Froma Harrop: The Smallness of Being in Economy Class (Creators Syndicate)
Americans are in the dumps about their future. What does that have to do with legroom in economy class? Everything.
Froma Harrop: The 'Spiral of Silence' (Creators Syndicate)
With folks yapping all day on social media - Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and the rest - how can there be such a thing as a "spiral of silence" online?
Ted Rall: More Than Half of Americans Are or Have Been Poor. Capitalism Is Working on the Other Half (Creators Syndicate)
Odds are, you are poor. Or you've been poor.
Connie Schultz: Our Gayest Summer Ever (Creators Syndicate)
Ten years after Ohio voters passed one of the worst anti-gay laws in the country, a downtown arena in Cleveland welcomed 10,000 athletes, fans and corporate sponsors to kick off the weeklong 2014 Gay Games.
Your Brain On Coffee (YouTube)
"Ah, coffee. For some, it's a daily necessity. Most coffee drinkers would say that after their first cup of coffee in the morning, they're feeling much better than when they awoke. Specifically how does that happen? AsapSCIENCE has the answer to that and other burning coffee questions." - Neatorama
Jonathan Persinger: The 6 Most Hilariously Misleading Movie Trailers (Cracked)
Movie trailers have the difficult job of convincing people to see a movie even when it isn't marketable (or good at all). So it's easy to understand the little tricks marketing pulls, like editing together unrelated lines of dialogue, or including the movie's only two funny scenes in their entirety. But sometimes the trailer editors decide that if nobody will want to see the actual movie that got made, well, they'll just pretend it's something different entirely.
Deborah Orr: The reaction to Rotherham is a typical British blame game (Guardian)
Those shouting loudest about the sexual abuse of 1,400 girls are mainly interested in drawing attention to their own rectitude.
Scott Burns: How To Pay Handsomely To Get Your Own Money Back (AssetBuilder)
Consider Michael Kitces as the Thinking Man's Financial Planner. He's smart. He's prolific. And he spends his best hours where the rubber meets the road, in the analysis of the actual financial products most of us encounter in real life. The results can be surprising. Here's an example: Suppose you are one of the millions of people who took advantage of an offer for a free dinner-and ended up buying "Living Benefits."
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David Bruce has approximately 50 Kindle books on Amazon.com.
"Doug's Most Shared Facebook Post" Today
Michelle in AZ
From The Creator of 'Avery Ant'
Spud Goodman « My POV
I am guessing just about everyone dreams what it would be like to be someone who you think at that moment is leading a much cooler life than you. When I was little I would spend hours in deep sleep contemplating what it would be like to suit up and quarterback the Oakland Raiders. I was awesome playing with that team, actually undefeated. In more than a few dreams I was Pete Maravich too and did some stuff on the court that was totally amazing. And oh yeah, I often played in the Who mostly as Pete Townsend but occasionally as Roger Daltry. I was a mind blowing guitar player but my vocals at times were not up to the standards of the band so I stuck mostly to killer solos with my bloody fingers. The truth is I could hardly wait to go to bed at night as that was when the feature entertainment would begin. I mean real movies were cool but actually living out my dreams at night and for free, well it was the best part of my day. I would also day dream a bit too but it was more like a super 8 movie compared to a major Hollywood production shot in 3D during deep slumber.
When I was a kid I can't remember ever dreaming about what it was like being someone who had bad stuff happen to them. It never occurred to me as pretty much I was obsessed with all things fun in those days. Ok, I did a few times dream I was John F. Kennedy pre Dallas trip. Being a war hero and a chick magnet was somewhat appealing. Still is to this day but mostly I just wasn't into reading the paper and filling my head with the world's problems as that was not a ton of fun. I have been able to keep with that approach until fairly recently when I have started paying attention to more than the sports page and Sports Center each day. What's been happening is pretty hard to ignore if you tune into any of the cable news channels or log onto Facebook. Yes, in this country right now it's really hairy to be a young black guy. Even ones whose parents live in gated communities too cuz while walking or driving they all sorta face the same risks. In the old days driving while black mostly resulted in multiple citations issued by police in the name of generating revenue for whatever municipality was ventured into. As easy marks I am betting this particular segment of society generated over 50% of fines collected each fiscal year and I might be underestimating the actual sum a bit so yep, we are talking about the low hanging fruit here for sure.
So what exactly happened to make all those previously financial only transactions now turn into justifiable shootings? I have no clue but recently I have been having this same dream over and over. I am a twenty something African American male and I am scared shitless. Though I try to fake like I don't give a fuck about living and dying in these dreams I can sense even I don't buy it as I want to live a normal life without unending fear swallowing me up. Like last night it got too much and I was sweating up the bed profusely so I can only guess what it's like in real life having to watch out for knuckleheads with guns in your own neighborhood and now knowing any traffic stop or conversation with a policeman could also result in the same quick last chapter to your life story. Not much chance for a happy ending which makes it very sad for anyone hoping for more.
