Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dawn will be enroute to Ceres soon

Dawn is leaving Vesta, having told us more about that mini-planet during its short visit than all the telescopes and a few chunks that fell to Earth have told us since the dawn of science. 

Another kudo for a budget-beleaguered NASA.  And if the lying Republicans get elected, there will be even fewer technological triumphs like this and Curiosity in the future.

Dawn asteroid spacecraft leaving Vesta

Bye bye, Vesta, bye bye

We should figure out a way to make bluefin tuna radioactive

Obviously some of that radiation from the Fukushima event washed into the ocean, so it isn't a surprise that some of the fish in the region are a bit, shall we say, hot.

Now, that is not unexpected, and obviously it would be ridiculous for anyone to consider eating fish that are this charged up.   So why can't we grab a few bluefin and 'discover' that they're making the Geiger counters click, too? 

It'd be enough to make any sane Japanese citizen swear off ōtoro (bluefin tuna sushi) for good.

Which is exactly the outcome that I'd want to happen.  Geez, can't they realize that bluefin tuna is loaded with dangerously high levels of mercury already?  (Well, not exactly dangerously high, but that's what I'd tell them.)

Record radiation in fish off Japan nuclear plant

I return to worshiping Kate Hudson

I'm not fickle - search back in this blog and you will find articles of devotion to the spectacular cuteness that is Kate Hudson.   But to have had a second child, and to return to this level of glam glam, is yet another reason to confess my unworthiness.  She's a package.

Love this description from the article, too.

"But we've got a few questions to clear up before we declare this dress a win, namely: how the heck do you find underwear with a front slit that high? And is she not chilly with half of her tush hanging out?"

My question echoes the headline:  is she really wearing underwear?

Kate Hudson's Sheer Dress Has Us Wondering Where Her Undies Are


Kelly, one and two

Two reasons that Kelly Brook is one of my favorite women in the world.

Any questions?

Passing on -- agreement with Sally Jenkins

Washington Post's Sally Jenkins says a lot of the right things that I've been thinking in this opinion piece:

Lance Armstrong doping campaign exposes USADA's hypocrisy

"Anyone who thinks an athlete has a fair shot in front of CAS should review the Alberto Contador case. Contador was found to have a minuscule, insignificant amount of clenbuterol in his urine during the 2010 Tour de France. After hearing 4,000 pages of testimony and debate, CAS acknowledged that the substance was too small to have been performance-enhancing and that its ingestion was almost certainly unintentional. Therefore he was guilty. He received a two-year ban. CAS’s rationale? “There is no reason to exonerate the athlete so the ban is two years,” one member of the panel said.
 Would you want to go before that court?"

I hate, hate, HATE drugs in sports.  But the system has got to improve.

Well beyond the norm

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi both scored goals, in the same game, that showed why they get paid the big bucks.  The REALLY big bucks.

Your 'Messi and Ronaldo are Awesome" reminders of the day

Maybe we shouldn't glorify our sporting favorites so much.  But these guys sure are special talents.

Greg Sargent, brilliant in Washington Post

 Greg Sargent, in the Morning Plum, wrote a seriously brilliant paragraph in his column "How Obama will respond to Paul Ryan's speech"

"Obama and Dems will point out that it is not tough or courageous to cut taxes in ways that hugely benefit the rich, even as you promise to tackle the deficit.  They will point out that it’s not tough or courageous to promise everyone an across-the-board tax cut hugely benefitting the wealthy without saying how it would be paid for — especially since it will require doing away with loopholes and deductions that will likely hike the middle class’s tax burden. They will point out that it’s not tough or courageous to cut spending in ways that
disproportionately hurt those who can least afford it. They will point out that it’s not tough or courageous to reduce the sacrifice the rich make towards deficit reduction in ways that will increase the sacrifice of everyone else."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Truly never heard of this before

Until I read the article "The Great Dune of Pyla:  A Moving Desert of France", I had never heard of this big single sand dune on the coast of France.

Well, now I have, and I'm the better for it.

Here's a picture from an unusual perspective;  the article at the link has more.

Location, you ask?  Just east of Bordeaux on Arcachon Bay, which is roughly 120 km north of the Spain/France border on the Bay of Biscay coast.

Or you could click here to see where it is.

And of course I was right again

Marc "Moron" Morano, climate denialist and mental contortionist extraordinaire, also one of the world's most dislikeable human beings, had to try and reassure his gullible misled flock that the Arctic sea melting disaster unfolding in day-to-day slow motion up polar way is "nothing unusual".   Now, given that there has been some pretty darned good explication of what's going on by some pretty noted scientists, his attempt is sadly pathetic. 

However, he also fulfills my prediction, previously fulfilled by Anthony "Clueless" Watts (Up wit Dat?), that the denialist hordes would use the mid-August summer storm as a major explanation for the record, ignoring/overlooking/misguiding/misrepresenting the state of the thin Arctic ice pack, which made it vulnerable to the summer polar cyclone.   I predicted it on Twitter, as noted in my "I knew it, I knew it" post earlier this week, and Morano delivers in spades.

