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Trapped Miners in Chile

Let's say a prayer for the miners!

People and Terminology - The Redheaded Skeptic

Quote: John Lithgow: Time sneaks up on... - The Quotations Page

Time sneaks up on you like a windshield on a bug.
John Lithgow

Time I am, and I have come to engage all men...
- Sri Krishna (Bhagavad-gita)

Super Cheap Nanotech "Tea Bag" Cleans Water Instantly (Video) : TreeHugger

Beauty Meets Brute Force

Tough love

Thomas Beek has forwarded a page to you from Common Craft

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Thomas Beek thought you would like to see this page from the Common Craft web site.
Message from Sender:

Augmented Reality - coming soon to a conscious experience near you.

My First Blog Post

Hello Posterous.


Quotes of the Day

I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.
 - Peter De Vries
America believes in education: the average professor earns more money in a year than a professional athlete earns in a whole week.
 - Evan Esar
For most folks, no news is good news; for the press, good news is not news.
 - Gloria Borger
Hemingway posing for a dust jacket photo by Ll...Image via Wikipedia
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The 99 Best Business Books – The Personal MBA - The Personal MBA

The 99 Best Business Books – The Personal MBA - The Personal MBA

The Singularity is Near

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Raymond Kurzweil, an American academicand author.
to Singularity The Movie webpage
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Singularity Summit | Summit 2010 > Reading List

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Lawmaker Loopholes?

clipped from www.factcheck.org

Lawmaker Loopholes?

Q: Is Congress exempt from "many" laws including one against sexual harassment?

A: No. The latest e-mail rant against Congress — proposing a "28th Amendment" to the Constitution — is full of false and outdated claims.


A chain e-mail (copy below) claims members of Congress can retire after one term with their same pay and, while serving, pay no Social Security and exempt themselves from some laws, e.g., sexual harassment and health care legislation. A 28th Amendment to the Constitution is proposed barring Congress from enacting laws applying to its members and not equally to the "citizens of the United States."

Are the facts right?


That’s a lot of very old baloney packed into a few words.

 blog it

Lawmaker Loopholes?

Lawmaker Loopholes?

Q: Is Congress exempt from "many" laws including one against sexual harassment?

A: No. The latest e-mail rant against Congress — proposing a "28th Amendment" to the Constitution — is full of false and outdated claims.


A chain e-mail (copy below) claims members of Congress can retire after one term with their same pay and, while serving, pay no Social Security and exempt themselves from some laws, e.g., sexual harassment and health care legislation. A 28th Amendment to the Constitution is proposed barring Congress from enacting laws applying to its members and not equally to the "citizens of the United States."

Are the facts right?

Subject: An idea whose time has come

For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that Congressmembers could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they didn’t pay into Social Security, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform that is being considered…in all of its’ forms.

⬐ Click to expand/collapse the full text ⬏


That’s a lot of very old baloney packed into a few words.

It never has been true that members of Congress could retire with full pay after one term. That’s a false allegation that has been circulating for at least a decade. As we reported back in 2007, lawmakers can qualify for very good pensions, but nowhere near that good. A lawmaker might qualify for a pension of 80 percent of final salary, and only after many years of service.

An even older Internet myth is the claim that members of Congress don’t pay into Social Security. That was true once — but not for the past quarter-century. They have paid Social Security taxes since 1984, as we reported in a separate article, also in 2007.

The claim that members of Congress would be somehow "exempt" from the now-stalled health care legislation is a more recent absurdity. It’s a twisted claim based on misrepresentations of the House and Senate bills, neither of which exempts lawmakers. We explained how that false notion got started on the Internet rumor mill in an article we posted on Jan. 20.

