Friday, July 31, 2015

Real life hero lifts car off crosswalk ----Aunt Jeannie

When you come upon an obstacle in life, whether physical or mental, there are generally two possible solutions: take on the obstruction directly or avoid it by going around. The laid back guy in this clip looks more than in shape enough to compete in an upcoming strong-man contest, and he definitely takes the former approach. Sure, riding his bike past an annoyingly parked car in the way was a viable option, but this man decided to get a little extra workout while out on his cruise.

Usually the work of moving a poorly parked hatchback requires at least some heavy machinery for assistance, but this guy is able to do it only with his brawn. Nonchalant would best describe this muscular man's demeanor the whole time, though. While the stunt is impressive, the way that this clip ends is perhaps best of all.

Aunt Jeannie , hope this make you smile . This guy means business . One of daddy and his  friends jokes when they took a year off from university to travel across  Europe and other countries.
Lets hear it from daddy  (Mr. Humble ).
The Cubs ..we love you

Absolutely cool!  I hate these people who think they are more important than everyone else and rules don't apply to them!
My buddies and I  (5)  was in Paris one New Year's Eve. Tour bus drivers get a huge bonus if they go the entire year with no damage or problems with the bus. This was the driver's last day with none. A car was parked in a way that the bus could never make the turn & couldn't back up. We all got off the bus, picked up the car, carried it across the street to the sidewalk! Can you imagine the driver thinking how drunk he had to be when he went for his car? 

Daddy (smiling)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
My boyfriend's daughter has been acting out recently . After my boyfriend spoke to her, she admitted she feels alone because she does not have a mother . Her mother has been removed from the family for many years and my boyfriend's daughter is legally protected from her . Now that I am her father's partner, I would like to bond with her and help her have an older female figure in her life . I do not want to overstep my boundaries , but I want her to know that the girly experience that she cannot have with her mother , she can have with me . how do I broach this topic ? I do not want to seem insensitive or over eager , but I want her to know she can rely on me .
Treading Lightly
Dear Treading Lightly ,
First , evaluate your relationship with your boyfriend . Do you feel this going to be a long-lasting union ? If not, you probably don't want to form too close a bond with his daughter, only to end it some time soon and hurt her .
 Next , get your boyfriend 's blessing to strike up a closer relationship with his daughter . You definitely want and also need his agreement that this is a good idea . If all is a go, start slowly and gently to initiate experiences that you can share with this young lady . The range of activities you can consider is broad .
Ask her what she would like to do . "Girly" activities range from going to the nail salon to going shopping. Depending on her age, she might like to create arts and crafts with you or participate in sports . How about watching chick flicks together with a bowl of popcorn, or even just sitting around talking ?  Find out what interests her, with the object of  getting to know her better and forging a bond . Also let her know you would like to be a friend and you will be there for her if ever she needs one.

Dear Maxy , 
I belong to a strict yacht and country club where there are many rules . Although the rules are not clearly stated , they are meant to be universally known .
One of the most awkward rules to explain to my guests is that there is a no-texting rule when one is at the club. I need to maintain a good reputation but with my teenage children and their guests, I am not always heard . I do not want to have to reprimand others' children , but I feel so embarrassed when I look over to see teenagers eating and staring at their laps . What should I do ?
Club Rules
Dear  Club Rules ,
When in Rome, right ? Prep your guests well in advance of arriving at the club . Inform them about proper attire and behavior, as required by club rules.
As  far as the cellphones go, if one of the teen guests breaks the ban on texting, after being told the regulations, ask them if you may hold their cell for them for the duration of their visit . This will force them to interact with each other and allow you to follow the protocol of the club . I am sure you would only have to do that once to get the message across.

