Wednesday Reads: Bit of this and that…and no “other”

d69dcc1786564391e83487f61ab9d683Good Morning

Today the news links are random. Nothing special or spectacular.

The pictures are silly, various pictures of pugs. Bebe is getting a pug when the inheritance of her…absentee grandmother finally is released from the VALIC company. (That is another story for another time.) But to make things funny, I thought we would have pictures of pugs on the post today.

Let’s start with the latest news from here in the States:

e3f00ae75d120733a869a509a78b2ec6John Boehner’s Attempt to ‘Clean the Barn Up’ Before He Leaves Congress – The Atlantic

I doubt that…but Russell Berman, the dude who wrote the article seems to think so.

…it turns out he might not be done quite yet. The speaker won’t leave office for another month, and he has said he wants to “get as much finished as possible” before  he goes. “I don’t want to leave my successor a dirty barn,” Boehner said Sunday on CBS’sFace the Nation. “I want to clean the barn up a little bit before the next person gets there.”

So what does Boehner mean by cleaning up the barn?

You know, I would love to see Boehner pull a Cartman when he leaves…

Well, actually…maybe something more explosive.

Oh, yeah…and did you see? Crazy bigot lady from the Blue Grass State got a face to face meeting with the Pope. Go figure. Everyone making such a big deal about how lefty he is, but check it out…he secretly met with this ass:

25f3c6deef7c9230005a9167f526cecePope Francis held secret meeting with Kim Davis, according to her Liberty Counsel attorney

Pope Francis secretly met a Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples and gave her words of encouragement, her attorney said.

Mat Staver, attorney and founder of the Liberty Counsel, told CBS News on Tuesday night that the pope met Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis and her husband at the Vatican embassy in Washington last Thursday during his visit to the United States.1ee4a495c41ce996945b056e1becb951

Vatican chief spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said he would neither confirm nor deny the report and that there would be no further statement. This was unusual for the Vatican, which normally issues either denials or confirmations.

The report of the meeting came after Francis largely avoided the contentious issue of same-sex marriage during his historic visit to the United States, where he addressed Congress, met with the homeless and urged the country to welcome immigrants.

7c37df2cb8b08a6f2f99e06ee2cd423bThe pope, speaking to reporters as he returned home from his 10-day trip to the U.S. and Cuba on Monday, said government officials had a “human right” to refuse to discharge a duty if they felt it violated their conscience.

Of course, don’t let all the talk of forgiveness and whatever he has said fool you. This is the Catholic Church. The shit will never change.  According to the article, Staver…

…did not want to disclose the meeting until now to avoid interfering with the pope’s broader message during his visit.c929107ebd46ed62ded4ed98260e5791

“Because we didn’t want the pope’s visit to be overshadowed with Kim Davis,” Staver said in an interview on the network.

During the meeting, the pope told Davis to “stay strong”, Staver said.


Davis, whose parents are Catholic, has said her beliefs as an Apostolic Christian prevent her from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Her church belongs to a Protestant movement known as Apostolic Pentecostalism.enhanced-buzz-23113-1379435129-15

To keep a low profile, Davis went to the Vatican embassy in a sports utility vehicle with her hair in a different style than her normal look, Staver told CBS, adding he was not present.

Ugh…Davis in drag, I mean disguised? Oh boy.

Oh, while we are on the topic of vile people (Davis) this next thread, by TBogg…also from Raw Story: The 13 most punchable faces in America

Can you guess who is number one?

cruz_face

If you are an honest person — and I trust that you are — you will admit that at some time in your life you have wanted to haul off and smack somebody right in the mouth. Just plant your fist right in the middle of their smug smirky stupid face, swinging from out of nowhere with no warning given.c2fd05bda20a8b402a9c7ceac98a5c64

Boom.

Blah, blah…yada, yada….violence this and that. (Stuff about how it is Americans only on the list, so Justin Beiber is out.) And how putting the entire male population at Fox News is cheating. Well, you can go and read that part of the article at the link.  Let’s just get to the assholes that deserve a punch in the mouth.

So let’s start this off with the most obvious choice:

Sen. Ted Cruz - screenshot

Owner of punchable face: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
Occupation: Shit talker, ineffective legislator, egomaniac, subversive Canadian sleeper agent, Texas senator
The face:  Knitted eyebrows and a more in sorrow than in anger because everyone else is an idiot” look of  insincerity.
Crimes against humanity:  Cruz got himself elected to the U.S. Senate from America’s 2nd worst state and immediately started acting like he owned the place. Also the House. And the White House. And the Supreme Court. Talked idiot House members into shutting down the government at a cost of $24 billion to the economy. Wants to do it again.

Number 3:

Mark Halperin

Owner of punchable face: Mark Halperin
Occupation: Chronicler of inconsequential conventional wisdom, hack, confused grader, political editor.
The face: The smirk of undeserved success
Crimes against humanity: Says things that are horribly counter-intuitive on TV which inexplicably affects the political zeitgeist making the world stupider than it should be. Briefly suspended from MSNBC for calling the president a “dick” on Morning Joe — a television show featuring a revolving cast of dicks.

Number 6

Jese Watters - (Fox News screenshot)

Owner of punchable face: Jesse Watters
Occupation: O’Reilly coat holder, stalker, insufferable prick, racist, Fox News producer
The face: Celebratory frat bro who just escaped a rape conviction on a technicality
Crimes against humanity:  Watters is Bill O’Reilly’s smirky wingman, sent out into the field to harass and stalk women and sneer at poor black people before returning to the studio and gleefuly sharing his tales of adventure while O’Reilly presumably masturbates under his desk onto a loofah. Pro tip: If Watters sticks his microphone in your face, answer every questions with “Andrea Mackris”  until he slinks back into his hole.

