Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
My husband is ill and a distant family member from out of state decided to pay us a visit . It was nice to see my husband's cousin because he was able to lift my husband spirits in this time of need . A few months after our guest visited our home , we discovered we had bedbugs . I call the exterminator : He went to the guest room and confirmed how long we had them . I am thinking there is a strong possibility that we got them from our houseguest . (we rarely have houseguests these days and he was the only sleepover guest in a few years.)
It has been a nightmare around here for close to a year trying to get rid of them and I think we have seen the last of them . Now my cousin wants to visit us in the next two months . What can we say or do to prevent this from happening again without offending anybody ? 
Bedbugs do Bite 
Dear  Bedbugs  Do Bite ,
What an awkward  situation ! Bedbugs can indeed hitch a ride in luggage. They can hide in a crevice no thicker than a credit card. They can even arrive in the binding of a book. It is so difficult to eradicate an infestation, you don't want to risk it happening again.
 Bedbugs do not bite everyone. Some people can live with them and never be bothered by them so it is possible your relative is not even aware that he is a carrier. Perhaps you can approach it that sensitive, direct, but assume he does not know.
 Tell him how much you and your husband enjoyed his visit and would like to see him again. But before that happens, he should have his premises checked for his own well-being in case, on his travels, he picked up bedbugs from some hotel, restaurant or luggage compartment on a plane. Tell him you found some in the room he occupied and to be on the safe side, you would like to be assured that he is free of infestation before he visits again. 
Apologize if he seems offended but be firm. After that, the invitations have to be at your discretion.

Dear Maxy ,
My fiancé and I are in a long -distance military relationship . We have discussed eloping to Las Vegas so I can move to be with him . My father is not enthusiastic about it He would like to be there for my wedding , but my fiancé comes from a large family . Eloping would be our way of not excluding anyone . I feel guilty for wanting this to be just the two of us . Should i plan a small wedding for my father's sake or have a reception when we get back ? 
Lets Get Married Today 
Dear Let's  Get Married  Today .
You and  your  fiance  have  to  make a plan  that works best for  you. After all it is your wedding and you and your fiancé come first. If  you wish to elope then that's what you should do. After that, to the  best of  your  ability,  try to accommodate both families .
 Is  there  a way  that  you can arrange a small wedding with just both sets  of  parents present? If not, then when you get back, you can give a reception for  everyone . Explain to  your  father  your  decision  for  eloping  and  ask  him to host the reception  so that he  will be  central  in the  unveiling of the newly married couple . Congratulations!

Dear Maxy ,
I am so afraid for my sons . I have two teenage boys and everyday they go outside I worry because there are just two many black boys being killed . Sometimes the killers are police. Other times they are neighbors , gang members or seemingly random people .
It's so crazy that I don't even know what to tell them anymore . I don't want them to be afraid , nor do I want to be . But I can't bare the news out there . 
Two many boys that look like my sons have been slaughtered meaninglessly and their killers not brought to justice . What can I do ?
Protect My Boys 
Dear Protect  My Boys ,
Teach them the  lessons that have  been resonating  throughout  our  nation . When approached  by  police , do not  run , do not  raise  your  voice , do not  reach into  your  pockets . Speak as  little  as  possible, be polite, calm  and  follow  instructions .
As it  relates  to others ,  do your  best  to avoid bad company .
Do not  put  yourself  in a situation or place that  could  be questionable from a legal perspective or a safety point of view. Do not travel at night, or if you have to, do not go out alone. Pay attention  to  your  surroundings  and leave  immediately if  you  feel uncomfortable or unsafe . Always check in with your parents at regular intervals when you are away.   Walk with confidence but not attitude.
As a parent, you can speak with other parents in  your neighborhood and set up a 'neighborhood watch', where any of the kids in your area can run to a safe house when they feel in danger. All safe houses would display a 'safe symbol' on their door or window. Looking out for each others' kids is one of the best things you can do. 