The thing is, they wouldn't be good little predictable denier liars if they didn't use this event as an excuse to assuage the slightly alarmed minimum mentalities of those that they regularly and guiltlessly mislead.  But that doesn't mean that I approve.

Don't Panic! Arctic Ice Hits 'Record' Low!? Climate Depot Explains Arctic melting hype

And here's where the ace moron goes all in for the storm:

And the reduction was aided by a super storm this year. See: Did 'The Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012' reduce sea ice?: 'Neither Borenstein nor NSIDC's current announcement mentions the massive Arctic storm that broke up huge amounts of sea ice, making this new record low possible...' & See: Reduced sea ice extent due to storm? The ice loss was mainly in the Chukchi Sea, where the storm was. The storm brought warm water to the surface  

In the above, he's quoting Anthony Wattsless, because it's difficult for Morano to actually connect individual thoughts in his braincase. But he did use the adjective "super", as one hyping such cause would be expected to.

Was the storm really that big?  Well, it was "unusually strong".  Super?  That's a stretch.  Kinda like the difference between a Cat 3 and a Cat 5 hurricane.  But the thing is -- increasing intensity of summer Arctic storms is a consequence of global warming, too.  (Click that to go to the article).  Oh, did the denier leaders MISS that little factoid?  Sure shootin', they didn't mention it at all !!!  

So we have what the scientists characterize as floating in the warmer Arctic Ocean waters: "slushy" ice, not the hard multi-year ice present in much greater volumes in years past, making it vulnerable to increasingly intense Arctic summer storms -- due to the warmer Arctic waters!  

Here's how it goes:
"Gradually warming waters have driven storm tracks -- the ocean paths in the Atlantic and Pacific along which most cyclones travel -- northward. We speculate that sea ice serves as the 'middleman' in a scenario where increased storm activity yields increased stirring winds that will speed up the Arctic's transition into a body of turbulently mixing warm and cool layers with greater potential for deep convection that will alter climate further," said Hakkinen. "What I find truly intriguing about confirming the link between the rise in storminess and increased sea ice drift is the possibility that new sinks for carbon dioxide may emerge from this relationship that could function as negative feedback for global warming."

That's what I call (but they don't) a death spiral, a combination of negatively reinforcing factors forcing the system in one direction -- toward zero.  Great.

So there you have it, dear readers -- an amply fulfilled prediction.  Sad that it had to be about a subject as dire and inescapable as this.

Monday, August 27, 2012

He really did say it right (probably)

Pretty much for the rest of his life and history after he stepped on the Moon, Neil Armstrong was thought to have flubbed his epic first line when he actually stepped off the LEM onto the lunar surface. 

What everyone back on Earth heard him say was:
"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind".

What he wanted to say and apparently thought he said was:
"That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."

Which makes a lot more sense.

Even though, according to the article I'm about to provide a link to, he admitted that you couldn't hear that important "a". 

Was Neil Armstrong's 'small step' one-liner misquoted?

So I was somewhat happy to read this article, in which an analysis of the actual recording (performed in 2006, but this is the first I've heard of it) indicated that Neil had actually likely said what he wanted to say correctly, but so fast that the radio transmission didn't pick it up.  And I think we can all forgive him for being a little excited, even though he was reputed to be very cool under pressure.

But you don't get to be the first man to step on the Moon very often.

We're all thinking Murray

Yet another article thinking that Andy Murray should seize the day (well, rather, the U.S. Open tournament):

Andy Murray's challenging moment for a breakthrough

Of course, one reason I'm pulling for Murray is so that I get another of my late December predictions right.  Even though the Olympic gold was great, it still wasn't a Slam.

I knew it, I knew it

On August 9th, I tweeted twice:

"I predict: if sea ice hits new minimum, #climate change deniers will cite this "unusual" summer storm as main cause."

"@ClimateDepot @wattsupwiththat @ClimateRealists Think I'm right? See previous tweet. "

So here's Anthony Watts, writing on August 26th:
"Here’s a challenge though: how many of your favorite wailers will report that the major Arctic storm had anything to do with sea ice?"

There he is, laying the groundwork already. The line the deniers are going to take is that Arctic sea ice would have been status quo this year were it not for this [take your pick: gigantic, unprecendented, mind-numbing, out-of-the-blue, unexpected, anomalous, disastrous, catastrophic, or humongous] Arctic summer storm that
ravaged the usually impregnable sea ice cover and caused a 'slight dip' below the previous record minimum of 2007.

Just you watch.

And it didn't take long.  Linking to Watts Up with That?, the notorious denierati blog:

Sea Ice News – Volume 3 Number 11, part 1 – new Arctic satellite extent record 

we find this:

"Neither Borenstein nor NSIDC’s current announcement mentions the massive Arctic storm that broke up huge amounts of sea ice, making this new record low possible.  NSIDC said on August 14th:"

(Got that?  MASSIVE!  HUGE! Close enough to 'humongous', I think.)

