Mark Morford: Five ridiculously easy resolutions for 2015 (SF Gate)
Work out more? Eat healthier, get up earlier, meditate, do more yoga, have better sex, quit whining so much and lose a few pounds and be nicer to all baristas, wait staff, meter maids and UPS drivers? Damn straight. Also, sort of easy. Herewith, a wider swath, more winking and inquisitive. For 2015, maybe try…
David P. Gushee: Tackling the Hard Questions (Sojourners)
It's time for Bible-believing Christians to take a new look at what scripture teaches us about gays and lesbians.
Human Rights Foundation: Smuggle and airdrop films, literature, encyclopedias, and media into information-starved North Korea
… millions of brave North Koreans, hungry for a better life, defy the regime every day by secretly consuming films, TV shows, books, articles, and any other information from the outside world that they can get their hands on.
Pope Francis: the fifteen 'diseases' of the Curia (Vatican Insider)
The disease of hoarding: 'When the apostle seeks to fill an existential void in his heart by hoarding material possessions, not because of necessity, but only to feel secure'.
Chris Hayes: The GOP wrong again on Obama economy (MSNBC)
Amid a flood of good economic news, "All In" looks back at the doom and gloom predictions of the president's critics.
C. Coville: 5 Historical Wars That Need Movie Adaptations Now (Cracked)
War movies are one of Hollywood's most beloved genres, right up there with romance, horror, and teal and orange exploding robots. Given this fact, you'd assume that by now the movie industry has vigilantly combed through history, sucking up all the interesting war stories that ever existed like a giant, script-writing vacuum, right?
20 Insane Facts About Famous People They Want to Keep Secret (Cracked)
Despite all the TMZ's and Perez Hiltons we have nowadays, it turns out there are still some things we don't know about famous celebrities. Thankfully, our readers are here to reveal what the others haven't.
WILLIAM DERESIEWICZ: The Death of the Artist-and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur (Atlantic)
Hard-working artisan, solitary genius, credentialed professional-the image of the artist has changed radically over the centuries. What if the latest model to emerge means the end of art as we have known it?
Mark Coker: "2015 Book Publishing Industry Predictions: Slow Growth Presents Challenges and Opportunities" (Smashwords)
Most exciting of all, we're still in the early days of the ebook self publishing revolution. I'm confident that decades from now, ebook self publishing will be viewed by historians as no less transformative than the advent of the Gutenberg printing press.
David Bruce's Amazon Author Page
David Bruce's Smashwords Page
David Bruce's Blog
David Bruce's Lulu Storefront
David Bruce's Apple iBookstore
David Bruce has approximately 50 Kindle books on Amazon.com.
Michelle in AZ
don't know about IQ
I feel better because it's not there
We are in complete agreement, once again. : )
From The Creator of 'Avery Ant'
from Marc Perkel
Hello Bartcop fans,
As you all know the untimely passing of Terry was unexpected, even by him. We all knew he had cancer but we all thought he had some years left. So some of us who have worked closely with him over the years are scrambling around trying to figure out what to do. My job, among other things, is to establish communications with the Bartcop community and provide email lists and groups for those who might put something together. Those who want to play an active roll in something coming from this, or if you are one of Bart's pillars, should send an email to email@example.com.
Bart's final wish was to pay off the house mortgage for Mrs. Bart who is overwhelmed and so very grateful for the support she has received. Anyone wanting to make a donation can click on this the yellow donate button on bartcop.com
But - I need you all to help keep this going. This note isn't going to directly reach all of Bart's fans. So if you can repost it on blogs and discussion boards so people can sign up then when we figure out what's next we can let more people know. This list is just over 600 but like to get it up to at least 10,000 pretty quick. So here's the signup link for this email list.
( mailman.bartcop.com/listinfo/bartnews )
from that Mad Cat, JD
CHRISTIANS END 2O14 WITH A BANG!
BECKY BERGER! 10 GALLONS OF TEXASS FUN ON BUN!
IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO QUANTIFY THE INTELLIGENCE OF CONSERVATIVES.
BUNNIES, TIARAS, PUTIN AND THE POPE. A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF PRESIDENT OBAMA.
CONSERVATIVES. WRONG AGAIN NATURALLY.
IT'S THE GAS! GAS! GAS! MAKING A BUCK WHILE YOU FUCK AMERICA!
"THERE WAS ONLY ONE NOSTRADAMUS."
KICKING BUTT AND NAMING NAMES.
A "DUMB FUCK CONSERVATIVE" BUT THEN I REPEAT MY SELF.
BEAUTIFUL MUSIC FOR YOUR HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Sunny and cold (for these parts).
More Return To Mexico
More Monarch butterflies appear to have made the long flight from the U.S. and Canada to their winter nesting ground in western Mexico, raising hopes after their number dropped to a record low last year. But experts still fear that unusual cold temperatures will threaten the orange and black insects.
While an official census won't be ready until mid-January, observers are seeing healthy populations of butterflies bunched together on fir and pine trees in protected sanctuaries, said Gloria Talavera, director of the official monarch butterfly reserve.