Dear Maxy ,
I had the idea of surprising my dad with a visit . I live across country and was schedule to be in his town for work . 
He and my mom is divorced , so I don't see him to often , even though I think of us as close . We talk every week like clockwork .
So I showed up at his door and rang the bell and wouldn't you know it , a woman answered the door , I was shocked .
He hasn't said a thing about a girlfriend , not that he has to , but this woman looked like she was pretty comfortable in his house .
He wasn't home and I opted not to stay . I left town the next day . Like I said , it was a business trip .
Now it's weird . I am not sure how to address this with my dad .
Having the Conversation 
Dear Having  The  Conversation ,
First of all, you should have left your dad a message at his house, just to let him know you stopped by, so he would know that you are aware of his domestic arrangements.
Be  an adult  and  be  direct . Call your  father . Tell him you came  to visit  him as a surprise, and  you were  the one who ended up surprised . Ask him who the lady is who answered  the door . Ask him if he would be uncomfortable if you visited when you were in town.
While it's  really  not  your  concern if he is dating or has someone staying with him , I'm sure if  you talk to  your  father  respectfully, he will explain ... and  tell you why  he has kept the information to himself .  Go for  it .

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Oldest stone tools pre-date earliest known humans

Stone tools

 The tools includes sharp-edged flakes, hammers and anvils

The world's oldest stone tools have been discovered, scientists report.
They were unearthed from the shores of Lake Turkana in Kenya, and date to 3.3 million years ago.
They are 700,000 years older than any tools found before, even pre-dating the earliest humans in the Homo genus.
The find, reported in Nature, suggests that more ancient species, such as Australopithecus afarensis or Kenyanthropus platyops, may have been more sophisticated than was thought.
"They are significantly earlier than anything that has been found previously," said Dr Nick Taylor, from the National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS) in France and the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.
"It's really quite astonishing to think what separates the previous oldest site and this site is 700,000 years of time. It's monumental."

Stone tool
This stone tool is known as a core - flakes, used for cutting, are sheared away from its edges 

The first tools from the site, which is called Lomekwi 3, were discovered in 2011. They were spotted after researchers took a wrong turn as they walked through the hot, dry Kenyan landscape.
By the end of 2012, a total of 149 tools had been found, and another field trip in 2014 has unearthed more still.
They include sharp flakes of stone, sheared off from larger rocks, which were most likely used for cutting.
Hammers and anvils were also excavated, some of which were huge in size.
"The very largest one we have weighs 15kg, which is massive," Dr Taylor told BBC News.
"On this piece, it doesn't show the signs of actually having been flaked to produce other artefacts... rather, it was probably used as an anvil.
"It probably rested in the soil and the other cobbles brought to the site, which were intended to be smashed apart to make tools, were struck against this large anvil."

Stone tool\
The tools were found near to Lake Turkana in northern Kenya
Dating of the volcanic ash and minerals around the tools suggests that they are 3.3 million years old.
Until this discovery, the oldest examples of this technology were the Oldowan tools from Tanzania, which date to about 2.6 million years ago.
The researchers say the 700,000-year time difference reveals how manufacturing methods and use changed over time, growing more advanced.

Homo habilis
Before this discovery, Homo habilis was thought to be the first species to use stone tools

The scientists do not know who made the tools discovered in Kenya. Until now, some thought that Homo habilis - known as "handy man" - was the earliest of our ancestors in the Homo genus to use tools. But with Homo fossils dating back to only 2.4-2.3 million years ago, it now seems unlikely that this was the first toolmaker. 
Other finds, such as animal bones found in Ethiopia with cut marks that date to 3.39 million years ago, also suggest tool use began before H. habilis.
Scientists now believe the 3.3-million-year-old implements were crafted by another, more primitive species.
Dr Taylor said: "There are a number of possible candidates at present.
"There was a hominin called Kenyanthropus platyops, which has been found very close to where the Lomekwi 3 tools are being excavated. And that hominin was around at the time the tools were being made.
"More widely in the East African region there is another hominin, Australopithecus afarensis, which is famously known from the fossil Lucy, which is another candidate."

