Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A really neat piece of hybrid organic semiconductor tech generates electricity from light or heat

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/12/a-really-neat-piece-of-hybrid-organic-semiconductor-tech-generates-electricity-from-light-or-heat/


[in part]

Posted on December 12, 2010 by Anthony Watts
From Fujitsu’s press web site: Fujitsu Develops Hybrid Energy Harvesting Device for Generating Electricity from Heat and Light

Paves the way toward widespread energy harvesting, generating self-sufficient power from the surrounding environment

Kawasaki, Japan, December 9, 2010 — Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. today announced that it has developed a new hybrid energy harvesting device that generates electricity from either heat or light. With this single device, it is possible to derive energy from two separate sources, which previously could only be handled by combining individual devices. Furthermore, because the cost of the hybrid device is economical, this technology paves the way to the widespread use of highly efficient energy harvesting devices. The new technology has great potential in the area of energy harvesting, which converts energy from the surrounding environment to electricity. Since there is no need for electrical wiring or battery replacements, this development could enable the use of sensors in previously unserved applications and regions. It also has great potential for powering a variety of sensor networks and medical-sensing technologies.

Details of this technology will be presented at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting 2010 (IEDM 2010) being held from December 6-8 in San Francisco.

About Energy Harvesting

Energy harvesting is the process for collecting energy from the surrounding environment and converting it to electricity, and is gaining interest as a future next-generation energy source. Conventionally, electricity is supplied by either a power plant or a battery, requiring electrical wiring and replacement batteries. In recent years, the idea of using ambient energy in the forms of light, vibration, heat, radio waves, etc. has become increasingly attractive, and a number of methods to produce electricity from these different kinds of energy sources have been developed. Energy harvesting technology would eliminate the need for replacing batteries and power cords.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Flanagan regrets WikiLeaks assassination remark

Silly politicians, saying things that they "don't" really mean.


SOURCE

Flanagan regrets WikiLeaks assassination remark

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 | 11:30 AM ET Comments489Recommended143CBC News
A former senior adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he regrets his "glib comment" calling for the assassination of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

"I regret that I made a glib comment about a serious issue," Tom Flanagan said Tuesday in a statement to CBC News. "If Mr. Assange is arrested on the recently announced Interpol warrant, I hope [he] receives a fair trial and due process of law."

In a panel interview Monday night on CBC's Power & Politics with Evan Solomon, Flanagan said U.S. President Barack Obama "should put out a contract and maybe use a drone or something.

Tom Flanagan says he 'wouldn't be unhappy' if WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange 'disappeared.' (CBC)
"I think Assange should be assassinated, actually," Flanagan said with a laugh, and when asked to expand upon his answer, added that he "wouldn't be unhappy" if Assange "disappeared."

When the CBC's Solomon commented that his position was "pretty harsh stuff," Flanagan, who is known for his off-the-cuff sense of humour and often brings props to panel interviews, replied: "I'm feeling very manly today, Evan."

Although Flanagan described most of the information in the leaked U.S. cables as "harmless," he added the revelation that Arab diplomats requested the U.S. to attack Iran's nuclear facilities as secrets that "could conceivably lead to war."

"This is really not stuff that should be out," he said.

Flanagan, a University of Calgary professor who previously served as Harper's chief of staff, is no stranger to controversy and has often been at odds with his former boss and colleagues in the Conservative caucus in recent years.
A number of U.S. and Canadian media figures have either suggested or demanded Assange be targeted for assassination or executed in the wake of the embarrassing scandal over the hundreds of thousands of secret diplomatic messages being published online. Amid the furor, Assange's whereabouts remain unknown.

Former U.S. Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who is widely expected to run for president in 2012, has called the former computer hacker an "anti-American operative with blood on his hands" and accused Obama of not doing enough to stop the WikiLeaks founder.

"Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders?" she said.

Canadian author and columnist Ezra Levant questioned why the Obama administration has treated the Australian-born Assange differently than the Taliban leaders targeted for assassination, saying he and his WikiLeaks colleagues "act like spies, not journalists."

"Why is Assange still alive?" Levant wrote in his column for QMI Agency earlier this week.

"Why is he being treated as a journalist or political activist? If someone had published the intimate details of the D-Day plans during the Second World War, he would never have been seen again."

Meanwhile, Interpol has placed Assange on its most-wanted list after Sweden issued an arrest warrant against him as part of a drawn-out rape investigation.

Assange, whose whereabouts are unknown, is suspected of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. He has denied the allegations, which stem from his encounters with two women during a visit to Sweden in August.


Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2010/12/01/flanagan-wikileaks-assange.html#ixzz16se44Umj

Friday, November 19, 2010

And yet another injustice...circa 2002

source url


Coffee, Tea, or Should We Feel Your Pregnant Wife’s Breasts Before Throwing You in a Cell at the Airport and Then Lying About Why We Put You There?by Nicholas Monahan



This morning I’ll be escorting my wife to the hospital, where the doctors will perform a caesarean section to remove our first child. She didn’t want to do it this way – neither of us did – but sometimes the Fates decide otherwise. The Fates or, in our case, government employees.

On the morning of October 26th Mary and I entered Portland International Airport, en route to the Las Vegas wedding of one of my best friends. Although we live in Los Angeles, we’d been in Oregon working on a film, and up to that point had had nothing but praise to shower on the city of Portland, a refreshing change of pace from our own suffocating metropolis.

At the security checkpoint I was led aside for the "inspection" that’s all the rage at airports these days. My shoes were removed. I was told to take off my sweater, then to fold over the waistband of my pants. My baseball hat, hastily jammed on my head at 5 AM, was removed and assiduously examined ("Anything could be in here, sir," I was told, after I asked what I could hide in a baseball hat. Yeah. Anything.) Soon I was standing on one foot, my arms stretched out, the other leg sticking out in front of me √† la a DUI test. I began to get pissed off, as most normal people would. My anger increased when I realized that the newly knighted federal employees weren’t just examining me, but my 7½ months pregnant wife as well. I’d originally thought that I’d simply been randomly selected for the more excessive than normal search. You know, Number 50 or whatever. Apparently not though – it was both of us. These are your new threats, America: pregnant accountants and their sleepy husbands flying to weddings.

