It was a hellish day yesterday, thank you Dak for covering for me last night. I have a few links for you about arms, both animal and astrological.
Let us start this morning’s reads with very big cephalopods…or as Mark Twain would say…damn big cephalopods.
A Japanese-led team of scientists has captured on film the world’s first live images of a giant squid, journeying to the depths of the ocean in search of the mysterious creature thought to have inspired the myth of the `”kraken”, a tentacled monster.
This 10 foot (3 meters) creature is a little one compared with other giant squids that have washed ashore dead or caught …but this one is live and on video.
Though the beast was small by giant squid standards – the largest ever caught stretched 18 meters long, tentacles and all – filming it secretly in its natural habitat was a key step towards understanding the animal, researchers said.
“Many people have tried to capture an image of a giant squid alive in its natural habitat, whether researchers or film crews. But they all failed,” said Tsunemi Kubodera, a zoologist at Japan’s National Museum of Nature and Science, who led the team.
Kubodera had some nice quotes about seeing this squid in action…
“If you try and approach making a load of noise, using a bright white light, then the squid won’t come anywhere near you. That was our basic thinking,” Kubodera said.
“So we sat there in the pitch black, using a near-infrared light invisible even to the human eye, waiting for the giant squid to approach,” he said.
“I’ve seen a lot of giant squid specimens in my time, but mainly those hauled out of the ocean. This was the first time for me to see with my own eyes a giant squid swimming,” he said. “It was stunning, I couldn’t have dreamt that it would be so beautiful. It was such a wonderful creature.”
“A giant squid essentially lives a solitary existence, swimming about all alone in the deep sea. It doesn’t live in a group,” he said. “So when I saw it, well, it looked to me like it was rather lonely.”
That last quote seemed a bit haunting to me…a lonely squid, surrounded by darkness.
Video clips are below, I’ve got two for you because they show different images of the squid…they are quick so you can watch them in a couple of minutes.
These next articles are out of sight amazing. They deal with our Milky Way Galaxy, and unlike that squid swimming alone in darkness…our planet is just one of billions and billions in this galaxy.
First, the “bones” in the arms.
Just as there are bones in your arms, there are bones in our galaxy’s arms as well — and researchers using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope have shared the x-rays to prove it.
Alright, they’re not actually x-rays but rather images made from observations in infrared light, which Spitzer is specifically designed to detect. (One does need to clarify such things in astronomy.) Orbiting Earth over 172 million kilometers away, Spitzer can see infrared radiation that isn’t visible from the ground, radiation that’s emitted from anything in the Universe warmer than zero Kelvin.
The image above, looking into the plane of the galaxy, shows a long thin strand of dark, cold material stretching between two brighter regions in the lower half — this is a segment of what’s being called a “bone” of the Milky Way, a part of the vast skeletal structure that forms its framework.
It’s the first image of such a structure within our own galaxy.
The “bone” nicknamed “Nessie” and is a long thin piece of our galaxy’s skeleton.
Astronomers have spotted a new component of the Milky Way galaxy’s skeleton — a “bone” of dust and gas that contains about as much material as 100,000 suns.
The newfound Milky Way bone is more than 300 light-years long but just 1 or 2 light-years wide, giving it the appearance of a slender cosmic snake, researchers said.
“This is the first time we’ve seen such a delicate piece of the galactic skeleton,” study lead author Alyssa Goodman, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said in a statement. “This bone is much more like a fibula — the long skinny bone in your leg — than it is like the tibia, or big thick leg bone.”
Now for the part that will make you say, wow…
A simulation based on data from NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler mission has determined that about one out of every six stars has an Earth-sized planet, which would translate to at least 17 billion such worlds in our Milky Way galaxy. And that’s not even counting the alien Earths we’d want to live on.
These 17 billion planets would be circling their parent stars more closely than Mercury orbits our own sun — which means that, in many cases, the planets would be too hot for liquid water to exist. A few such worlds already have been found, including a “lava planet” known as Alpha Centauri Bb that’s just 4.3 light-years away from us.