Australopithecus afarensis
Australopithecus afarensis is a primitive species with both human and ape-like features

 Neither of these species was assumed to be particularly intelligent - they had both human and ape-like features, with relatively small brains.  However the tools suggest they may have been smarter than assumed.
Dr Ignacio de la Torre, from University College London's Institute of Archaeology, described this as "a game-changing" find.
"It's the most important discovery in the last 50 years."
"It suggests that species like Australopithecus might have been intelligent enough to make stone tools - that they had the cognitive and manipulative abilities to carry tasks like this out."

Really Bad One-liners

I think I want a job cleaning mirrors. It's something I could really see myself doing.

What did the pirate say when he turned 80?

Why did Mozart kill all his chickens?

Because when he asked them who the best composer was, they'd all say "Bach bach bach!"

What did Snow White say when she came out of the photobooth?
Someday my prints will come…

What do you call a belt made out of watches?
A waist of time!

What do you call a can opener that doesn't work?
A can't opener!

What do you call a snobbish prisoner going down the stairs?
A condescending con descending.

How do frogs die?
They Kermit suicide!

Why should you not write with a dull pencil?
Because it's pointless.

What do you call a guy with a rubber toe?

What did the Leper tell the prostitute?
Keep the Tip! (disgusting)

Why did Sally fall off the swings?
Because she had no arms.
Knock knock
Who's there?
Not Sally!  (very poor  taste)

What did batman say to robin before they got in the car?
"Get in the car."

What did the astronaut's fiancée say when he proposed in open space?
I can't breathe!

Why did the Mexican throw his wife off a bridge?

What is made of brass and sounds like Tom Jones?

Did you hear about the guy who invented the knock knock joke?
He won the "no-bell" prize!

Why did the cyclops close his school?
Because he only had one pupil!

A friend of mine died recently after drinking a gallon of varnish.
It was a horrible end, but a lovely finish.

What do you call a fish with no eyes?
A fsh!

The Past, The Present and The Future walked into a bar.
It was tense.

What do you call someone who points out the obvious?
Someone who points out the obvious.

What does a baby computer call his father?

Does anyone need an ark?
I Noah guy.

What do you call a guy who never farts in public?
A Private Tutor!

Why do penguins walk softly?
Because they can't walk hardly.

Where does the king keep his armies?
Up his sleevies

What do you call a sketchy neighbourhood in Italy?
A Spaghetto!

Why did the snowman have a smiley face?
Because he heard the snowblower was coming!

What's the difference between ignorance and Apathy?
I don't know and I don't care.

How do you feel when there is no coffee?

What do you call an empty jar of cheese whiz?
Cheese Was!

What do you call a microbiologist in an orchestra?
A cell-ist!

Climate change a serious security threat, warns Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama walks through an honor cordon as the arrives for the 134th Commencement Exercises of the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut May 20, 2015.
President Obama made his remarks to students at Connecticut's Coast Guard Academy. 
President Obama has called climate change "a serious threat to global security" and heavily criticized climate change deniers. In his strongest remarks on the issue yet, Mr Obama said climate change would "impact every country on the planet". The US president made his comments in a speech to students at the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut.
He has previously identified climate change as a central issue for the remainder of his time in office.
Faced with strong opposition on the issue from Republicans and industry, Mr Obama used his speech to frame the threat in terms of national security.
He said: "I'm here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security and make no mistake: it will impact how our military defends our country.
"Denying it or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security. It undermines the readiness of our forces."
He went on to list specific military facilities seen as under threat from adverse weather conditions.