After some more grumbling on my part they eventually finished with me and I went to retrieve our luggage from the x-ray machine. Upon returning I found my wife sitting in a chair, crying. Mary rarely cries, and certainly not in public. When I asked her what was the matter, she tried to quell her tears and sobbed, "I’m sorry...it’s...they touched my breasts...and..." That’s all I heard. I marched up to the woman who’d been examining her and shouted, "What did you do to her?" Later I found out that in addition to touching her swollen breasts – to protect the American citizenry – the employee had asked that she lift up her shirt. Not behind a screen, not off to the side – no, right there, directly in front of the hundred or so passengers standing in line. And for you women who’ve been pregnant and worn maternity pants, you know how ridiculous those things look. "I felt like a clown," my wife told me later. "On display for all these people, with the cotton panel on my pants and my stomach sticking out. When I sat down I just lost my composure and began to cry. That’s when you walked up."


Of course when I say she "told me later," it’s because she wasn’t able to tell me at the time, because as soon as I demanded to know what the federal employee had done to make her cry, I was swarmed by Portland police officers. Instantly. Three of them, cinching my arms, locking me in handcuffs, and telling me I was under arrest. Now my wife really began to cry. As they led me away and she ran alongside, I implored her to calm down, to think of the baby, promising her that everything would turn out all right. She faded into the distance and I was shoved into an elevator, a cop holding each arm. After making me face the corner, the head honcho told that I was under arrest and that I wouldn’t be flying that day – that I was in fact a "menace."

It took me a while to regain my composure. I felt like I was one of those guys in The Gulag Archipelago who, because the proceedings all seem so unreal, doesn’t fully realize that he is in fact being arrested in a public place in front of crowds of people for...for what? I didn’t know what the crime was. Didn’t matter. Once upstairs, the officers made me remove my shoes and my hat and tossed me into a cell. Yes, your airports have prison cells, just like your amusement parks, train stations, universities, and national forests. Let freedom reign.

After a short time I received a visit from the arresting officer. "Mr. Monahan," he started, "Are you on drugs?"

Was this even real? "No, I’m not on drugs."

"Should you be?"

"What do you mean?"

"Should you be on any type of medication?"

"No."

"Then why’d you react that way back there?"

You see the thinking? You see what passes for reasoning among your domestic shock troops these days? Only "whackos" get angry over seeing the woman they’ve been with for ten years in tears because someone has touched her breasts. That kind of reaction – love, protection – it’s mind-boggling! "Mr. Monahan, are you on drugs?" His snide words rang inside my head. This is my wife, finally pregnant with our first child after months of failed attempts, after the depressing shock of the miscarriage last year, my wife who’d been walking on a cloud over having the opportunity to be a mother...and my anger is simply unfathomable to the guy standing in front of me, the guy who earns a living thanks to my taxes, the guy whose family I feed through my labor. What I did wasn’t normal. No, I reacted like a drug addict would’ve. I was so disgusted I felt like vomiting. But that was just the beginning.


An hour later, after I’d been gallantly assured by the officer that I wouldn’t be attending my friend’s wedding that day, I heard Mary’s voice outside my cell. The officer was speaking loudly, letting her know that he was planning on doing me a favor... which everyone knows is never a real favor. He wasn’t going to come over and help me work on my car or move some furniture. No, his "favor" was this: He’d decided not to charge me with a felony.

Think about that for a second. Rapes, car-jackings, murders, arsons – those are felonies. So is yelling in an airport now, apparently. I hadn’t realized, though I should have. Luckily, I was getting a favor, though. I was merely going to be slapped with a misdemeanor.

"Here’s your court date," he said as I was released from my cell. In addition, I was banned from Portland International for 90 days, and just in case I was thinking of coming over and hanging out around its perimeter, the officer gave me a map with the boundaries highlighted, sternly warning me against trespassing. Then he and a second officer escorted us off the grounds. Mary and I hurriedly drove two and a half hours in the rain to Seattle, where we eventually caught a flight to Vegas. But the officer was true to his word – we missed my friend’s wedding. The fact that he’d been in my own wedding party, the fact that a once in a lifetime event was stolen from us – well, who cares, right?

Upon our return to Portland (I’d had to fly into Seattle and drive back down), we immediately began contacting attorneys. We aren’t litigious people – we wanted no money. I’m not even sure what we fully wanted. An apology? A reprimand? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter though, because we couldn’t afford a lawyer, it turned out. $4,000 was the average figure bandied about as a retaining fee. Sorry, but I’ve got a new baby on the way. So we called the ACLU, figuring they existed for just such incidents as these. And they do apparently...but only if we were minorities. That’s what they told us.

In the meantime, I’d appealed my suspension from PDX. A week or so later I got a response from the Director of Aviation. After telling me how, in the aftermath of 9/11, most passengers not only accept additional airport screening but welcome it, he cut to the chase:


"After a review of the police report and my discussions with police staff, as well as a review of the TSA’s report on this incident, I concur with the officer’s decision to take you into custody and to issue a citation to you for disorderly conduct. That being said, because I also understand that you were upset and acted on your emotions, I am willing to lift the Airport Exclusion Order...."

Attached to this letter was the report the officer had filled out. I’d like to say I couldn’t believe it, but in a way, I could. It’s seemingly becoming the norm in America – lies and deliberate distortions on the part of those in power, no matter how much or how little power they actually wield.

The gist of his report was this: From the get go I wasn’t following the screener’s directions. I was "squinting my eyes" and talking to my wife in a "low, forced voice" while "excitedly swinging my arms." Twice I began to walk away from the screener, inhaling and exhaling forcefully. When I’d completed the physical exam, I walked to the luggage screening area, where a second screener took a pair of scissors from my suitcase. At this point I yelled, "What the %*&$% is going on? This is &*#&$%!" The officer, who’d already been called over by one of the screeners, became afraid for the TSA staff and the many travelers. He required the assistance of a second officer as he "struggled" to get me into handcuffs, then for "cover" called over a third as well. It was only at this point that my wife began to cry hysterically.