Finally, the claim that Congress is exempt from "many" of the laws it has passed is 15 years out of date. In the 1980s there were news stories prodding members of Congress for putting themselves "[a]bove their own laws," as a 1988 Time magazine story put it. But following the "Republican Revolution" of 1994, which put Republicans in control of both House and Senate, Congress passed the Congressional Accountability Act (PL 104-1), which applies a dozen civil rights, labor and workplace safety regulations to the legislative branch. Here’s a list compiled by the independent, nonpartisan Office of Compliance, which was set up to enforce the laws in Congress:

Laws Applied to the Legislative Branch by the CAA

  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967

  • The Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute

  • Veterans’ employment and reemployment rights at Chapter 43 of Title 38 of the U.S. Code

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

  • The Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988

  • The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938

  • The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993

  • Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970

  • The Rehabilitation Act of 1973

  • The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1989

In addition, the CAA was amended in 1998 to include certain provisions of the Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998.

According to the Office of Compliance — and contrary to the claim in this e-mail — sexual harassment is specifically covered by Section 201 of the CAA.

The e-mail complains that Congress shouldn’t be an "elite that is above the law." But that’s not the way the authors of the Constitution saw it. They worried that presidents might try to bully House or Senate members by threatening to arrest them on trumped-up charges. So to preserve the separation of executive and legislative powers, the founders gave elected lawmakers a certain degree of immunity.

U.S. Constitution
Article I, Section 6

They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

There very well may be good reasons for ratifying an amendment to the Constitution as proposed in this message. We take no position on that. But as a matter of fact, just about all the claims this message makes in support of the idea are false.

-Brooks Jackson


Jackson, Brooks. "Does a United States senator receive his full pay upon retiring?" FactCheck.org. 26 Dec 2007.

Jackson, Brooks. "Do members of Congress pay Social Security taxes?" FactCheck.org. 17 Dec 2007.

Robertson, Lori. "Congress Exempt from Health Bill?" FactCheck.org. 20 Jan 2010.

Cramer, Jerome. "Above Their Own Laws." Time. 23 May 1988.

Congressional Accountability Act of 1995. (PL 104-1) 2 U.S.C 1301 et seq., as amended.

"Office of Compliance Media Fact Sheet." Office of Compliance undated, accessed 29 Jan 2010.

Constitution of the United States, Article 1, Section 6.

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Depression Linked with Belly Fat | Psych Central News

WASHINGTON - MAY 07: Goldie Hawn receives a sp...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Depression Linked with Belly Fat | Psych Central News: "Depression Linked with Belly Fat"

CHICAGO, April 29 (UPI) -- Depression is linked to the accumulation of belly fat, the kind of fat packed between internal organs at the waistline, U.S. researchers said.

Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, has long been known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

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Amazon Builds Kindle Revolution with Guerilla Tactics vs. Conventional Warfare by Publishers and Competitors

There is a revolution taking place in what and how we read. Although it has been fired by movements and changes in technology that have been gathering for decades, it began in earnest on November 19, 2007 with the release of the Kindle. It might therefore be natural to think that this is a revolution about gadgets and technology, and which ebook reader or convergence device will win, but that would seriously miss the point.

In the long run, this revolution will be about what we read, our right of access to what we read, and the right of authors to connect with readers.
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Green Lamp Pictures

Green Lamp Pictures


The Truth about Dairy

According to Dr. Willett, who has done many studies and reviewed the research on this topic, there are many reasons to pass up milk, including:

1. Milk doesn't reduce fractures.(i) Contrary to popular belief, eating dairy products has never been shown to reduce fracture risk. In fact, according to the Nurses' Health Study dairy may increase risk of fractures by 50 percent!

2. Less dairy, better bones. Countries with lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like those in Africa and Asia) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.

3. Calcium isn't as bone-protective as we thought.(ii) Studies of calcium supplementation have shown no benefit in reducing fracture risk. Vitamin D appears to be much more important than calcium in preventing fractures.

4. Calcium may raise cancer risk. Research shows that higher intakes of both calcium and dairy products may increase a man's risk of prostate cancer by 30 to 50 percent.(iii) Plus, dairy consumption increases the body's level of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) -- a known cancer promoter.

5. Calcium has benefits that dairy doesn't. Calcium supplements, but not dairy products, may reduce the risk of colon cancer.(iv)

6. Not everyone can stomach dairy.(v) About 75 percent of the world's population is genetically unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products -- a problem called lactose intolerance.