 

7f22cb3e29e5235f9f9ffeefdab95f0fGo and see the others on the list. For the life of me, I don’t understand why many assholes are missing from the list.  Some more obvious than others.

Like this dude, who is one of our dickhead PLUB monsters. Australia doesn’t want him to come into the country. They see him as a security risk.

cb5818368c6174e0abddcd004fa68324US anti-abortion campaigner has Australia visa revoked – BBC News

US anti-abortion campaigner Troy Newman has been stopped from flying to Australia after his visa for the country was revoked.

He had already flown from Kansas to Colorado, but was denied boarding the next flight to Los Angeles, from where he would have flown to Melbourne.

Mr Newman was due to speak at events promoted by the group Right to Life Australia.

He has previously called for the execution of abortion doctors.

enhanced-buzz-28908-1398438421-10Australian Labor MP Terri Butler, who wrote to Australia’s immigration minister to ask that Mr Newman’s visa be denied, called him an “anti-choice extremist”.

The minister, Peter Dutton, confirmed to local media that he cancelled the visa amid concerns Mr Newman’s presence could incite violence against abortion doctors and the women using them.

9da059d7602a31fd8316f0b7782997ceMr Newman has called women who have abortions “murderers”.

Oh, this ass Newman needs more than a punch in the mouth. I think since he is so interested in a woman’s reproductive organs, perhaps he should have some punch work done on his own set of nuggets of love. That will give him something to think about, because he has time to write this shit on his Facebook wall:

Mr Newman wrote “RED ALERT!!!… It is clear that the pro-abortion crowd does not want anyone to hear the truth about Planned Parenthood’s illegal actions.”

“Please pray for me I’m stuck in Denver airport like a man without a country,” he added.enhanced-buzz-14667-1379437994-32

A man without a country. WTF is that? Crazy ass muthafukker.

The visa decision comes days after the government said it was unlikely American singer Chris Brown would be given a visa because of his record of domestic violence.

Can I say I appreciate the hell out of Australia!
The rest of today’s links in dump fashion.

Slavery, the Second Amendment, and the Origins of Public-Carry Jurisprudence – The Atlantic

9cc7b93aa282d5ccad01fd1a613aeb88Hillary says she’ll work across aisle — and some in GOP agree | TheHill

Africa: Empowered Girls Can Change the World, Say UNFPA Head and Ashley Judd – allAfrica.com

Education Secretary: Want To Save On Prisons? Spend More On Schools.

Iran’s leader demands Muslim world probe haj deaths | Reuters

Series of bombs in China kills at least three: CCTV | Reuters

VW says 1.2m UK cars affected by emissions scandal | Business | The Guardian

This last link is real neat:

Plastic-eating worms may offer solution to mounting waste, researchers discover

Plastic-eating worms may offer solution to mounting waste, researchers discover

Mealworms munch on Styrofoam, a hopeful sign that solutions to plastics pollution exist. Wei-Min Wu, a senior research engineer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, discovered the larvae can live on polystyrene.

That is interesting…and promising. I wonder if they could actually do some good one day.

Anyway…here is a picture of the little pug Bebe is getting. She is calling him Hugo:

20150921_193356-1

 

Innit he a cutie?

Hope you enjoyed the pugs…have a good day and please treat this as an open thread.

35 Most Adorable Moments In Pug History

 

 

 

41 Reasons Why Pugs Are The Most Majestic Creatures On Earth

 

 

 

 

35 Most Adorable Moments In Pug History

 

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Wednesday Reads : Sanity by the numbers, one…two…three.

 

IMG_0269It’s as easy to learn as your ABCs.

I can’t remember the exact date, but it has been a while.

It must have been around the time when Hobby Lobby was in the news? Or maybe it was before that, Troy Davis? Perhaps.

No, it was after Davis…after the Jesus in my Uterus decisions…and the Bundy Ranch militias, the Wendy Davis defeat and the countless scenes of police brutality and idiotic right-wing shitheads stoking the embarrassing political cable TV dumb ass reality show that stands for our elected officials.

Y’all know what I am talking about. We have seen it here on the blog, Mona aka called it Political Affected Disorder. It was really something serious for a few of us…like me. What would have taken just an evening to bring me down from an anxiety and depressed mood brought on by the absolute ridiculous hate filled rant of Bachmann back in the day, now took days to calm down.

01dbdc170d6dd355a6193c16cee70ce34432f820c6There was other things going on at home, yeah but there was something else about the feelings of defeat and real disgust that were different this time around. I didn’t have that anger like I did in 2008. That anger that pushed me, with a vengeance. No, this was not the same.

I’ve been worn down, depression does that I guess.

My only way to keep some sense of sanity was to avoid the news and stop going online all together.

I could not bring myself to comment on the blog anymore. Doing the afternoon news threads was unbearable. I avoided almost anything, just researching articles the evening before my post…and catching up on the threads that Boston Boomer and Dakinikat had written the days before. (Actually, I still do this…I can’t help it, it is my only way to protect myself because I feel like if I get back involved as I once was…I will really loose it. Mentally.)

So. I check out. Only to “check in” on Tuesday evenings or Wednesday mornings…same goes for Saturday nights and Sunday mornings….that is when I will look at what has happened with the circus show of current events.

The reason I bring all this up, is because I felt I had to explain. The reasons for why I am hardly ever here.

01b41dc1a4e96508765900f5356c0326e1cfa5d679Now a few links to illustrate my point…and then I can toss it over to you.

