Saturday, December 19, 2009

Alien Worlds


Director James Cameron has had aliens on his mind for a long time.


Pretty good, considering they don't have Cameron's budget.

Unclean Getaways

AM - Polska

The Huffington Post wrote: Auschwitz Sign Stolen: The Historical Implications are Disturbing. Speaking of which...

PM - Danmark

When meeting with Brazil, India, South Africa and the "800 pound panda" in the room, parting as "frenemies" is the best you can do?


Obama's announcement came after this week's radio program from Living On Earth had been finalized and recorded... Same thing at CleanSkies TV: The environmental news feed had finished streaming for the week, and wouldn't be there with coverage or commentary until Monday, December 20.

But speaking of the week's weak achivement, the Guardian's headline had an different point of view... Low targets, goals dropped: Copenhagen ends in failure - Deal thrashed out at talks condemned as climate change scepticism in action
After eight draft texts and all-day talks between 115 world leaders, it was left to Barack Obama and Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, to broker a political agreement. The so-called Copenhagen accord "recognises" the scientific case for keeping temperature rises to no more than 2C but did not contain commitments to emissions reductions to achieve that goal.

American officials spun the deal as a "meaningful agreement", but even Obama said: "This progress is not enough."

"We have come a long way, but we have much further to go."

The deal was brokered between China, South Africa, India, Brazil & the US, but late last night it was still unclear whether it would be adopted by all 192 countries in the full plenary session.

We are stardust, we are golden,
We are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.
-- Joni Mitchell, Woodstock (1969)

Population Problem

¡Ay Chihuahua!

Machine Gun Motorist

Auto + Automatic Weapon = New Age for Road Rage

Floodgates Open

Acting on the President's campaign promise of a more transparent goverment, the White House announced its Open Government Directive - a new set of rules governing how federal agencies should make data public and easy to access.

John Wonderlich, policy director at the Sunlight Foundation, says releasing this data could have meaningful effects on government accountability and even spur new services in the private sector.

Audio: WNYC's On The Media Host: Bob Garfield.

Christmas Light Painting

Photo: Daniel James Underwood on Flickr.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Oh, Poop!

Guano Diplomacy: It's For The Birds

Big Bills

PNC Wealth Management, which has been calculating the cost of Christmas since 1984, has compiled 2009's Christmas Price Index, which measures the price of the traditional gifts for all 12 days.

Breaking down the list, the price of rings shows gold up substantialy. Yet the greatest increase was for French hens - while another of the poultry items, partridges, decreased by the same percentage. And in terms of dollar layout, the dancing ladies cost far more than a numerically equivalent performance by those available for rent at the local "gentleman's club." But if you have an extra $87,403 around, go ahead, knock yourself out... No, please, not with the strippers.

Illustration by Hallmark Cards

Free Birds

Not traditional, but plentiful and priced right.

Christmas Balls

Joe's Nuts

Roasting on an Open Fire
Judy Gold - Joe Lieberman's Mother
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

Bad Breath and Parsley

Article on bad breath at Power Health site.As part of their occasional feature, Science Fact or Science Fiction, Quirks & Quarks checked into the popular belief that eating parsley can eliminate bad breath and asked Dr. Kenneth Hamin, a dentist in Winnipeg & part-time clinical instructor at the University of Manitoba, and an expert in the field of halitosis.
Audio: CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks, Host: Bob McDonald.

There's an app for that?

Thursday, December 17, 2009


The apparent abadonment of proposed early buy-in to Social Security appeared to be enough to gain the vote of Senator Lieberman... At least for now, because as Joe keeps moving the goal posts, he seems to find more reasons to say no.
It was too much for former Vermont Governor/2004 Presidential Candidate/DNC Chair Howard Dean. The prominent health care reform advocate withdrew his support for the bill, as then constituted, on Tuesday. And the following day a poll conducted for NBC and the Wall Street Journal revealed public support was flagging as well... Although the numbers didn't make a clear distinction between those absolutely opposed to the concept, and those unhappy with a process which seems to have "compromised" away all resemblance to reform.

Planet Killer

Neil deGrasse Tyson, of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, was at the center of the storm in 2001 when the NY Times discovered that the planetarium had reclassified Pluto as an “icy object” instead of a full-fleged planet.

He was immediately labeled a "Pluto hater" and received a flood of critical letters and emails. His memories of that time, as well as a wealth of Pluto-related songs, cartoons, correspondence and facts are collected in the book “The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet,” recently released in paperback.

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now. Host: Robin Young.
Read about NASA’s Pluto-Kuiper Belt mission.

Oh, Foo!

Teaching Peace

Illustration: Iraqi cartoonist Qassem H.J., published in the NY Times - August 19, 2008
Padraig O’Malley is a professor of peace and mediation from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and he uses that expertise to bring people from divided societies together. He’s done it before in Northern Ireland and South Africa... Now he’s targeting Iraq.