Graduates toss their caps in the air at the closing of the 134th Commencement Exercises of the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut 20 May 2015
  Mr Obama warned the students that their generation would be affected by global warning
"Around Norfolk, high tides and storms increasingly flood parts of our Navy base and an air base. In Alaska, thawing permafrost is damaging military facilities.
"Out West, deeper droughts and longer wildfires could threaten training areas our troops depend on."
He told the Coast Guard Academy students: "You are part of the first generation of officers to begin your service in a world where the effects of climate change are so clearly upon us.
"Climate change will shape how every one of our services plan, operate, train, equip, and protect their infrastructure, today and for the long term."
Mr Obama has used executive orders on climate change to circumvent opposition in Congress - issuing one in March ordering federal agencies to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
In China last year, he committed to reducing US carbon emissions by 26-28% by 2025, and he will travel to Paris in December for an international summit on greenhouse gases.

Bin Laden Raid Documents Released

     A BBC journalist looking at the website           

US officials have released documents found at Osama Bin Laden's secret compound in Pakistan during a raid in 2011. The documents are now available on a US government website.
Special operators killed the al-Qaeda chief during that operation and recovered the documents that officials have branded Bin Laden's Bookshelf.
As well as Arabic correspondence, there are English language books by Bob Woodward and Noam Chomsky, and others on economic and military theory. More documents may yet be released.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said a "rigorous" review had taken place before the documents were released.

People gathering outside of the safe house
The documents were recovered at this house in Abbottabad, Pakistan

They say you can tell a lot about a person from their bookshelf. But what can we tell about the leader of al-Qaeda from his? Firstly, he wanted to know his enemy - he seems to have read plenty on America including bestsellers like Obama's Wars by Bob Woodward.
Unsurprisingly, he also seemed to favour books which were critical of American power such as by Noam Chomsky or Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins which recounted the author's claims of American companies exploiting the developing world.
There's also an element of trying to learn his opponents' weaknesses and vulnerabilities - retired British colonel John Hughes-Wilson's book on military intelligence blunders makes an appearance as do books on guerrilla warfare.
There also some books which perhaps suggest a bit of wish fulfilment - The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy for instance. Also on the list is Imperial Hubris by Michael Scheuer - the CIA analyst who first ran the unit dedicated to tracking Osama Bin Laden back in the middle 90s and also, rather oddly, a book entitled A Brief Guide to Understanding Islam.
Another letter mocks President George W Bush's War on Terror, with Bin Laden writing that it had not created stability in Iraq or Afghanistan. No date is included on the translation provided on the US government website.
There is also section entitled Materials Regarding France, which includes a number of academic reports and articles about the France's military, politics and economy. Also included is a document described as a "suicide prevention guide", several English language books including Bob Woodward's Obama's Wars, several maps, and a few video game guides.
Also on the list was Checking Iran's Nuclear Ambitions by Patrick Clawson. When asked by the BBC about his feelings when he heard, Mr Clawson replied sarcastically: "Wonderful, I am glad it is read in such high circles."
Among the documents appears to be an application to join the ranks of al-Qaeda, including questions about hobbies and a willingness to be a martyr.

Printouts of the documents laying on a wood table
Many of the documents on the US government website were in the form of English language translations, as seen in these printout

The documents are being released in the wake of President Obama's calls for greater transparency, said Jeffrey Anchukaitis, a spokesman for the ODNI.
"The intelligence community will be reviewing hundreds more documents in the near future for possible declassification and release," he said.
Some of the material that has been included in the trove was previously declassified for use in federal prosecutions. In 2012, some documents recovered in the raid were released by the research wing of the US military academy, West Point.