There was nothing poetic in my reaction to the arrest report. I didn’t crumple it in my fist and swear that justice would be served, promising to sacrifice my resources and time to see that it would. I simply stared. Clearly the officer didn’t have the guts to write down what had really happened. It might not look too good to see that stuff about the pregnant woman in tears because she’d been humiliated. Instead this was the official scenario being presented for the permanent record. It doesn’t even matter that it’s the most implausible sounding situation you can think of. "Hey, what the...godammit, they’re taking our scissors, honey!" Why didn’t he write in anything about a monkey wearing a fez?

True, the TSA staff had expropriated a pair of scissors from our toiletries kit – the story wasn’t entirely made up. Except that I’d been locked in airport jail at the time. I didn’t know anything about any scissors until Mary told me on our drive up to Seattle. They’d questioned her about them while I was in the bowels of the airport sitting in my cell.

So I wrote back, indignation and disgust flooding my brain.

"[W]hile I’m not sure, I’d guess that the entire incident is captured on video. Memory is imperfect on everyone’s part, but the footage won’t lie. I realize it might be procedurally difficult for you to view this, but if you could, I’d appreciate it. There’s no willful disregard of screening directions. No explosion over the discovery of a pair of scissors in a suitcase. No struggle to put handcuffs on. There’s a tired man, early in the morning, unhappily going through a rigorous procedure and then reacting to the tears of his pregnant wife."

Eventually we heard back from a different person, the guy in charge of the TSA airport screeners. One of his employees had made the damning statement about me exploding over her scissor discovery, and the officer had deftly incorporated that statement into his report. We asked the guy if he could find out why she’d said this – couldn’t she possibly be mistaken? "Oh, can’t do that, my hands are tied. It’s kind of like leading a witness – I could get in trouble, heh heh." Then what about the videotape? Why not watch that? That would exonerate me. "Oh, we destroy all video after three days."

Sure you do.

A few days later we heard from him again. He just wanted to inform us that he’d received corroboration of the officer’s report from the officer’s superior, a name we didn’t recognize. "But...he wasn’t even there," my wife said.

"Yeah, well, uh, he’s corroborated it though."

That’s how it works.


"Oh, and we did look at the videotape. Inconclusive."

But I thought it was destroyed?

On and on it went. Due to the tenacity of my wife in making phone calls and speaking with relevant persons, the "crime" was eventually lowered to a mere citation. Only she could have done that. I would’ve simply accepted what was being thrown at me, trumped up charges and all, simply because I’m wholly inadequate at performing the kowtow. There’s no way I could have contacted all the people Mary did and somehow pretend to be contrite. Besides, I speak in a low, forced voice, which doesn’t elicit sympathy. Just police suspicion.

Weeks later at the courthouse I listened to a young DA awkwardly read the charges against me – "Mr. Monahan...umm...shouted obscenities at the airport staff...umm... umm...oh, they took some scissors from his suitcase and he became...umm...abusive at this point." If I was reading about it in Kafka I might have found something vaguely amusing in all of it. But I wasn’t. I was there. Living it.

I entered a plea of nolo contendere, explaining to the judge that if I’d been a resident of Oregon, I would have definitely pled "Not Guilty." However, when that happens, your case automatically goes to a jury trial, and since I lived a thousand miles away, and was slated to return home in seven days, with a newborn due in a matter of weeks...you get the picture. "No Contest" it was. Judgment: $250 fine.

Did I feel happy? Only $250, right? No, I wasn’t happy. I don’t care if it’s twelve cents, that’s money pulled right out of my baby’s mouth and fed to a disgusting legal system that will use it to propagate more incidents like this. But at the very least it was over, right? Wrong.

When we returned to Los Angeles there was an envelope waiting for me from the court. Inside wasn’t a receipt for the money we’d paid. No, it was a letter telling me that what I actually owed was $309 – state assessed court costs, you know. Wouldn’t you think your taxes pay for that – the state putting you on trial? No, taxes are used to hire more cops like the officer, because with our rising criminal population – people like me – hey, your average citizen demands more and more "security."

Finally I reach the piece de r√©sistance. The week before we’d gone to the airport my wife had had her regular pre-natal checkup. The child had settled into the proper head down position for birth, continuing the remarkable pregnancy she’d been having. We returned to Portland on Sunday. On Mary’s Monday appointment she was suddenly told, "Looks like your baby’s gone breech." When she later spoke with her midwives in Los Angeles, they wanted to know if she’d experienced any type of trauma recently, as this often makes a child flip. "As a matter of fact..." she began, recounting the story, explaining how the child inside of her was going absolutely crazy when she was crying as the police were leading me away through the crowd.


My wife had been planning a natural childbirth. She’d read dozens of books, meticulously researched everything, and had finally decided that this was the way for her. No drugs, no numbing of sensations – just that ultimate combination of brute pain and sheer joy that belongs exclusively to mothers. But my wife is also a first-time mother, so she has what is called an "untested" pelvis. Essentially this means that a breech birth is too dangerous to attempt, for both mother and child. Therefore, she’s now relegated to a c-section – hospital stay, epidural, catheter, fetal monitoring, stitches – everything she didn’t want. Her natural birth has become a surgery.

We’ve tried everything to turn that baby. Acupuncture, chiropractic techniques, underwater handstands, elephant walking, moxibustion, bending backwards over pillows, herbs, external manipulation – all to no avail. When I walked into the living room the other night and saw her plaintively cooing with a flashlight turned onto her stomach, yet another suggested technique, my heart almost broke. It’s breaking now as I write these words.

I can never prove that my child went breech because of what happened to us at the airport. But I’ll always believe it. Wrongly or rightly, I’ll forever think of how this man, the personification of this system, has affected the lives of my family and me. When my wife is sliced open, I’ll be thinking of him. When they remove her uterus from her abdomen and lay it on her stomach, I’ll be thinking of him. When I visit her and my child in the hospital instead of having them with me here in our home, I’ll be thinking of him. When I assist her to the bathroom while the incision heals internally, I’ll be thinking of him.

