Clearly, these guys had way too much time on their hands!
The idle musings of a former military man, former computer geek, medically retired pastor and now full-time writer. Contents guaranteed to offend the politically correct and anal-retentive from time to time. My approach to life is that it should be taken with a large helping of laughter, and sufficient firepower to keep it tamed!
Matt Kelsey is a writer, so it's natural to think he cooked up his fortune-cookie blog with visions of "Julie & Julia" dancing in his head. You know: blog begets book begets movie.
But that's not the way it happened.
Having been laid off from the Kansas City Kansan in early 2009 - the paper went online-only - Kelsey spent nine months last year working for the Census Bureau. But that gig was over by September, and Kelsey, 31, found himself once again unemployed and pounding the pavement.
One Saturday afternoon in November, as he and his wife, Jamie, were enjoying Chinese takeout in their Kansas City, Kan., home, Kelsey glanced down from his General Tso's chicken and noticed a cellophane-wrapped fortune cookie.
"It just kind of hit me," he says. "We really needed some good fortune right then."
It was getting tough to make the mortgage payment. And how were they going to pay a $3,000 hospital bill?
But back to the fortune cookies. The couple came up with the idea of Kelsey opening one fortune every day for a year and doing whatever the little slips of paper commanded. And, of course, he'd write about his adventures.
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At a Chinese restaurant he bought a case of fortune cookies - 350 - plus a bag of extras, all for $13. He was now ready to launch his "fun little blog".
He opened his first fortune a few minutes after midnight on New Year's Day: Investigate new possibilities with friends. Now is the time!
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Beyond compelling him to write every day, the fortune cookie project is almost guaranteed to make him a better person, Kelsey figures.
"You never find a fortune that says 'Crush somebody's spirit tomorrow' or 'Stop following your dreams,'" he says. "I'll be doing something good for myself or someone else."
Perhaps the blog will even become a "Julie & Julia"-type sensation. You know, minus the froufrou French cuisine.
"Maybe I can get Meryl Streep to play me in the movie," he says.
THE piercing sound of a dentist's drill is enough to make most people's teeth ache. Now researchers in Britain have invented a device to cancel out the high-pitched sound made by these mouth-sized jackhammers, which could help some people who are afraid of the ''chair''.
Fear of the drill is one of the most common reasons why many people dread a visit to the dentist, or avoid it altogether.
The device, which works like noise-cancelling headphones, contains a microphone and computer chip which analyses incoming sound waves and inverts those waves coming from the drill, removing the unwanted noise.
Electronic filters also remove unwanted sound waves, even if their amplitude and frequency change while the drill is in use.
As the device cancels out only the drill noise, patients can still hear the dentists and nurses talking to them. It can be attached to an MP3 player or phone, so patients can listen to their own music while unwanted drill sounds are silenced.
A corrections officer who had raised concerns about being the sole guard in the chapel of a Washington state prison was strangled there over the weekend, and an inmate serving a life sentence is the primary suspect, authorities said Sunday.
Jayme Biendl, 34, was found dead Saturday night in the chapel at Monroe Correctional Complex about 30 miles northeast of Seattle, Department of Corrections spokesman Chad Lewis said. She had been strangled with a microphone cord.
The inmate, Byron Scherf, 52, was reported missing during a routine count at 9:14 p.m. Saturday. He was found three minutes later in the chapel lobby and told officers he had planned to escape.
"He is our primary suspect," Monroe police spokeswoman Debbie Willis said.
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Teamsters 117 spokeswoman Tracey Thompson said Sunday that the officer had complained to her union shop steward and prison supervisors about being the sole guard working in the chapel. She worried about being there alone without anyone checking on her, Thompson said.
Recent budget cuts have forced staffing reductions and union members have been worried about the impact of those reductions on safety, Thompson said.
"We have been pushing so hard on safety issues," Thompson said. "It makes me crazy that it took someone getting murdered inside a prison while doing their job for there to be attention on this work and how difficult and dangerous it can be."