Better Watch Your Mouth, Donald Trump Suing Everyone Who’s Mean To Him – Wonkette

We decided Steve King and Ben Carson were wrong about Muslims holding public office in 2006 – AMERICAblog News

Digby at Salon: Ted Cruz’s diabolical shutdown strategy: Why the GOP senator wants to watch the world burn – Salon.com

Hillary Clinton Confronted on Whether She Created Birtherism | Mediaite

Jimmy Carter says democracy is dead: You need at least $200 million to run for president of US ‘oligarchy’

01c56254b774595814be41cad582d1b606ae3de4dfA stunning stat about pay seems impossible but actually is true – The Washington Post

Once upon a time, American men used to get something called a “raise.”

That is when your employer would actually pay you more money. Now, it is true that some people still have experience with this all-but-forgotten practice, but even the ones who do tend not to get pay increases that keep up with price increases. That is why, as David Wessel of the Brookings Institution points out, the typical male worker actually saw his after-inflation pay fall between 1973 and 2014.

What is four lost decades between friends?

01114ef2c238d003fab0228e72d59c08827f563788I won’t go into the discussion of women and their earning power, cough….cough.

When the Womb Is a Crime Scene – ProPublica

Alabama has turned hundreds of pregnant women into felons for using drugs — even when they’re legal and the kids turn out fine.

Mathematician Declares War On Kansas Republicans For Committing Election Fraud (VIDEO) «

Donald Trump Heading To Extremist Religious Right Summit | Right Wing Watch

Constitution 101 for Presidents | Linda R. Monk, J.D.

Obama to Pope: “We Stand With You In Defense Of Religious Freedom” | Video | RealClearPolitics

This next thread from Wonkette is something you have to read in full: Let’s Meet The Biggest Loser Candidate In America. His Name Is Carl! – Wonkette

Look at this bunch of . . .

Four candidates are vying for the seat: 1. a dreamy young GOP lawyer who is on the Richmond School Board, 2. a filthy rich Democrat who is a real estate developer and a county supervisor, 3. an independent community organizer who used to be a county supervisor, and 4. our subject today: Libertarian Carl Loser.

Forgot to ask him where I could get one of those sweet lapel pins.

And other stories of note:

New York Yankees Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra dies at 90

The baseball world got some sad news late Tuesday evening when the Yogi BerraMuseum announced via their Twitter account that the New York Yankees Hall of Fame catcher had died at the age of 90.

Berra is considered the greatest catcher of all-time, and is a New York Yankees legend. His No. 8 jersey is retired at the Yankees monument park.

"1953 Bowman Yogi Berra" by Bowman Gum - Heritage Auctions. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

[…]

 

The 18-time All-Star took home three MVP awards in 1951, 954 and 1955. He is one of just six managers to lead both the National and American league teams to the World Series.

More than the man himself, Berra was a larger-than-life personality who would speak to the media freely, delivering some of the most memorable quotes in history often known as “Yogi-isms.”

Here are some of the most memorable Yogi-isms from the Yankees’ legendary backstop.

“We made too many wrong mistakes.”

“Congratulations. I knew the record would stand until it was broken.”

“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”

“Baseball is ninety percent mental, and the other half is physical.”

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

“You can observe a lot by just watching.”

“It’s like déjà vu all over again.”

“It ain’t over till it’s over.”

“Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.”

We promise there will be a lot of people at your funeral, Yogi. Rest in peace.

 

 

That is it for today, this is an open thread.

BTW, Happy 18th Birthday Jake…wow…

 

0154bae6609171ec7b2cd3089d6f8de0571d143625

 


Woman in Red: Debate, Election and the Shutdown…The GOP’s Albescent-churian Candidate

Womaninred

 

Good Morning

As promised…I bring you the latest edition of The Woman in Red….(It has taken me days, in fact almost the last 24 hours has been straight on through.)

You can read the earlier issues at these links:

The Woman in Red: Protector of the Uteri, Defender of Vajayjay Rights and Fighter Against the #WarOnWomen | Sky Dancing

The Woman In Red: Against The Monsters On The Hill… A comic-ill perspective observation | Sky Dancing

The Woman In Red: Battle of the Sexes…Fight Until the Vacuum Cleaner is Broken | Sky Dancing

As before, click the image to see the full size…and then click on the image itself to enlarge the picture, otherwise you will not be able to read the captions.

So….here we go!

Woman in Red:

01870c5d76327caf6fd3acaee0f48258

Debate, Election and the Shutdown…

The GOP’s Albescent-churian Candidate

6947293c4905e79cc9ba71531ba17361 (1)

 

Tonight is the Republican Presidential Candidate Debate…..

4 things to watch in Wednesday’s Republican debate | MSNBC

Republican Presidential Debate 2015: Start Time, TV Channel, Radio Info For Second GOP Debate

Gloves likely to come off at second GOP 2016 debate – NY Daily News

 

Let’s take you to the debate venue, shortly before the event is to begin……

 

wir debate

 

wir debate2

 

wir debate3

 

wirbushadvice

 

outside of debate

 

immgr lgbt

 

debate in progress

 

fox cover debate

 

debate result

 

reaction

 

sperman

wir spe

wir spe c

 

 

wir spe com

 

heeld

 

Bloody hell, I am exhausted!

Hope you enjoyed this edition of The Woman in Red, and the introduction of the new arch nemesis…S.P.Ermand…The Sperm Man!

This is an open thread.


Sunday Reads: GOP and Agnotology

This vintage ad about sums it up...look at the symbolic GOP elephant and his poison can...

This vintage ad about sums it up…look at the symbolic GOP elephant and his poison spray can of DDT …

Good Morning

Agnotology. New word, for me at least…read this explanation and tell me if it strikes a chord with you. (Emphasis mine.)

Agnotology is the study of culturally induced ignorance.

Agnotology refocuses questions about “how we know” to include questions about what we do not know, and why not.

Londa Schiebinger, in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 1 Sep. 2005.

