Jimmy Fallon

QUOTE: "The earth is what we all have in common."

HINT: (1934-), American man of letters, academic, cultural and economic critic, and farmer.

ANSWER: Wendell Berry.

Q and A Quickies

Q: What is an archaeologist? 
A: Someone who's career is in ruins! 

Q: How does an attorney sleep? 
A: First he lies on one side, then he lies on the other.


Earth Day first began on April 22, 1970, when 20 million people across the United States participated in rallies celebrating nature and decrying activities that put it at risk.

Sen. Gaylord Nelson, a Democrat from Wisconsin, came up with the idea for Earth Day in 1969. Inspired by the anti-Vietnam War "teach-ins" that took place at college campuses all over the nation, Nelson envisioned a large-scale environmental demonstration that would catch the attention of the federal government.

Earth Day had an immediate impact. By the end of the year, the United States saw some of its first major political efforts to protect the environment, including the founding of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The first Earth Day also changed public attitudes. According to the EPA, "Public opinion polls indicate that a permanent change in national priorities followed Earth Day 1970. When polled in May 1971, 25 percent of the U.S. public declared protecting the environment to be an important goal, a 2,500 percent increase over 1969."

Among people who oppose environmental action, a rumor has spread that April 22 was chosen because it's the birthday of Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union. In reality, the date was chosen in 1970 simply because it fell on a Wednesday, when organizers believed that many people would be able to get out of work to participate.

The Earth Day Network works with hundreds of thousands of schools around the globe, helping to integrate environmental themes into the curriculum to ensure that Earth Day has a year-round, lasting impact.

"Elsewhere in the news, a Swedish company was fined today after one of their assembly robots attacked a human worker. And so it begins..." -Craig Ferguson

"For those of you who aren't familiar with Coachella, it's a big music festival in the California desert. If you didn't get tickets or if you're too far away, just get high and pass out in a dumpster behind Trader Joe's. Just like being there." -Jimmy Kimmel

When I was a 20-something college student, I became quite friendly with my study partner, a 64-year-old man, who had returned to school to finish his degree. He confessed, with a wink, that he had once thought more than friendship might be a possibility between us.

"So what changed your mind?" I asked him.

"I went to my doctor and asked if he thought a 40-year age difference between a man and woman was insurmountable. He looked at my chart and said, 'You're interested in someone who's 104?!' 


An applicant was being interviewed for admission to a prominent medical school.

"Tell me," inquired the interviewer, "where do you expect to be five years from now?"

"Well, let's see," replied the student. "It's Wednesday afternoon. I guess I'll be on the golf course by now."

113. VINCENT VAN GOGH: In spite of everything

113. VINCENT VAN GOGH: In spite of everything
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) was a Dutch Post-impressionist painter. Although he had a passion for art since a child, Van Gogh’s first career choice was to become a minister. After studying for a year, Van Gogh failed his entrance exam to a theology school in Amsterdam and later a missionary school in Brussels. Unable to join the Church, Van Gogh decided he would devote himself to art. Although his work was exhibited in his later years, he received no recognition for his work during his life, lived in constant poverty and died having only sold ONE of his paintings. Today he is considered one of the most important artists in history and his vibrant, powerful and expressive paintings sell for millions of dollars.
Van Gogh was the epitome of the ‘tortured artist’. He lived a very sad life and seemed to fail at everything he tried. Besides failing to become a minister, Van Gogh had a disastrous love life (most women found him repulsive), his friendships never lasted (after threatening friend and fellow artist Paul Gauguin with a razor blade, Van Gogh famously cut off his own earlobe) and his art career never went anywhere. He even failed at committing suicide – when Van Gogh shot himself in the chest with a pistol, the bullet missed his vital organs and he was able to walk back to his house where he rested and smoked his pipe. He eventually died the next day after an infection took hold.
Van Gogh was in and out of mental asylums his whole life and it’s unsure whether he suffered from bi-polar disease, schizophrenia, epilepsy or some other kind of mental illness. Throughout all the difficulties in his life, the only thing that gave Van Gogh any kind of peace was the passion he had for his art:
“The work is an absolute necessity for me. I can’t put it off, I don’t care for anything but the work; that is to say, the pleasure in something else ceases at once and I become melancholy when I can’t go on with my work. Then I feel like a weaver who sees that his threads are tangled, and the pattern he had on the loom is gone to hell, and all his thought and exertion is lost.”
Even though he is considered a master today, Van Gogh was plagued with self-doubt and always strived to be a better artist. I thought this quote was great, similar to the message from Ira Glass’s Advice for Beginners:
“It constantly remains a source of disappointment to me that my drawings are not yet what I want them to be. The difficulties are indeed numerous and great, and cannot be overcome at once. To make progress is a kind of miner’s work; it doesn’t advance as quickly as one would like, and as others also expect, but as one stands before such a task, the basic necessities are patience and faithfulness. In fact, I do not think much about the difficulties, because if one thought of them too much one would get stunned or disturbed.”
The quote I used in the comic is taken from one of hundreds of letters Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo. The discouragement he was talking about was a period of extreme poverty and bad luck.
A few readers have emailed me and said that Zen Pencils has played a part in them taking up drawing again, which is probably the best compliment an artist can receive. Have you recently rediscovered your childhood talent, or taken up a new creative hobby? Let us know in the comments :)
- What’s your favourite Van Gogh painting? Mine is probably Starry Night Over the Rhone, although it’s hard to pick just one – he’s always been one of my favourite artists.
- Thanks to Gabriel for submitting this quote.