This estimate of 17 billion hot Earth-like planets stems from another report that was released on Monday…
Kepler mission scientists announced Monday that a new batch of analysis yielded 461 more exoplanet candidates – and that is from within a relatively small cross-section of our galaxy, bringing the total number of potential planets awaiting confirmation to 2,740. Of the several dozen Earth-sized planets, the smallest of 5 categories, 4 were found to be located within their stars’ habitable zone, which is defined as an orbit where surface water can exist as a liquid.
Candidates require additional follow-up observations and analyses to be confirmed as planets. At the beginning of 2012, 33 candidates in the Kepler data had been confirmed as planets. Today, there are 105.
Take a look at this graph from NASA:
(Photo : NASA)
Since the last Kepler catalog was released in February 2012, the number of candidates discovered in the Kepler data has increased by 20 percent and now totals 2,740 potential planets orbiting 2,036 stars. Based on observations conducted May 2009 to March 2011, the most dramatic increases are seen in the number of Earth-size and super Earth-size candidates discovered, which grew by 43 and 21 percent respectively.
Still feeling down in the dumps today, so forgive the sparse content. Hopefully these links are not repeats…
I have not had a chance to read this first link…yet. Kurt Eichenwald: Let’s Repeal the Second Amendment | Vanity Fair
Haven’t read this one either: 6 Biggest Religious Right Threats to America | Alternet
Something on gun control: Muhlberger’s World History: The Bonfire of the Vanities
Check out these official pictures from the White House 2012:
A few science articles:
This first link needs a bit of funk to make it right:
If you have what James Brown likes…then you may also suffer from Fatty Liver.
One thing that can help with this next link about Fatty Liver, is to get a little more active:
For Dakinikat…it isn’t about old grave discoveries, but it still has a touch of death to it: Dried squash holds headless French king’s blood, study finds
Another one for Dak, Maya Funerary Vessel Represents “Tremor 8” – Archaeology Magazine
For Boston Boomer, you may find this interesting: Language Acquisition Could Begin In The Womb | Geekosystem
Is it a man’s world? Now for some mood music, for the next few links about Women’s Rights and Women in History:
Annie Lennox has a blog she writes at: Annie Lennox Calls For Action On Women’s Rights In 2013 – Starpulse.com
Here is direct link to it: Annie Lennox – Official Website
Maybe Women’s Rights will have a louder voice now: 101 Facts About 100 Women of the House and Senate
History looks at Viking Women: Don’t underestimate Viking women | Medieval News
Another one on religion, and women’s influence in culture: Research uncovers how single and widowed women shaped the religious culture of colonial Latin America
Sick twisted doctors…10 Derailed Doctors Who Creatively Abused Their Patients
An iconic song turns 30: ‘Billie Jean’: Michael Jackson’s landmark single turns 30 | theGrio
Video of a big ass plane landing at a tiny airport.
Video of the same big ass plane taking off from a tiny airport.
Video of a cartoon we have all seen before, but should watch again.
A few movie reviews:
This Amanda Marcotte review of Django Unchained is good, she gets it: Django Unchained: A Movie About Other Movies About the 19th Century
And…another review…about Django…only this one asks the wrong question: How Accurate Is Quentin Tarantino’s Portrayal of Slavery in Django Unchained? : The New Yorker
Sticking with the movie topic a bit more: alicublog: I LOST IT AT THE MOVIES.
Now for an actor who is Super Bad, and one of my favorites, bet you can guess who that is?
An interview with my man: Samuel L. Jackson is right about bad Hollywood endings, but then real life isn’t much better
I wonder if this film will be made in time for the 2016 campaign season: Tennessee Guerilla Women: Hillary Clinton’s Life, Soon to Be a Hollywood Movie
And…its a squatch! One of those elusive Georgia Redneck Big Foots! Yup, a few of them are getting together to talk about another kind of Bigfoot…Inaugural Southeastern Bigfoot Conference being held in Dahlonega
More fantastic Bigfoot reads:
Bigfoot or Good Foot you decide:
Have a fantastic Sunday…and hope everyone is feeling good!