Based on such findings, Dr. Willet has come to some important conclusions:

• Everybody needs calcium -- but probably not as much as our government's recommended daily allowance (RDA) and calcium from diet, including greens and beans is better utilized by the body with less risk than calcium supplements.

• Calcium probably doesn't prevent broken bones. Few people in this country are likely to reduce their fracture risk by getting more calcium.

• Men may not want to take calcium supplements. Supplements of calcium and vitamin D may be reasonable for women.

• Dairy may be unhealthy. Advocating dairy consumption may have negative effects on health.
If all that isn't enough to swear you off milk, there are a few other scientific findings worth noting. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently asked the UDSA to look into the scientific basis of the claims made in the "milk mustache" ads. Their panel of scientists stated the truth clearly:

• Milk doesn't benefit sports performance.

• There's no evidence that dairy is good for your bones or prevents osteoporosis -- in fact, the animal protein it contains may help cause bone loss!

• Dairy is linked to prostate cancer.

• It's full of saturated fat and is linked to heart disease.

• Dairy causes digestive problems for the 75 percent of people with lactose intolerance.

• Dairy aggravates irritable bowel syndrome.

Simply put, the FTC asked the dairy industry, "Got Proof?" -- and the answer was NO!

Plus, dairy may contribute to even more health problems, like:

• Allergies (vi)
• Sinus problems
• Ear infections
• Type 1 diabetes (vii)
• Chronic constipation (viii)
• Anemia (in children)

Due to these concerns, many have begun to consider raw milk an alternative. But that isn't really a healthy form of dairy either ...

Yes, raw, whole, organic milk eliminates concerns like pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and the effects of homogenization and pasteurization -- but to me, these benefits don't outweigh dairy's potential risks.
From an evolutionary point of view, milk is a strange food for humans. Until 10,000 years ago we didn't domesticate animals and weren't able to drink milk (unless some brave hunter-gather milked a wild tiger or buffalo!).

If you don't believe that, consider this: The majority of humans naturally stop producing significant amounts of lactase - the enzyme needed to properly metabolize lactose, the sugar in milk -- sometime between the ages of two and five. In fact, for most mammals, the normal condition is to stop producing the enzymes needed to properly digest and metabolize milk after they have been weaned.

Our bodies just weren't made to digest milk on a regular basis. Instead, most scientists agree that it's better for us to get calcium, potassium, protein, and fats from other food sources, like whole plant foods -- vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and seaweed.

So here is my advice for dealing with dairy.

6 Tips for Dealing with Dairy

• Take your Cow for a Walk. It will do you much more good than drinking milk.

• Don't rely on dairy for healthy bones. If you want healthy bones, get plenty of exercise and supplement with 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily.

• Get your calcium from food. These include dark green leafy vegetables, sesame tahini, sea vegetables, and sardines or salmon with the bones.

• Try giving up all dairy. That means eliminate milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream for two weeks and see if you feel better. You should notice improvements with your sinuses, post-nasal drip, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, energy, and weight. Then start eating dairy again and see how you feel. If you feel worse, you should try to give it up for life.

• If you can tolerate dairy, use only raw, organic dairy products. I suggest focusing on fermented products like unsweetened yogurt and kefir, occasionally.

• If you have to feed your child formula from milk, don't worry. The milk in infant formula is hydrolyzed or broken down and easier to digest (although it can still cause allergies). Once your child is a year old, switch him or her to real food and almond milk.

Still got milk? I hope not! Remember, dairy is not crucial for good health. I encourage you to go dairy-free and see what it does for you.

Video Call: http://www.tokbox.com/ThomasBeek
Twitter: @thomasbeek
Blog: http://techparade.blogspot.com

Semper Fi!