Monday, May 18, 2015



Arctic pollution rules 'not enough'

Norwegian research vessel Lance at 83 degrees north in the Arctic OceanMore ships are expected to operate in the Arctic as new sea routes open up The Jonathan Arctica, one of the world's first Polar class supply ships, at shipyard in Gdansk, Poland, 22 April 2015

New guidelines have been passed to prevent pollution from ships in polar waters. The Polar Code, passed at a meeting in London of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), ban ships from releasing oil, sewage, chemicals and waste into the sea.
The measures are set to come into force in 2017. But environmentalists say the regulations do not go far enough. WWF said a strong, legally binding Polar Code was particularly urgent in the Arctic, where new sea routes are expected to open up in coming decades.
IMO member states should "honor the original vision of the Polar Code, which saw environmental protection as a priority," said Rod Downie, WWF-UK's Polar Program Manager.
"That means additional measures to reduce the risk of invasive marine species, more stringent requirements for oil spill response, banning the use and restricting carriage of heavy fuel oil by ships in the Arctic, reducing air emissions and black carbon, and addressing underwater noise," he said.

Ice retreat
The IMO is the United Nations agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.  A spokesperson for the IMO said many of the things not specifically addressed in the Polar Code are addressed, or will be addressed, by other measures.
The Arctic is the fastest warming region of the planet. If the polar ice retreats it could speed up the rise in global temperatures and change the world's weather patterns.
It could also open up a faster route for commercial cargo ships between Europe and Asia, and boost trade in ports in Arctic countries such as Russia, Norway and Canada.

'Paddle in Seattle' Arctic oil drilling protest
Activists surround Shell's Polar Pioneer in Seattle. Photo: 16 May 2015

Hundreds of people in kayaks and small boats have staged a protest in the north-western US port city of Seattle against oil drilling in the Arctic by the Shell energy giant.
Paddle in Seattle was held by activists who said the firm's drilling would damage the environment.
It comes after the first of Shell's two massive oil rigs arrived at the port. The firm wants to move them in the coming months to explore for oil off Alaska's northern coast.
Earlier this week, Shell won conditional approval from the US Department of Interior for oil exploration in the Arctic. The Anglo-Dutch company still must obtain permits from the federal government and the state of Alaska to begin drilling. It says Arctic resources could be vital for supplying future energy needs.

'The only safe place'
The flotilla of kayaks, canoes, sailboats and paddle boats gathered near the 400ft (122m) tall Polar Pioneer drilling rig. The protest was organized by a coalition of activists who say Shell's drilling will damage the Arctic environment  .

Protesters demonstrate a giant sign "Climate justice now"
                 The protesters formed a line of boats with a giant sign "Climate justice now"
Activists sing songs during the protest in Seattle. Photo: 16 May 2015
                    A number of people supported the protest on land, chanting slogans and singing songs 

Protesters in Seattle. Photo: 16 May 2015 
  Activists are now planning to hold a day of peaceful civil disobedience  
A solar-powered barge - The People's Platform - joined the protesters, who chanted slogans and also sang songs.
"This weekend is another opportunity for the people to demand that their voices be heard," Alli Harvey, Alaska representative for the Sierra Club's Our Wild America campaign, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.
"Science is as clear as day when it comes to drilling in the Arctic - the only safe place for these dirty fuels is in the ground.''
The protesters later gathered in formation and unveiled a big sign which read "Climate justice now".
They mostly stayed outside the official 100-yard (91m) buffer zone around the Polar Pioneer, the Seattle Times newspaper reports.
Police and coastguard monitored the flotilla, saying it was peaceful. The demonstrators are now planning to hold a day of peaceful civil disobedience on Monday in an attempt to shut down Shell operations in the port, the newspaper adds.
The port's Terminal 5 has been at the centre of a stand-off between environmentalists and the city authorities after a decision earlier this year to allow Shell use the terminal as a home base for the company's vessels and oil rigs.
Shell stopped Arctic exploration more than two years ago after problems including an oil rig fire and safety failures. The company has spent about $6bn (£3.85bn) on exploration in the Arctic - a region estimated to have about 20% of the world's undiscovered oil and gas.

Map showing territorial claims to Arctic waters and US drilling site