Saturday, July 30, 2011

Video: Josh Beckett’s Gift Brings Young Fan to Tears

 Watch what happens as Boston Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett(notes) finishes his warmup tosses before Thursday's game against the Kansas City Royals and presents a baseball to a young fan who's taking a picture of him. A great moment for Dylan and his family; and a great moment for his hero, Josh Beckett. Sometimes it really is all about the simple things in life.

The feel-good clip zoomed around the Internet so quickly on Thursday afternoon that NESN quickly invited the boy and his family into its studios at night to tell their story. And it was a nice one. Dylan Sylvia was at Fenway Park with both his father and grandfather — the first time that all three generations had been to a ballgame together. Oh, and his favorite player is none other than Josh Beckett.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Norway Bomber Appears in Court

Anders Behring Breivik

The man who has admitted carrying out Friday's twin terror attacks in Norway, Anders Behring Breivik, made his first appearance in court. Under Norwegian law, he faces a maximum of 21 years in jail if convicted
He has confessed to carrying out  last Friday’s twin terror attacks in Norway. A judge has ruled that his trial will be conducted  behind closed doors. 32 year old Mr Breivik, has admitted carrying out a bombing in the capital, Oslo, and a massacre on an island youth camp in which at least 68 people died. He is said to be linked to far-right groups and to have spent years planning the attacks.
In his first appearance in court Breivik claimed he worked in an organization with two more cells and said the attacks were necessary to "save Norway and Western Europe." He accused Norway's ruling Labour Party of a "mass import of Muslims" and said he wanted to hamper future recruitment.

Mr Breivik  requested his trial be open to give him essentially a public platform to talk about his ideology and his motives. Fortunately his request was not granted.
The police submitted a request also to the judge, saying they wanted a media blackout, because of their concern that Mr Breivik would talk openly about his beliefs and quote his manifesto . Police say they now know a lot more about that manifesto from the 1,500-page document  which he posted online just before the attacks on Friday in which he made himself out to be what he describes as a crusader against Muslim immigration into Western Europe.  

 The father of Anders Breivik said his son should have killed himself.  "I don't feel like his father," he is reported as saying. "How could he just stand there and kill so many innocent people and just seem to think that what he did was OK?" He told the Swedish newspaper Expressen: "He should have taken his own life, too. That's what he should have done.

"The total death toll now stands at 75

He looks mighty pleased with himself
See below what he has wrought (VERY GRAPHIC)
Rot in hell Breivik

Police Avert Potential Terror Attack

Naser Jason Abdo...Wanted to copycat the massacre of more than a year ago
13 people died and 32 were wounded in 2009 attack
Those who died in 2009
Police in the US are investigating a reported "terror plot" after they arrested a missing solider near the Fort Hood army base in Texas. In an unsettling echo of the deadly attack on the base in 2009 investigators say the soldier was planning to target military personnel. It's only a year and a half since Fort Hood was the scene of the worst mass shooting ever inflicted on a US military installation.

Now a 21 year old US army soldier identified as Naser Jason Abdo has been arrested in a hotel room in the nearby town of Killeen with possible "bomb-making materials". Police aren't detailing exactly what was found but American media are reporting there was gunpowder, shotgun shells and a quantity of sugar, possibly to enhance explosives. There were reportedly also Christmas lights that could have been used to act as a timer and a backpack containing jihadi literature.

The soldier had gone absent without leave from Kentucky in early July after being charged with child pornography offences. Military officials say he'd been granted conscientious objector status last year after he said his Muslim beliefs meant he couldn't fight.
Abdo has reportedly admitted he wanted to "get even" and was inspired by the 2009 attack on Fort Hood by an army psychiatrist which killed 13 people and wounded 32 others. He'd apparently hoped to explode bombs at two restaurants popular with Fort Hood personnel and planned to use a pistol to shoot any survivors.
Officials say the soldier sparked suspicion when he walked into the same gun store used by the 2009 shooter. Abdo reportedly bought half a dozen canisters of smokeless gunpowder but appeared uncertain about what it was. The store owner reported him to authorities.
Authorities say there's no evidence of a wider plot. Abdo is looking like a lone wolf.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

NY Pilot Fought to Survive Night in Lake Huron Because 'a Lot of People ... Depend on Me'

Pilot Michael W. Trapp, 42, of Gouveneur, NY is placed into an ambulance Wednesday

HARBOR BEACH, Mich. - A New York pilot who crashed into Lake Huron and survived without a life jacket by swimming and treading water for 18 hours says he was finally rescued Wednesday when he frantically waved a sock to get the attention of people on a boat.