Healthy Living from

Want a good night's rest? Avoid these insomnia-triggering foods and snooze like a baby.

20 best foods for fiber (plus recipes!)

Swimsuits that suck you in, stay put, and look cute to boot!

Breeze through the season with these 10 skin and hair tricks
Last year, to celebrate the 42nd Earth Day, we took a look at 10 of the most surprising, disheartening, and exciting things we’d learned about our home planet in the previous year—a list that included discoveries about the role pesticides play in bee colony collapses, the various environmental stresses faced by the world’s oceans and the millions of unknown species are still out in the environment, waiting to be found.
This year, in time for Earth Day on Monday, we’ve done it again, putting together another list of 10 notable discoveries made by scientists since Earth Day 2012—a list that ranges from specific topics (a species of plant, a group of catfish) to broad (the core of planet Earth), and from the alarming (the consequences of climate change) to the awe-inspiring (Earth’s place in the universe).
1. Trash is accumulating everywhere, even in AntarcticaAs we’ve explored the most remote stretches of the planet, we’ve consistently left behind a trail of one supply in particular: garbage. Even in Antarctica, a February study found (PDF), abandoned field huts and piles of trash are mounting. Meanwhile, in the fall, a new research expedition went to study the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, counting nearly 70,000 pieces of garbage over the course of a month at sea.
2. Climate change could erode the ozone layer. Until recently, atmospheric scientists viewed climate change and the disintegration of the ozone layer as entirely distinct problems. Then, in July, Harvard researcher Jim Anderson (who won a Smithsonian Ingenuity Award for his work) led a team that published the troubling finding that the two might be linked. Some warm summer storms, they discovered, can pull moisture up into the stratosphere, an atmospheric layer 6 miles up. Through a chain of chemical reactions, this moisture can lead to the disintegration of ozone, which is crucial for protecting us from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Climate change, unfortunately,  is projected to cause more of these sorts of storms.
3. This flower lives on exactly two cliffs in Spain. In September, Spanish scientists told us about one of the most astounding survival stories in the plant kingdom: Borderea chouardii, an extremely rare flowering plant that is found on only two adjacent cliffs in the Pyrenees. The species is believed to be a relic of the Tertiary Period, which ended more than 2 million years ago, and relies on several different local ant species to spread pollen between its two local populations.
4. Some catfish have learned to kill pigeons. In December, a group of French scientists revealed a phenomenon they’d carefully been observing over the previous year: a group of catfish in Southwestern France had learned how to leap onto shore, briefly strand themselves, and swim back into the water to consume their prey. With more than 2,000,000 Youtube views so far, this is clearly one of the year’s most widely enjoyed scientific discoveries.
5. Fracking for natural gas can trigger moderate earthquakes. Scientists have known for a while that whenever oil and gas are extracted from the ground at a large scale, seismic activity can be induced. Over the past few years, evidence has mounted that injecting water, sand and chemicals into bedrock to cause gas and oil to flow upward—a practice commonly known as fracking—can cause earthquakes by lubricating pre-existing faults in the ground. Initially, scientists found correlations between fracking sites and the number of small earthquakes in particular areas. Then, in March, other researchers found evidence that a medium-sized 2011 earthquake in Oklahoma(which registered a 5.7 on the moment magnitude scale) was likely caused by injecting wastewater into wells to extract oil.
6. Our planet’s inner core is more complicated than we thought. Despite decades of research, new data on the iron and nickel ball 3,100 miles beneath our feet continue to upset our assumptions about just how the earth’s core operates. A paper published last May showed that iron in the outer parts of the inner core is losing heat much more quickly than previously estimated, suggesting that it might hold more radioactive energy than we’d assumed, or that novel and unknown chemical interactions are occurring. Ideas for directly probing the core are widely regarded as pipe dreams, so our only options remains studying it from afar, largely by monitoring seismic waves.