Dear Maxy ,
Why do some people insist on arriving late for family dinners ? My husband and I are great-grandparents with the only home large enough to set up and cook and I set the time that seems most convenient for our family members .
When there is a football game in the evening, I set the time for noon . When there is early morning rain, I set time for late afternoon . When asked if we can set a specific hour, I always agree . On Memorial Day I told everyone to be here at 1 p.m. Ten people were here waiting , and the last two came in 45 minutes later. 
We didn't sit down to eat until after 2 . This is awkward for everone, but especially the young children, who are hungry, seniors who haven't eaten since early morning, and one family member who is diabetic and needs to time her insulin .
Why is it no longer polite to be punctual ?
Late Arrival
Dear Late ,
It  is still polite to be punctual, but some folks are simply inconsiderate . If there is only one couple that does this regularly, feel free to tell them that the festivities start an hour earlier than you tell everyone else . Otherwise, here's how to treat chronically late family members : Set the time and when that time arrives, sit down and start eating . Those who show up late can be told to find leftovers in the  kitchen or join you for dessert . They will either accommodate themselves or make a greater effort to show up on time  at the next family event . Either way, the rest of you should not be held hostage to their bad manners .

Dear Maxy ,
My wife and I are lucky to live near the friendliest, most helpful neighbors we could ask for . They are a middle-aged European couple who moved to the states two years ago .
Here's the problem . They have a swimming pool in their backyard, and when they use it , they do not wear swimsuits . I assume they are just doing what's normal in their native country .
When I am outside, I simply try to look the other way and ignore them . However  when they see me or my wife , they almost always call out to say hello and to start a conversation. My wife is not bothered by it , and will go over and talk to them .
However, I'm not so comfortable . Generally, I wave and go back into the house until they are out of the pool.
My wife says I am overreacting , but I don't think I should feel uncomfortable in my own back yard . 
My wife does not want to put up a fence, as she thinks it would be unsightly and unwelcoming . Can you help ?
Neighbors of Lord and Lady Godiva

Dear Neighbors ,
You cannot stop the folks next door  from sunbathing nude unless their are restrictions in your town . Some European countries are indeed more liberal about nudity. However, you should definitely not have to feel reluctant  to use your own yard when the neighbors are out .
The solution, truly, is a fence ( there are some very attractive designs out there these days) or perhaps some type of shrubbery that would allow each of you to have more privacy . There is nothing unwelcoming or unsightly about nice trees, bushes and plants. Your neighbors will get the benefit of them too. 
I think your wife will understand your discomfort if your upbringing was more conservative. Apparently, she has adapted very well; perhaps she even envies your neighbors' freedom.

Monday, July 27, 2015

To aunt Jeannie ----Science, tech leaders warn of worldwide Al arms race

In a letter presented at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires, the group wrote that "AI technology has reached a point where the deployment of [autonomous weapons] is – practically if not legally – feasible within years, not decades, and the stakes are high: autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms."

The letter asks the United Nations to ban the use of autonomous weapons.

The argument, as The Guardian points out, is going to war would be an easier decision if robots are the ones fighting.

Drone strikes are already a contentious issue in the U.S., but reliable statistics for how many are killed by those strikes overseas every year are tough to come by.

Civilian deaths caused by drones are also an issue, though President Obama's defended their use.

"Actually, drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties. For the most part, they've been very precise precision strikes against Al-Qaeda and their affiliates, and we're very careful in terms of how it's been applied," Obama said.

Musk has warned of this kind of AI takeover before, including this August 2014 tweet reading, "We need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes." 

Aunt Jeannie , mankind likes wars , it been like that since the beginning of time .
Six on one hand half a dozen on the other hand ,what you think ?
Your Junior scientists :  Jonny and Chris