Michael Trapp, 42, said he shed his pants and shoes to stay afloat amid daylight, darkness and high waves off Michigan's eastern coast. He told a TV station that he was inspired to keep going because "there's a lot of people that depend on me. It's amazing what goes on in your mind when you're laying in water and you look up at the skies and watch the shooting stars and watch meteorites go round. Gives you time to realize what's important in life at that point," Trapp told WWNY-TV in Watertown, N.Y., from a hospital in Harbor Beach, Mich.

Later Wednesday, he was transferred to a Covenant HealthCare hospital in Saginaw, Mich. There, he issued a brief statement of appreciation. "Feeling good, really sore from treading water for 18 hours, anxious to see family, in good spirits, happy to be out of the water," the statement said. "Currently, extremely thankful to the good folks at Harbor Beach and Covenant HealthCare."

The Gouverneur, N.Y., man, who owns an auto repair shop, was flying a small plane alone to a family reunion in Eau Claire, Wis., when his engine began stalling over Lake Huron on Tuesday. He said he contacted the Federal Aviation Administration and declared, "I'm going in right now." He told the TV station that he took off his pants and shoes and "just went into survival mode." He doesn't consider himself physically fit at 5 feet 10 inches tall and 200 pounds.

"I kept going, kept going. There's a lot of things I want to do yet," Trapp said. He said he was unsuccessful in using a credit card to try to reflect the sun and get the attention of several boats that were in the area. Finally, people on a boat called Eagle's Nest spotted him waving a sock around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday and pulled him aboard — "by the grace of God," he said.

Trapp believes he swam 15 miles after his two-seat Cessna crashed 17 miles from shore, the U.S. Coast Guard said. Harbour Beach Police Chief Sid Schock said Trapp was "quite chilled" but talking when he was put in an ambulance, about 125 miles northeast of Detroit. He was examined at a local hospital, then transferred about 90 miles to Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw where he was in good condition. A strong man and a lucky guy.

Tunnel Drill to be Buried Under Grand Central Station for Future Archaeologists

Fourteen storeys below New York's Park Avenue, a 200-tonne serpent-like drill sits in silence and will remain there for archaeologists of the future to discover. After four years of burrowing out subway tunnels for a new train station beneath Grand Central Station, the massive drill is retiring.

Why not dismantle the tunnel-boring machine rather than abandon it underground? The Spanish contractor overseeing the project made the call, taking time and money into account. A scrap sale wouldn't be worth it.
To remove the drill — which weighs as much as two whales and stands as tall as four men — would cost $9 million, one expert quoted.

The New York Times describes the underground scene: "A recent visit to the cutter's future crypt revealed a machine that evokes an alien life form that crashed to earth a millennia ago. Its steel gears, bolts and pistons, already oxidizing, appeared lifeless and fatigued. A wormlike fan, its exhaust pipe disappearing into the cutter's maw, was still spinning, its drone not unlike a slumbering creature's breath."

Infrastructurist reports that buried equipped, while new to Manhattan, is more frequent in international tunnelling projects. For this machine, its final resting place will be somewhere between 37th and 38th streets on Park Avenue. An official funeral this week will include "a ceremony in which the cutter will be sealed off by a concrete wall, and the chamber filled with concrete." The resulting "Han Solo-style" concrete tomb will serve as a support structure for the tunnel.

"It's like a Jules Verne story," Michael Horodniceanu, the authority's chief of construction, said of New York's new "subterranean wonder."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lockerbie Bomber Seen on TV Rally

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was seen at a gathering of his tribe in Tripoli

The man convicted of blowing up a plane over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988 has appeared at a rally broadcast by Libyan state television.  Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was released from prison in Scotland almost two years ago on health grounds. Introducing him at a televised rally of members of Megrahi's tribe, the presenter said his conviction was the result of a conspiracy. He said his release had been a victory against oppression.

The 1988 bombing of the US airliner, flying from London to New York, killed 270 people. The Lockerbie bomber has been shown on Libyan television, in the midst of a pro-government tribal gathering. Megrahi was convicted of the atrocity in 2001 but released in August 2009 on compassionate grounds, as he was suffering from prostate cancer. The Scottish government judged that he had about three months to live. Megrahi returned to Libya, since when he has rarely been seen in public. During the broadcast from Tripoli, which was described as live, Megrahi was seen in a wheelchair.

After playing the national anthem, a presenter said "half of the world conspired against" Megrahi.
Now gentlemen, what kind of logic is that?  The guy killed 270 people without provcation and with definite malice aforethought.