There are plenty of stories like this these days. I don’t know how many I’ve read where the writer describes some breach of civil liberties by employees of the state, then wraps it all up with a dire warning about what we as a nation are becoming, and how if we don’t put an end to it now, then we’re in for heaps of trouble. Well you know what? Nothing’s going to stop the inevitable. There’s no policy change that’s going to save us. There’s no election that’s going to put a halt to the onslaught of tyranny. It’s here already – this country has changed for the worse and will continue to change for the worse. There is now a division between the citizenry and the state. When that state is used as a tool against me, there is no longer any reason why I should owe any allegiance to that state.

And that’s the first thing that child of ours is going to learn.

December 21, 2002

Nick Monahan works in the film industry. He writes out of Los Angeles where he lives with his wife and as of December 18th, his beautiful new son.

Copyright © 2002 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ahmed Ghailani, Gitmo detainee, acquitted of all but 1 charge in N.Y.

Not really sure how "good" this news is, nor how bad. But personally I feel that any case that has only the strength of torturous interrogations behind it, and relies upon confessions extracted over a 5 year period of incarceration without the benefit of counsel, or habeus corpus, has little to no merit.

Though it goes without saying that I abhor terrorism, it also needs to be said that I do not condone torture in any form. I feel it is against the Constitution. If an enemy combatant is captured in battle, he should be subject to a War Commission trial, carried out with expedience. If a jury trial is opted for, by the powers that be, then it should be carried out much in the way that this past one was conducted.

http://www.washingtonpost.com


"The court has not reached this conclusion lightly," Kaplan wrote, barring the testimony. "It is acutely aware of the perilous nature of the world we live in. But the constitution is the rock upon which our nation rests. We must follow it not only when it is convenient, but when fear and danger beckon in a different direction." The prosecution did not seek to introduce any statements Ghailani made to the CIA

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Afghanistan dog hero accidentally euthanized

Afghanistan dog hero accidentally euthanized

A dog rescued from Afghanistan after she alerted soldiers to a suicide bomber was accidentally euthanized at an Arizona shelter on Monday.

A Pinal County Animal Care and Control employee has been placed on administrative leave for failing to follow procedures and euthanizing the wrong dog.

The dog, Target, was recently brought over from Afghanistan by a soldier who had returned from his tour of duty. Target was featured by CNN for heroism after saving dozens of soldiers from a suicide bomber on February 11.

"She got her name because the Afghans we lived with were constantly trying to off her. She's been shot in the leg. ... The Afghans actually ran over her," Sgt. Christopher Duke said, who helped care for Target in Afghanistan and has adopted her packmate Rufus. "There's no killing this dog for sure. She's pretty much been through it all, " he said upon their reunion in July in Georgia.

Target's new owner, Army Sgt. Terry Young whose life was saved by the stray, helped bring the 2-ish-year-old from Afghanistan to her new home in Arizona. She disappeared from Young's home on Friday. Facebook postings requested help in finding her.


Target saved U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan
Animal Care and Control received a call about a stray female shepherd-mix dog in the San Tan Valley area on Friday. An animal control officer picked up the dog and brought her to the shelter where the dog stayed over the weekend. The dog was not microchipped or licensed with the county, shelter officials said.

On Monday morning, the employee mistakenly took the dog out of its pen and euthanized it. The dog was not scheduled for euthanasia.

“I am heartsick over this. I had to personally deliver the news to the dog’s owner, and he and his family are understandably distraught,” said Animal Care and Control Director Ruth Stalter. “We work hard get to strays reunited with their owners. When it comes to euthanizing an animal, there are some clear-cut procedures to follow. Based on my preliminary investigation, our employee did not follow those procedures.”

In an e-mail, Young told CNN affiliate KPHO, "I'm an absolute wreck today, and it's everything in my power to hold it together for me and my family. My 4-year-old son just can't understand what is going on with Target and keeps asking me to get the poison out of her and bring her home. They don't want her to go be with God yet."

“An investigation is under way, and we will cooperate fully. We will also thoroughly review procedures to ensure that something like this does not happen again,” Stalter said. “This is unacceptable, and no family should be deprived of their companion because procedures were not followed.”

Target was pregnant when she helped thwart the suicide bomber by attacking him. She had her litter of puppies in Afghanistan. Target's puppies have since been brought to the United States.

Researchers find that beached dolphins are often deaf

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/14/AR2010111404112.html?hpid=topnews?tid=wp_featuredstories

By David A. Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 15, 2010; 12:42 AM

New research into the cause of dolphin "strandings" - incidents in which weakened or dead dolphins are found near shore - has shown that in some species, many stranded creatures share the same problem.

They are nearly deaf, in a world where hearing can be as valuable as sight.

That understanding - gained from a study of dolphins' brain activity - could help explain why such intelligent animals do something so seemingly dumb. Unable to use sound to find food or family members, dolphins can wind up weak and disoriented.

Researchers are unsure what is causing the hearing loss: It might be old age, birth defects or a cacophony of man-made noise in the ocean, including Navy sonar, which has been associated with some marine mammal strandings in recent years.

The news, researchers say, is a warning for those who rescue and release injured dolphins: In some cases, the animals might be going back to a world they can't hear.

"Rehab is pretty time-consuming and pretty expensive," said David Mann, a professor at the University of South Florida and the study's lead author. If the dolphin can't hear, he said, "there's almost no point in rehabbing it and releasing it."

The study, published Nov. 3 in the journal PLoS One, examined several species of marine mammals - including dolphins and small whales - in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. The animals had been found stranded in the wild and taken in for medical treatment and feeding.

Each year, 1,200 to 1,600 whales and dolphins are found stranded off the U.S. coast, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Most are dead: In 2007, the most recent year with data, 195 out of 1,263 animals were found alive.

But many are euthanized on the scene or die later. Others survive but are too young or too debilitated to be returned to the wild.

Of the 195 animals found alive that year, five were released.

Trying to study what put these animals in distress, the researchers faced a puzzle. How do test a dolphin's hearing?