As of August 13, ice extent was already among the four lowest summer minimum extents in the satellite record, with about five weeks still remaining in the melt season. Sea ice extent dropped rapidly between August 4 and August 8. While this drop coincided with an intense storm over the central Arctic Ocean, it is unclear if the storm prompted the rapid ice loss.

Then he writes another article, hoping to find some way to divert attention from the rapid decline (and the fact that the ice is still melting) HERE.

In which he says:

(Walt Meier) "MASIE has tended to lag behind our data and then it catches up as the sparse ice that they map disappears. This year the difference between the two is a bit larger than we’ve seen in other years, because there is a larger area of sparse ice."

(Watts) "You can thank the big Arctic storm of August 4th-8th for that dispersal."

So, AS I PREDICTED, twice Watts blames the Arctic summer cyclone for the new sea ice minimum. 

Now we just have to see if Marc Morano is true to form and does the same thing.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Bulleted links on the Ryan budget myths

Washington Post provides Five Myths about the Ryan Budget.   The list is below - click on the article link to read the details.

These are the myths:
1. Paul Ryan’s budget would reduce the deficit.

2. The Ryan budget would help the middle class.

3. Ryan’s proposal would cut health-care spending by reforming Medicare.

4. Ryan’s plan would provide certainty to the markets and the economy.

5. If Romney wins, Ryan’s budget will be his fiscal blueprint.

So the bottom line is, none of those five statements are true.  So would we want to elect a Prez and Veep who are lies repeatedly, saying that they are true?  I sure don't want to do that. 

Purists may not like the wild cards, but they're making baseball more interesting

I didn't know if the addition of a second wild-card team for the baseball playoffs would really be good for baseball, but as the standings stand right now, September is going to be very, very interesting.  Current standings as of tonight (Friday August 24, late).

American League
Tampa Bay, 2 games ahead of Baltimore and Oakland, who are tied, with Detroit 1 game behind and the L.A. Angels 2.5 games behind.   (And the Rays are only 3 behind the vulnerable Yankees).

National League
Atlanta, 2 games ahead of St. Louis, which is 2 games ahead of both the L.A. Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates (who are obviously tied)

And everybody gets to go to a 40-man roster in September, which throws a whole new set of wrinkles into the races.  September will definitely be a fun month for fun at the old ballpark.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

He agrees with me

Jordan Schultz, sports reporter for the Huffington Post, agrees with my stated contention that Andy Murray's time is now to win his first Grand Slam tennis tournament.

Andy Murray Faces Golden Opportunity at 2012 U.S. Open

"The 2012 U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 27 in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., is his opportunity to finally assert himself alongside the Big 3. He just beat Federer in the Olympics, Nadal was forced to withdraw because of an injury, and Djokovic has thus far been unable to capture the magic he had last year. Murray has all of the tools to win this tournament."

If I was a betting man, I'd offer 3-1 odds, with Federer at 2.5-1.

Wow. And Wow. And Wow again.

The high-resolution improved version of the Seven Minutes of Terror (Mars Curiosity landing), seen from the vantage point of the Mars Curiosity Lander.  The accelerated version is nice, but it would also be interesting to experience it at the same pace that it happened in real time, even if it's one picture at a time.

Doutzen Kroes is nice, too

It's pretty much a statement of fact that most of the Victoria's Secret angels/models are very pretty women. And as some reading this little blog probably could figure out, I've got a bit of a thing for Miranda Kerr, with a nod for Candice Swanepoel and DiCaprio girl-of-the-year Erin Heatherton.  I don't think I've ever said much about Doutzen Kroes before, but when my friends at the Daily Mail feature her modeling lingerie fore and aft, I felt it was time to give her a turn.

LOVE Victoria's Secret underwear? Yes we do if it makes us look like Doutzen Kroes, seen modelling the brand's latest lingerie styles

Being me, the picture which I found most intriguing was the one in the PJs, shown below.  By the way, she's another one of the VS yummy mummy brigade, with a 20-month-old tot. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Advertising for Dior

Well, actually not really.  What I'm actually doing is passing on two pictures of Natalie Portman, looking astonishingly good and ostensibly nude (especially considering the events in her life the past year -- Black Swan, pregnant, Oscar, baby, wedding).    That second one -- let's hope the new hubby shows his appreciation manfully.  And reasonably often.

I would.

(By the way, if you really want to see her nipples, she got snapped by the paparazzi topless on the beach awhile ago.  Easily findable, if you can wade through all the fakes.)

Yes, lying is a campaign strategy (as if we didn't know)

Two different viewpoints on the same theme - the Romney-Ryan campaign plan to lie themselves into the top two offices in the land.

Washington Post's "The Plum Line" by Greg Sargent
Romney and Ryan don't really want a great debate

Basically you have to trust them, because they won't get specific about anything.  They are auditioning for the role of Rubber Stamp-in-Chief and First Replacement Stamp.