Record-Setting Appraisal at Antiques Roadshow... Tulsa

TULSA, Okla. - On Saturday, July 23, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, PBS’s Antiques Roadshow recorded the highest-value appraisal in the series’ 16 years of production. Veteran Roadshow Asian arts expert Lark Mason identified a collection of five late 17th/early 18th-century Chinese carved rhinoceros-horn cups and valued the set at $1 million to $1.5 million.
The second highest-value appraisal recorded by Antiques Roadshow was for a collection of Chinese carved jade bowls, estimated to be worth as much as $1.07 million, discovered at the event in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2009.
The rhino-horn cups were brought to the Tulsa Convention Center by one of approximately 6,000 ticket holders. The owner, who prefers to remain unidentified, told Mason he started collecting cups inexpensively in the 1970s and had no idea of the collection’s current value. Because of today’s strong market for Chinese antiques and antiquities, the collection’s value has increased dramatically since its original purchase.

Antiques Roadshow Executive Producer Marsha Bemko commented on the record-breaking find: "As we continue our 16th season production tour here in Tulsa, we couldn't be more excited about such an extraordinary, rare treasure, and we look forward to sharing it with the nation!" Tulsa was the fourth stop on Antiques Roadshow’s six-city 2011 production tour. The three episodes produced from the Tulsa event will air as part of Roadshow’s sixteenth season, from January to June 2012.

Antiques Roadshow’s summer 2011 production tour will continue in Atlanta on August 6 and wrap up in Pittsburgh on August 13.

Monday, July 25, 2011

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE 1930s, '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then, after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets, and, when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.

As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes. Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar and we weren't overweight. WHY? Because we were always outside playing...that's why!  We would leave  home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day---and we were OKAY.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem..

We did not have Play Stations, Nintendos and X-boxes. There were no 150 channels on cable,  DVDs or CD's; no surround-sound, no cell phones, no personal computers and no Internet.

WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them! We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from those accidents.

We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse.

We ate worms, and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, 22 rifles for our 12th, rode horses,made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and -although we were told it would happen- we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law! These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever.

The past 50 To 85 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas.We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house holding scissors, doesn't it ?

Heat Wave Will Continue Into August

A stubborn high-pressure system is the culprit behind the dangerously high heat wave that's been baking much of the U.S., experts say. The high-pressure system—a large area of dense air—is being held in place by upper-level winds known as the jet stream. Within the system, dense air sinks and becomes warmer, and since warm air can hold more moisture than cooler air, there's also very high humidity.

Stationary high-pressure systems aren't unusual during the summer, according to Eli Jacks, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. But what sets this system apart is its size and strength. "It's exceptionally strong and very wide, covering thousands of miles from border to border and from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast," Jacks said.

Experts differ about whether global warming is influencing the extended period of very high heat, but Kerry Emanuel, a meteorologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the current extreme heat is "happening in the context of climate warming in general. Events like this will become more frequent."

In addition to the heat, the high humidity can be dangerous to human health, noted Maryland-based meteorologist Jacks. During periods of unusually high humidity, sweat doesn't act as a natural cooling agent, Jacks said. "The body can't evaporate moisture—it can't cool itself off," he said. "The body temperature actually starts rising." The heat has already been blamed for about two dozen deaths across the U.S. this week. Unfortunately, sweltering temperatures are predicted to continue their grip on the Midwest, the Northeast, and the South.

Jacks, the Maryland-based meteorologist, added that the above-average temperatures would continue in much of the nation into August. Oh, please, no more. The only cool place is the mall.

Ancient bell found in Jerusalem Old City sewer

A tiny golden bell pulled after 2,000 years from an ancient sewer beneath the Old City of Jerusalem was shown Sunday by Israeli archaeologists, who hailed it as a rare find.  The orb half an inch (one centimeter) in diameter has a small loop that appears to have been used to sew it as an ornament onto the clothes of a wealthy resident of the city two millennia ago, archaeologists said.

When Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority shook it Sunday, the faint metallic sound was something between a clink and a rattle. The bell's owner likely "walked in the street, and somehow the golden bell fell from his garment into the drainage channel," Shukron said.  The relic was found last week. Shukron said it was the only such bell to be found in Jerusalem from the Second Temple period, and as such was a "very rare" find. The Second Temple stood from about 515 B.C. until A.D. 70.

The biblical Book of Exodus mentions tiny golden bells sewn onto the hem of the robes of Temple priests, along with decorative pomegranates. The artisans in charge of making the priestly clothes and implements, according to the Bible, "made bells of pure gold, and attached the bells around the hem of the robe between the pomegranates."  It was not known, however, whether this bell was attached to a priestly garment. It is engraved with a pattern of circular channels starting at the top.