After spending last night watching Lost in America...it made me think about Skippy, the manager at the Der Wienerschnitzel and those frozen fries, you know, the importance of details that make you great at your job. (If you forgot the scene I am talking about, the manager of the hot dog joint tells Albert Brooks just how wonderful his wife, Julie Hagerty, is…because of her attention to details, she noticed he had served “frozen” fries…with bits of ice inside of them.)
I wonder if Bank of America’s Bryan Moynihan, had such an attention to detail, but according to this article by Matt Taibbi, it looks like attention to detail is obviously not essential to a CEO…snark. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan Apparently Can’t Remember Anything | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone
Thank God for Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan. If you’re a court junkie, or have the misfortune (as some of us poor reporters do) of being forced professionally to spend a lot of time reading legal documents, the just-released Moynihan deposition in MBIA v. Bank of America, Countrywide, and a Buttload of Other Shameless Mortgage Fraudsters will go down as one of the great Nixonian-stonewalling efforts ever, and one of the more entertaining reads of the year.
In this long-awaited interrogation – Bank of America has been fighting to keep Moynihan from being deposed in this case for some time – Moynihan does a full Star Trek special, boldly going where no deponent has ever gone before, breaking out the “I don’t recall” line more often and perhaps more ridiculously than was previously thought possible. Moynihan seems to remember his own name, and perhaps his current job title, but beyond that, he’ll have to get back to you.
Egyptian police battled thousands of protesters outside President Mohamed Mursi’s palace in Cairo on Tuesday, prompting the Islamist leader to leave the building, presidency sources said.
Officers fired teargas at up to 10,000 demonstrators angered by Mursi’s drive to hold a referendum on a new constitution on December 15. Some broke through police lines around his palace and protested next to the perimeter wall.
The crowds had gathered nearby in what organizers had dubbed “last warning” protests against Mursi, who infuriated opponents with a November 22 decree that expanded his powers. “The people want the downfall of the regime,” the demonstrators chanted.
“The president left the palace,” a presidential source, who declined to be named, told Reuters. A security source at the presidency also said the president had departed.
Building Lego towers is a competitive business – this one in Prague, at 32.5m, may be the tallest to date
It’s not just children who like to build towers with Lego – the internet is alive with discussion on how many Lego bricks, stacked one on top of the other, it would take to destroy the bottom brick. So what’s the answer?
There has been a burning debate on the social news website Reddit.
It’s a trivial question you might think, but one the Open University’s engineering department has – at the request of the BBC’s More or Less programme – fired up its labs to try to answer.
“It’s an exciting thing to do because it’s an entirely new question and new questions are always interesting,” says Dr Ian Johnston, an applied mathematician and lecturer in engineering.
The average maximum force the bricks can stand is 4,240N. That’s equivalent to a mass of 432kg (950lbs). If you divide that by the mass of a single brick, which is 1.152g, then you get the grand total of bricks a single piece of Lego could support: 375,000.
So, 375,000 bricks towering 3.5km (2.17 miles) high is what it would take to break a Lego brick.
NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft has encountered a “magnetic highway” at the edge of the solar system, a surprising discovery 35 years after its launch, the experts behind the pioneering craft said Monday.
Earlier this year a surge in a key indicator fueled hopes that the craft was nearing the so-called heliopause, which marks the boundary between our solar system and outer space.
But instead of slipping away from the bubble of charged particles the Sun blows around itself, Voyager encountered something completely unexpected.
This is amazing…think about how far Voyager has gone.
The craft’s daily radio reports sent back evidence that the Sun’s magnetic field lines was connected to interstellar magnetic fields. Lower-energy charged particles were zooming out and higher-energy particles from outside were streaming in.
They called it a magnetic highway because charged particles outside this region bounced around in all directions, as if trapped on local roads inside the bubble, or heliosphere.
“Although Voyager 1 still is inside the Sun’s environment, we now can taste what it’s like on the outside because the particles are zipping in and out on this magnetic highway,” said Edward Stone, a Voyager project scientist based at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.
We got ourselves all excited for NASA’s Mars press conference today, even though we already knew it wasn’t about life on the red planet, but what we should have been paying attention to was happening nearly 11.5 billion miles away in the heliosphere. The Voyager 1 spacecraft has encountered a new region of our solar system. What’s even more exciting is that NASA scientists believe this region is the final barrier between Voyager and interstellar space. That’s so much more impressive than chlorine on Mars.