"So this will be the entire point of the Romney-Ryan campaign. Lie lie lie. Muddy the waters. Turn day to night, fire to water, champagne to piss. Peddle themselves as the precise opposite of what they actually are. That is clearly the m.o."

Secondly (Steve Benen writing on The Maddow Blog):
Maybe you can just make stuff up

This stuff is juicy.  And rings true, too.

"But Romney believes he can ignore this maxim and win anyway. He's working under the assumption that the political rules have changed, we've entered a new era of post-truth rhetorical norms, and there are no longer punishments for deliberately saying the opposite of the reality.

Indeed, we've created a system of incentives -- Romney will benefit by crafting a racially-charged lie, which has no bearing in fact, but which rallies his base, for whom the distinction between fact and fiction isn't terribly important. At the same time, the lie will begin to permeate the mainstream's understanding of current events, thanks to reporting that tells voters, "Romney claims Obama gutted welfare law; Obama disagrees."

Greg Sargent added, "It's true that there's serious truth-stretching on both sides.... But it remains the case that we are seeing nothing from the Obama side that's anything like what Romney is attempting. Romney right now is premising one of the central arguments of his whole campaign on a complete lie."

And with each passing day, Romney appears increasingly certain he can get away with it."

There's another aspect to this, similar to what's happening with the generally Republican denial of climate change.  Most Republican voters don't care what Romney's positions are or if he's lying or not.  They basically have the expectation that if they can get him into office, he will be exactly what they're trying to make him into -- a positionless wind vane, who will vote as the winds blow -- and the Republican voters are expecting that the winds will blow where the GOP House is blowing them.  They've become accustomed to the House holding the country hostage to ideology, and gutting the country's financial house in service to the agendas of the wealthy, like the Kochs and the Adelsons (who are so used to funding liars that Romney is their perfect candidate).

Romney knows that he's got a lot of states locked up and doesn't need to worry about what he says to those voters (or what they hear).  He only has to convince a few gullible and susceptible voters in swing states that he's trustworthy, and he can get elected.

And that's just plain SCARY.

Monday, August 20, 2012

England vs. South Africa Test cricket, Day 5

Well, despite their top batsmen not doing what they needed to do, England made the last day of their third Test cricket match with South Africa real interesting.   They had to score 346 runs -- which even though I'm not a born-to-the-green cricket fan, I know is a lot -- before losing 10 wickets.  That's the way it works in Test cricket.  Because their best batsment didn't score many runs, it fell to their middle lineup -- the non-batting specialists and the bowlers (the ones that deliver the ball) to try and score enough runs to win.

And they came close enough to make it pretty exciting.  But they didn't get there. So now South Africa is #1 in Test cricket.  And England needs to work on its batting (especially with Kevin Pietersen on the outs).   And if the article is credible, England may be sliding down a few more places.  I guess the cricket world will have to see what happens when they play India. 

England loses Test, #1 ranking to South Africa

Glossing over the climate risks

Samuel S. Epstein, writing in the Huffington Post, lauds Japan for dealing with their summer after the earthquake by only turning two nuclear reactors back on.  He thinks this indicates that Japan can deal with the electricity demands of a modern growing (well, aging) population without more nuclear power. 

As More About Fukushima Contamination and Casualties Is Known, Japan Proceeding Without Nuclear Reactors 

I disagree.  Because what Epstein tries to hand-wave away is what the climate impacts are likely to be.

Epstein writes:
To help cover the electricity gap, Japan increased its usage of oil, coal, and natural gas, much of it imported. The approach of summer, when consumption of electricity is greatest, led public officials to set goals for less consumption.

Oil, coal, and natural gas pose environmental health concerns, largely from greenhouse gas emissions. However, a Japanese environment ministry panel recognizes increased use of these sources is temporary. It will take years to build up the country's supply of safe, renewable power from sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass. Still, the panel reports that by 2030, greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced to 25% below 1990 levels, with up to 35% of electricity generated from non-polluting renewable sources. These projections assume no nuclear power will be used.
The panel reports that.  But the problem is implementing those solutions, unproven, in a power-stretched country and an uncertain economy.  I don't think it's doable.

Another good reason for tax revenues

Because of budget cuts...
and more budget cuts...
and still yet more budget cuts...
as well as increasing demands (like security, declining infrastructure robustness, more properties)...

the National Park Service is having trouble doing what it's supposed to do, which is taking care of the National Parks and the people that visit them.

That, to put it mildly, sucks eggs.  The National Parks are one of the most remarkable natural heritages that we have as Americans.   And certain sectors of our political community (= Republicans) just DON'T GET THAT.