Political commentators expressed shock at how the United States as well as its major European allies appeared to be ready to dump a staunch strategic ally of three decades, simply to conform to the current ideology of political correctness.
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Newspaper columnists were far more blunt.
One comment by Aviad Pohoryles in the daily Maariv was entitled 'A Bullet in the Back from Uncle Sam'. It accused Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of pursuing a naive, smug, and insular diplomacy heedless of the risks.
Who is advising them, he asked, "to fuel the mob raging in the streets of Egypt and to demand the head of the person who five minutes ago was the bold ally of the president - an almost lone voice of sanity in a Middle East?"
"The politically correct diplomacy of American presidents throughout the generations ... is painfully naive."
Obama on Sunday called for an "orderly transition" to democracy in Egypt, stopping short of calling on Mubarak to step down, but signaling that his days may be numbered.
Netanyahu instructed Israeli ambassadors in a dozen key capitals over the weekend to impress on host governments that Egypt’s stability is paramount, official sources said.
"Jordan and Saudi Arabia see the reactions in the West, how everyone is abandoning Mubarak, and this will have very serious implications," Haaretz daily quoted one official as saying.
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"The question is, do we think Obama is reliable or not," said an Israeli official, who declined to be named. "Right now it doesn’t look so. That is a question resonating across the region not just in Israel."
Writing in Haaretz, Ari Shavit said Obama had betrayed "a moderate Egyptian president who remained loyal to the United States, promoted stability and encouraged moderation."
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"Throughout Asia, Africa and South America, leaders are now looking at what is going on between Washington and Cairo. Everyone grasps the message: 'America’s word is worthless - America has lost it'."
The cellphone industry may just want to give a sloppy kiss to the Pentagon’s futurists for this one. A solicitation Darpa sent out yesterday calls for the development of wafer-sized thermal imagery sensors and optics. That’s meant to remedy a "key shortfall" for today’s troops: the lack of mobile, individualized heat vision ... for spotting living forms in low-visibility environments.
One objective is to create a "high throughput thermal camera" mounted on a gunsight or a vehicle dashboard. Another is to put the camera on "a small handheld platform (ex. cellphone)". Break out your phone’s camera and tune it to infrared, and you’ll have an edge up on stealthy terrorists or the neighborhood trick-or-treaters.
Only the goals of the project are more ambitious than what your typical data plan provides. The resolution of the imaging has to ultimately aid in the "identification" of targets. That is, it’s not enough to detect an "upright, stationary adult human being". The sensors should allow users to "determine that personnel target(s) are present and that the target(s) are potentially an immediate threat (i.e., with RPG/Rifle) to the host vehicle/soldier/etc".
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And just in case you thought Darpa hadn’t considered the commercial applications of cellphone thermal imaging: "If successful, the IR [infrared] cellphone camera-like approach will lead to widespread proliferation in military and consumer products", the solicitation reads.
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Everything - the cameras themselves, the optics, the software, manufacturing, everything - has to cost under $500 per unit. If it costs more, the thinking goes, it won’t be practical to issue to troops; for the same reason, the "thermal core" of the camera has to weigh less than 25 grams.
Good luck keeping costs down. Engineers will have three years to develop working, cheap, personal thermal camera prototypes.
Ptolemy Elrington, 43, works full time in his studio crafting shiny dolphins, dogs and dragons from all grades of hub cap - from BMW and Mercedes to Ford and Volvo.
He fixes the caps together using wire salvaged from scrap yards and cuts them with a craft knife and hacksaw.
Using free materials means the Brighton-based artist only charges customers for labour - at about £75 [about US $120] per day.
His most expensive creation was a dragon that used 200 hub caps, measured 10m long, and took over a month to build. It sold for £3,000 [about US $4,760].
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He said: "I like to work with reclaimed materials to show that what is one person's junk is another man's treasure.
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Ptolemy has about 500 hub caps in stock and uses between ten and 200 caps per model.
He said: "I never buy the hubcaps - I either find them at the roadside or am passed them by family and friends in the UK.
"Even the wire I use to fix the hubcaps together is salvaged from scrap yards."