"They can't raise their flipper" if they hear a tone, Mann said
Instead, researchers looked for reactions to the sound inside the animals' brains. The researchers affixed sensors to the creatures' heads with suction cups, which could detect electrical activity in the brain. They then played a series of tones: If the animals could hear them, the sensors would detect millions of neurons firing to process the sound.

In some of the species they studied, the tests showed that stranded animals could still hear normally. Three Risso's dolphins, two pygmy killer whales and a spinner dolphin showed no problems.

But the researchers found severe to near-total hearing loss in two species. Among bottlenose dolphins, four out of seven stranded animals had hearing problems. Among rough-toothed dolphins, the total was five out of 14.

That, they said, could be a serious problem for animals that live in often-murky waters. Bottlenose dolphins often use sound to find each other: Each has a "signature whistle" all its own.

In addition to hearing sounds made by other creatures, dolphins use their own sonar to hunt and locate the seafloor and other objects. Scientists say these rapid-fire sounds - a series of clicks to human ears - return to give the dolphins information about the size and shape of prey.

"These animals are living in an environment where vision can't play the same role it does on land," said Randall Wells, a senior conservation scientist at the Chicago Zoological Society who was another of the study's authors. "Sound is probably the most important sense that they have."

Without the ability to hear these sounds, scientists said dolphins can be helpless. In some cases, the animals had lost more than 99 percent of their echo-locating capacity: If a normal animal could detect prey at 100 yards, these dolphins could do it only at a yard or less.

The research did not indicate what might have caused the animals to lose their hearing. Mann said he thinks the problem is most likely a combination of old age, birth defects and disease.

But other researchers have also identified a contentious and growing issue: too much noise in the ocean. Dolphins evolved when the only source of loud sounds underwater would have been thunderstorms or unusual events such as volcanic eruptions.

Now, however, there are the sounds of powerboats and huge oceangoing ships. Oil and gas exploration efforts use loud noises to conduct seismic tests of the seabed. Navy exercises fill the water with the sounds of explosions and sonar.

The association between marine mammal strandings and sonar has spawned several major lawsuits from the Natural Resources Defense Council and others. One resulted in an injunction against the Navy's use of sonar in some areas with high marine mammal populations. In 2008, the Supreme Court overturned that decision, saying the Navy needed an unfettered right to test sonar even if whales and dolphins might be harmed.

Other research has shown that North Atlantic right whales are making louder noises than in generations past, seemingly "shouting" to be heard over the ocean's background noise. Other work has predicted that as carbon emissions make the oceans more acidic, they may only conduct sound better - worsening the din.

In Sarasota Bay, Fla., home to about 160 dolphins, researchers have calculated that a powerboat passes within 100 yards of every dolphin every six minutes.

"These animals that are very finely tuned acoustic machines are now having . . . to deal with noises, with sounds that their ancestors never knew," Wells said. He said it's possible, but not certain, that chronic noise played a role in damaging some dolphins' hearing.

In the short term, Mann said he hopes the research will encourage organizations that rescue stranded dolphins to give the animals hearing tests. If the animals are found to have serious hearing damage, he said, they might be kept at aquariums or other protected locations instead of being released.

A spokeswoman for NOAA, which oversees a network of nonprofit and government marine mammal rescue operations, said these tests are done when resources permit. She said she was not sure what percentage of stranded animals got the test.

In Virginia Beach, the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center oversees rescues for all dolphins and whales found along that state's coast. Aquarium official Mark Swingle said his group does not have the money, or the specialized training, to test the hearing of dolphins found alive.

But, he said, the number of dolphins affected was small, given the grim math of rescues. Out of 70 to 75 animals found stranded every year in his area, he said, only 1 or 2 percent were found alive.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Interrogation techniques at 'Britain's Abu Ghraib' revealed

Yes sir, the US and UK are certainly leaders of the free world.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/nov/05/interrogation-techniques-iraq-inmates

Video showing brutal mistreatment is submitted during high court proceedings brought by former Iraqi inmates

Share37 Ian Cobain guardian.co.uk, Friday 5 November 2010 12.17 GMT Article history
Warning: video contains material that viewers may find disturbing Link to this video Evidence of systematic and brutal mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners at a secret British military interrogation centre that is being described as the UK's Abu Ghraib emerged today during high court proceedings brought by more than 200 former inmates.

The court was informed that there is evidence detainees were starved, deprived of sleep, subjected to sensory deprivation and threatened with execution at the shadowy facilities near Basra operated by the Joint Forces Interrogation Team (JFIT).

It also received allegations that JFIT's prisoners were beaten and forced to kneel in stressful positions for up to 30 hours at a time, and that some were subjected to electric shocks. Some of the prisoners say they were subjected to sexual humiliation by female soldiers, while others allege that they were held for days in cells as small as one metre square.

The evidence of abuse is emerging just weeks after defence officials admitted that British soldiers and airmen are suspected of being responsible for the murder and manslaughter of a number of Iraqi civilians in addition to the high-profile case of Baha Mousa, the hotel receptionist tortured to death by troops in September 2003. One man is alleged to have been kicked to death aboard an RAF helicopter, while two others died after being held for questioning.

Last month, the Guardian disclosed that for several years after the death of Mousa, the British military continued training interrogators in techniques that include threats, sensory deprivation and enforced nakedness, in an apparent breach of the Geneva conventions. Trainee interrogators were told that they should aim to provoke humiliation, disorientation, exhaustion, anxiety and fear in the prisoners they are questioning.

Lawyers representing the former JFIT inmates now argue that there needs to be a public inquiry to establish the extent of the mistreatment, and to discover at which point ultimate responsibility lies, along the chain of military command and political oversight. Today's hearing marked the start of a judicial review intended to force the establishment of an inquiry. Michael Fordham QC, for the former inmates, said: "It needs to get at the truth of what happened in all these cases. It needs to deal with the systemic issues that arise out of them, and it needs to deal with the lessons to be learned."

Fordham said the question needs to be asked: "Is this Britain's Abu Ghraib?"