The bell was found inside the Old City walls, a few paces from the site of the Jewish Temples—the sacred compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The compound is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the golden-capped Islamic shrine known as the Dome of the Rock.
The sewer, which Jewish rebels are thought to have used to flee the Roman legionnaires who razed Jerusalem and its Temple in A.D. 70, is set to open to the public later this summer.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Oslo Shattered by Bomb...Shootings

OSLO, Norway (AP) — Norway’s peace was shattered twice Friday when a bomb ripped into buildings in the heart of its government and a man dressed as a police officer gunned down youths at a summer camp. Police linked one Norwegian to both attacks, which killed a total of at least 16 people in the nation’s worst violence since World War II.

Police said they did not know the motive or whether the attacks were the work of one person or a terrorist group, but Justice Minister Knut Storberget said the man who opened fire at the youth camp is Norwegian.
In Oslo, the capital and the city where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded, the bombing left a square covered in twisted metal, shattered glass, documents expelled from surrounding buildings and a dust-fogged scene that reminded one of a scene from New York after the Sept. 11 attacks. Ian Dutton, who was in a nearby hotel said people “just covered in rubble” were walking through “a fog of debris.” “It wasn’t any sort of a panic,” he said, “It was really just people in disbelief and shock.”

Later at Utoya island, some 60 miles northwest, hundreds of youths at a camp where the prime minister had been scheduled to speak Saturday ran in terror and even tried swimming to safety as the gunman fired. Emilie Bersaas, identified by Sky News television as one of the youths on the island, said she ran inside a school building and hid under a bed. “At one point the shooting was very, very close (to) the building, I think actually it actually hit the building one time, and the people in the next room screamed very loud,” she said. “I laid under the bed for two hours and then the police smashed a window and came in,” Bersaas said. “It seems kind of unreal, especially in Norway. This is not something that could happen here.”

Police said seven people died in the Oslo blast, and another 9 or 10 people were killed at the camp, which was organized by the youth wing of the ruling Labor Party. Acting national Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim said a man was arrested in the shooting, and the suspect had been observed in Oslo before the explosion there. Police did not immediately say how much time elapsed between the bombing and the camp attack.
Sponheim said the camp shooter “wore a sweater with a police sign on it. I can confirm that he wasn’t a police employee and never has been.”

Aerial images broadcast by Norway’s TV2 showed members of a SWAT team dressed in black arriving at the island in boats and running up the dock. Behind them, people stripped down to their underwear swam away from the island toward shore, some using flotation devices. Sponheim said police were still trying to get an overview of the camp shooting and could not say whether there was more than one shooter. He said several people were injured but he could not comment on their conditions. Sponheim would not give any details about the identity or nationality of the suspect, who was being interrogated by police. 

President Obama extended his condolences to Norway’s people and offered U.S. assistance with the investigation. He said he remembered how warmly Norwegians treated him in Oslo when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.
Nobel Peace Prize Chairman Thorbjorn Jagland said it appeared the camp attack “was intended to hurt young citizens who actively engage in our democratic and political society. But we must not be intimidated. We need to work for freedom and democracy every day.”

Al-Qaida has promised attacks on Norway for years. The terror network’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri threatened the country in 2004 over its involvement in the U.S.-led military operation in Afghanistan and strategist Abu Yahya al-Libi made similar threats in 2006, the same year the Norwegian Embassy was attacked in Syria. Jihadist groups have also made recent threats to Norway over plans to expel Mullah Krekar, the founder of the Kurdish Islamist group Ansar al-Islam. Norway’s support of NATO’s mission in Libya also earned it enemies.

Europe has been the target of numerous terror plots by Islamist militants. The deadliest was the 2004 Madrid train bombings, when shrapnel-filled bombs exploded, killing 191 people and wounding about 1,800. A year later, suicide bombers killed 52 rush-hour commuters in London aboard three subway trains and a bus. And in 2006, U.S. and British intelligence officials thwarted one of the largest plots yet — a plan to explode nearly a dozen trans-Atlantic airliners.

Marilyn Monroe Sex Tape...New Discovery

Astronomers Find Largest, Oldest Mass of Water in Universe

Astronomers have found a massive water vapor cloud, floating around a black hole in the universe. The gigantic water reservoir, positioned well over 10 billion light years from Earth, holds more than 140 trillion times the mass of water in the Earth's oceans.

"Since astronomers expected water vapor to be present even in the early universe, the discovery of water is not itself a surprise," the Carnegie Institution, one of the groups behind the findings, said in a statement to the press. The water cloud was found to be in the central regions of a faraway quasar. "Quasars contain massive black holes that steadily consume a surrounding disk of gas and dust; as it eats, the quasar spews out tremendous amounts of energy," the Institution said in its statement. Quasars are the most luminous, most powerful and most energetic objects in the universe.
The research team studied a particular quasar called APM 08279+5255, which harbors a black hole 20 billion times more massive than the sun and produces as much energy as one quadrillion suns.  The quasar where the gigantic water reservoir is located is some 12 billion years old, only 1.6 billion years younger than the Big Bang. It is older than the formation of most of the stars in the disk of the Milky Way galaxy.