The tiny port of Kumai on the southern tip of Indonesian Borneo is a burgeoning trade centre in one of the world's most valuable animal products - the nests used for bird's nest soup.
Drab concrete buildings have sprouted up all across Kumai, towering above the traditional low-rise shop-houses.
The buildings have no windows - instead they have many tiny holes. They are in fact birdhouses, or more accurately, bird's nest factories.
Kumai's human population is about 20,000. Its population of swiftlets - the tiny birds whose nests are so valuable to the Chinese - must be 10 times that number.
They cover the sky, thrashing about and letting out screeches that are audible in every part of town.
The explosion in the bird population has come as an irritation to some in Kumai.
"The Chinese started building birdhouses here about 10 years ago," says a local park ranger.
"At first it was fine, but now it's taking over the whole town. The people don't have much of a say. Local politicians just let it happen."
The edible nests, which the birds make from their saliva, have been a part of Chinese cookery for more than 1,000 years.
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The soup only started to regain popularity on the mainland during the 1990s, but experts say it has now overtaken Hong Kong as Indonesia's main export market.
As demand has risen, concrete birdhouses have been erected throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and most recently Cambodia.
The birds have willingly moved to the cities, and the high-rise accommodation provided for them, complete with birdsong on the CD player.
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The surge in demand has forced the prices up from about $400 (£250) a kilo (the equivalent of about 120 nests) in the mid-1990s to $3,000 a kilo for the highest quality nests on today's market.
Indonesia reportedly made $226m in 2009 from the industry, and dominates the world market.
So the birds are happy, Chinese foodies are happy, and most importantly, the taxman is happy. The complaints of locals may just be drowned out for the time being.
We have entered a new Middle Ages: an era that most resembles the pre-Westphalian era of nearly 1,000 years ago. That was the period of history when the East was as powerful (if not more so) than the West, cities mattered more than nations, powerful dynasties and trading companies were engines of growth and innovation, private mercenaries fought in all wars, religious crusades shaped inter-cultural relations, and new trade routes over land and sea forged the world’s first (nearly) global economy.
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The best place to view what model of diplomacy lies before us in the New Middle Ages is the Swiss enclave of Davos, where each January the planet’s most influential heads of state, CEOs, mayors, religious leaders, NGO heads, university presidents, celebrities and artists flock for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), an event that over the past four decades has established itself as what "60 Minutes" last year dubbed "the most important meeting on Earth". What CBS’s flagship program discovered was that this gathering of "capitalists, globalists, and futurists" seems to work precisely because it is neither formal nor official.
Davos has nothing to do with sovereignty and everything to do with authority: it’s peer-to-peer among anybody who’s somebody. Where else do hundreds of Fortune 500 CEOs, American cabinet secretaries, the mayor of London, prime minister of Catalonia, chairman of China’s Export-Import Bank, investor-statesmen like George Soros, rock-star activists like Bono, and billionaire hybrid executive philanthropists like Bill Gates speak directly and honestly, and form new ventures on the spot?
Compared to the modern inter-state diplomatic system, Davos represents anti-diplomacy - and yet it actually reflects the true parameters of global diplomacy today better than the United Nations. The reason is that in our ever more complex diplomatic eco-system, relations among governments represent only one slice of the total picture. Beyond the traditional "public-public" relations of embassies and multilateralism, there are also the "public-private" partnerships sprouting across sectors and issues. Qatar’s natural gas fortunes hinge on its arrangement with Exxon, India’s ability to attract foreign investment is contingent on support from the business magnates who make up the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), and the alliance of the Gates Foundation, pharmaceutical company Merck, and the government of Botswana saved the country’s population from being wiped out by AIDS, to name just a few of the now literally countless such arrangements flourishing today. The third and often neglected dimension of the new diplomacy is "private-private" interactions which circumvent the state altogether. Think of the Environmental Defense Fund dealing directly with Wal-Mart to cut the company’s overall emissions by 20 million metric tons and install solar panels at 30 new locations. The diplomats at Cancun could only dream of such concrete measures.