Historians of science have tended to focus on the processes by which scientific knowledge gets accepted. In recent decades, some scholars have come to see that processes that impede or prevent acceptance of scientific findings are also important. Such processes include the very human desire to ignore unpleasant facts, media neglect of topics, corporate or government secrecy, and misrepresentation for a commercial or political end. They often generate controversy, much of it ill-informed. Examples include the health implications of tobacco and of genetically modified plants, the safety of nuclear power, the environmental consequences of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), and the existence or extent of man-made climate change.

Seriously, by that definition alone, and with those examples…you could just say that Agnotology is the study of Republicans.

While we are going through a GOP induced hell here in the states, some parts of India are living a real hell…being hit by one of the strongest typhoons in years. Cyclone Phailin makes landfall in India

A huge cyclone that has forced as many as 500,000 people to flee their homes has made landfall in eastern India.

Map of India

Winds were measured at 200 km/h (125mph) as Cyclone Phailin hit the coast near Gopalpur, Orissa state, at about 21:15 (15:45 GMT).

Authorities had predicted a storm surge of at least 3m (10ft) that was expected to cause extensive damage.

Officials say they are better prepared than in 1999 when a cyclone killed thousands of people in Orissa.

Cyclone Phailin has been classed as “very severe”, and the head of India’s Meteorological Office, LS Rathore, said it would remain in that category for six hours before losing strength.

An hour before Phailin made landfall, winds were over 150 mph.  New York Times is reporting that over 800,00 people have been evacuated…We will learn more as the morning progresses, I will post updates in the comments below.

Heading toward Russia, there was some violence at St Petersburg when a Russian gay rally ends in fights and arrests.

The clashes began after a protester had her rainbow flag ripped from her hands [Reuters]

Sixty-seven people were arrested after fightes broke out between gay rights activists and opponents at a rally in the Russian city of St Petersburg, according to local news sources.

Several dozen activists for  lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual rights had gathered in the centre of the city for a sanctioned LGBT rally, which was held on what activists termed as “international coming out day”.

They were far outnumbered by the anti-gay demonstrators, including several dressed as Cossacks and Orthodox priests, who had occupied the site of the planned demo.

Fights broke out after anti-gay protesters tore a rainbow flag from a woman’s hands, and police then moved in to arrest those involved. They eventually detained 67 people from both sides, Russian news agencies reported.

The Winter Games are going to be one shitty scary mess.

Back here in the states, there was an arrest yesterday in a famous unsolved murder case out of New York City. New York police arrest man in 1991 ‘Baby Hope’ killing

New York City police have arrested a cousin in the killing of a 4-year-old girl dubbed “Baby Hope,” whose body was found crammed in a picnic cooler in 1991, police said on Saturday.

Conrado Juarez, 52, early on Saturday confessed to sexually assaulting and then smothering the girl, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told a news conference.

Police detained him at a Manhattan restaurant on Friday, more than 22 years after the girl’s death, he said.

The girl, dubbed “Baby Hope” by investigators, was never reported missing and was only recently identified.

Kelly named her as 4-year-old Anjelica Castillo.

Her bound, asphyxiated body was discovered stuffed underneath cans of soda inside a blue-and-white cooler alongside the Henry Hudson Highway in northern Manhattan in July of 1991. She had been starved and sexually abused, police said.

New York police announced on Tuesday they had identified the girl’s mother after following through on a tip they received over the summer. Her identity was confirmed through DNA testing and she was cooperating with the investigation, they said.

Finally some closure for the people who have worked this case for all these years, because it is obvious the family didn’t give a damn about this little girl at all.  Police say Juarez’s sister, who is dead, helped him dispose of Anjelica’s body. More information at this CNN link: NYPD arrests man in killing of ‘Baby Hope’

Update on Dartmouth: Dartmouth Suspends Wholesome Frat Over Hazing Emails

Meanwhile, Georgia’s Governor Deal may be under investigation. Read this AP report from North Georgia Access…it is a long article. I wonder if anything will come of it.: Attorney who raised questions about ethics complaints against Deal contacted by FBI  

I saw this next link via Google News from my hometown of Tampa: 10 News Investigators find memo warning about terrorist “dry-runs” on airplanes | wtsp.com Strange…and again not a lot of news on this in other media outlets.

Of course, if you want to see what is up with the shutdown: Senate leaders take over government shutdown talks – The Washington Post

Hey, I mentioned yesterday that I was having some problems with my gmail account, well…here are two links that you need to read if you use Facebook or Google:

Facebook Removing Option To Be Unsearchable By Name, Highlighting Lack Of Universal Privacy Controls | TechCrunch

“Who can look up your Timeline by name?” Anyone you haven’t blocked. Facebook is removing this privacy setting, notifying those who had hidden themselves that they’ll be searchable. It deleted the option from those who hadn’t used it in December, and is starting to push everyone to use privacy controls on each type of content they share. But there’s no one-click opt out of Facebook search.

Your Face May Appear in a Google Ad Soon- Mashable

If you’ve ever been appalled to see yourself or your friends used in a Facebook ad, then you’re not going to like Google‘s new terms of service.

The company updated its TOS on Friday to allow an adult user’s profile name and photo to appear in reviews and advertising starting Nov. 11.

And let me tell you, it is a bitch to find the dashboard on Google where you can fix this shit!

We have a personal connection to the PBS Frontline “League of Denial” that aired this past week, Boston Boomer’s brother created the trailer that angered the NFL so much they pressured ESPN to drop out of the project….well here’s a round-up of responses to the show via The Dish: The Football Fan’s Dilemma « The Dish

I think you will find this infographic from Huffpo interesting: The Geographic Inequality Of Death Row (INFOGRAPHIC)

October 10 marks the 11th World Day Against the Death Penalty, and the United States remains one of the top five countries in the world for executing its citizens — along with China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, according to Amnesty International. The 43 executions we carried out last year happened in just nine states; 15 of them were in Texas.