The Ministry of Defence is resisting an inquiry, however. In a statement to the Commons on Monday, Nick Harvey, the Liberal Democrat armed forces minister, said the MoD should be allowed to investigate the matter itself, adding: "A costly public inquiry would be unable to investigate individual criminal behaviour or impose punishments. Any such inquiry would arguably therefore not be in the best interests of the individual complainants who have raised these allegations."

Harvey said an inquiry would not be ruled out, "should serious and systemic issues" emerge as a result of the MoD's own investigations.

Among the most startling evidence submitted to the high court in London today were two videos showing the interrogation of a suspected insurgent who was taken prisoner in Basra in April 2007 and questioned about a mortar attack on a British base.

The recordings – among 1,253 made by the interrogators themselves – show this man being forced to stand to attention while two soldiers scream abuse at him and threaten him with execution. They ignore his complaints that he is not being allowed to sleep and that he has had nothing to eat or drink for two days. At the end of each session, he is forced to don a pair of blackened goggles, ear muffs are placed over his head, and he is ordered to place the palms of his hands together so that a guard can grasp his thumbs to lead him away.

At the end of one session, an interrogator can be heard ordering the guard to "rough the fucker off", or possibly "knock the fucker off". The guard then runs down a corridor, dragging the prisoner behind him by his thumbs. This man's lawyers say he was then severely beaten: they allege that the initial blows, and their client's moans, can be heard faintly at the end of the video.

An investigation by the army in January 2008, which examined just six cases of alleged abuse by British troops, described them as cause for "professional humility", but concluded that such incidents were not "endemic". However, the report did not address the possibility that some mistreatment was systematic, with those responsible acting under orders and in accordance with a pre-war training regime that called for repeated use of abusive techniques.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Now for a little politics

Fear mongering...yeah that's what I want to rant about at this moment.

I'm sick of all this fear mongering. Apparently what we're doing is keeping terrorism alive and well. We've altered our constitution, we have neighbors spying on neighbors. Federal agencies are kidnapping US citizens and extraditing them to other countries to be tortured and interrogated, not to mention that the USA redefined torture so that it's completely legal.

So this is the USA.

Not the one that I fought for and wore the uniform of.

There are "Terror Tips" signs on the side of the freeways, Report Suspicious Activity signs and the FBI "caught" another "terrorist" just recently. Ridiculous. Abso-fucking-lutely ridiculous.

"War is peace. Less is more. Freedom is Slavery." -George Orwell.

That's where we are now. Not where we should be. But it's where we are.

I don't condone revolution. What I do hope for is that everyone of you that vote will vote for a legislator that promises to uphold the US Constitution as it was written, not as it was rewritten.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bathynomus Giganteus: Terrifying Sea Beast Hauled Up

Link to source: http://blogs.nationalgeographic.com/blogs/news/chiefeditor/2010/03/bathynomus-giganteus-terrifying-sea-beast.html


By Jeremy A. Kaplan (FOXNews.com)

A submarine exploring the ocean's depths recently returned with an unexpected visitor: a crablike critter called Bathynomus giganteus (commonly known as giant isopod) that has left many readers startled and horrified.


This giant isopod (a crustacean related to shrimps and crabs) represents one of about nine species of large isopods in the genus Bathynomus. They are thought to be abundant in cold, deep waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Photo of Bathynomus giganteus courtesy of NOAA Vents Program

In a posting to social bookmarking site Reddit, a deep-sea technician detailed finding the Bathynomus giganteus, asking the site's readers to help identify what exactly the bizarre-looking creature was.

The post reads, "I work for a Sub-sea Survey Company, recently this beast came up attached to one of our ROVs. It measures a wee bit over 2.5 feet head to tail, and we expect it latched onto the ROV at roughly 8,500 feet depth.

"Unfortunately, the e-mail that these pictures were attached to came from a contractor, and the ship he was operating from (and therefore location) is unknown, so I can't tell you what part of the Earth this beast was living."

The pictures reveal Bathynomus giganteus to be a giant isopod, a large crustacean that dwells in deep Atlantic and Pacific waters. This particular creature is a deep-sea scavenger that feeds on dead whales, fish and squid.



The underside of a male giant isopod.
Photo courtesy of NOAA/OER.

Scientists have long remarked on the massive scale of Bathynomus giganteus.

C.R. McClain, writing about Bathynomus giganteus on ScienceBlogs, explained one theory for the size, that "deep-sea gigantism, for all crustaceans, is a consequence of larger cells sizes obtained under cold temperatures," citing a research paper from 1996.

He also speculated that "in crustaceans, bathymetric gigantism may also in part reflect decreases in temperature leading to longer lifespans and thus larger sizes in indeterminate growers."

Bathynomus Giganteus Post Inspires Curiosity, Horror

Responses to the original post ranged from the curious to the horrified.

One reader notes the connection between Bathynomus giganteus and a more familiar household pest: "The giant isopod is related to the "woodlouse"--turns out this is the common bug that I grew up calling a "roly poly"
or pillbug. Neat!"

Others were more disgusted with Bathynomus giganteus. "I remember watching some documentary (Blue Planet maybe?) with a time lapse of these things swarming a whale carcass. it was horrifying," writes one
reader.

Another reader saw nothing but dinner in the flesh of Bathynomus giganteus, writing "It could be because I really like seafood, but those isopods look tasty. Land bugs = ew! Sea bugs = mm mmm good."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tea party anyone?

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20827815.100-tea-party-luring-us-into-adventures-in-irrationality.html



Tea Party luring US into adventures in irrationality
12 October 2010 by Chris Mooney
Magazine issue 2781. Subscribe and save
For similar stories, visit the Comment and Analysis Topic Guide

Compared with what may be in store for the US, George W. Bush's administration looks positively friendly to science, says Chris Mooney

THE Tea Party isn't nearly as entertaining as it ought to be. It is still unclear whether this particular brand of patriotic extremism is a passing fad or something more. Come the US mid-term elections on 2 November, those of us who care about science and rationality may not be laughing.

On the surface, the movement seems impelled by the economic pain Americans are feeling. But look more closely and it's hard to miss what historian Richard Hofstadter called the "paranoid style" in US politics, marked by "exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy". An essential strand of that is anti-intellectualism and disdain for science.