All three of these combinations of negotiating partners thrive at Davos and in all WEF activities, which range from mini-Davos-style regional conferences to year-round multi-stakeholder initiatives in public health, climate change, anti-corruption and other areas. The WEF does what no U.N. agency would ever do: allow "coalitions of the willing" to organically "grow and go" - incubating them but also quickly spinning them off into self-sustaining entities; but importantly also letting projects die that fail to attain sufficient support from participants. In this sense the WEF is both a space for convening but also a driver of new agendas.
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Contrary to the WEF’s reputation as a host for secret, if glamorous, deal-making, the Economist praised "Davos Man" as the necessary antidote to traditional diplomats who seal themselves behind veils of protocol, instead immersing themselves in the latest innovations, technologies and trends, speaking English as their lingua franca, and reinforcing thinking and debate through engaging with the media. Today the WEF has more followers on Twitter than any international organization, and uses Davos to convene "Global Town Halls" with live online participation to debate global priorities.
Surely Davos does not correct the "democracy deficit" afflicting the world’s power structures, but what it does better than any other is correct the "diplomacy deficit", giving anyone it invites the right to represent themselves without interference or manipulation. NGOs speaking for the world’s oppressed, social entrepreneurs, and all manner of others seeking attention and funding get unobstructed access to the world’s richest companies, governments and philanthropists. Davos is where money and megaphones come together.
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Global governance is not a thing, not a collection of formal institutions, not even a set of treaties. It is a process involving a far wider range of actors than have ever been party to global negotiations before. The sooner we look for new meta-scripts for regulating transnational activities and harnessing global resources to tackle local problems the better. Davos continues to be a good place to start.
To get our economic house in order, there must be large spending cuts, not only in so-called discretionary spending but in non-discretionary spending as well.
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Millions of Americans don't want their entitlement touched, many of whom are senior citizens. Seniors will tell you that they were forced into Social Security and Medicare, and any congressman talking about cutting those and other entitlements will face their wrath at the ballot box. By the way, according to one study, "Until recent years, Social Security recipients received more, often far more, than the value of the Social Security taxes they paid. For workers who earned average wages and retired in 1980 at age 65, it took 2.8 years to recover the value of the retirement portion of the combined employee and employer shares of their Social Security taxes plus interest."
Seniors are not the only group who can put the fear of God into politicians. There are massive corporate handouts through programs like the Export-Import Bank, Agriculture Department business and farm subsidies, and the Small Business Administration. Then there's massive Department of Education spending on K-12 education and higher education. The list of federal programs, described as taking the earnings of one American and giving them to another, numbers in the thousands.
Everyone who receives government largesse and special favors deems his needs as vital, deserving, proper and in the national interest. It is entirely unreasonable to expect a politician to honor and obey our Constitution and in the process commit political suicide. What's even worse for our nation is that voters ousting a politician who'd refuse to bring, say, aid to higher education back to his constituents is perfectly rational. If, for example, he's a Virginia politician and doesn't bring higher education grants back to his constituents, it doesn't mean Virginian taxpayers will pay a lower income tax. All that it means is that Marylanders will get the money instead. Once legalized theft begins, it pays for everyone to participate. Those who don't will be losers.
That's the nation's dilemma. The most important job for people who want to spare our nation from economic collapse is not that of persuading politicians to do the right thing but to convince our fellow Americans to respect the limits of our Constitution.
Malawi is determined to "mould responsible and disciplined citizens" with a law banning the breaking of wind.
The Local Courts Bill of 2010 is set to be presented before a forthcoming parliamentary session by Justice Minister George Chaponda.
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One unimpressed Malawian reportedly commented: "How can this government criminalise the release of intestinal gases? Everyone does that, even if it’s in public or it has an accompanying sound which is boring; making it criminal is a joke of democracy."