National Parks face severe funding crunch
“It’s clear that inadequate federal funding is the number one threat to the future of the national parks and the national park idea,” Kiernan said. “We’re at a crossroads of historic importance here.”  [That I believe.]
Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), who co-chairs the bipartisan Congressional National Parks Caucus, said that he has lobbied the administration and his colleagues to restore park funding but that he’s “not optimistic” the current trajectory will reverse itself. “It’s just the blind zeal for cuts in the discretionary part of the budget, regardless of the consequences,” Kind said.  [As we suspected;  Republicans trying to balance the budget by addressing only 1/3 of it.]
Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), [emphasis on the "rob"]who chairs the House Natural Resources subcommittee on national parks, forests and public lands, said the Park Service should eliminate all new land acquisitions and reevaluate its mission. The administration’s fiscal 2013 budget includes $59 million for parkland acquisition.  [Which would mean not preserving anymore land from development or exploitation.  Nice move, Rob.]
“Why don’t we prioritize and realize the federal government cannot print money fast enough to do everything that needs to get done?” Bishop said.   [Like preserving natural environments in their natural state and historically significant locations.  No, that's not a big deal, Rob.]

It'd sure be nice if the Dems could win back both houses of Congress, wouldn't it?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Where did that come from?

I"ve been looking around for a good picture of the mountain that the Curiosity rover is going to climb, and hadn't found one until now.   So the Daily Mail found one.  The thing is, I can't find this picture anywhere on an official NASA site.   So I wonder how they got it so quick.

England vs. South Africa Test Cricket, Day 4

Short summary:  South Africa scored more runs than it's likely England can get back on the last day, and started badly on their second innings batting.  So England is going to have to score a ton (that's 100) and fast on day 5 to stay number 1 in the world.  If they bat well, it could be a race against time, and perhaps weather.

Live coverage of England vs. South Africa, Day 4

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Rage Against Ryan

Many, many tweets about the fact that Paul Ryan's favorite rock band is Rage Against the Machine, followed by the op-ed that their guitarist Tom Morello blasted at him.  Put the following on billboards across America:

"Don't mistake me, I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lotta "rage" in him: A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment. Basically the only thing he's not raging against is the privileged elite he's groveling in front of for campaign contributions."

Kansas is a preview of GOP's America

Sam Brownback and a GOP-run State House are cutting taxes and services and everything else in Kansas, as a "demonstration" of Laffer supply-side economics.  And nobody rational is laughing.

Sam Brownback, Kansas Governor, Plans Budget Cuts, Calls For Agencies To Reduce By 10 Percent 

"[ Senate minority leader] Hensley was citing projections from the nonpartisan Legislative Research Department, which projected that the tax cuts, adopted during the spring legislative session amid accusations by Democrats that conservative Republicans rushed the final vote, could lead the state to a $2.5 billion shortfall on a $6 billion budget by 2018."

" Hensley painted a picture of dramatic cuts in services across state government under the potential 10-percent budget cut, and future cuts if the $2.5 billion shortfall is realized. Brownback has said in the past that he wants to preserve education, public safety and social services. But the state's transportation department stands to lose 500 employees under the 10-percent cuts just as a new transportation construction program is due to start. The transportation plan is funded by both the state's capital and general fund budgets."

OK, we shall see what comes to pass in Kansas.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ryan's first proven lie (probably the first of many)

So Paul Ryan lied about requesting stimulus funds from the stimulus he decried repeatedly.  WHY am I not SURPRISED??

Ryan admits he asked for stimulus money -- after twice denying that he did

Now, let me think on my Bible -- how many times did Peter deny Christ before the cock crowed?

Update on Day 2 England vs. South Africa Test Cricket

Update on Day 2:  they got their wickets quick, but then lost them almost as quickly.  They only got a few runs while losing 4 wickets (and of course, that came against their best batsmen), but then the replacement for ne'er-do-well Kevin Pietersen, a chap named Johnny Bairstow, dug in and started scoring.  Bell made it to 58 runs and Bairstow is still going at the end of Day 2.   So they're at 208 runs with 5 wickets gone, 101 runs behind the South Africa total from their first innings.   If Bairstow and now Prior can hang in, it could get really interesting.  If they get taken early, then England will be in big trouble.

Live coverage:  England vs. South Africa, Day 2

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Olympics over, PGA done - follow England vs. South Africa cricket

The critical third Test match between England and South Africa is underway, and Day 1 is done (stumps, as they say).  South Africa batted first and is at 262-7 (262 runs scored, seven wickets taken).  England needs to take three more wickets quickly from the rest of the South Africa lineup, having done pretty well against their best batsmen.   They got Kallis for only 3 runs (on apparently a questionable call), and got Amla, the guy who had a triple century (more than 300 runs) in the first Test match, for only 13. 

I'll put up a short update every day and link to the Daily Mail summary.  This is for the number 1 spot in the world rankings, which is why it's kinda interesting. 

England vs. South Africa Cricket Test 3rd Match, Day 1

Florida: No license, no limit for lionfish

In an effort to enhance the population reduction on the invasive lionfish, Florida has tossed out the requirement of a license to fish for the rascals.  Now you can just dive, spear, and throw them out (or eat them, if you're careful of the poisonous spines. However, there have been warnings that they carry ciguatera, so eating them is at one's own risk.   (And the FDA isn't even totally sure that ciguatera in Florida lionfish is much of a problem.)