Hello my favorite junior scientists

Thank You

I love this article

Wow! What a great topic! You could make such a fantastic debate out of this. 
 Autonomous Weapons Systems (AWS) are defined by the U.S. Department of Defense as weapons that, once activated, can select and destroy targets without intervention by a human operator. This will change the entire structure of war. Worldwide concern has been growing about the idea of developing weapons systems that take human beings “out of the loop.” An AI cannot make ethical and moral judgments. It has no intuition to perceive when a change of situation might call for a different plan. It has no compassion for the people it kills. When activated, it has one goal, one prime directive and it may not be so easy to cancel the mission or call back the AWS in future. I believe it is ethically necessary to keep that human factor in warfare ( although I do not agree with warfare at all ... I realize it is not going away any time soon ). It is too easy to push a couple of buttons and let robots take over the battle. Then one does not have to feel remorse or responsibility for the lives that are taken. And one could easily lose touch with the reality that human beings are being annihilated.
 If a given AWS is merely applying a set of preprogrammed instructions, then, presumably its designers and operators are the ones morally responsible for its behavior.  But if the AWS in question is capable (at some future date) of making genuine moral judgments in its own right, then that would appear to shift the weight of responsibility to the AWS itself.  And if this is the case, who is legally and morally responsible for the decisions the AWS makes and the people it kills? 
We are going in a bad direction but I don't see how we can stop the progress.
The future holds even greater fears. One hypothesis is antimatter weapons. Scientists are currently working with antimatter and have isolated antimatter particles at CERN.
When matter and antimatter collide, they completely annihilate each other. So you can see the military potential. One gram ( one quarter of a teaspoon ) of antimatter annihilating with one gram of matter produces the equivalent explosion of 42.96 kilotons of TNT (approximately 3 times the bomb dropped on Hiroshima ). There would be no radio-active fallout, nuclear winter or collateral damage.
 The delay in this area of research is that antimatter is very hard to produce  and even harder to contain, also very dangerous. And the expense would be sky high with enormous amounts of energy used .  It would take thousands or even a million years to produce one gram of antimatter with the knowledge in use today. Our present technology is just not sophisticated enough to handle this....yet. But you and I know they will continue to research. For now, they are still working on Fusion Bombs. If these kinds of weapons were loaded on an AWS, can you imagine the enormous responsibility placed on an AI? Would you want the future of the world to rest on a bunch of printed circuits??

As for whether Mankind is naturally or genetically warlike. This is another topic I like and I bet you could make an awesome debate about the pros and cons :
This is the way I see that situation. If we all enjoyed war, there would be nobody left and efforts at peace would be futile. We all would have just given up and shot each other by now. What we have is a balance of war mongers and peacekeepers. Sometimes the balance tips one way and sometimes the other way.
When we became a species, we were not warlike. We were driven by a biological imperative, which means just surviving and reproducing. So we were dependent on each other to watch each other's backs, hunt together and huddle together in the communal cave for warmth. Of course we had to be a little aggressive and up for a challenge, so we could hunt and explore and defend ourselves from a world full of predators. So we had no time or need for war.
So, what changed us? Scientists think war came into being about ten thousand years ago, when we discovered agriculture. We began to acquire things that other people wanted and tried to stored food, domesticated animals and tools and little plots of cultivated land. Men became territorial about their plots of land and possessions and defended them. This appears to be when hostilities between men became a part of our history.
 The danger lies in believing that the violence we see now is an innate or natural instinct for war. When you believe that, it can become a highly destructive, self-fulfilling prophecy, not only closing off possible avenues of peaceful conflict resolution, but actually making war more likely.

If you have an argument that can change my mind then 'come on back'.
Much love,
Peace Keeping Genie

PS: Sorry guys, I got pretty long winded. But these are things I like to discuss.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Snake ancestor had four legs and 'dug burrows'

The snake's legs were just a few millimetres long

A 113-million-year-old fossil from Brazil is the first four-legged snake that scientists have ever seen.
Several other fossil snakes have been found with hind limbs, but the new find is estimated to be a direct ancestor of modern snakes. Its tiny, delicate arms and legs were not used for walking, but probably helped the creature to grab its prey.
The fossil shows adaptations for burrowing, not swimming, strengthening the idea that snakes evolved on land.
"This is the most primitive fossil snake known, and it's pretty clearly not aquatic," said Dr Nick Longrich.

Speaking to Science in Action, Dr Longrich explained that the creature's tail wasn't paddle-shaped for swimming and it had no sign of fins; meanwhile its long trunk and short snout were typical of a burrower. It has a lot of very advanced snake features including its hooked teeth, flexible jaw and spine - and even snake-like scales.
"It's pretty straight-up adapted for burrowing," he said.
"And there's the gut contents - it's swallowed another vertebrate. It was preying on other land animals, which is a snake feature."
"It was pretty unambiguously a snake. It's just got little arms and little legs."
Deadly embrace?
At 4mm and 7mm long respectively, those arms and legs are little indeed. But Dr Longrich was surprised to discover that they were far from being "vestigial" evolutionary leftovers, dangling uselessly."They're actually very highly specialized - they have very long, skinny fingers and toes, with little claws on the end. What we think [these animals] are doing is they've stopped using them for walking and they're using them for grasping their prey."