7. The world’s most intense natural color comes from an African fruit. When a team of researchers looked closely at the blue berries of Pollia condensata, a wild plant that grows in East Africa, they found something unexpected: it uses an uncommon structural coloration method to produce the most intense natural color ever measured. Instead of pigments, the fruit’s brilliant blue results from nanoscale-size cellulose strands layered in twisting shapes, which which interact with each other to scatter light in all directions.
8. Climate change will let ships cruise across the North PoleClimate change is sure to create countless problems for many people around the world, but one specific group is likely to see a significant benefit from it: international shipping companies. A study published last month found that rising temperatures make it probable that during summertime, reinforced ice-breaking ships will be able to sail directly across the North Pole—an area currently covered by up to 65 feet of ice—by the year 2040. This dramatic shift will shorten shipping routes from North America and Europe to Asia.
9. One bacteria species conducts electricity. In October, a group of Danish researchers revealed that the seafloor mud of Aarhus’ harbor was coursing with electricity due to an unlikely source: mutlicellular bacteria that behave like tiny electrical cables. The organisms, the team found, built structures that traveled several centimeters down into the sediment and conduct measurable levels of electricity. The researchers speculate that this seemingly strange behavior is a byproduct of the way of the bacteria harvests energy from the nutrients buried in the soil.
Kepler 62f, discovered yesterday, is the most promising exoplanet candidate yet in terms of its potential to harbor life. Image via NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech
10. Our Earth isn’t alone. Okay, this one might not technically be a discovery about Earth, but over the past year we have learned a tremendous amount about what our Earth isn’t: the only habitable planet in the visible universe. The pace of exoplanet detection has accelerated rapidly, with a total of 866 planets in other solar systems discovered so far. As our methods have become more refined, we’ve been able to detect smaller and smaller planets, and just yesterday, scientists finally discovered a pair of distant planets in the habitable zone of their stars that are relatively close in size to Earth, making it more likely than ever that we might have spied an alien planet that actually supports life.
Document Deep Dive: What Was on the First SAT?
Explore the exam that has been stressing out college-bound high school students since 1926
 Area 51: Origins
America’s once-secret air base had humble beginnings.
Stranger in a Strange Land
Here is the link: Her parting words are interesting: No one remembered the fact that such drastic cutting had been done on this book; over the course of years all the editors and senior officers at the publishing house had changed. So this version was a complete surprise to them. They decided to publish the original version, agreeing that it was better than the cut one. You now have in your hands the original version of Stranger in a Strange Land, as written by Robert Anson Heinlein. The given names of the chief characters have great importance to the plot. They were carefully selected: Jubal means "the father of all," Michael stands for "Who is like God?" I leave it for the reader to find out what the other names mean. -Virginia Heinlein Carmel, California
Regarding the two versions of the book, here is an article that might help you decide which to read:
I'm reading the longer version this time.
1 cup flour
1 cup water
2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
food coloring
Mix together all the ingredients, except the food coloring, in a 2 quart saucepan. Cook over low/medium heat, stirring. Once it begins to thicken, add the food coloring. Continue stirring until the mixture is much thicker and begins to gather around the spoon.
Remove the dough onto wax paper or a plate to cool....
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Quote of the day :

An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes, which can be made, in a very narrow field. 