Article  (Underwater Times)

  • A recreational fishing license is not required to target lionfish while using a pole spear, a Hawaiian sling (picture included in photo set), a handheld net or any spearing device that is specifically designed and marketed exclusively for lionfish.
  • There is no recreational or commercial harvest bag limit for lionfish. The changes do not allow spearing in areas where spearfishing is prohibited and apply to state waters only, which is from shore to 9 miles in Gulf of Mexico waters and from shore to 3 miles in Atlantic waters.

Oscar! Oscar!

Penelope Cruz stars, with her sister co-starring, in this video ad for the Nintendo 3 DS and the Super Mario Brothers game.

Her sister Monica recently starred by herself in ads for Agent Provocateur lingerie.

Example below.  That's a heck of a sister act.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It's in the way she moves

Great new psychology study showing that women dance differently (more seductively?) when they're ovulating, and thus more receptive to male advances.

It would have been fun to be part of the judging panel for this one.

Fertile gals have all the right dance moves
"The researchers asked 48 women ages 19 to 33 to dance to an identical drumbeat during both the late follicular, or fertile phase, of their cycles and the nonfertile mid-luteal phase. Fertility was gauged by counting back from the woman's last period. Two hundred men, mostly undergraduate and graduate students, were then shown silhouettes of the women dancing.  Hair was pulled back and the women wore identical form-fitting outfits to reduce the differences between them.

 The results revealed that though the men had no idea fertility was even being studied, they judged fertile women as more attractive dancers than women in their nonfertile phase. The researchers also captured video of the women's silhouettes walking and found that fertile women's gait was also judged more attractive than nonfertile women's."
So, if your babe is dancing good, prepare to get lucky -- and take precautions if you aren't ready to start a family.

Door opens a bit for Murray

Andy Murray, fresh off his Olympic win over Federer, had a sore knee that was bugging him, but he played well in Cincinnati, so it might be getting better.

But Rafael Nadal's knee is still too painful for him to play in the U.S. Open.  So now Murray has just Federer and Djokovic to contend with in September in New York -- and he beat both of them at the Olympics.

On grass, of course.  But he knows he can beat them both in the same tournament.  So he's got a fighting chance of getting my prediction right (that he'd win at least one Grand Slam this year).

Bio-butanol production breakthrough

For the transportation sector, liquid fuels, and liquid biofuels, are one of the paths toward much lower net CO2 emissions from energy production.  So this advance in production efficiency could be really useful.

Bio-butanol production doubled by new process

Here's the meat:

In the study, funded by the Energy Biosciences Institute, Feng's team successfully tested the use of a non-ionic surfactant, or co-polymer, to create small structures that capture and hold the butanol molecules.
 "This keeps the amount of butanol in the fermentation broth low so it doesn't kill the organism and we can continue to produce it," he said.
This process, called extractive fermentation, increases the amount of butanol produced during fermentation by 100 percent or more.

But that's only the beginning. Feng's group then makes use of one of the polymer's properties-its sensitivity to temperature. When the fermentation process is finished, the scientists heat the solution until a cloud appears and two layers form.

"We use a process called cloud point separation," he said. "Two phases form, with the second facing the polymer-rich phase. When we remove the second phase, we can recover the butanol, achieving a three- to fourfold reduction in energy use there because we don't have to remove as much water as in traditional fermentation."

Change the tone? Start with Republicans

Mitt Romney feigned indignance about Joe Biden's remarks.  This is so much fake baloney. 

Well, here's the article.  Romney tells Obama to change the tone of the campaign now

Here's a quote:

"In some of his harshest words yet against the president, Romney said Obama was "running just to hang onto power, and I think he would do anything in his power" to remain in office. Romney's comments escalated an already acrimonious campaign fueled by negative and sometimes false advertisements, as well as personal insults from the candidates and their surrogates."

Aww, poor poor piddyful Mitty.  Here's my unfiltered response.

1.  He's running to keep a no-principles opportunist candidate like you out of office.

2. He's running to make sure the Congressional GOP doesn't run the country into catastrophe, because if you're elected, you'll be a rubber stamp for Boehner, Cantor, and McConnell, and you proved it by selecting Ryan as your Veep candidate.

3. You would lie on any issue and flip-flop on any position to enhance your appeal  to voters to get INTO power.  How do we know? That's what you've already done - your track record is obvious, and documented.  Still don't know what's causing climate change, even though you used to know?

4. What are you hiding in the tax returns you won't release?  It might be totally legal, but totally shocking that your hidden offshore assets, holding companies, tax shelters, tax loopholes, and everything else that a well paid legal and accounting staff can come up with mean that you've paid something like 10% on your corporate winnings, unlike the 28% or 35% that us normal folks are paying.