The research team was comprised of a wide array of international talent. The Carnegie Institution's Eric Murphy headed up the study. Also involved were astronomers and scientists from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the California Institute of Technology, the University of Maryland, the University of Colorado, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Institute for Space and Astronautical Science in Japan.

Astronomers used giant telescopes in Hawaii and California to discover and verify the existence of the giant water-bearing cloud, according to A major new telescope called the CCAT will enable scientists to measure the amount of water vapor throughout the universe. The CCAT telescope is still in the design phases. But after its creation, discoveries like this may well become commonplace.

In a world concerned with a major water crisis, the existence of extraterrestrial water is particularly ironic.
Some 1.1 billion people live without clean drinking water, according to the World Water Council, "a global water movement for a water secure world." That means that more than two out of six people are without access to drinking water that is safe for consumption.
Population concerns are expected to exacerbate the crisis. The Council notes that "within the next fifty years, the world population will increase by another 40 to 50 percent."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Brutal Heat-wave Across Central and Eastern US

A punishing heat-wave has settled over central and eastern parts of the US, pushing temperatures as high as 37C (99F) and causing up to 22 deaths.
The National Weather Service warned of "dangerous" levels of heat and humidity creeping east, with no relief expected in eastern states until Sunday. As much as 50% of the US population is under a heat advisory, officials said.

Meteorologists have put the temperatures down to a "dome" of high pressure in the atmosphere. On Thursday, many regions in the central US and parts of the eastern seaboard also saw heat indexes - a combination of temperature and humidity - topping 43C or approx.109F. The air is sinking, as it sinks it compresses and gets warmer. It also dries out, so few clouds form to block the high early-summer sun.
Meanwhile, asphalt and concrete pavements and buildings in cities were "re-radiating" the heat.

Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the US, according to the National Weather Service.
Across the central and eastern US, people and animals alike have been struggling to keep cool amid the oppressive heat and humidity. As the heat peaks in major population centres on the east coast, the number of deaths is expected to rise, officials warn. The combination of high heat and high humidity made it hard for the human body to cool itself - because sweat does not evaporate efficiently.

 In Minnesota - a northern state known for its frigid winters - farm livestock have been dying from heat stress at a rate not seen in three decades, the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper reported. Turkeys were hit especially hard, the paper reported. In South Dakota, as many as 1,500 head of cattle have died in the heat, state veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven told Reuters news agency.

Urban areas have opened cooling centres for the poor and elderly, and the National Weather Service has warned people in normally cool areas to be especially cautious. Philadelphia has deployed police officers to manage hot, irritated crowds at the city's public swimming pools.   Con Edison said scattered power cuts were likely in New York in the next several days amid a surge in usage of air conditioning units.

Chicago is experiencing unhealthy smog levels caused by the heat. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency asked the city's residents to reduce polluting activities, such as mowing lawns and keeping the engines running on stationary vehicles. Forecasters said the damage caused by the heat could be worse than that brought about by a heat-wave in Chicago in 1995, when more than 700 people died over three days.

 By Friday, the low pressure system moving east is expected to bring thunderstorms with hail to the north-eastern US. Meanwhile, as half of the country's 310 million residents sizzle, states in the north-western region of the country were experiencing abnormally cool temperatures. "I didn't know it could be this cold in July. It is absolutely freezing here in Seattle," said one user of Twitter.

The most severe heat-wave in modern North American history took place during the Great Depression in 1936. The heat that summer was blamed for more than 5,000 deaths in the US and Canada.

Cobra Vs Mongoose

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Climate Change 'Threatens Peace'

Climate change poses a major threat to future peace and security, a senior UN official has warned. Crises such as that in Somalia could be far worse as a result of climate change.  Achim Steiner from the UN Environment Programme said climate change would  "exponentially" increase the scale of natural disasters.

His comments followed a UN declaration of famine in parts of Somalia.  The Russian envoy Alexander Pankin said he was sceptical about the implications of putting climate change on the security council's agenda. Mr Steiner warned that an increase in the frequency of natural disasters across the globe could prove a major challenge in the coming decades. He said recent crises, such as in Somalia, illustrate that "our capacity to handle these kinds of events is proving a challenge, particularly if they occur simultaneously and start affecting, for instance, global food markets, regional food security issues, displacing people, creating refugees across borders".