Nearly every Senate candidate with Tea Party backing rejects the established reality of human-caused global warming, usually with gusto. "I absolutely do not believe in the science of man-caused climate change. It's not proved by any stretch of the imagination," Wisconsin candidate Ron Johnson has said. "I think it's far more likely that it's just sunspot activity, or something just in the geological aeons of time."

The most notorious Tea Party candidate, Delaware's Christine O'Donnell, rejects evolution and opposes stem cell research and, more creatively, chimera research - which with typical cluelessness she thinks means growing human brains in mice.

There is great uncertainty over just how influential the Tea Party will be. It may actually damage the Republicans; the unelectable O'Donnell, for example, beat an eminently electable moderate to win her Senate nomination. Alternatively, the momentum and sense of outrage that it has generated may swing the mid-term elections decisively in the Republicans' favour.

If that happens, there are serious implications for the Obama administration's attempt to forge a reason-based and science-driven presidency. The president has pledged to "restore science to its rightful place" in government, and minus the greatest prize of all - comprehensive climate and energy legislation - he has largely succeeded. The administration is staffed with distinguished scientific leaders and advisers, and Obama himself embodies austere rationality and deliberativeness, almost to a fault.

Now, though, the Democrats face the prospect of losing significant ground in the mid-terms, thanks to the Tea Party and general Republican mobilisation. If that happens, many aspects of the administration's agenda - particularly on climate change - will face stiffer resistance. I'm not looking forward to a Republican-controlled House of Representatives holding hearings on "climategate".

What the Tea Party ultimately shows is that you can have, simultaneously, a scientific Washington and an unscientific America. And it suggests the nation's adventures with irrationality did not end with George W. Bush.

If anything, Bush was genteel and moderate in comparison with the Tea Party. As a defender of science and reason, it feels odd to say it, but when surveying the Tea Party, I almost miss him.

Chris Mooney is co-author of Unscientific America: How scientific illiteracy threatens our future (Basic)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lucky day Monday?

So I had a three day weekend...Saturday, Sunday and Monday! So much fun. I didn't think about work for three days. Usually, even on my weekends, I am thinking about work. Forty-eight hours just isn't enough time for me to divorce my self completely from this thing we call work. And my typical work week is 50 hours plus. So it takes up a considerable amount of my time, and my mental well-being.

So the age old question of "what did you do with your weekend?" Well, Saturday I ran some errands, took the dogs to the river, and basically took it easy after that. Sunday I played roller hockey for the first time in 2 or 3 years, afterwards went to brunch with a friend and chilled out and recuperated the rest of the day. On Monday I met my mom for lunch and then went to visit friends at my old workplace, as well as running a few errands. So it wasn't really an exciting weekend. There weren't any big parties, or mornings after. It was just a nice, relaxing, forget about the job type of weekend.

Monday morning came much sooner than expected. Five thirty A.M. has a way of doing that. So I got up, hopped into the shower and began my day in the usual way. I started to get dressed. I pulled on a pair of khakis that I had laid out-smelling fresh from the laundry. I pulled them on and zipped up. The zipper comes off in my hand. Well, okay. It happens. I pull off the trousers and grab a second pair. I pull them on and zip up. The zipper separates while I'm zipping. Two zippers both gone in one morning. What are the odds?

I'm livid at this point, yet still amused. So I look around for another pair of trousers. I can't find any clean ones, since I neglected to do laundry whilst on my holiday. I grab a pair of bluejeans (which I rarely wear since they do tend to grab my butt and they also bind in front just a bit.) I pull them on and begin the ginger process of zipping up. After this particular "pantsing" is successful I load up the pockets and begin my day again.

Now I truly know what Mondays feel like for everyone.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Soaring to new heights

The other day I was at a stoplight. I noticed a bird, not a hawk, nor an eagle, nor a condor, but a lowly turkey buzzard. They are ugly creatures when viewed in close, but the majesty of flight makes them beautiful, as with any soaring bird.

This buzzard was low, maybe 30-40 feet off the ground and looking for a thermal current to propel it upwards. It would flap it's wings a moment then glide, change direction and flap again. When it finally found the thermal, the buzzard stopped flapping and started circling. Within seconds the buzzard went from 30-40 feet to over 100 feet and climbing.

It was truly a zen experience.

I think there is a lesson to learn in seeing that experience. Probably many lessons.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Well...

I don't really have much to say lately. I'll tell you why...

I've been busy being a consumer. That's what I've been doing: consuming. I'm not creating, I'm doing just the opposite.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

From "Best of Craigslist"

Original Document


Date: 2009-10-28, 9:58PM PDT

There are so many reasons that frankly, it's hard to pick a place to start:


First of all.....when 28% of you brain dead fucking morons give a blithering IDIOT like Sarah Palin positive approval ratings and think she ought to run for president in 2012, it really makes me sick to know I am lumbered with that many mouth-breathing Cro-Magnons I unfortunately have to consider as my fellow countrymen....trust me.....I don't. You motherfuckers are beyond help.


And before you go thinking this is a "liberal" based rant.....that brings me to one more item on an ever-lengthening list.


This "Liberal" versus "Conservative" paradigm that so many of you simple dunces buy into.....as BOTH parties sell you out to the multinational corporations, banks and special interests that actually run Washington D.C.).....you do this STUPID dance every day, blithely detatched from the reality that YOU YOURSELF are helping to DIVIDE AND CONQUER the nation, as you myopically beat your little Hannity/Olberman drum of FUTILE self -righteous indignation. PATHETIC.


THIS is a nation of PUSSIES AND FUCKING COWARDS. If this nation had any BALLS WHATSOEVER, there would be a trail of DEAD MEN SWINGING FROM THE ENDS OF ROPES leading from AIG, thru WALL STREET, the not-so "Federal" reserve, the 9/11 commission, and right through every other set-up con-job you people just buy into like a bunch of CATTLE BEING LED TO SLAUGHTER.