I am going to move on to the better part of today’s post…nothing depressing or disturbing.

There was this article at The New York Times which touched a personal side for me. Growing Up With a Disabled Sibling

Some research suggests that growing up with a disabled sibling can also infuse a person with a greater sense of responsibility, patience and compassion for others. Some siblings may be inspired to go into a helping profession, like medicine, teaching or public interest law. Others translate their early experience with disability into a greater appreciation for, and understanding of, the wide spectrum of human differences. I confess to keeping my own list of successful and accomplished people who have a sibling with Down syndrome, which includes the Olympic snowboarder Kevin Pearce (now himself disabled by a traumatic brain injury), the actor and singer Jamie Foxx, the actress Eva Longoria, and Amy Chua of “Tiger Mom” fame (and a Yale Law School professor).

That is just one paragraph I want to point out, you have to read the whole op/ed. It is great.I guess it is for me because I know the outcome of growing up with a disabled sibling…in my situation, Denny and I were always a package deal. So I see the hope in that piece.

There are some cool pictures at this link: We Could Stare At These Defaced Bills All Day

And hey…check it out: [VIDEO] ‘Remington Steele’ Reboot — NBC Plans Sequel I used to love that show, Pierce Brosnan was so damn hot.

Oh, and since this is October, two links on horror movies:

Future Recall: 10 Cage-Free Horror Films on the Web (Netflix, AMC, youtube) that span time… – Bright Lights After Dark

A Very Brief History of a Very Famous Mask – She Blogged By Night

And one on Classic Movies from the 50’s:

moviemorlocks.com – Biting the Hand That Feeds You: Movies About the Movies In the 1950s

Finally, this last article…which proves that an animal without a backbone is more intelligent than one of those Republicans, or at least the octopus can assist in the Agnotological study of the Republican Brain:  How the Freaky Octopus Can Help us Understand the Human Brain – Wired Science

If you were to measure octopus smarts by the number of neurons the creatures have (500 million to our almost 100 billion), they’d come up pretty dull. But forget that metric. The octopus’s neurons aren’t even concentrated in its head; about two-thirds of its “brains” are distributed in its arms, dedicated to the fine operation of these limbs and each of their hundreds of suckers. The rest of the neurons are split between a central brain—surrounding the esophagus—and large optic lobes behind the eyes. Like we said: alien.

But somehow octopuses do things that suggest they’re brainier than plenty of animals with backbones and more familiar nervous systems. Here’s an easy one: Lots of octopods have learned to twist off standard jar lids. But in 2003, biologists at the Seattle Aquarium challenged Billye, a female Enteroctopus dofleini—a giant Pacific octopus—with a childproof bottle, the kind that can baffle even the smartest Homo sapiens. Billye figured out the push-and-twist trick in a little less than an hour. And in subsequent attempts, she popped those tricky tops in a mere five minutes.

Is the vertebrate brain optimized for intelligence? Ask the octopus. | Robert Eikelpoth/Corbis

This is just the beginning of their abilities. Octopuses in the wild may be using tools—a feat that, not so long ago, was considered the exclusive domain of humans (though now we know it’s the province of other species too, like dolphins and some birds). Researchers have observed octopuses off the coast of Indonesia collecting—and awkwardly carrying—coconut shell halves along the sandy seafloor. For a shelter on the go, they whip out the two pieces of shell, swoop inside, and snap the pair shut. “That’s a spectacular example, because it really does suggest foresight,” says Jennifer Mather, who studies animal behavior at Canada’s University of Lethbridge. “In terms of cognition, that’s pretty good.”

Have a great Sunday!

Stop by and share what you are reading and blogging about today.


Sunday Reads: Byzantine Werewolves, Engraved Roman Penises, and Walter White’s Obit

e53014b786ae1ed609b6c661ac9dc99eGood Morning

Who needs strange headlines when the news of the past week has been crazy enough?

This morning I want to stay away from links about the Shutdown and stick with things that don’t deal with DC assholes. It does not mean I will not post an article about rich misogynistic, anti-Semitic assholes…have you seen the latest crap out of Hobby Lobby? Hobby Lobby Boycotts Jewish Hanukkah And Passover (UPDATE)

Hanukkah comes early this year. But it apparently never comes to Hobby Lobby.

The national craft store owned by conservative billionaire Steve Green seemingly refuses to carry merchandise related to Hanukkah because of Green’s “Christian values,” and some Jews are taking offense.

“I will never set foot in a Hobby Lobby. Ever.” wrote Ken Berwitz, the New Jersey blogger who brought the Hobby Lobby Hanukkah flap to light in a Friday (Sept. 27) blog post.

Berwitz’s outrage has spread to other bloggers who are taking Hobby Lobby to task as a store that courts the general public, but refuses to stock anything related to Judaism — even in communities with significant Jewish populations.

It really should not come as a surprise, I mean if Hobby Lobby won’t provide birth control for its women employees, of course it goes without saying they would have a “fuck the Jews” attitude.

Green owns more than 550 Hobby Lobby stores nationwide, all of which are closed on Sunday, the Christian Sabbath. He is also known for his lawsuit against President Obama’s health care law, which he says tramples on his religious liberty by forcing him to insure employees for medical services he objects to on religious grounds. Many legal experts agree the case has a good chance of landing at the Supreme Court.He’s also known for holding one of the country’s largest collections of ancient biblical artifacts, including what’s believed to be the oldest known copy of a Hebrew prayer book. In unveiling the book on Thursday, Green dated the item to 840 C.E., declining to use the more Christian-sounding 840 A.D. so as not to offend Jews.