The Voyager 1 spacecraft is now so far out into space that light from the Sun takes over 34 hours to reach it. NASA debated whether this new region should still be considered part of our solar system, but project scientist Edward Stone makes the call by saying, “Although Voyager 1 still is inside the sun’s environment, we now can taste what it’s like on the outside because the particles are zipping in and out on this magnetic highway.”
The scientists believe that Voyager will pass out of the solar system within the next two months or so. I’ve got one more space link for you this morning, it is about our Galaxy the Milky Way, New estimate suggests Milky Way mass of 1.6 trillion suns
Panorama of Milky Way from the inside: a mosaic of multiple shots on large-format film, comprising all 360 degrees of the galaxy from our vantage point. More about this image here. Image Credit: Digital Sky LLC via Wikimedia Commons
Our home galaxy the Milky Way is thought to be approximately 100,000 light-years wide and about 1,000 light-years thick. You often hear the estimate that the mass of our galaxy is equal to several billion suns, but some estimates have ranged up to twice that high, or even higher. Now some astronomers are suggesting a mass for the Milky Way of 1.6 trillion suns. The estimate isn’t just for stars but also includes the mass of our Milky Way’s invisible dark halo. It’s based on the first-ever measurement of the proper motion, or sideways motion along our line of sight, of a small galaxy satellite galaxy to our Milky Way. Ken Croswell reported on the role of this small galaxy – called Leo I – yesterday (December 3, 2012) in Scientific American.
There is a lot of information in that article, be sure to go and read the whole thing.
The rest of today’s post will be in link dump fashion…
An Amazing New Use for Ecstasy- Helping women deal with PTSD after rape.
Big Pharma Company Mocked Patients Who Got “Jawbone Death” from Drug: “Ma Toot Hurts So Bad” – Merck couldn’t care less about the patients…as long as they could make more money.
Noam Chomsky: What the American Media Won’t Tell You About Israel –Decades of hell in Gaza.
New research shows corrosion may accelerate failures at Fukushima Daiichi- Great…and guess what? There is nothing that can be done about it.
Be sure you read these couple of links on the NFL murder suicide this past weekend:
Regarding privacy in America…Laptop seizures by US government highlight 9/11-era climate of fear | Glenn Greenwald
And lastly, a bit of history…. Disability history month: Was Tamerlane disabled?
Tamerlane – derived from his nickname Timur the Lame – rose from obscurity to become a 14th Century conqueror of nations, who piled high the skulls of his enemies. It was quite a feat at a time when physical prowess was prized, writes Justin Marozzi.
Think of the greatest conquerors of all time and chances are you’ll quickly list Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great. It is rather less likely, unless you come from Central Asia or the Muslim world more widely, that you’d spare a thought for Tamerlane.
Yet in many ways this Tartar warlord, born near Samarkand in 1336 in what is now Uzbekistan, outshone both the Macedonian king and the Mongol warlord.
Lots of links, I know…but it is a busy time of the year, and if you can’t take it all in one shot…come back during the day when you have the time. And be sure to share the things you are reading about today…
Many of our readers know this past week has been an absolute frustrating hell…and it is only going to continue. So if you don’t mind, I won’t mention anything about the smoke and mirror show going on now in Washington. Today’s Sunday Reads is going to be on the light side…as far as the political news stories are concerned. You won’t find any in this post… So sit back and enjoy the interesting links I have found for you today.
First thing…the Women’s World Cup…Hurray for US Women’s Soccer!
Yes, some excited news out of Germany. The US Woman’s team is in the finals against Japan. Women’s World Cup – This Time, a Show Worth Watching – NYTimes.com
In cities across Germany, 16 teams have been competing for the sixth World Cup title (men have had 19) and — thanks to a buzzer-beater against Brazil and some true grit against France — the Americans meet Japan in Sunday’s final in Frankfurt.