The latest effort is focused on Kirkuk in northern Iraq. It’s a city split by ethnic tensions, although the sides have agreed to keep talking.
Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now. Host: Robin Young.

Christmas Under the Arch

Fremont Street Experience light show, looking upward and eastward.

Not My Job: Rick Sanchez

While Wait Wait was visiting Atlanta they invited CNN news anchor Rick Sanchez, the man who combines cable news with social media, to play a version of their Not My Job game called "Queen Victoria could have tweeted, but chose not to..." Three questions about old social media — namely, the telegraph — inspired by the book "The Victorian Internet" by Tom Standage.
Audio: Wait Wait Don't Tell Me.
Host: Peter Sagal
Judge & Scorekeeper: Carl Kasell
Panelists: Charlie Pierce, Amy Dickinson and Ray Blount, Jr.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fat Genes
Gabriel Iglesias- The Sixth Level of Fat
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

Studying the DNA of 300 severely obese children (220 pounds by age 10), Cambridge University researchers found some DNA was missing.

Audio: CBS Radio's Osgood File.

Subway's Jared Fogle Falls Off The Diet Wagon
Jared Logan - Weight Gain
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

Another Kennedy?

At first it feels like New England Cable News made a typo.

POLITICS: Brown, Kennedy work to distinguish selves in Senate race.

But there is another Kennedy, though not from the famous part of the family, looking to succeed Ted and running as a long-shot independent. After a quick primary race, Attorney General Martha Coakley and state Sen. Scott Brown have won the Democratic and Republican nominations for the U.S. Senate, to be decided in January.

Christmas on Fremont

Under the arch at the former 'Glitter Gulch'Even between hourly overhead shows, it's already so lit up at Vegas' former "Glitter Gulch," the Christmas tree seems to tone it down.

We Don't Need No

Photo: Dagny Gromer. Prescott AZ, 11/25/07Education Leaving Some Students Illiterate

Author Beth Fertig says that as many as 20 percent of American adults may be functionally illiterate. They may recognize letters and words, but can't read directions on a bus sign or a medicine bottle, read or write a letter, or hold most any job. Her new book, Why cant U teach me 2 read, follows three young New Yorkers who legally challenged the New York City public schools for failing to teach them how to read — and won.

Audio: NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday, Host: Scott Simon.

Photo: Dagny Gromer, Prescott AZ, 11/25/07.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

One Sweet Dream

Rain, Cold Accompany 787's First Flight

After years of delay, mostly attributed to Boeing executives' decision to build it elsewhere in modules at factories around the world, Chief 787 Pilot Mike Carriker and co-pilot Randy Neville taxied the big jet past thousands of onlookers to Runway 34 Left in Everett, Washington, where final assembly takes place.

Minutes later, with chase planes following, the Dreamliner smoothly accelerated down the runway at 10:27 a.m. Tuesday and climbed into the cold, gray sky just before typical Puget Sound Winter rain started falling again and visibility rapidly decreased.

Soon we'll be away from here.
Step on the gas and wipe that tear away,
One sweet dream came true today, came true today.
-- The Beatles, Abbey Road (1969)



Oral Roberts, who despite previous claims the Lord would bring him home if he failed to meet fundraising deadlines, died of pneumonia at age 91 in Newport Beach, California on Tuesday, December 15th. He helped create whole scandal-plagued mess that is fundamentalist Christian televangelism and self-enriching "prosperity theology."


Americans on inner journeys visit a vast buffet of the spirit, choose personal beliefs and look for comfort across traditional boundaries.

The Line?

The story smacked of religious bias during the Christmas season:
An elementary school in Taunton, MA allegedly suspended a second-grader, it went, and required the boy to undergo a psychological evaluation after he drew a picture of Jesus Christ on the cross.

The L Words


Law & Order


50 Sense vs Filbuster

Party of No & Party of Joe

Muslim Televangelists

Last minute grooming.Spreading the word of Islam on satellite TV

As TV in Egypt evolved from one or two heavily state controlled channels to hundreds of diverse, private satellite offerings a new, moderate and modern type of Muslim preacher emerged. The popularity and influence of these ‘televangelists’ has grown rapidly and steadily ever since.

The BBC's Magdi Abdelhadi visited Cairo to take a look at this phenomenon and meet some of the preachers and talk to followers about what makes Muslim televangelists so popular.

The full program Heart & Soul: Muslim Televangelists debuts early on Wednesday, December 16, on BBC World Service & via podcast, but only until 12/23/09.

In other religious news...

The Funny Farm

Unusual investment advice from the younger generation.


From Hudson to Hero, One Helluva Ride

"Flight 1549 wasn't just a five-minute journey. My entire life led me safely to that river."