As I said I am only an African American male in my dreams but can only wonder how different Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and multiple others at FOX NEWS would feel if while wide awake they walked a day in the shoes of a young black male with a big sign tacked to their backs in bold print visible only to cops "shoot first, ask questions later." Pretty sure you might pick up a higher degree of concern from them than their viewers are currently receiving. Whether they faced a possible choking, shooting or just an old school beating with whatever war surplus weapon was handy no way they ever spew their sheltered and privileged world view again. I am appreciative I never faced enemy fire in that sandy place in the world while dreaming or of course in real life but at least in that setting I would have a clear frame of reference on why someone was trying to kill me. Shopping at Walmart or driving over to visit a friend is not a setting you would expect to not return home from. Oh well I guess.
Some people may say that only criminals need to be afraid of the police but the reality of skin color is there is no place to hide from it. Though many continue to deny there are two distinct realities in this country in regards to law enforcement and it's implementation of deadly force recent events have verified this truth and to deny such is shameful. Having an African American President residing in the White House only seems to have exacerbated a centuries old divide that desperately needs a renewed examination as school kids continue to recite the words "and liberty and justice for all." We are better than this. Later.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
In The Chaos Household
Does Away With Batteries
Swiss engineers, famous for making the world's finest watches, are turning their hands to cardiology with a prototype battery-less pacemaker based on a self-winding wristwatch.
Current pacemakers, which help the heart beat more regularly, offer a lifeline for many patients with cardiac problems but the need for battery power is a limiting factor, since replacing them requires a surgical intervention.
Adrian Zurbuchen of the University of Bern's cardiovascular engineering group aims to get around the problem with his device, using automatic clockwork first developed for pocket watches by Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Perrelet in 1777.
Automatic watches work because they have an eccentric weight that pivots when the wearer's arm moves. This rotation progressively winds a spring that then turns the watch mechanism. In the new Swiss pacemaker, the mechanical spring unwinds to spin an electrical micro-generator.
18th Century Brewery
College of William and Mary
College students have always had a taste for beer, and archaeologists have uncovered new evidence at the College of William and Mary to prove it.
The remains of what is likely an 18th century on-campus brewery were discovered just outside of the nation's oldest college building when campus officials were looking to widen a sidewalk.
Records have long indicated that the college had slaves who sold the school hops that the slaves had grown on a nearby plantation. It wasn't always clear, however, exactly where that brewing was taking place after the initial campus building burned down in 1705. Based upon cannon debris found at the site, officials believe the brewery they've found only existed until the Revolutionary War.
If known about by previous archaeologists, the brewery was never included in historical records or artist renderings. Instead, attention was generally focused on the main historic buildings like the Wren, which was built sometime between 1695 and 1700 and housed students and faculty, a kitchen and also served as a classroom space.
After it was gutted by fire, the Wren Building was rebuilt in 1716 and debris from its construction was placed in a large pit near the building site. Sometime after that - likely in the 1720s, although the exact date isn't known - archaeologists believe the school built a small brewery right next to that trash pit. It would've provided beer for the few dozen students and faculty who were there during the Colonial era.
College of William and Mary
Mothers of Augustine
A group of Ecuadoran nuns opened the doors of their convent to the outside world Saturday -- a first since the order arrived in the South American country 150 years ago.
The nuns of the Mothers of Augustine were expelled from Colombia in 1864 and subsequently settled in the center of Quito, where they have lived a secluded lifestyle ever since.
Currently, only seven nuns -- two of them octogenarians -- live in the cloister surrounded by thick white walls and accessible by way of heavy wooden doors.
Only the head nun has contact with the outside world and an order from the bishop is required to enter the cloister.
Mothers of Augustine
The canons have been stolen from the 18th-century seaside fort in the city where Haiti declared its independence and the stones imported from France are commonly targeted by thieves.
But Haitian authorities and international experts hope to reverse the loss of such cultural heritage from the ruins of Fort Liberte and elsewhere, which they blame on lax supervision and weak laws to prosecute those pillaging Haiti's historic sites.
"They are very significant sites. It tells a very deep history not only of Haiti but the entire Caribbean," said Dan Rogers, an archaeology curator with the Smithsonian Institution who spoke Sunday by phone as he traveled to Fort Liberte.
The visit comes as Haiti's government pushes to develop the country's nascent tourism sector and promote its archaeological heritage as it rebuilds from a devastating 2010 earthquake, with the Smithsonian Institution previously launching a cultural recovery effort to help repair artwork and train Haitians in restoration work.
Secret 'Stay-Behind Agents'
Fearing a Russian invasion and occupation of Alaska, the U.S. government in the early Cold War years recruited and trained fishermen, bush pilots, trappers and other private citizens across Alaska for a covert network to feed wartime intelligence to the military, newly declassified Air Force and FBI documents show.
So FBI director J. Edgar Hoover teamed up on a highly classified project, code-named "Washtub," with the newly created Air Force Office of Special Investigations, headed by Hoover protege and former FBI official Joseph F. Carroll.
The secret plan was to have citizen-agents in key locations in Alaska ready to hide from the invaders of what was then only a U.S. territory. The citizen-agents would find their way to survival caches of food, cold-weather gear, message-coding material and radios. In hiding they would transmit word of enemy movements.