four-legged snake fossil
The 20cm snake lived about 113 million years ago, at the same time as many species of  dinosaurs   
That comparatively feeble grasp, which may have also been applied during mating, is where the species gets its name. Tetrapodophis, the fossil's new genus, means four-footed snake, but amplectus is Latin for "embrace".
"It would sort of embrace or hug its prey with its forelimbs and hindlimbs. So it's the huggy snake," Dr Longrich said.
In order to try to pinpoint the huggy snake's place in history, the team constructed a family tree using known information about the physical and genetic make-up of living and ancient snakes. That analysis positioned T. amplectus as a branch - the earliest branch - on the very same tree that gave rise to modern snakes.

fossil snake stomach contents

Judging by its stomach contents, the snake's final meal was a small, unfortunate vertebrate 
All the latest findings suggest that the ancestor of all snakes was a terrestrial animal... which lived partially underground.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

"Failure to improve 'gun control' distressing"... President Obama interview with BBC

President Barack Obama participates in an interview with Jon Sopel of BBC in the Roosevelt Room of the White House - 23 July 2015

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Obama said it was "distressing" not to have made progress on the gun law issue "even in the face of repeated mass killings".
He vowed to keep trying, but the BBC's North America editor Jon Sopel said the president did not sound very confident.
However, Mr Obama said race relations had improved during his presidency.
In a wide-ranging interview, President Obama also said:
  • The UK must stay in the EU to have influence on the world stage
  • He is confident the Iran nuclear deal will be passed by Congress
  • Syria needs a political solution in order to defeat the Islamic State group
  • He would speak "bluntly" against corruption and human rights violations in Kenya
  • He would defend his advocacy of gay rights following protests in Kenya
  • Despite racial tensions, the US is becoming more diverse and more tolerant
But with just 18 months left in power, he said gun control was the area where he has been "most frustrated and most stymied" since coming to power in 2009.
"If you look at the number of Americans killed since 9/11 by terrorism, it's less than 100. If you look at the number that have been killed by gun violence, it's in the tens of thousands," Mr Obama said.

Gun control campaigners protest in McPhearson Square in Washington DC - 25 April 2013

The president said he would continue fighting for greater gun control laws

"For us not to be able to resolve the issue  of gun control has been something that is distressing," he added.
Mr Obama has pushed for stricter gun control throughout his presidency but has been unable to secure any significant changes to the laws.
After nine African-American churchgoers were killed in South Carolina in June, he admitted "politics in this town" meant there were few options available.

Analysis: Jon Sopel, BBC News, Washington

Nine months ago, the president seemed like a spent force, after taking a beating in the midterm elections, during which members of his own party were reluctant to campaign on his record.
But the man sat before me today was relaxed and confident, buoyed by a string of "wins" on healthcare, Cuba and Iran, after bitter and ongoing battles with his many critics.
The only body swerve the president performed was when I asked him how many minds he had changed on the Iran nuclear deal after an intense sell aimed at Gulf allies and members of US Congress who remain implacably opposed.
There was a momentary flicker across the president's face as if to say "You think you got me?" before his smile returned and he proceeded to talk about how Congress would come round.
But notably, he did not give a direct answer to that question, which leaves me with the impression that he has persuaded precisely zero.
On race relations, Mr Obama said recent concerns around policing and mass incarcerations were "legitimate and deserve intense attention" but insisted progress had been made.
Children growing up during the eight years of his presidency "will have a different view of race relations in this country and what's possible," he said.
"There are going to be tensions that arise. But if you look at my daughters' generation, they have an attitude about race that's entirely different than even my generation."
Talking about how he was feeling after his recent successes, he said "every president, every leader has strengths and weaknesses".
"One of my strengths is I have a pretty even temperament. I don't get too high when it's high and I don't get too low when it's low," he said.                                              

Kenya trip

Mr Obama was speaking to the BBC at the White House before departing for Kenya. He lands in Kenya later on Friday for his first visit since becoming president.  His father is Kenyan and the president is expected to meet relatives in Nairobi.
Mr Obama has faced criticism in the country after the US legalized gay marriage. However, in his interview, the president said he would not fall silent on the issue.
"I am not a fan of discrimination and bullying of anybody on the basis of race, on the basis of religion, on the basis of sexual orientation or gender," he said.
The president also admitted that some African governments, including Kenya's, needed to improve their records on human rights and democracy. However, he defended his decision to engage with and visit those governments.
"Well, they're not ideal institutions. But what we found is, is that when we combined blunt talk with engagement, that gives us the best opportunity to influence and open up space for civil society."
Mr Obama will become the first US president to address the African Union when he travels on to Ethiopia on Sunday. All in all a fairly open and candid interview with the president.