Mexico's National Meteorological Service predicts 55 cold fronts for the country through May, a 15 percent increase from the average, and with the possibility for repeated cold systems to extend into March and April.
The migration is an inherited trait: No butterfly lives to make the full round trip, and it is unclear how they find the route back to the same patch of forest each year. Some scientists suggest the butterflies may release chemicals marking the migratory path and fear that if their numbers fall too low, the chemical traces will not be strong enough for others to follow.
More Countries Aim To Curb
The number of child marriages across the world has gradually declined over the past 30 years, driven down by growing economic and educational opportunities for women.
The global child marriage rate dropped from 33 percent in 1985 to 26 percent in 2010, according to the United Nations Children's Fund. If the current pace of progress is maintained, UNICEF predicts, the child marriage rate will drop to 22 percent by 2030 and 18 percent by 2050.
But while progress remains steady, UNICEF says the current rate of decline is barely fast enough to keep pace with population growth. It estimates that in 2050, about 700 million women will have married under the age of 18 - the same number as today.
And if momentum slows down? The total number of child brides could grow to 1.2 billion by mid-century. One of the biggest concerns is sub-Sahara Africa's population boom, which threatens to reverse the incremental progress made in recent decades, according to the UN Population Fund.
A plan to convert Broadway lyricist Oscar Hammerstein's former home into a tourist attraction appears to be falling on deaf ears, but his grandson hopes public officials will soon start singing a different tune.
Hammerstein spent 20 years at Highland Farm in suburban Philadelphia, where he co-wrote musical blockbusters such as "The King and I," ''Oklahoma!" ''Carousel" and "South Pacific."
Now, Will Hammerstein wants to transform the property into the Oscar Hammerstein II Music & Theatre Education Center. But Doylestown Township supervisors and neighbours object to the scale of the $20 million proposal, saying it is too much development for the parcel. A zoning hearing will be held Jan. 12.
Oscar Hammerstein purchased Highland Farm in 1940, and it was there that he and Richard Rodgers formed their creative partnership, according to Hammerstein biographer Hugh Fordin. Though Hammerstein had a townhouse in New York, the farm became one of his favourite things - the place where he worked on "The Sound of Music" and every other production with Rodgers.
'Blue Hole' Reveals Clues to the Maya's Demise
The ancient Mayan civilization collapsed due to a century-long drought, new research suggests.
Minerals taken from Belize's famous underwater cave, known as the Blue Hole, as well as lagoons nearby, show that an extreme drought occurred between A.D. 800 and A.D. 900, right when the Mayan civilization disintegrated. After the rains returned, the Mayans moved north - but they disappeared again a few centuries later, and that disappearance occurred at the same time as another dry spell, the sediments reveal.
Although the findings aren't the first to tie a drought to the Mayan culture's demise, the new results strengthen the case that dry periods were indeed the culprit. That's because the data come from several spots in a region central to the Mayan heartland, said study co-author André Droxler, an Earth scientist at Rice University.
The evidence for a drought has been growing in recent years: Since at least 1995, scientists have been looking more closely at the effects of drought. A 2012 study in the journal Science analyzed a 2,000-year-old stalagmite from a cave in southern Belize and found that sharp decreases in rainfall coincided with periods of decline in the culture. But that data came from just one cave, which meant it was difficult to make predictions for the area as a whole, Droxler said.
Bowed to Royal Pressure
The BBC has been accused of bowing to pressure from the British royal family following a last-minute decision to pull controversial documentary "Reinventing The Royals" from its schedules.
TV listings magazine Radio Times, which broke the story, alleges that lawyers representing members of the royal family intervened at the 11th hour, which led BBC execs to shelve the show.
In a statement, the U.K. public broadcaster said it was "delaying broadcast" of the program, which was due to air on Jan. 4, until "later in the New Year while a number of issues including the use of archive footage are resolved."
The documentary, which is presented by Steve Hewlett, tracks attempts by Prince Charles to salvage his relationship with the British public following the death of Princess Diana in 1997.
In the program, Sandy Henney, who was Charles' press secretary at the time of Diana's death, describes the situation when she was hired in 1993: "He was getting some pretty virulent criticism - bad father, unloving husband. I think he was pretty hurt… if you've got a middle-aged balding man and a beautiful princess, it's a no-brainer as to who is going to get the media coverage."
Greed Wins Again
Harrison and Hill
A 95-year-old newlywed Virginia man has died just weeks after his 96-year-old wife was taken away by family members to Florida.
Eddie Harrison died Tuesday in a hospital after suffering from influenza, said Rebecca Wright, who was caring for the couple in their Alexandria, Virginia, home. Harrison became distressed after his wife and longtime companion, 96-year-old Edith Hill, was taken away, Wright said. Wright is Hill's daughter.
"He lived for her, and she lived for him. It's the love story of the century," Wright said, recalling how they would dance, take walks and care for each other.
Harrison and Hill's marriage this year after 10 years of companionship was disputed in court. Their wedding was problematic because Hill has been declared legally incapacitated for several years. Another of Hill's daughters, Patricia Barber, contested the marriage, saying it would complicate the eventual distribution of Hill's estate. But Hill and Harrison said they wanted to stay together.