The Hobby Lobby Hanukkah controversy began when Berwitz learned that on a recent shopping trip his wife’s friends could not find anything related to Hanukkah at their local Hobby Lobby store in Marlboro, N.J., though it was stocked with Christmas items.

According to Berwitz, one of the women asked about bar mitzvah cards, and a Hobby Lobby salesperson replied: “We don’t cater to you people.”

That story prompted Berwitz, who own a market research company and writes the “Hopelessly Partisan” blog, to call the Marlboro store and ask why it seemed to be ignoring Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish festival of lights, which begins on Nov. 27 this year. He wrote that he received the following response:

“Because Mr. Green is the owner of the company, he’s a Christian, and those are his values.”

Berwitz told Religion News Service that he then called Hobby Lobby’s corporate headquarters in Oklahoma City, and the company confirmed that it does not stock items for Hanukkah, and did not give a reason. When he asked whether the company carries Passover merchandise, he was again told no.

2afca07234dcfc5ff98375052fd3e448Well, I guess the backlash from this bad anti-Jewish PR made Mr. Green reconsider his “fuck the Jews” stance on carrying Hanukkah items in his stores:

UPDATE: 10/4 6:20pm

Hobby Lobby has promised to begin to sell Jewish holiday items in areas near large Jewish populations.

UPDATE 10/4/13 10:15am: Hobby Lobby President Steve Green has issued the following statement on behalf of the company:

We sincerely apologize for any employee comments that may have offended anyone, especially our Jewish customers and friends. Comments like these do not reflect the feelings of our family or Hobby Lobby. Our family has a deep respect for the Jewish faith and those who hold its traditions dear. We’re proud contributors to Yad Vashem, as well as to other museums and synagogues in Israel and the United States. We are investigating this matter and absolutely do not tolerate discrimination at our company or our stores. We do not have any policies that discriminate; in fact, we have policies that specifically prohibit discrimination. We have previously carried merchandise in our stores related to Jewish holidays. We select the items we sell in our stores based on customer demand. We are working with our buyers to re-evaluate our holiday items and what we will carry in the future.

So the only group of people getting discriminated against at Hobby Lobby now is Women! Yeah, lets say it loud…

at Hobby Lobby, we value our customers and employees and are committed to:

  • Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with biblical principles.
  • Offering our customers exceptional selection and value in the crafts and home decor market.
  • Serving our employees and their families by establishing a work environment and company policies that build character, strengthen individuals and nurture families.
  • Providing a return on the owner’s investment, sharing the Lord’s blessings with our employees, and investing in our community.

8538805e764801a5f5be01865ea46371Unless you are a woman…than…fuck you!

Alright, enough with that Hobby Lobby dick.

I am going to stick articles about with women….and add the all important subject of poverty and domestic violence for just a moment.

You are well aware that the Shutdown pretty much is the GOP giving the “fuck you” to poor women and children on the WIC program: Colbert on the Government Slimdown | BobCesca.com | Liberal Politics Blog and Podcast | We Cover the World

Fox News is calling it a slimdown, which is a great name ’cause you know who’s really going to slim down? The 9 million women and children who will lose supplemental nutrition from the government.

Put that quote from Colbert into perspective: Women and Poverty, State by State | National Women’s Law Center

More than one in seven women, nearly 17.8 million, lived in poverty last year. Poverty rates were particularly high for families headed by single mothers – more than four in ten (40.9 percent) were poor. More than half (56.1 percent) of poor children lived in female-headed families in 2012.

With women as primary breadwinners in more than 40 percent of families today, women and their families simply cannot afford to make do with less.

Click on a state below to see how many female-headed families are living in poverty, plus:

  • The share of all women living in poverty
  • The share of Black, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American women living in poverty
  • The share of children and of women 65 and older living in poverty

You can also download the data for every state, and see more of NWLC’s analyses of the latest data on women and poverty.

Map

Go to the link to see all the info from each state. Mississippi has the highest poverty levels across the board.

Here is another map for you, States With The Most Natives – Business Insider

Are the people who live in your state predominantly people who were born in that state, or did they come from somewhere else?

Seth Kadish at the brilliant Vizual Statistix Tumblr has come up with this great visualization which answers just this question, using Census data.

The redder an area is, the more likely it is that residents of that county were born in that state. The whiter an area is, the more likely it is that residents came from somewhere else.

Not surprisingly, parts of Florida, Nevada, Arizona and around DC are filled with people who came from somewhere else. Parts of Texas, Louisiana, and the upper-Midwest are among those places inhabited by original residents.

residents born in a state

Click the image to see it larger!

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month: AAEC – Political Cartoon by Terry Wise, Ratland Ink Press – 10/02/2013

Cartoon by Terry Wise -

How to Tell if Someone You Love is in an Abusive Relationship – and What to do About It | Care2 Causes

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so today we wanted to do our part to spread a little information about a topic that, despite being incredibly common, too often ends up getting swept under the rug. While most of us want to help victims of domestic violence (Republican politicians notwithstanding), one of the major reasons this important issue often goes ignored is that friends and family simply may not know how to spot an abusive relationship. Even if you have doubts about your loved one’s home life, you may not know how to bring up the issue or the best way to help out.

Remember, while most domestic violence situations involve women being abused by men, it can happen to anyone, gay or straight. Don’t assume that just because your friend doesn’t fit the “typical” mold of an abuse victim that nothing is wrong.

Be sure to read the rest of that article at the link above and forward it to some of your friends.

Now for some fun links.