Niels Bohr

We take a lot of things for granted in the world we live in that just aren't true, or at least not accurate. Like...

Random Facts:

There are not 24 hours in a day. There are 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4 seconds - the time it takes Earth to rotate on its axis, called a sidereal day. 

Despite the towering heights of the Himalayas and the depths of the deepest ocean, compared to its circumference Earth is smoother than a bowling ball. Mountains and ocean trenches make up only 1/500th of the Earth's circumference. 

A couple of old guys in Palm Desert were golfing when one mentioned that he was going to go to Dr. Smith for a new set of dentures in the morning.

His elderly buddy remarked that he too had gone to the very same dentist two years before. 

"Is that so?" asked the first old guy. "Did he do a good job?" 

The second oldster replied, "Well, I was on the golf course yesterday when a guy on the next fairway hooked a shot. The ball must have been going at least 100 mph when it smacked me right in the balls." 

The first old guy was confused and asked, "What the hell does that have to do with your dentures?" 

"It was the first time my teeth didn't hurt..."
On the art-science of “allowing the various petals of our identity to fully unfold.”

A mother in law said to her son's wife when their baby was born: "I don't mean to be rude but he doesn't look anything like my son." 

The daughter-in-law lifted her skirt and said: "I don't mean to be rude either, but this is a pussy...not a fucking photo-copier."

"A new study has found that men have a hard time reading women's facial expressions. The main reason? They are not usually looking at her face." -Jay Leno

Top 10 Country Western Songs:

10. I Hate Every Bone In Her Body But Mine.

9. I Ain't Never Gone To Bed With an Ugly Woman But I Woke Up With a Few.

8. If The Phone Don't Ring, You'll Know It's Me.

7. I've Missed You, But My Aim's Improvin'.

6. Wouldn't Take Her To A Dogfight 'Cause I'm Scared She'd Win.

5. I'm So Miserable Without You It's Like You're Still Here.

4. My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend And I Miss Him.

3. She Took My Ring and Gave Me the Finger.

2. She's Lookin' Better with Every Beer.

And the Number One Country & Western song is:

1. It's Hard To Kiss The Lips At Night That Chewed My Ass All Day.

"After being named the unhappiest and the fattest state in the country, West Virginia has now been named the most stressed-out state. Researchers aren't sure why, but they think it might have something to do with being called sad and fat." -Jimmy Fallon

"According to a new study, the best job in America is actuary ~ primarily because no one knows what an actuary is. So they don't have to do much." -Jimmy Kimmel

"Near Antarctica, scientists just discovered some new undersea creatures. I believe this deep sea discovery is yet more evidence of the wonderful bio-diversity in our oceans that we have to clear out if we're going to get at that tasty crude oil." -Craig Ferguson

Famous Movie Quotes (The First Drafts)

The Godfather: "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse. Well, he can refuse it, of course. I just know that if someone were to make me an offer like this, I'd jump all over it. But who am I to impose my feelings on someone else?"

The Terminator: "I'll be back. Do you need anything while I'm out?"

Dirty Harry: "You've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? I ask myself that every day, and you know what? I feel so very lucky. Loving family, steady work..."

Taxi Driver: "You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Sorry, it looked like you were talkin' to me. My mistake." 

As a jet was flying over Arizona on a clear day, the copilot was providing his passengers with a running commentary about landmarks over the PA system. 

"Coming up on the right, you can see the Meteor Crater, which is a major tourist attraction in northern Arizona. It was formed when a lump of nickel and iron, roughly 150 feet in diameter and weighing 300,000 tons, struck the earth 50,000 years ago at about 40,000 miles an hour, scattering white-hot debris for miles in every direction. The hole measures nearly a mile across and is 570 feet deep." 

The lady sitting next to me exclaimed: "Wow, look! It just missed the highway!" 

QUOTE: "Ice-cream is exquisite--what a pity it isn't illegal."

HINT: (1694-1778), French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher. 

ANSWER: Voltaire.


In the first century AD, the Roman Emperor Nero developed a taste for a frozen dessert. He ordered runners to pass buckets of snow from the mountains along the Appian Way down to Rome. The snow was flavored with red wine and honey to be served at banquets.