The interracial aspect of the marriage also was unique because the two longtime Virginians would not have been allowed to marry if they had met in their 20s, 30s or 40s under state law at the time.
Harrison and Hill
Jennifer Wong has found a way to track the homeless and determine where help is needed: mapping where people defecate on the streets of San Francisco.
Wong, a Web developer, used a city database to create the interactive maps, which she dubbed "(Human) Wasteland." They dramatically illustrate the problem of homelessness in a city of sharp divides between rich and poor.
Wong's maps won a competition at work. She donated some of her winnings to a project that provides mobile toilets and showers to the homeless.
The maps are based on the database of complaints about human feces and urine phoned in to the city's Department of Public Works in 2013. On the maps, the complaints are depicted with tiny images of what look like unwrapped chocolate Hershey's kisses.
The maps prompted some tongue-in-cheek humor about human excrement. But they also started a conversation about the need for affordable housing in the increasingly expensive Bay Area, as well as for toilets, laundry facilities and showers for the homeless.
Gives Birth to Live Young
Frogs and other amphibians lay eggs, but mammals give birth to live young, right? Not always. A newly described species of frog gives birth to live tadpoles, and is the only known frog to do so, researchers say.
The discovery happened one night last summer, when researcher Jim McGuire was tromping through the rainforest in Sulawesi, an Indonesian island east of Borneo. McGuire stumbled across what looked like a single male frog. But when he reached out to grab it, he found himself holding much more, said McGuire, a herpetologist at the University of California, Berkeley.
"As soon as I picked her up, she squirted tadpoles all over my hand," McGuire told Live Science. He didn't have time to take a video of the frog giving birth, but did find more tadpoles in nearby pools. The find "was clear indication" that the females do in fact give birth to live tadpoles, he said.
The frogs were members of a group of Asian fanged frogs that were discovered several decades ago by McGuire's colleague Djoko Iskandar, a zoologist at Indonesia's Institut Teknologi Bandung, but the species had not yet been reported in a scientific paper, McGuire said.
Iskandar had suspected such frogs might gave birth to live young instead of laying eggs, but scientists had never observed the animal mating or birthing tadpoles until McGuire's find.
Prime-time viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for Dec. 22-28. Listings include the week's ranking and viewership.
1. NFL Football: Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, NBC, 20.71 million.
2. "The OT," Fox, 16.18 million.
3. NFL Football: Denver at Cincinnati, ESPN, 16.03 million.
4. "Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 15.14 million.
5. "Football Night in America," NBC, 11.16 million.
6. "60 Minutes," CBS, 11.05 million.
7. "NCIS," CBS, 10.51 million.
8. "Undercover Boss," CBS, 9.18 million.
9. "NCIS: Los Angeles" (Special), CBS, 8.89 million.
10. "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 8.62 million.
11. "Mike & Molly," CBS, 8.52 million.
12. "The Mentalist," CBS, 8.48 million.
13. "CSI," CBS, 7.84 million.
14. "NCIS: New Orleans," CBS, 7.70 million.
15. "The Big Bang Theory" (Special), CBS, 6.85 million.
16. "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 6.84 million.
17. Holiday Bowl: Nebraska at USC, ESPN, 6.80 million
18. "Scorpion," CBS, 6.58 million.
19. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," ABC, 5.96 million.
20. "America's Funniest Home Videos," ABC, 5.91 million.
Edward Herrmann, the towering, melodious-voiced actor who brought Franklin D. Roosevelt to life in films and documentaries, won a Tony Award and charmed audiences as the stuffy dad on TV's "Gilmore Girls," died Wednesday. He was 71.
Herrmann died at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital of brain cancer, his son, Rory Herrmann said. The actor, who had been hospitalized for several weeks, was surrounded by family members including his wife, Star, and his three children, his son said.
The 6-foot-5 actor's favorite role was playing President Roosevelt, his son said, which he did in projects including the TV movies "Eleanor and Franklin" (1976) and its sequel "Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years" (1977) and in the 1982 movie musical "Annie."
Herrmann also provided the voice for FDR in Ken Burns' documentary series "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History," which aired on PBS earlier this year.
His urbane tones were heard on a variety of other documentaries and on hundreds of audio books including Laura Hillenbrand's "Unbroken." He had recently narrated a documentary on cancer, Rory Herrmann said.
He appeared frequently on the big screen, in major films including "Reds" and "The Wolf of Wall Street," and was an acclaimed stage actor whose Tony-winning performance came in 1976 for "Mrs. Warren's Profession."
Television was also a familiar home, with recent appearances on "The Good Wife" and "How I Met Your Mother. His best-known role came on the 2000-07 series "Gilmore Girls," on which he played the patrician father of a single mother (Lauren Graham).
Herrmann, a native of Washington, D.C., graduated from Bucknell University and studied his craft on a Fulbright scholarship to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in 1968-69.
Besides his wife and son, Herrmann's survivors include daughters Ryan and Emma. A private funeral was planned, followed by a public memorial early next week, Rory Herrmann said.