"Clearly the international community - if the scenarios in climate change for the future come true - will face an exponential growth of these kinds of extreme events," he added. His comments came as the Security Council formally debated the environment for the first time in four years, with Germany pressing for the first-ever council statement linking climate change to global peace and security.

Diplomats said there were intense negotiations between Germany and Russia, which initially opposed any council action, before a statement on the issue was agreed to.

The final statement expressed "concern that possible adverse effects of climate change may, in the long run, aggravate certain existing threats to international peace and security". It also requested UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to include information on possible climate change impacts in his regular reports on global trouble-spots.

German Ambassador Peter Wittig welcomed the outcome." We had quite extensive discussions," Mr Wittig said. "We wanted to get everyone on board. And we did."  The council had failed to agree on whether climate change was an issue of world peace in 2007, when Britain brought up the issue.

The move came after two regions of Somalia were declared a famine, after the worst drought in six decades.Conditions for famine include more than 30% of children being acutely malnourished, and four children out of every 10,000 dying daily.  More than 10 million people have been affected by the crisis across east Africa.

Are you waking up to the facts yet? Climate change is causing more and more extreme natural disasters; the drought and famine in Somalia is just one example. We have had quakes and tsunamis, floods and giant tornadoes this year so far. We are well on the way to a planet which is uninhabitable.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rupert Murdoch : Attacked With Shaving Cream During Testimony

Rupert Murdoch was attacked  with shaving cream doing today's  phone-hacking scandal testimony , leading the Parliamentary committee to call a recess .

The protester, identified as Jonnie Marbles , apparently hit Murdoch in the face with shaving cream while yelling , "You are a greedy bastard."

Direct hit Jonnie Marbles  right in the kisser.  HEHE

Monday, July 18, 2011

Moonbows at Yosemite

While most think about rainbows as a daytime event, they can also occur at night. According to the Guardian, moonbows, or lunar rainbows, are created when moonlight passes through a fine spray."It has its own romantic and beautiful sense to it," says Yosemite Park Ranger Bob Roney in the video above.

Moonbows usually happen near waterfalls. They are more faint than rainbows, and are best viewed during a full moon. One of the best spots to see them, according to the Guardian, is Victoria Falls in Zambia. They can also be found at Yosemite National Park, which is known for its rainbows and double rainbows. According to the video, they can be viewed at all of the parks falls, you just have to be there at the right time."A lot of people don't realize we even get rainbows at night in Yosemite," says filmmaker Steve Bumgardner."You get the rainbow without the storm."

Hundreds of photographers now flock to one of the falls at Yosemite to capture the phenomenon, and the popularity is growing. If you think moonbows are awesome, try not to get too excited by the news that double moonbows also exist.

Egypt's New Cabinet Met With Protests

After the expulsion of President Hosni Mubarak by popular revolt, Egypt's new ministers will take the oath of office on Monday in front of Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the leader of the military council that took control of Egypt after Mubarak's resignation. "State TV dubbed Prime Minister Essam Sharaf's new lineup the 'Revolution Cabinet'. Most of the ministers were relative newcomers in an apparent effort to avoid further criticism by the protesters." Still, thousands of protesters have returned to Tahrir Square, the center of Egypt's uprising, demanding quicker change.

The military council that currently controls the government promised a parliamentary election in September with a presidential vote to follow. At least 15 ministers, or more than half the cabinet, are being replaced, including those for foreign affairs, finance, military production and trade and industry. A backdrop to the current electoral discussions is the health of Egypt's deposed former-president. There are conflicting reports as to whether Mubarak is in a coma or, as many citizens in Egypt would prefer, in good health and fit to stand trial. He is charged with abuse of power and the killing of more than 840 people who died in the 18 days of demonstrations that led to his removal.
  Hang in there Hosni. It's payback time.

Warning of Dangerous Heat Wave

At Chicago's famous Wrigley Field on Sunday, mist cooled hot fans.

 Authorities have warned of a potentially deadly heatwave passing over the middle of the country. In swathes of the Mid-west the heat index -( how the weather feels) - is due to top 100 degrees, officials said. The heat and humidity made the air in Newton Iowa feel 126F, weathers reports said.

The US National Weather Service warned of "the most significant heat wave the region has experienced in at least the last five years." The "heat dome" of high air pressure, high temperatures and high humidity was expected to expand from the central mid-western core of the US outward, reaching the eastern US states by mid-week.

"The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are likely," the National Weather Service warned. Afflicted states included Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and South and North Dakota. Some states like Missouri have already had devastating floods and tornadoes this year.