Third Way is an influential think tank whose board is composed of a special Wall Street-type - the Rubin Democrat. These people sit at the nexus of politics and finance, and are conduits for big bank friendly information flow into the administration and Congress. The President of the think tank, Jonathan Cowan, was the Chief of Staff for Andrew Cuomo at HUD in the 1990s, and Third Way is well known in policy circles for delivering ‘politically safe’ and well-packaged conventional wisdom. Oh, and one more thing - the new White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, who just left the most senior operating committee of JP Morgan, was on their Board of Directors.
So by looking at this proposal, we are looking at the state of play among high level policy makers in DC, particularly of the New Dem bent. This is how the administration will probably try to play foreclosure-gate.
Their proposal, not surprisingly, is yet another bailout.
The big difference between the original and the new, improved version of the bailout model is that the payouts to the banks were at least in part visible the first time around. This is an effort yet again to spare the banks any pain, not only at the cost of the rule of law but also of investor rights.
This proposal guts state control of their own real estate law when the Supreme Court has repeatedly found that "dirt law" is not a Federal matter. It strips homeowners of their right to their day in court to preserve their contractual rights, namely, that only the proven mortgagee, and not a gangster, or in this case, bankster, can take possession of their home.
This sort of protection is fundamental to the operation of capitalism, so it’s astonishing to see neoliberals so willing to throw it under the bus to preserve the balance sheets of the TBTF ["Too Big To Fail"] banks.
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The memo completely ignores the harm to investors from the bank mistakes and lacks any provisions for damage to investors to be remedied. Moreover, denying borrower rights removes their leverage to obtain deep principal mortgage modifications, which for viable borrowers produces lower losses than costly foreclosures and sales of distressed property. Thus this shredding of contractual protections in mortgages not only hurts borrowers but also harms investors.
So to save the banks from their own, colossal abuses of contracts that they devised, the Third Way document advocates Congressional intervention into well established, well functioning state law. This is a case where these matters can and should be left to the courts and ultimately state AGs to coordinate the template of a more broadbased solution.
But this proposal is this memo is a direct result of the banks losing in court and the fear that they will continue to lose. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Ibanez decision is clearly the trigger for the release of this plan. The SJC said its decision was merely articulating well established law. Consistent application of these principles will mean more losses for the banks. This memo is clearly an attempt to stop this as soon as possible. The real message of this document is clear: we can’t permit justice to prevail if it will hurt bank profits and balance sheets.
I am a second generation American on one side of my family and a third on at least of the other side. So I am 2 or 3 generations removed from the ones who came over on the ships. Most of them had passed by the time I was old enough to understand, so I didn't hear their stories directly. I did hear a few of the stories from their children, the generation before mine.
One of the immigrants would make sure that her children knew how to move with very little. She would move her family every few years and drastically limit what they could take with them. A fair number of her family had not left the Jewish areas of Imperial Russia because they were relatively prosperous. Her opinion was that you don't own things, things own you, and that if you had too much stuff, you wouldn't flee when you should. She was right, for between the pogroms, the Russian Revolution, the Russian Civil War, the famines and then the Holocaust, all contact with what relatives remained behind were lost.
"Clinically proven" is a meaningless combination of words that mean someone is trying to sell something. Isn’t there some kind of rule against making stuff up, even in advertising? Obviously people are used to it in politics, but those are opinions, to which everyone is entitled. What people are NOT entitled to is their own facts. There is no clinically proven remedy available without a prescription for menopausal symptoms, quick and painless weight loss, or sinus congestion that can be purchased from a radio ad, because there is no such thing as "clinically proven".
The case led an MP yesterday to describe the criminal justice system as a ‘joke’.
The serial offender is one of thousands given community sentences every year for crimes including violence and sex attacks, despite having been convicted or cautioned more than 50 times before.
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The appalling statistics are seen as proof that the justice system is failing to tackle career criminals who repeatedly avoid being locked away.
Prisons Minister Crispin Blunt revealed the case of the man with 578 offences in response to a parliamentary question by Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley.
He refused to give any details about the offender or his crimes.
. . .
David Green, of the think-tank Civitas, said: ‘I have long argued that career criminals should be jailed for a long period, because they have no respect for the rights and obligations of normal life.