For those of you who are more into soccer, there is a good analysis of the players on both teams here on Sports Illustrated: U.S. women favored against Japan in Women’s World Cup final – Georgina Turner – SI.com
The game is scheduled to start today at 2:45pm EST and 11:45am PST, ESPN will be covering the game live.
Now, yesterday Boston Boomer asked in the comments when the next spectacular trial will be starting, aside from the Michael Jackson one, or actually his doctor’s involuntary manslaughter trial. (Starts in September…) The next trial I am looking forward to is the one in Boston…Here is a real engrossing article about the sons of one of Whitey’s 19 murder victims. In Whitey Bulger Case, a Voice for the Victims – NYTimes.com
Heads turned as the lanky man made his way to the courtroom pews reserved for those who suffer because of the criminal Whitey Bulger. The face of an altar boy masked his rage, and a shirt of powder-blue covered his tattoos, including one evoking the Celtic cross that adorns his father’s gravestone.“Tommy’s here,” one of the many reporters whispered, and others nodded, for it was like saying that all of Boston had just walked into Federal District Court to bear witness.
Tommy Donahue, a union electrician, 37 years old, with one good eye and the nickname of Bagga — as in bag of bones — attends nearly every Bulger-related hearing as the representative of the 19 people Mr. Bulger is accused of killing, especially Michael Donahue, his father. He then tells the news media assembled outside exactly what he thinks, his every word accented with Dorchester distrust.
“To be honest with you,” Mr. Donahue often begins, as if to suggest that in this uncomfortable summer of Bulger, honesty needs to be stipulated.
Tommy Donahue and his family are seeking some closure in the murder of their father and husband, Michael Donahue.
Now that Mr. Bulger’s return has exhumed a damning past never properly buried in the first place, a half-blind electrician from Dorchester is once again speaking out. And everyone in Boston knows that in this matter, Tommy Donahue has standing.
In the late afternoon of May 11, 1982, a union truck driver, the son of a Boston police officer, found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s how a wise guy later summed it up, in the oops philosophy of the underworld: wrong place, wrong time.
Give the rest of the article a read. This family has been through a horrible experience, they deserve some justice.
Meanwhile, back in my own state of Georgia, there has been a huge scandal involving cheating in schools. But it wasn’t the kids cheating…it was the teachers and school administrators. Atlanta schools created culture of cheating, fear – CBS Atlanta News
Teachers spent nights huddled in a back room, erasing wrong answers on students’ test sheets and filling in the correct bubbles. At another school, struggling students were seated next to higher-performing classmates so they could copy answers.
Those and other confessions are contained in a new state report that reveals how far some Atlanta public schools went to raise test scores in the nation’s largest-ever cheating scandal. Investigators concluded that nearly half the city’s schools allowed the cheating to go unchecked for as long as a decade, beginning in 2001.
Administrators – pressured to maintain high scores under the federal No Child Left Behind law – punished or fired those who reported anything amiss and created a culture of “fear, intimidation and retaliation,” according to the report released earlier this month, two years after officials noticed a suspicious spike in some scores.
The report names 178 teachers and principals, and 82 of those confessed. Tens of thousands of children at the 44 schools, most in the city’s poorest neighborhoods, were allowed to advance to higher grades, even though they didn’t know basic concepts.
One teacher told investigators the district was “run like the mob.”
“Everybody was in fear,” another teacher said in the report. “It is not that the teachers are bad people and want to do it. It is that they are scared.”
In an effort to keep from losing funding, you know that no kid left behind bill that really does not work as well as those politicians say it does…teachers and administrators were cheating on standardized test. School systems in Washington DC, Philadelphia and Los Angeles are currently under investigation for cheating.
Experts say the cheating scandal – which involved more schools and teachers than any other in U.S. history – has led to soul-searching among other urban districts facing cheating investigations and those that have seen a rapid rise in test scores.
In Georgia, teachers complained to investigators that some students arrived at middle school reading at a first-grade level. But, they said, principals insisted those students had to pass their standardized tests. Teachers were either ordered to cheat or pressured by administrators until they felt they had no choice, authorities said.
One principal forced a teacher to crawl under a desk during a faculty meeting because her test scores were low. Another principal told teachers that “Walmart is hiring” and “the door swings both ways,” the report said.