Authorities warned residents under the heat dome to drink plenty of fluids, stay in air conditioned spaces, out of the sun and to check on relatives and neighbours.  Gotta love that climate change, a surprise around every corner.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Few Dane Cook Jokes...Why?...Because He's Certifiably Insane

 Dane Cook Jokes:
I don't know if I could kill someone with a frozen turkey, because that is a lot of evidence to eat. Unless I found a whole room of people who also wanted that person dead.

I hate it when somebody turns around in my driveway. You're just sitting comfortably, watching T, you hear a car pulling up. Like, "Who is this?!" It's so disruptive. You look out: strange car, you don't know if it's a government official. You start getting concerned "What, I don't know this car!" Then they turn to leave. You're like, "You son of a bitch! You wasted moments of my life! Moments I will never get back!"

Nobody talks to 'THAT' guy. But let me tell you something. Every job I ever had in my life, I talk to 'THAT' guy. I'd talk to him, I'd find him on purpose and I'd have little chit-chats with him, and I'd be very interested and be like, "By the way, here's a Snickers, that's for you. Peanuts, caramel, put that in your mouth, enjoy that." You know why I talk to 'THAT' guy? Because when that day finally comes, and he ffffffffffp SNAPS, and he comes into work with a sawed-off shotgun, walkin' through the halls (gunfire noises) and he finally gets to my office, he's gonna be like, "Thanks for the candy." (continues walking, shooting) You laugh now, but you know Monday morning, you're gonna be like, "HEEEEEY  MARCUS !"

Not everyone's cup of tea but I like him.

UN Drops Taliban Leaders From Sanctions List

Some Taliban fighters have handed in their weapons as part of the reconciliation process

Fourteen former Afghan Taliban leaders have been removed from an international blacklist by the UN Security Council. President Hamid Karzai's government had asked the UN sanctions committee to drop the names from the list. They include four members of the High Peace Council set up last year to pave the way for talks with the Taliban.

The Security Council said the delisting of the names sent out a strong signal of support for the Afghan government's reconciliation efforts. The sanctions were imposed in 1999, when the Taliban were in power, and were expanded after the 9/11 attacks on the US. "The international community recognises efforts made by members of the High Peace Council to work toward peace, stability and reconciliation," Germany's UN ambassador Peter Wittig, who chairs the sanctions committee, said in a statement."All Afghans are encouraged to join these efforts. The message is clear: Engaging for peace pays off," he said.

But according to the Associated Press news agency, the Afghan government had wanted 50 names dropped from the blacklist. It had provided extensive documentation to show they had reintegrated into society, but the committee refused to remove them from the list, the agency says. Following Friday's decision, 123 names remain on the Taliban sanctions list that imposes travel bans and asset freezes.

Analysts say the US and Nato acknowledge that they cannot withdraw successfully from Afghanistan, or effect a transition to Afghan forces by 2014, without an end to the war and some kind of political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban.  US President Barack Obama has said 10,000 US troops will pull out this year, with another 23,000 leaving by the end of September 2012.
Civilian and military casualties are at levels not seen for a decade in Afghanistan - last year more than 2,400 civilians died.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Machu Picchu - City of Secrets

The summit of Huayna Picchu, also known as Wayna Picchu, gives trekkers a bird's-eye-view of Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu’s cascading terraces and precision-cut stones provide evidence of the masterful building skills of the Inca, whose empire included a vast realm of 12 million people at its height.
Mountains rise above stone walls at Machu Picchu, which served as a royal retreat. The Inca quarried and moved stones weighing more than a hundred tons despite lacking wheeled vehicles and iron tools
Visitors to Machu Picchu take in the view from Huayna Picchu, the peak that looms over the Inca site. The Urubamba River cuts through the valley below.
According to Hiram Bingham, who uncovered and excavated the site during an expedition in 1912, the quality of the stonework at Machu Picchu dwellings reflected the status of their residents.
The Urubamba River is seen below terraces carved into a ridge at Machu Picchu. The rich soil of the Urubamba River Valley continues to support the high-yield varieties of corn developed by the Inca.
Llamas graze beside the ruins at Machu Picchu. Both llamas and alpacas served crucial roles during the Inca’s reign. South America’s only draft animal, a llama could carry 70 pounds of gear on its back
Hiram Bingham was a 35-year-old assistant professor at Yale University when he set out from a camp on the Urubamba River to investigate reports of ruins on a towering ridge known as Machu Picchu (“old mountain” in the Inca language). What he found was an Inca ghost town that had been hidden from the outside world for nearly 400 years.
In a few generations, the Inca conquered 2,500 miles along South America’s mountainous spine, building the largest empire of the New World’s native civilizations. The empire fell apart after the Spanish conquest in 1532.
Nearly 2,000 people visit Machu Picchu each day. The remote retreat was one of the few Inca sites untouched by the Spanish invaders
Terraces are carved high on Huayna Picchu. For decades Machu Picchu was a puzzle for archaeologists and historians. A 16th-century legal document and studies of the site’s architecture and artifacts in the latter 20th century have suggested a mountaintop retreat for Inca ruler Pachacutec Inca Yupanqui.