Hey, the twin panda cubs are getting ready to be named! Check it out:

https://i1.wp.com/www.zooatlanta.org/media/image/TW_Sept-25_panda_cubs2013_130924_cub_b_a_table_ZA_6738_600.jpg

Voting begins soon to name the giant panda twins

Zoo Atlanta has partnered with Good Morning America on an official voting contest to name the twin male giant pandas born to Lun Lun on July 15, 2013.  The contenders for the five sets of names for the 2-month-old duo were announced by Good Morning America on October 3, 2013. Voting will begin online through Good Morning America  on Wednesday, October 9, 2013.  The winning names will be revealed during the cubs’ 100 Day Naming Celebration on October 23, 2013.

Name options for Zoo Atlanta panda cubs announced | www.wsbtv.com

The twin giant panda cubs at Zoo Atlanta, the only twins ever to survive in the U.S., are hitting all of their developmental milestones as they approach 100 days since their birth.

Like all giant pandas, they were born nearly hairless, pink, blind and not much larger than a cell phone. Now, they have developed their characteristic black-and-white coats and weigh nearly 30 times their birth weights, tipping the scales at around 7 pounds. Their eyes have opened and they are responding more to their environment and to one another, the zoo said. Plus, the cubs are slowly starting to show off their personalities to keepers.

Channel 2’s Wendy Corona visited the cubs at Zoo Atlanta to see how they’re developing.

The pandas are affectionately known as “Cub A” and “Cub B” until their 100-day birthday, a milestone date in the Chinese tradition, when pandas are named.

“Cub A has been kind of the more vocal cub,” said Zoo Atlanta’s Curator of Mammals Dr. Rebecca Snyder.  “Especially when he’s with Lun Lun.”

During our visit, he was sound asleep.  Then there was his brother, the more awake Cub “B”.

“I think he’s momma’s boy.  He just wants to be with Mom,” said Dr. Snyder.  The calmer, more quiet one.  Knowing this about their personalities might help you help Zoo Atlanta in deciding their names.

Since their July 15 birth, the adorable duo has charmed zoo staffers, who have been nursing the pandas around the clock when they are not with their mother, 15-year-old Lun Lun. In the wild, a giant panda mother would typically rear only one offspring at a time, which is why the zoo staff has been swapping the cubs between Lun Lun and a specially designed box.

Five sets of names were provided by the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China’s Sichuan province, and Zoo Atlanta is teaming up with Good Morning America” to put it to a public vote, which kicks off Oct. 9.

Watch “GMA” for more panda news and check back here to vote for your names on Oct. 9 on GoodMorningAmerica.com.

There is video at the wbtv link, here are the names, I like number 5 the best:

1. Mei Lun and Mei Hua
(Pronounced May Loon and May Hwaa)

In English, the names mean Lun Lun’s twin cubs born in the USA.

2. Mei Lun and Mei Huan
(Pronounced May Loon and May Hwaan)

These names stem from an ancient Chinese idiom, “Mei Lun Mei Huan,” which was used to describe constructed buildings that are tall and magnificent. It has come to mean something indescribably beautiful and magnificent.

3. Tian Lun and Tian Le
(Pronounced Tee-an loon and Tee-an luh)

These names come from the Chinese idiom, “Tian Lun Zhi Le,” which means the joy of family life or family happiness. In this context, the cubs’ names would mean, “Lun Lun and her twin cubs are enjoying heavenly gifted family happiness,” according to the staff at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.

4. Lan Tian and Bi Shui
(Pronounced Lan tee-an and Bee Shway)
The names, meaning blue sky and clear water, are derived from another the Chinese idiom, “Lan Tian Bi Shui,” which is used to describe beautiful scenery.

5. Da Lan and Xiao Lan
(Pronounced Dah Lan and Sheow Lan)

The literal meaning of these names is bigger one (“Cub B”) and smaller one (“Cub A”) of the Atlanta-born twins.

Sting is putting together a Broadway show: Sting’s ‘The Last Ship’ Concert Series at the Public Theater

[image]
Andrew Spear for The Wall Street JournalAt the Public Theater, Sting aims to stir interest in ‘The Last Ship’ with a series of 10 concerts featuring songs and characters from the show.

With a run of concerts at the Public Theater, Sting is putting more pieces in place for the launch of a Broadway musical called “The Last Ship.” To compose the score, the former Police frontman drew on characters and imagery from the doomed shipyard in his hometown of Wallsend, England. The musical, which Sting is developing with a squad of theater elite, starts a tryout run this summer in Chicago before opening on Broadway next fall.

Sting is hoping to prime interest in the musical with his 10-concert series at the Public, which ends on Wednesday. During the intimate show, which also features vocalists such as cast member Jimmy Nail, Sting plays acoustic guitar and sings in a thick brogue, voicing various characters. He is accompanied by a small band that includes fiddle and accordion players. Between songs that blend Broadway anthems with folk sounds from the British Isles, he tells anecdotes from his childhood and the process of creating a musical.

This week, after the release of the companion album “The Last Ship,” Sting’s first set of original material in eight years, the singer paused to discuss songwriting, his accent and the spotty track record of rock stars on Broadway.

Read the interview at the link.

Oh, now for some cool pictures…real old pictures. Photographs Taken With Kodak’s First Commercial Camera Are Now 125 Years Old

Remember when Kodak created its first commercial camera, a nifty invention that boasted the slogan “You Press the Button, We Do the Rest“?

kodak

Woman in a rowing boat, about 1890. Collection of National Media Museum/Kodak MuseumYou probably don’t, because this feat happened 125 years ago when George Eastman introduced the second Kodak camera ever made. The contraption looked almost nothing like the devices we’re used to, but it brought photography into the homes of everyday people with, well, the press of a button. And a fairly reasonable price of $25 — a cost that amounts to around $600 today, according to Design Taxi.