‘We all accept that prison should not be something we resort to too quickly.
‘We would all like to be given a second chance if we do something stupid - it’s the 578th chance I have a problem with.’
Julian Lambert lambasted the justice system as ‘soft’ after he was forced to hand burglar Daniel Rogers, 25, a community sentence.
He said: ‘I’ve never seen anything so wet in all my life - 80 hours’ community work for burgling someone’s house.
‘I very much regret sentencing guidelines which say I should not send you straight to prison.
‘We live in soft times.’
His comments highlight the frustration felt by many judges over restrictions placed on their powers.
The Guideline Judgments Case Compendium sets out clear sentencing guidelines for judges and magistrates.
It states that cases of burglary with minimal loss and damage and a low impact on the victim should be dealt with by a community sentence.
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It was recommended that he sentence Rogers to just 80 hours’ community work.
But the judge gave him 240 hours, a six-month curfew between 9pm to 6am, a 12-month ban from licensed premises and 18 months of supervision.
He told Rogers: ‘You’ve got the lot. It may be easier for you to do the time.’
IT'S the Lasseter's Reef of warbirds -- a rumoured stash of mint-condition Spitfires hidden underground in rural Queensland.
Many have searched for the legendary British fighters, reportedly still in their crates and hidden since the end of the World War II around the Queensland town of Oakey, but so far nobody has been able to lay claim to what would be a multi-million-dollar find.
They are the remnants of 656 Mark V and Mark VIII Spitfires that were delivered to the RAAF during the war.Restored Spitfire Mk V with 'clipped' wings
RAAF records show that 544 aircraft -- 232 of them Spitfires -- were flown to Oakey to be sold to a scrap metal dealer.
That should have been the ignominious end of arguably the greatest single-place fighter ever built, certainly the most legendary and romanticised. But was it?
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... a lifetime Oakey resident, who did not wish to be named, claims to be a reliable witness to the burial site of five aircraft in what may have been a trial disposal near the old Federal Mine.
He did not see aircraft going into the ground, but he saw contractors digging a trench, and a large crate in it.
The contractors claimed a quarter of a century later to have buried the aircraft but could not be contacted for this story.Spitfire Mk VIII during World War II
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Lester Reisinger, who has conducted a number of searches, subscribed to the underground storage theory.
"They're there, all right, under the Oakey drive-in theatre," he said. An old mine, The Federal, passed under the now-disused drive-in and was the closest to the airfield. It closed in 1943 and two separate sources believed one driver was never away long enough to make the round trip to Brisbane.
It would not have been too difficult for one man to transfer a crated Spitfire from a truck to an old mine wagon, using the hand-operated gantry for transferring coal from mine carts to railway wagons.
Mr Martin and Mr Reisinger several times spoke to a man who swore he had been into an underground storage facility containing wooden crates on rail trolleys.
However, the witness could not tell whether the crates held complete aircraft, parts, or something else.
Both men believe the witness to be reliable, but because he was taken to the site at night by another man he was unable to pinpoint a location. However, it was only a short walk from the witness's house in Federal Street, near the mine of the same name.
Mr Martin also had an aerial photograph taken in 1945 clearly showing the portal to the Federal Mine still open, with rails, shiny from possible recent use, going into the tunnel.
The mine entrance was collapsed in the 1950s by the Jondaryan Shire Council, and the same aerial photograph clearly shows large crates sitting beside the nearby airfield.
Australian Army Intelligence judged these to be the size of Spitfire crates, but they were not there by 1948. The Spitfire was the only aircraft disposed of at Oakey that was shipped in a single crate.
Somewhere in Michigan, a Ford marketing exec is giggling like a mother******.
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.
Atlanta is composed mostly of one-way streets. The only way to get out of downtown Atlanta is to turn around and start over when you reach Greenville, South Carolina.
The 8 a.m. rush hour is from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
The 5 p.m. rush hour is from 3:00 p.m. to 7:30 pm.
(Don't forget the lunch time rush hour!)
Friday's rush hour starts Thursday afternoon and lasts through 2 a.m. Saturday.