This was not civil defense of the sort that became common later in the Cold War as Americans built their own bomb shelters. This was an extraordinary enlistment of civilians as intelligence operatives on U.S. soil.
None of the indigenous population was included. The program founders believed that agents from the "Eskimo, Indian and Aleut groups in the Territory should be avoided in view of their propensities to drink to excess and their fundamental indifference to constituted governments and political philosophies. It is pointed out that their prime concern is with survival and their allegiance would easily shift to any power in control."
Fourteen animal rights activists have been detained on the Faroe island of Sandoy in the North Atlantic while trying to stop a controversial dolphin hunt, their organisation said Sunday.
The activists were detained Saturday when attempting to save a pod of 33 pilot whales, members of the dolphin family, as the mammals were driven to shore to be killed by waiting hunting parties, according to environmental group Sea Shepherd.
Large numbers of pilot whales are slaughtered each year on the Faroe Islands, an autonomous territory within the kingdom of Denmark.
After their arrest, the hunt went ahead and all 33 pilot whales were killed, according to Sea Shepherd.
One of the boats seized on Saturday, B.S. Sheen, is sponsored by American actor Charlie Sheen, who said he was proud his vessel had taken part in trying to stop the "atrocity."
Appeals Teacher Tenure Ruling
Gov. Jerry Brown appealed a court ruling that struck down tenure and other job protections for California's teachers, setting himself apart from leaders in some other states who have fought to end such protections or raise the standards for obtaining them.
Attorney General Kamala Harris filed the appeal Friday in a Los Angeles County court on behalf of the governor and the state.
The move came a day after Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu finalized his June ruling that found five laws violated the California Constitution by depriving some of the state's 6.2 million students of a quality education. He'd earlier said the system "shocks the conscience."
The governor's one-page notice of appeal said that under the state's constitution "the important issues presented in this case - if they are to have statewide legal impact - must be reviewed by a higher court, either the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court of California."
Like many of her neighbors, Satomi Inokoshi worries that her gritty hometown is being spoiled by the newcomers and the money that have rolled into Iwaki since the Fukushima nuclear disaster almost three and a half years ago.
"Iwaki is changing - and not for the good," said Inokoshi, 55, who echoes a sentiment widely heard in this town of almost 300,000 where the economic boom that followed the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl has brought its own disruption.
Property prices in Iwaki, about 60 km (36 miles) south of the wrecked nuclear plant, have jumped as evacuees forced from homes in more heavily contaminated areas snatch up apartments and land. Hundreds of workers, who have arrived to work in the nuclear clean-up, crowd downtown hotels.
But long-time residents have also come to resent evacuees and the government compensation that has made the newcomers relatively rich in a blue-collar town built on coal mining and access to a nearby port. Locals have stopped coming to the entertainment district where Inokoshi runs a bar, she says, scared off by the nuclear workers and their rowdy reputation.
Orca Population Falling
With two new deaths this year and no new calves since 2012, the population of endangered killer whales in the Puget Sound continues to decline.
The number of whales in J, K and L pods has dropped to 78, a level not seen since 1985, According to a census by the Center for Whale Research. Adding to the concerns, the whales appear to be "splintering" from their pods, which are their basic social groups.
Since 1976, Ken Balcomb of the research center has been observing the Puget Sound orcas, or Southern Residents as they're known among scientists. Balcomb compiles an annual census of the population for submission to the federal government.
Historically, all three pods of orcas have come together in the San Juan Islands during summer months, often feeding and socializing in large groups, Balcomb noted. But for the past few years, the pods have divided themselves into small groups, sometimes staying together but often staying apart.
"What we're seeing with this weird association pattern is two or three members of one pod with two or three from another pod," Balcomb said. "It's a fragmentation of the formal social structure, and you can see that fragmentation going further. They are often staying miles and miles apart and not interacting.
Health Canada is pulling the last of citronella-based bug sprays off the shelves by the end of December because of "the absence of adequate safety data." The essential oil has been used as an insect repellent in Canada for decades.
The move has left scientists who advised Health Canada on the issue befuddled by the ban. So are many consumers who prefer natural bug sprays over ones with synthetic chemicals like DEET.
Insect repellents are considered pesticides so they must meet strict safety standards. In 2004, Health Canada proposed phasing out citronella-based bug sprays because of new questions about its safety.
Small manufacturers who couldn't afford to submit detailed safety data saw their lines discontinued at the end of 2012. Those who submitted what data they could and tried to challenge the ban are now to see their products phased out at the end of this year.
DEET passed Health Canada's scrutiny because the manufacturers provided the required safety data. But citronella - an extract from lemon grass - has never been patented, which makes it an unattractive investment for costly studies.
Sea levels around Antarctica have been rising a third faster than the global average, a clear sign of high meltwater runoff from the continent's icesheet, scientists said on Sunday.
Satellite data from 1992 to 2011 found the sea surface around Antarctica's coast rose by around eight centimetres (3.2 inches) in total compared to a rise of six cm for the average of the world's oceans, they said.
The local increase is accompanied by a fall in salinity at the sea surface, as detected by research ships.
These dramatic changes can only be explained by an influx of freshwater from melting ice, warned the study.