Thanks to a little UK-based institution known as the National Media Museum, we’re able to look back on history and peruse some of the very first amateur photographs ever taken. Snapped with the Kodak No. 1 (the first Kodak camera was simply named “Kodak”), the images provide a striking, black-and-white glimpse into life in the 1890s.

There are some amazing pictures in that Huffpo link…look at them and enjoy them.

Now for the last few articles of this morning’s post.  Halloween is later this month, with the crazy things going on this week, it seems like it has come early. Anyway, this first link is a bit on werewolves.

How the Byzantines dealt with Werewolves

A new article explores how Byzantine doctors treated people those suffering from lycanthropy, a mental disorder where a patient believes he or she is, or has transformed into, a wolf and behaves like one. This disease is the basis for the legendary werewolves.

In “Lycanthropy in Byzantine times (AD 330–1453),” four scholars from the University of Athens examine the writings of six Byzantine physicians to see what they believed lycanthropy was and how it should be treated.

More at the link, go and read it.

Engraved Penises Reveal Birth of Italian City : Discovery News

Two penises engraved on a 2,000 year old stone may shed light on the foundation of the city of Aosta in northern Italy, revealing its deep connection with the Roman emperor Augustus.

Named Augusta Praetoria Salassorum by the Romans — who captured it from the local Salassi people in 25 B.C. to control strategic mountain passes — Aosta boasts several monuments dedicated to Augustus.

“But the newly discovered stone tells even more about Aosta’s connection with the Roman emperor. It reveals the city was built under Augustus’ sign during the winter solstice,” Giulio Magli, professor of archaeoastronomy at Milan’s Polytechnic University, told Discovery News.

[…]

Carved on both sides, the block features two very clear figures on one side — a phallus and, over it, a spade — and some partly damaged reliefs on the other. There, a phallus is again represented. Over it, a plough and a partly eroded character which appears to be a Capricorn.

The plough and the spade openly hint to the sulcus primigenius, the original trench plowed to mark the perimeter of a new city in the Roman foundation ceremony. Related to the god Priapus, the phallic effigies most likely had an “apotropaic” function, evoking some sort of protection from evil forces.

“The chunk of mud has certainly preserved the stone from damage and censorship,” Bertarione said. “In medieval times the evident phallic figures would have been erased since they were regarded as obscene pagan symbols.”

And finally, ‘Breaking Bad’ anti-hero Walter White gets spoiler-filled obituary in Albuquerque newspaper

A group of die-hard “Breaking Bad” fans have posted an obituary notice for the show’s anti-hero Walter White in a local paper in New Mexico, made famous by the cult series.

David Layman, coincidentally a science teacher like White, was among 10.3 million viewers who tuned in to last weekend’s final episode of the series about the central character’s transformation into a drug lord, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

“I’ve been a humongous ‘Breaking Bad’ fan since the beginning,” Layman told the Albuquerque Journal, which published the obituary on page 4, with a small photo.

“I was actually in the pilot, and putting the obit in the paper was fitting, because the series was based in Albuquerque and it provides some of us some closure.”

[…]

The short obituary reads:

“White, Walter, aka ‘Heisenberg,’ 52, of Albuquerque, died Sunday after a long battle with lung cancer, and a gunshot wound.

“A co-founder of Gray Matter, White was a research chemist, who taught high school chemistry, and later founded a meth manufacturing empire.

“He is survived by his wife, Skyler Lambert; son Walter ‘Flynn’ Jr; and daughter Holly. A private memorial was held by his family. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a drug abuse prevention charity of your choice. He will be greatly missed.”

Innit great?

Well, that is it for this Sunday’s reads. Y’all have a good day and take it easy…see you in the comments later on, until then…ciao!


Wednesday Reads: Shutdown Cartoons and Stuff

tumblr_mmtd3jB4Uy1s4c1kfo2_r1_500Good Morning

While looking for a cartoon to start this morning’s post with a bang…I could not pick just one.  I guess with the shutdown, the artists have been busy at work…

This link will take you to the transcript of Obama’s speech yesterday in the Rose Garden:

Remarks by the President on the Affordable Care Act and the Government Shutdown | The White House

And this next link will take you to an op-ed written by Boehner:

John Boehner: Obama owns this shutdown now

Anyway, here are several comic funnies about something that is in no way funny.

10/02 Luckovich cartoon: Cutting up | Mike Luckovich

100213-toon-luckovich-ed

Clay Bennett: Shutdown – Clay Bennett – Truthdig

GOP New Fall Fashions – Truthdig

Hostage Crisis – Truthdig

The GOP goes dark by Political Cartoonist John Cole

138302 600 The GOP goes dark cartoons

Shutdown by Political Cartoonist Joe Heller

138294 600 Shutdown cartoons

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Tom Stiglich, MEDIA NEWS GROUP – 10/01/2013

Cartoon by Tom Stiglich -

Closed by Political Cartoonist Randall Enos

138285 600 Closed cartoons

CONGRESS AND THE SHUTDOWN by Political Cartoonist Randy Bish

138263 600 CONGRESS AND THE SHUTDOWN cartoons

Affordable Care – Political Cartoon by Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – 10/01/2013

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Affordable Care

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune – 10/01/2013

Cartoon by Pat Bagley -

AAEC – Political Cartoon by David Horsey, Los Angeles Times – 10/01/2013

Cartoon by David Horsey -

Unaware – Truthdig

Kids in the Cockpit by Political Cartoonist Cal Grondahl

138234 600 Kids in the Cockpit cartoons

The rest of this morning’s links will be dumped below…

Harry Reid and John Boehner Really Loathe Each Other | Mother Jones

No Resolution in Sight to Government Shutdown- VOA News

Veterans Plot To Expand Revolt Against Government Shutdown- Buzzfeed

Please use this as an open thread, it has been a very long day for me…I am beat!