The falling of one raindrop causes all drivers to immediately forget all traffic rules. If a single snowflake falls, the city is paralyzed for three days and it's on all the channels as a news flash every 15 minutes for a week. Overnight, all grocery stores will be sold out of milk, bread, bottled water, toilet paper, and beer.
I-285, the loop that encircles Atlanta which has a posted speed limit of 55 mph but you have to maintain 80 mph just to keep from getting run over and is known to truckers as "The Watermelon 500."
Never buy a ladder or mattress in Atlanta . Just go to one of the interstates and you will soon find one in the middle of the road.
If it grows, it sticks. If it crawls, it bites. If you notice a vine trying to wrap itself around your leg, you have about 20 seconds to escape, before you are completely captured and covered with Kudzu.
A retired Indian Gorkha soldier ... thwarted 40 robbers, killing three of them and injuring eight others, with his khukuri during a train journey. He is in line to receive three gallantry awards from the Indian government.
The band of about 40 robbers, some of whom were travelling as passengers, stopped the train in the Chittaranjan jungles in West Bengal around midnight. Shrestha-- who had boarded the train at Ranchi in Jharkhand, the place of his posting--was in seat no. 47 in coach AC3.
"They started snatching jewelry, cell phones, cash, laptops and other belongings from the passengers," Shrestha recalled. The soldier had somehow remained a silent spectator amidst the melee, but not for long. He had had enough when the robbers stripped an 18-year-old girl sitting next to him and tried to rape her right in front of her parents. He then took out his khukuri and took on the robbers.
"The girl cried for help, saying 'You are a soldier, please save a sister'," Shrestha recalled. "I prevented her from being raped, thinking of her as my own sister," he added. He took one of the robbers under control and then started to attack the others. He said the rest of the robbers fled after he killed three of them with his khukuri and injured eight others.
During the scuffle he received serious blade injury to his left hand while the girl also had a minor cut on her neck. "They had carried out their robbery with swords, blades and pistols. The pistols may have been fake as they didn´t open fire," he surmised.
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"He will be provided a special honor for doing Nepal proud at international stage," Finance Minister Surendra Raj Pandey said after the cabinet meeting on Thursday. The government [of Nepal], however, has yet to declare what the honor would comprise of and when will it be given.
The Indian government is to decorate Shrestha with its Sourya Chakra, Bravery Award and Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Medal and the 35-year-old is leaving for India Saturday to receive the first of the awards on the occasion of India´s Republic Day on January 26.
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His regiment has already given him a cash award of Indian rupees 50,000, and decided to terminate his voluntary retirement. He will get the customary promotion after receiving the medals. The Indian government will also announce a cash bounty for him and special discounts on international air tickets and domestic train tickets.
For, like any pilot, I hate taking exams. Written or otherwise. I think it started in early school years when I got a question really wrong.
The question was: "Where do women mostly have curly hair?
Apparently, the correct answer was Africa.
The mechanism that controls the internal 24-hour clock of all forms of life from human cells to algae has been identified by scientists.
Not only does the research provide important insight into health-related problems linked to individuals with disrupted clocks - such as pilots and shift workers - it also indicates that the 24-hour circadian clock found in human cells is the same as that found in algae and dates back millions of years to early life on Earth.
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One study, from the University of Cambridge's Institute of Metabolic Science, has for the first time identified 24-hour rhythms in red blood cells. This is significant because circadian rhythms have always been assumed to be linked to DNA and gene activity, but - unlike most of the other cells in the body - red blood cells do not have DNA.
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A further study, by scientists working together at the Universities of Edinburgh and Cambridge, and the Observatoire Oceanologique in Banyuls, France, found a similar 24-hour cycle in marine algae, indicating that internal body clocks have always been important, even for ancient forms of life.
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Andrew Millar of the University of Edinburgh's School of Biological Sciences, who led the study, said: "This groundbreaking research shows that body clocks are ancient mechanisms that have stayed with us through a billion years of evolution. They must be far more important and sophisticated than we previously realised. More work is needed to determine how and why these clocks developed in people - and most likely all other living things on earth - and what role they play in controlling our bodies."