Conversation overheard on the VHF Guard (emergency) frequency 121.5 MHz while flying from Europe to Dubai . It's too good not to pass along. (Arthur Lipper)

The conversation went like this...
Iranian Air Defense Radar: 'Unknown aircraft you are in Iranian airspace. Identify yourself.'
Aircraft: 'This is a United States aircraft. I am in Iraqi airspace.'
Air Defense Radar: 'You are in Iranian airspace. If you do not depart our airspace we will launch interceptor aircraft!'
Aircraft: 'This is a United States Marine Corps FA-18 fighter fully armed .. Send 'em up, I'll wait!'
Air Defense Radar: (no response ..... total silence)

Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico

A sheen washed ashore on the Louisiana coastline last night, the Associated Press reported. Oil may hit Mississippi tomorrow, Alabama in two days and Florida in three, according to a government forecast.

2leep.com: Connecting Bloggers

2leep.com: Connecting Bloggers

Viewpoints: 'Zero fees' could hurt neediest students - Sacramento Opinion - Sacramento Editorial | Sacramento Bee

Viewpoints: 'Zero fees' could hurt neediest students - Sacramento Opinion - Sacramento Editorial | Sacramento Bee

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Lesson 1:
A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next-door neighbor. Before she says a word, Bob says, 'I'll give you $800 to drop that towel.' After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob, after a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 and leaves. The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, 'Who was that?' 'It was Bob the next door neighbor,' she replies. 'Great,' the husband says, 'did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?'
Moral of the story: If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

Lesson 2:
A priest offered a Nun a lift. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg. The priest nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg. The nun said, 'Father, remember Psalm 129' The priest removed his hand. But, changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again. The nun once again said, 'Father, remember Psalm 129' The priest apologized 'Sorry sister but the flesh is weak.' Arriving at the convent, the nun sighed heavily and went on her way. On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129. It said, 'Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory.'
Moral of the story: If you are not well informed in your job, you might miss a great opportunity.

Lesson 3:
A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out. The Genie says, 'I'll give each of you just one wish.' 'Me first! Me first!' says the admin clerk 'I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world.' Puff! She's gone. 'Me next! Me next!' says the sales rep. 'I want to be in Hawaii , relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life.' Puff! He's gone. 'OK, you're up,' the Genie says to the manager. The manager says, 'I want those two back in the office after lunch'
Moral of the story: Always let your boss have the first say.

Lesson 4
An eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing. A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, 'Can I also sit like you and do nothing?' The eagle answered: 'Sure, why not.' So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. All of asudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.
Moral of the story: To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

Lesson 5
A turkey was chatting with a bull. 'I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree' sighed the turkey, 'but I haven't got the energy.' 'Well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?' replied the bull. They're packed with nutrients.' The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree. He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.
Moral of the story: Bull Shit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there..

Lesson 6
A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold the birdfroze and fell to the ground into a large field. While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.
Morals of the story: (1) Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy. (2) Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend. (3) And when you're in deep shit, it's best to keep your mouth shut!


Oops! - Autism Findings Retracted

"Autism Findings Retracted"

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Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard.
- Daphne du Maurier
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Who Really Cut Off Van Gogh's Ear?

Laura Veirs

Dr. Temple Grandin: The Way I See It

The Way I See It:A Personal Look atAutism and Asperger's

Oldest Human Footprints Discovered



Blessed are the tempeh and tofu...

A Vegan Pope? It's Not as Far-Fetched as it First Sounds

Image (c) Digital Vision/Getty Images

This is not just wishful thinking. After all, back in 2002, when Pope Benedict XVI was still known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he was asked the following question: "Are we allowed to make use of animals, and even to eat them?" His reply:

"That is a very serious question. At any rate, we can see that they are given into our care, that we cannot just do whatever we want with them. Animals, too, are God's creatures. Certainly, a sort of industrial use of creatures, so that geese are fed in such a way as to produce as large a liver as possible, or hens live so packed together that they become just caricatures of birds, this degrading of living creatures to a commodity seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible."--

By Mickey Z.
Astoria, NY, USA | Fri Dec 25, 2009 11:35 AM ET

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The road to hell is paved with adverbs.
  - Stephen King