After announcing, "This is your captain speaking," on the first leg of the "reunion" flight that marked his return to the air, Chesley Sullenberger quickly realized he now needs to wait a few seconds before continuing so everyone in the cabin can stop cheering and hear the rest of what he has to say.

But if passengers miss his words, they can catch up with his book, Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters. The book goes beyond the Hudson landing to share a life that reflects the turmoil of America and its airlines in the early 21st century.

Audio: NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday, Host: Scott Simon.

Read an excerpt at NPR.

Christmas Sign of the Season

Monday, December 14, 2009

Just an Idea

On Sunday, December 13, the New York Times presented it's 9th annual review of The Year in Ideas.

The issue, compiling some of the best (and and most eccentric) ideas that made headlines this year, placed Moon-centric-legislation, Twitter-based-revolutions, hybrid car ringtones and zombiefied Jane Austen on the table for a conversation with Chris Suellentrop, staff editor of the New York Times Magazine.
Audio: PRI & WNYC's program The Takeaway,
Interviewer: John Hockenberry, co-host: Celeste Headlee.


On Saturday, negotiations reached an impasse at the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen as Environment ministers rejected a draft proposal which did not commit the developing world to cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and about 800 of almost 100,000 demonstrators were arrested.

On Sunday, delegates held informal talks during a one-day break from negotiations, while Danish police released hundreds of the detained activists, and stood accused of overreacting to Saturday's sporadic street violence.
Photo: Jennifer Stevens-CurwoodDivisions between developing and developed nations over emissions cuts and cash for climate adaptation are major stumbling blocks. So is distrust between the United States and China. Yet so many world leaders are planning to attend the summit that insiders say there is bound to be some agreement.


Audio: PRI's Living On Earth, Host: Steve Curwood.

The G77-China bloc is unhappy about moves made by the Danish hostsOn Monday, Danish host minister Ms Connie Hedegaard, the president of the UN climate summit. urged delegates to "get to work" after protests from developing nations forced a suspension of several hours.

Talks resumed later after their key demand - separate talks on the Kyoto Protocol - was met. But earlier optismism about agreement has dimished and some delegates spoke forlornly of the vast amount of negotiating left to be done before the summit concludes.
Hot Mail

Opposition forces also descended on Copenhagen hoping to sabotage any agreement on global warming.

Armed with "new evidence," climate change deniers stoked debate in the media was about thousands of leaked emails from scientists at one British university which suggest data was fudged.

New York Times environmental reporter Andrew Revkin not only wrote about the emails, but was in fact the subject of some of them.

Audio: WNYC's On The Media Host: Bob Garfield.

Mess Marketing

The Saturday edition of NBC's 'Today' show borrowed from the NY Post -- the most trusted name in scandals -- with this headline...

Lester Holt on Today, 12/12/2009
Even the logo looks suspiciously sexual in the current light.

Purity Test

The GOP must put moderate Republicans in situations that reveal their true beliefs, like in the movie "Saw."
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Grand Old Purity 12/09/09
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorU.S. Speedskating

All Aboard

Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesThe Orient Express Takes Its Final Trip

The two day train trip from Paris, France to Istanbul, Turkey - running on rails and through countless works of lterary imagination, is it about to become part of history.

PBS travel show host Rick Steves has taken the ride.

Audio: NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday, Host: Scott Simon.

Slide Show & Full Story at NPR.

Christmas Card

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Muddy & Black Waters

Blackwater "security guards," typically special forces trained forrmer military , worked side by side with CIA operatives on non-contract secret missions to catch and kill militants in Iraq and Afghanistan... Blurring the line between the CIA and Defense Department who have at least some Congressional oversight, and a private mercenary army without oversight and effectively exempt from the rule of law.

Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times talks about Friday's article.

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now. Host: Meghna Chakrabarti.

Goldman Sucks

The White House "pay czar" thinks Goldman Sachs' decision to replace cash bonuses with stock that can be clawed back is a good move... Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone is a much harder sell.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Matt Taibbi 12/10/09
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorU.S. Speedskating

Holy Cow

Bowled Over

To be fair, the Senate is paralyzed with over 100 House-passed bills blocked by the Republican resistance. They have time.

Cat Tracking

Their kitten was gone. The girls in #225 were distraught.

The essential problem: Indoor cats don't get the concept of being an indoor cat. So the problem is inescapable, although your apartment probably isn't.

The girls put up the obligatory wanted posters in the laundry room. But, who really knows where their cat goes?

Mark Spezio!

He rigged up a cat collar with a lightweight GPS logger to discover his cat KooKoo's ultra secret travel itinerary.

See Mark's audio/slide show at IEEE Spectrum's site.

Chance of Showers

See a longer clip
on YouTube.

Thanks to Cheese Factory Contributor: Ken Morgan.