5.  I have a feeling that the Koch Brothers - Adelson funded advertisements that are getting ready to run in the fall will set a new low standard for lying about President Obama.

So buck it up, Mitt.  We don't buy it out here in reality land.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Zahia Dehar's previous job in the news

Zahia Dehar, prostitute turned lingerie fashion designer with one of the world's current most incredible female figures  (see previous postings I've done on her by searching) is back in the news the wrong way due to the prosecution of the two soccer players that made her famous in the first place by ill-advisedly enjoying her prostitutional skills when she was only 16 years old.  Whoops.

I guess I remembered that prostitution isn't against the law in France, but the prostitute has to be at least 18 years old.  So I guess they should have asked to see her passport before embarking on her thrill ride.  Given what she looks like now, I imagine that she looked 18 to them when she was 16, especially when they were in the mood for love, which is rarely a time when men think about the potential consequences of their actions. Also, given what she looks like now, I imagine that they weren't actually thinking very effectively while they were contemplating the delights of her precincts that they were about to experience.  None of that, of course, is an excuse or a legal defense.

France stars Ribery and Benzema set for trial over underage prostitute allegation

English cricket team playing deciding match without Pietersen

Due to a some very poor judgment while texting as well as a contractual dispute, England will be playing without streaky-but-good batsman Kevin Pietersen in the final match of the three-match test with South Africa.  England lost the first and the second was a draw, so if the third is a draw or England loses, South Africa will take over the top world ranking.

Since Pietersen can also get outs when bowling, this is a pretty substantial loss.  They're going to need a really outstanding batting performance from lead batsman Ian Bell.

England will miss KP at Lord's, says Kallis

WaPost's Katherine vanden Heuvel NAILS Paul Ryan

WaPost opinionator Katherine vanden Heuvel leveled a powerful (and true) blast at the new GOP Veep candidate, Paul Ryan.  It's so excellent and so on target that I can't improve it, but I can put some of my favorite excerpts below.

Paul Ryan:  cruel, not courageous

1. " Ryan’s claim to courage — beating up on the poor notwithstanding — lies in his supposed willingness to tackle tough fiscal issues without obfuscation or sugar-coating. This would be admirable – if it were not utter nonsense. He preaches the need for austerity while refusing to touch defense spending. He doesn’t specify which tax loopholes would be eliminated to pay for massive tax cuts. He voted against stimulus to help the whole country, but for the auto bailout to help his own congressional district."

2. " Under Ryan’s plan, the wealthiest 1 percent would get a massive tax break. Meanwhile,  Medicare would be privatized, leaving seniors with vouchers that could never keep up with rising health-care costs. It would slash programs helping struggling families stay afloat, such as food stamps and housing assistance, by nearly a trillion dollars over the next decade. Education and employment training — vital to our nation’s future — would be cut by a third. Ryan, whose great-grandfather founded a large road construction company, would spend 25 percent less than President Obama rebuilding our deteriorating infrastructure. And since gutting Medicaid and Medicare isn’t enough, he would also repeal the president’s health-care law, leaving tens of millions of people uninsured."

3. " Recently, voters in focus groups refused to believe anyone would propose such a vicious plan.  Back when the GOP retained a modicum of humanity, even many Republicans were shocked by how far Ryan went. In polls, people of both parties recoil from his proposal to end Medicare as we know it."

So all I can say is:  BELIEVE IT.  And work to DEFEAT IT.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Non-traditional sonnet for August

I wrote an unusual sonnet for August, with some interesting rhythm and internal rhyming.  And an unusual subject as well. 

The rhyme scheme ended up being ABAB CDECDE FFFF, which I think would be challenging for a lot of sonnets, because there aren't a lot of good 4-way rhyming words.   (I.e., sets of four words that rhyme.)

"Take Your Clothes Off"

Conjoin the beauty of amazingness,
rejoin the race of swift humanity,
enjoin the strictures of relatedness
and join revolt against morality —
there is no need to be restricted by
the cold and ancient bonds which used to bind
both mind and body to restraining cust-
om; there is freedom in the wand'ring eye
of the beholder, where it is we find
the prick of an unseasonable thrust —
and so it should not be considered lewd
to be exposed and natural and nude;
if we accept this state to be thus viewed
our nudity will vex only the prude.

My best anti-Romney design yet

 My best design for an anti-Mitt Romney bumper sticker yet.  Though I've still got ideas.

I worked on this one a little after I came up with the initial idea.  But I think it gets the point across pretty well.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Happy birthday, Erwin and Lonny and Donna and George

August 12 is the birthday of famous physicist Erwin Schrodinger, who devised the cat dilemma to explain quantum uncertainty.  And also the birthday of Lonny Chin - you'll  have to look up why she's famous. Ditto for Donna Michelle.

And George Soros, rich guy with a heart for Democrats.

Also a good day for ace guitarists -- Mark Knopfler and Pat Metheny and Buck Owens.

And lovers of women -- specifically John Derek.

And a few others, like Pete Sampras.