Another principal told a teacher on her first day that the school did whatever was necessary to meet testing benchmarks, even if that meant “breaking the rules.”
Wow, The article is a long one, but give it a read, it is hard to imagine all these students for the last 10 plus years getting passed on through the system. What kind of jobs and productive lives could these people have if their education was nothing but a farce.
HuffPo has the latest here: Teachers Implicated In Atlanta Cheating Scandal Told To Resign Or Get Fired
The 178 educators implicated in the Atlanta Public Schools’ cheating investigation received letters in their mailboxes Friday from interim Superintendent Erroll Davis. The message: Resign by Wednesday, or get fired.
The announcement comes after Davis replaced four area superintendents and two principals as a result of the investigation into alleged cheating by teachers, revealed early this month. APS Human Resources Chief Millicent Few resigned Monday. Investigators accused Few of illegally ordering the destruction or altering of important documents that evidenced the cheating.
According to the article, the entire process could take months. Some teachers have retained lawyers to fight for their jobs.
Another long read for you: Los 33: Chilean miners face up to a strange new world | World news | The Observer
The rescue of 33 miners from Chile’s San José mine after 69 days trapped underground was a triumph shared with the whole world. But the transition back to normality is proving difficult for both the men and their families
These miners have just filed a lawsuit against the mining company and country of Chile for negligence. It is the start of a long legal battle as the men and their families are still trying to adjust and heal from the trauma of being buried alive, 2,000 feet down for 69 days.
Moving on to something very cool…check out this eye candy: The Maddow Blog – Lost afternoon: British tattoo history
Jezebel ran a great set of photos yesterday related to Great Britain’s first professional female tattoo artist, Jessie Knight, including the one above, likely dating back to the early 1930s.
Some neat pictures at the link…I have five tattoos myself, so seeing some history about woman tattoo artist is cool as hell.
From Minx’s Missing Link File: The website this next link comes from, called Geekosystem, is a sister site to Mediaite. I could have posted so many cool geeky science articles but this one popped out at me. I don’t know, perhaps it was the photo of the majestic animal…with her head held high, or perhaps it was the phrase “farting camels” that struck my childish, immature heart-strings? Anyway, here it is: Australia Considering Camel Kill To Reduce Global Warming | Geekosystem
Farting camels make global warming worse, death to the camels! It would be nice if there was something (anything?) that we could blame for climate change, other than human actions. But, farting camels? What seems like a ridiculous farting farce, is actually a real plan being considered by officials in Australia to kill camels for their alleged role in global warming.
The idea is that killing camels, who release methane gas when they fart, would solve global warming in Australia because their farting has a serious impact on the country’s carbon emissions. The International Society of Camelid Research Development (ISOCARD), has called the proposed camel-cull “stupid,” and an “abomination of science,” in addition to declaring that it would make camels scape-goats for a man-made problem.
Sound a bit far fetched to you? Well, what if I told you that there was money to be had…or at least carbon tax credits for Australia’s big corporations. See, one dead camel equals a tax credit based on the amount of carbon fart emissions that the average camel puts out.
Australia still relies on coal for power and has one of the highest carbon footprints in the world. The government has set plans to start taxing the country’s biggest polluters, but these companies will be able to buy carbon credits to offset their emissions.
So far, it remains to be seen what will happen to the camels, but ISOCARD seems ready to fight for feral camels, who in all their farting glory, are not a major player in Australia’s carbon emission problem.
I don’t know, but I can bet there will be some pissed off animal lovers down in Australia if this plan goes through.
Easy like Sunday Morning Link of the Week: Another one from Down Under…this one has nothing to do with camelid flatulence. The Earth/Sky website is freaking awesome! Check this video out: Astonishing time lapse video of the Australian night sky | Earth | EarthSky
This beautiful collection of images depicts the Milky Way from the Southern Ocean Coast in Australia and was posted on Vimeo by Alex Cherney. Complete description can be found here.
Well, that is it for me…post links to whatever you like below in the comment section. Hell, post some of your thoughts if you don’t have a link…
Hope you have an awesome Sunday.