The Chinese may have been the inventors of ice cream. In the first millennium AD, Marco Polo returned to Venice from his trip to the Far East, with ancient recipes for concoctions made of snow, fruit juice and fruit pulp.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan officially designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month would be celebrated as National Ice Cream Day. More ice cream is sold on Sunday than any other day of the week.

Wall's was the first company to sell ice cream from tricycles. In 1924, this new marketing concept was launched with the slogan "Stop me and buy one." To "equalize the seasonality," the Wall's company would complement their summer ice-cream season with a winter sausage one.

The top five most popular ice cream flavors in the U.S. are vanilla, chocolate, Neapolitan, strawberry, and cookies n' cream, in that order. Vanilla accounts for nearly 1/4 of all sales.

In 1924, the average American ate eight pints a year. According to the International Dairy Foods Association, the figure had jumped to 48 pints a year by 1997.

A Natural History of Love

"A one-syllable word heavy as a heartbeat … a sort of traffic accident of the heart."
"You can never know anyone as completely as you want. But that’s okay, love is better," a wise woman wrote. But what, exactly, is love? Literary history has given us a wealth of beautiful definitions, mathematicians have calculated its odds, and psychologists have dissected its mechanisms. Love has been hacked, illustrated, coached, and reimagined. And yet the heart's supreme potential remains ever-elusive.
Written nearly two decades ago, A Natural History Of Love (public library) by prolific science historian Diane Ackerman, Carl Sagan's favorite cosmic poet, endures as one of the most dimensional explorations of humanity's highest emotion. Ackerman begins with a meditation on love's many faces, inescapable power, and ineffable nature:
Love is the great intangible. In our nightmares, we can create beasts out of pure emotion. Hate stalks the streets with dripping fangs, fear flies down narrow alleyways on leather wings, and jealousy spins sticky webs across the sky. In daydreams, we can maneuver with poise, foiling an opponent, scoring high on fields of glory while crowds cheer, cutting fast to the heart of an adventure. But what dream state is love? Frantic and serene, vigilant and calm, wrung-out and fortified, explosive and sedate – love commands a vast army of moods. Hoping for victory, limping from the latest skirmish, lovers enter the arena once again. Sitting still, we are as daring as gladiators. … Love is the white light of emotion. It includes many feelings which, out of laziness and confusion, we crowd into one simple word. Art is the prism that sets them free, then follows the gyrations of one or a few. When art separates this thick tangle of feelings, love bares its bones. But it cannot be measured or mapped. Everyone admits that love is wonderful and necessary, yet no one can agree on what it is.
Explore dates, links, and locations, and start planning your trip
Our interactive 2013 Air Show Guide links you to 93 events with thrilling aerial displays, pyrotechnics, and static exhibits by civilian performers. But this season, don't look for U.S. military aircraft.
When the federal budget came under sequestration early this year, jet teams such as the USAF Thunderbirds and the US Navy Blue Angels canceled all public performances, as did units flying individual aircraft like the F-22 Raptor. Many air shows were canceled, while others had to scale back.
There may be fewer aircraft to see this year, but our handy Spotter's Guide is still available to download. You can either view it on the Web, print out a two-sided PDF to carry with you, or call it up on your mobile device ( while you're at the show.
Here's a classic... 

A while back I was trying on some coats to see if they would fit me. I love to do that every now and again, but the best part is what you might find in the pockets - items like kleenex, ticket stubs, receipts, keys and best of all... MONEY!!! 

But needless to say I was fired from my coat check job. Hey, sometimes you've got to make your own fun. 

Q and A Quickies

Q: Why did Sally give up on her ballet lessons?
A: Because they were too too difficult.

Q: Why does it take longer to run from second to third base than it does from first to second? 
A: Because you have a short stop between second and third. 

Q: How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh? 
A: Ten-ticles!!! 

Q: What did Cinderella say when her photos did not show up? 
A: Someday my prints will come! 

A Man Walks Into A Bar

A man walks into a bar with a little salamander-looking creature in his hand. The barman looks at the creature and asks the man what he calls it. 

"Tiny," replies the man. 

"Why's that?" asks the bartender. 

"Because he's my newt!" 
On the imminent closing of the Black Cat in Sellwood





When you wish upon a star