It’s not actually the Lost City of the Inca:
When the explorer Hiram Bingham III encountered Machu Picchu in 1911, he was looking for a different city, known as Vilcabamba. This was a hidden capital to which the Inca had escaped after the Spanish conquistadors arrived in 1532. Over time it became famous as the legendary Lost City of the Inca. Bingham spent most of his life arguing that Machu Picchu and Vilcabamba were one and the same, a theory that wasn’t proved wrong until after his death in 1956. (The real Vilcabamba is now believed to have been built in the jungle about 50 miles west of Machu Picchu.) Recent research has cast doubt on whether Machu Picchu had ever been forgotten at all. When Bingham arrived, three families of farmers were living at the site.
It is no stranger to earthquakes:The stones in the most handsome buildings throughout the Inca Empire used no mortar. These stones were cut so precisely, and wedged so closely together, that a credit card cannot be inserted between them. Aside from the obvious aesthetic benefits of this building style, there are engineering advantages. Peru is a seismically unstable country—both Lima and Cusco have been leveled by earthquakes—and Machu Picchu itself was constructed atop two fault lines. When an earthquake occurs, the stones in an Inca building are said to “dance;” that is, they bounce through the tremors and then fall back into place. Without this building method, many of the best known buildings at Machu Picchu would have collapsed long ago.
Much of the most impressive stuff is invisible:
While the Inca are best remembered for their beautiful walls, their civil engineering projects were incredibly advanced as well. (Especially, as is often noted, for a culture that used no draft animals, iron tools, or wheels.) The site we see today had to be sculpted out of a notch between two small peaks by moving stone and earth to create a relatively flat space. The engineer Kenneth Wright has estimated that 60 percent of the construction done at Machu Picchu was underground. Much of that consists of deep building foundations and crushed rock used as drainage. (As anyone who’s visited in the wet season can tell you, Machu Picchu receives a lot of rain.)
You can walk up to the ruins:
A trip to Machu Picchu is many things, but cheap is not one of them. Train tickets from Cusco can run more than a hundred dollars each, and the entry fees are an additional $43. In between, a round-trip bus trip up and down the 2,000-feet-high slope atop which the Inca ruins are located costs another $14. If you don’t mind a workout, however, you can walk up and down for free. The steep path roughly follows Hiram Bingham’s 1911 route and offers extraordinary views of the Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary, which looks almost as it did in Bingham’s time. The climb is strenuous and takes about 90 minutes.
There’s a great, hidden museum that no one goes to:
For visitors conditioned to the explanatory signs at national parks, one of the strangest things about Machu Picchu is that the site provides virtually no information about the ruins. (This lack does have one advantage—the ruins remain uncluttered.) The excellent Museo de Sitio Manuel Chávez Ballón ($8 entry) fills in many of the blanks about how and why Machu Picchu was built (displays are in English and Spanish), and why the Inca chose such an extraordinary natural location for the citadel. First you have to find the museum, though. It’s inconveniently tucked at the end of a long dirt road near the base of Machu Picchu, about a 30-minute walk from the town of Aguas Calientes
There’s more than one peak to climb:
Long before dawn, visitors eagerly queue up outside the bus depot in Aguas Calientes, hoping to be one of the first persons to enter the site. Why? Because only the first 400 people who sign in are eligible to climb Huayna Picchu (the small green peak, shaped like a rhino horn, that 1,640 feet it is twice as tall, and the views it offers of the area surrounding the ruins—especially the white Urubamba River winding around Machu Picchu like a coiled snake—are spectacular.
There’s a secret temple:
Should you be one of the lucky early birds who snags a spot on the guest list to Huayna Picchu, don’t just climb the mountain, snap a few photos, and leave. Take the time to follow the hair-raising trail to the Temple of the Moon, located on the far side of Huayna Picchu. Here, a ceremonial shrine of sorts has been built into a cave lined with exquisite stonework and niches that were once probably used to hold mummies.
There are still things to be found:
Should you wander away from the central ruins at Machu Picchu, you’ll notice that occasionally side paths branch off into the thick foliage. Where do they go? Who knows. Because the cloud forest grows over quickly in the area surrounding Machu Picchu, there may be unknown trails and ruins yet to be found nearby. Several newly refurbished sets of terraces are being made available to the public for the first time this summer.
You see the city is full of secrets. It's a wonderful trip for the adventurer and the explorer in all of us. I'm going. See you there??