Swimming is supposed to give you a healthy glow, but these swimmers weren't quite sure what was going on when they took a late-night dip and turned a fluorescent shade of blue.
'It was like we were playing with radioactive paint,' said photographer Phil Hart who snapped the bizarre sight as his friends emerged from a lake in the dark of night.
The light is created by a chemical reaction called bioluminescence, which happens when a naturally-occuring micro-organism in the water is disturbed.
Phil, 34, put his camera on a very slow shutter speed and threw sand and stones into the water to cause the reaction and capture as much of the blue haze as possible.
These images are particularly stunning because the concentration of the micro-organism 'Noctiluca Scintillans' was abnormally high when he took the photos at Gippsland Lakes in Victoria, Australia.Gippsland Lakes (image courtesy of Wikipedia)
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It is believed the combination of bushfires and floods created the high levels of nutrients in the lakes for the organisms to feed.
'It may not happen again in my lifetime,' said Phil. 'I feel fortunate to have been there to see it and to have had my camera gear there to record it.'
Rochus Misch was by the German leader's side for five years and even saw the Führer after he committed suicide as the Russian tanks closed in. He is thought to be the last remaining member of the group who hid in that famous Berlin bunker.
His proximity to Hitler has caused him to become something of a celebrity, and his character has appeared in a number of films.
He was even consulted by Christopher McQuarrie, the writer who created Valkyrie, the 2008 film about an assassination attempt on Hitler's life.
Hollywood actor Tom Cruise, who starred in the film, was not keen to converse with Misch and told the Los Angeles Times: 'I didn't want to meet him. Evil is still evil, I don't care how old you are.'
But the former bodyguard has a cult following. However, at the age of 93 and using a walking frame to move around, he can no longer deal with all the correspondence.
He told newspaper Berliner Kurier that, with most of the letters he receives asking for autographs, it was 'no longer possible' to reply because of his age.
'[The letters] come from Korea, from Knoxville, Tennessee, from Finland and Iceland - and not one has a bad word to say,' said Misch, who is believed to be the last man alive to have seen Hitler and other top-ranking Nazis in the flesh.
. . .
Through his position his fame rose and in the past Misch used to send fans autographed copies of wartime photos of him in a neatly pressed SS uniform.
Now the incoming fan mail, including letters and packages, piles up in his flat in south Berlin's leafy Rudow neighbourhood, less than two kilometres from the Führerbunker.
His memoirs, 'The Last Witness,' were published in 2008 in Germany and are in the works to become a feature film.
With the death of Hitler Youth courier Armin Lehmann on October 10, 2008, Misch is the last survivor of the Führerbunker.
Figure drawing is a essential practice for any aspiring animator and seasoned animator for that matter. It has been since the first animators began work with Walt Disney and still today, animation studios offer figure drawing workshops in the studio. It’s not so much about the ability to render the figure accurately as it is the continual practice and understanding that there is no "right" way to draw the figure. It’s a creative exploration every time.
I like to approach drawing the figure with varying degrees of creativity. At times, I’ll academically approach the drawing by striving to understand anatomy, proportion, light, etc. Other times, I’ll let my creativity begin to flow by exaggerating the shapes, gesture, and style of the form. Sometimes I’ll even completely disregard "reality" and strive to achieve something unique to my aesthetic senses.
Whether it be in the way I use the conté, or by exaggerating the proportions, or even throwing in some inspiration from other sources, I have found that abandoning the academic constraints of figure drawing and relying on my own creativity and imagination, flexes those brain juices that allow for unique creative solutions in more than just drawing the figure.
It was the latest ingenious plan conjured up by Colombian drug barons to smuggle marijuana to prison inmates.
They strapped a package containing 1.6 ounces of the drug to a pigeon and pointed it in the direction of the jail in Bucaramanga.
But the excess baggage proved too much for it. The bird crash-landed and was captured by two policemen who found it flapping helplessly near the prison.