It's not that Americans don't give a fuck.....every misled, misdirected group that goes out and crusades for the "Grand Cause" they think is responsible for the decimation of this ONCE great nation proves that.....the problem IS that the problem ISN'T illegal aliens (i.e. Minutemen) or Democrats in Washington (i.e. Teabaggers) or conservative policies (i.e. Code Pink).......the problem is ...... AMERICANS THEMSELVES.


AMERICANS have sat on THEIR ASSES while Washington and the Pentagon have BANKRUPTED THE TREASURY and sent our sons and daughters into MEAT GRINDERS in Iraq and Afghanistan for WMD's and connections to 9/11 that did NOT EXIST and even AFTER the overwhelming evidence that the intel was "swept all up" (doctored, falsified, unreliable) you STUPID SHEEP keep buying into the BRAIN DEAD notion that somehow, these wars are for the FREEDOM of America.


You're an IDIOT. They're wars for EMPIRE.


Your son's and daughter's BLOOD is being used as OIL to grease an evil, out of control WAR MACHINE....Your money and financial security is being DEVOURED by Wall St. and the Federal Reserve, with collusion from YOUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES, and your standard of living is slowly eroding into a two-class system as the middle class is being FORCED INTO EXTINCTION......


......and you do NOTHING to stop ANY of it.


You ignorant FOOLS who send shotgun Emails to all your friends warning of "death panels" and other such HEALTH INSURANCE INDUSTRY PROPAGANDA, yes, you friggin' GOMERS actually think the Health Insurance Industry has your best interests in mind, and it's "dat mean ol' gubmint" that wants to penalize you by providing your family health care that isn't profit-based.


MEDICARE only got passed because it effectively REMOVED the highest-risk group to the insurance providers (the elderly) from the 'pool' of prospective insurees, thereby minimizing their financial exposure. It's completely lost on most people that catastrophic illness is the main reason for personal bankruptcy....and that 75% of those who had to file HAD health insurance.


And this is the 'status quo' many of you are defending. You are BEYOND dense.


America has lost it's HONOR, as well as it's collective senses. I don't wish upon America any malice or catastrophe.....trust me, this is happening with assistance and collusion from the top down, not from some Arab in a cave. I just want to leave peacefully and live in a place that doesn't have leaders that hope for a "catastrophic and catalyzing event" to promote a war agenda that takes pride in kicking the shit out of unarmed peasants living in the dirt....then blames them for retaliating. Can't wait to see this dysfunctional madhouse in my rear view mirror.


When you abide by a system of government that you FULLY EXPECT will side AGAINST YOU and WITH corporate lobbyists (MANY of whom represent interests that are not even from the USA) who BRIBE THEM WITH BALES OF CASH....and are working 24/7 to maximize their profits and minimize their potential competition in the marketplace.....all at the expense of you and your family....and don't lift a FINGER to do ANYTHING TO CHANGE IT......you fucking DESERVE WHAT'S COMING. What might that be.....?


Think Germany and the treaty of Versailles.....when a wheelbarrow full of Deutschmarks is what it took to buy a MEAL.


WHEN the dollar collapses.....not IF, WHEN.....THAT'S when you'll really begin to see the true definition of FASCISM. The unity of government and corporations to economically and militarily control it's people. History WILL repeat itself....but if you're like so many of the morons in the USA who think they're so smart but don't know SHIT.....it will all be NEW TO YOU. Good luck.....you'll need it.


This is the most ARROGANT nation in EXISTANCE, second only to ISRAEL....and since ALL of our politicians are falling over backwards to kiss Israel's ASS on a daily basis, fully knowing that exposing any inconvenient TRUTH about them equals political SUICIDE....that and the mass media in America that feeds it's daily ration of BULLSHIT is controlled by individuals biased towards them as well....ANYONE who thinks they know what is going on because they read TIME magazine and watch CNN, FOX news OR MSNBC.....you are DELUSIONAL.


One nation under God....? What a JOKE.


MONEY is God here pal....even people who are reading this who hate the words I typed KNOW this is true. What does it say in your bible about the love of money? The root of all evil, no?


How DARE this nation question human rights abuses of other nations after Abu Ghraib and countless other bombing and torture campaigns, where it was stated it is passable to crush the testicles of young boys in front of their fathers to extract information.


How DARE this nation deign to be the world's nuclear police when WE are the only nation to ever USE NUKES.


MOST of you actually consider Palestinians as TERRORISTS, when it is THEY who have been occupied, imprisoned behind 25 foot high concrete walls and denied basic human decency by APARTHEID ISRAEL. Those of you who get your info from American media REMAIN IGNORANT OF THE TRUTH.


You're probably wondering if I'm some Arab, or other person hostile to "America's Freedoms" lol.... Yeah, you're really free here.......


Free to go BANKRUPT if you get sick, even if you HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE.


Free to vote on DIEBOLD voting machines that can flip elections and leave no paper trail.


Free to watch your life savings DWINDLE AND EVAPORATE into the pockets of the ROBBER BARONS you PATRONIZE.


Free to watch your JOB get shipped to CHINA....and then you fucking FOOLS buy the goods PRODUCED FORM THOSE JOBS at Wal Mart, further REWARDING AND ENCOURAGING businesses to CONTINUE this pattern. I have never bought a fucking THING from Wal-Mart, and if you have.....you are a simple, stupid FUCKSTICK.


You're free to be video monitored, photographed by the millisecond at traffic light traps, electronically surveiled, searched with no warrant, shaken down and partially disrobed at airports, free to be told how much shampoo you are allowed to carry in your luggage, free to buy processed foods that give you cancer, genetically altered vegetables that contain neat things like INSECT DNA, free to pay more than ANY OTHER COUNTRY ON THE PLANET for pharmeceuticals, free to be the pharmaceutical company's guinea pig for drugs that have potentially catastrophic side effects, free to have PUBLIC POLICY DICTATED TO YOU by government 'officials' that have dual citizenship with ISRAEL, free to have ANY MEANINGFUL TRUTH WITHHELD FROM YOU by the mass media......


.....and free to be one of the ONE OUT OF EVERY HUNDRED AMERICANS living in PRISON.


Land of the free, home of the brave??


More like land of the SHEEP and home of the SLAVE.