To Aunt Jeannie---NASA unveils newly-discovered 'Earth 2.0'

The sweep of NASA Kepler mission’s search for small, habitable planets in the last six years. The first planet smaller than Earth, Kepler-20e, was discovered in December 2011 orbiting a Sun-like star slightly cooler and smaller than our sun every six days. But it is scorching hot and unable to maintain an atmosphere or a liquid water ocean. Kepler-22b was announced in the same month, as the first planet in the habitable zone of a sun-like star, but is more than twice the size of Earth and therefore unlikely to have a solid surface. Kepler-186f was discovered in April 2014 and is the first Earth-size planet found in the habitable zone of a small, cool M dwarf about half the size and mass of our sun. Kepler-452b is the first near-Earth-Size planet in the habitable zone of a star very similar to the sun. (Photo via NASA Ames/W. Stenzel)
July 23rd 2015 2:13 PM

NASA scientists reached an exciting milestone in the decades-long hunt for planets and possible life outside our solar system Wednesday with the announcement of the discovery of the most Earth-like planet yet.

Quickly dubbed "Earth 2.0" -- the planet, Kepler-452, is a near-Earth-size planet orbiting in what's commonly known as the habitable zone of a star much like our sun. The zone is considered important in the search for life because the temperatures allow for liquid water, which many scientists believe is crucial to fostering life as we know it. 
Close cousins? Comparison between Earth and Kepler-452b and their host stars

Scientists using data from NASA's Kepler mission have confirmed the first near-Earth-size planet orbiting in the habitable zone of a sun-like star. The habitable zone is the region around a star where temperatures are just right for water to exist in its liquid form.

The artistic concept compares Earth (left) to the new planet, called Kepler-452b, which is about 60 percent larger. 
"On the 20th anniversary year of the discovery that proved other suns host planets, the Kepler exoplanet explorer has discovered a planet and star which most closely resemble the Earth and our Sun," John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said of the discovery. "This exciting result brings us one step closer to finding an Earth 2.0."
As NASA noted in its announcement, the planets have striking similarities.

Both planets orbit a G2-type star of about the same temperature; however, the star hosting Kepler-452b is 6 billion years old, 1.5 billion years older than our sun. As stars age, they become larger, hotter and brighter, as represented in the illustration. Kepler-452b's star appears a bit larger and brighter
Although the planet is far too faint to be seen with the naked eye, stargazers looking to peer in its direction would want to glance toward the constellation Cygnus. The Kepler-452 system where the planet orbits its sun-like star is located 1,400 light-years away.

Scientists named Kepler-452b after the tool they used to find it. The Kepler Space Telescope has been used by the Kepler mission to identify thousands of planets far beyond our solar system.
As detection methods have improved, the number of planets Kepler scientists have been able to find proof of has skyrocketed. Those findings jumped wildly in 2014, when the discoveries quadrupled the prior year, jumping from around 200 in 2013 to more than 800.

Jonny , Chris and the Cubs

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
I have been in a new job for about a year . Prior to that , I was out of work for more than two years . It has been a really rough time for my family and me . The other day one of the companies I had interviewed with contacted me about coming to work for them . The salary would be almost twice my current salary . I really like the company that has offered me this job , but I feel bad leaving the job I am in . I don't want to make a bad or hasty decision . What should I do ? 
Considering an Offer
Dear Considering an Offer ,
Wow! Considering the current economy, most job seekers would love to have this problem. But it's not always just about money.
You need to sit down and write a pros and cons list. Take two sheets of paper and on one sheet make two columns. In column 1 write all the pros or benefits of your present job. Beside each benefit ... rate it's importance to you on a scale from 1 to 10. In the second column write down all the cons or negative aspects of your job and rate each negative from 1 to 10 according to it's importance to you. Add up the scores. On the second sheet rate the job you are being offered in the same way and add up the scores. For each job subtract the negatives total from the positives total. The job with the larger remainder will emerge as your best choice.
 Now you need to consider the growth and promotion  potential of your present job compared to the job you are being offered.  If you still have some confusion, perhaps a second interview might help so you can ask any unanswered questions. Finally trust your gut to tell you which job you would like more and be more comfortable in. Share all the information with your spouse. Discussion can often clarify a situation even more.

Dear Maxy ,
School is out , and with it my family is in a conundrum . My son's teacher suggested that it would be good for him to get support with his reading and math . She did not say he had to go to summer school . She recommended a few options , everything from a tutor to some of the group programs like Kumon . I'm all for it , but my son feels like he shouldn't have to do any of it since it wasn't mandated . I have tried to to tell him that getting academic support is common for students --- including students who are very good at subjects and those who can use a bit of a boost . I have signed him up for class, but his attitude is horrible. 
How can I get him to embrace this process so he can learn and flourish ?
Helping My Kid 
Dear Helping My Kid ,
Since your child hasn't attained the goals you and his teacher set for him or has struggled somewhat with math and reading, you have to do what is best for him, in this case, tutoring. Tell him that a little help now will make next year a breeze with no stress or strain. Add that your job as a parent is to help him when he needs a little boost, and this program is designed to do just that . 
You don't want the child to believe he or she is being "punished" for not achieving more, so make sure that you also set aside "fun" times. Ask the tutor to work with you on this and keep the tutoring paced and consistent. Take a calendar and mark days for specific events or trips. It can be inexpensive outings like a weekend camping trip or swimming at a lake and letting him bring along friends. Spread these out over the summer so that your child can look at the calendar and have those outings to look forward to. Incentives and rewards help too.
 If your child plays sports, arrange tutoring time around the sports. Physical activity is an excellent outlet and can rebuild self-esteem that may have been battered by bad grades. Never take an activity away that the child excels in.
Remember, you may have made straight A's in school, but always accept your child's best ( whatever it is ) and congratulate him on it. The goal of tutoring - or any teaching experience, for that matter - is to help children be all that they can be, so always show your enthusiasm for your child's progress.  His attitude will change gradually. Don't expect an overnight miracle.

Dear Maxy ,
My wife and I have been married for 40 years . When we first started dating , my future wife unexpectedly set me aside to explore the possibilities of seeing another man .
It was a difficult time for me . The other man was a mutual acquaintance, for whom I didn't much care , which intensified my hurt .

Within two months they stopped seeing one another, and in due time , we started dating again, fell in love and married . Sounds good ---and it has been . But I have one mental demon with which I struggle .
About three decades ago , when casually chatting about our previous romantic interests my wife revealed that when seeing the aforementioned man , they had sex .

Since being made aware made aware of it , I can't let it go . All off those painful memories were revived by her disclosure.

My wife has been a wonderful friend , partner and parent and does not deserve my periodic fixation on something that was a tiny moment in time .
Why can't I as she requests , just forget about it ? How can I reconcile myself to it and downsize its larger-than-life status in my consciousness ? 
Living in the '70s
Dear Living ,
It is not unusual to remember something disturbing and periodically think about it . Men do have difficulty dealing with another man touching someone they love. But if you are doing this frequently and becoming fixated on it to the point where it is affecting your marriage and other areas of  of your life, you likely need professional help to put it aside .
You've been holding in your resentment, jealousy and fears for 40 years and they are eating away at you . The problem here is, you haven't truly forgiven her.  She set you aside, probably because she was not convinced you were the man she wanted to commit to for the rest of her life. She was a free, young woman, testing the depth of her feelings for you.  The experience taught her that she loved you....You win.
The answer is in your letter, ( My wife has been a wonderful friend, partner and parent and does not deserve my periodic fixation on something that was a tiny moment in time .) If you do not want to lose that wonderful relationship please talk to a counselor so you can express your feelings to someone other than your wife and get help managing them . Your family doctor can refer you .