It's a hot time in GOP stronghold states

From "Conservatives and Climate" :

"To little befuddlement, Mitt Romney has flipped-flopped on climate change numerous times. While Governor of Massachusetts he enacted restrictions on carbon dioxid emissions on power plants in his state. But while running for President, he has said the "idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us." He recently acknowledged that the globe is warming, but added, "we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet." This stance is equal to a man who has been diagnosed with cancer by 98% of the world's doctors but can't bring himself to accept such a diagnosis nor to take steps to heal his illness.

And this is where the true irony enters, much of the states bearing the brunt of the global warming-induced droughts are deep red states such as Texas and Oklahoma. More rural, conservative areas of the country are expected to see the most immediate effects of climate change in the near future in the form of continued drought and other forms of extreme weather like heightened flooding and tornado outbreaks with increased viciousness."
Another indication that Romney is no friend to the rank-and-file Republicans, including a LOT of Tea Party members in the middle social stratum of flyover states.  And Ryan's budget would cut emergency preparedness and disaster management funding, too.  Remember in November.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

How a Frisbee flies, for home experimentation

I'm pretty good at throwing a Frisbee and it's a fun pastime with the kids.  So from the scientific standpoint, this article caught my attention.  I figured angular momentum had something to do with it.

The aerodynamics of flying a Frisbee  (emphasizing how to throw a curve)

"As a side note, you've probably noticed that a Frisbee doesn't travel far if it's thrown without spin. Spinning the Frisbee helps it fly by supplying angular momentum, which helps keep the Frisbee stable; the faster it spins, the more stable it should be."

Here's a demonstration of good Frisbee throwing form by Joanna Krupa.

Now, it was reported that later, when Joanna and her nearly-as-luscious sister were playing a round of kelp toss, Joanna's bikini top got a little loose, providing the photographers with proof that she could indeed nourish her offspring with her mammary glands, if the occasion arose.  Now, why after seeing (caution is advised if this link is clicked) her extraordinary photo set in Playboy a couple of years ago someone would get overly interested in a brief nip glimpse, I don't know, but there is that titillating aspect of public nudity that occasionally garners attention.

Watching the Electoral College again

 So here I am watching the colors shift on the map.  But they aren't shifting as much as he needs right now, thank the Deity-of-Personal-Preference.

Colorado moves to the undecided column,

while Wisconsin leaned further toward Obama

"New swing-state polls slightly less favorable to Obama: The latest round of  New York Times/CBS/Quinnipiac polls is out today, and the topline is less favorable then the last round, though still encouraging for the president. Obama has a four-point lead in Virginia (49%-45%) and a six-point lead in Wisconsin (51-45), while Romney has a five-point lead in  Colorado 50-45). The Times credits white working class males as providing key support for Romney.

The Colorado number is disappointing for Obama, and the Wisconsin number should also cause a  little concern (especially with Republicans running ads in Wisconsin, suggesting they think it’s in play). Nevertheless, as with last week’s numbers, there appears to be little room for either candidate to shift the numbers: only between four and six percent of voters  in each state are undecided, and only eight to nine percent say they might change their vote."

If the HuffingtonPost map is accurate, then the real key element is this at the moment:  even if Romney  won all the states currently shown as "toss up", he'd lose. 

So I think the Republicans are going to push as close to the fiscal cliff disaster as they can, because the closer it gets, the more the economy is going to slow down, according to the University of Maryland's  Peter Morici.  More on this REALLY soon.

My newest anti-Mitt Romney bumper sticker design

I kinda like this one.   Remember, the inspiration for this is the following article:  " The root of Mitt Romney's comfort with lying " , as well as Mitt's hidden tax returns, off-shore accounts, and Rachel Maddow's show on Saturday, August 4.  If you click it, you can get the bigger version.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bar raises the bar

 Bar Refaeli has a couple of pictures in Maxim.  Even though she's never been as carefree and wonderfully nude as Miranda Kerr has been (though she's been close, see some previous posts I've done) the middle one of this set makes me breathe hard.   It's just so... so... so promising.

Breathe, just breathe.

Bar Refaeli in Maxim by James Marcari

And this picture is REMARKABLE

Yesterday I pointed to the amazing shot of the Mars Curiosity Lander headed for its Martian landing while under its superduper supersized supersonic parachute.  And today there's another remarkable quick-hit picture of the landing site, and where all the pieces landed.

And also, Curiosity is already sending back pictures.  Good news so far.

These JPL satellite guys are GOOD.

But we have to believe it to defeat it

Katrina van den Heuvel had a column in the Washington Post today entitled "Romney's Incredible Extremes".  She has the thesis that no one is believing the lies that Mitt Romney is telling every day because it is somewhat impossible to believe that anyone could be an actual President of the United States and actually support such ludicrously outlandish and extreme positions.

But the thing is -- he does.  And she makes that point repeatedly.

She makes it well here (and I provide various emphases):

"Under the best (and most improbable) of circumstances — that the Congress decided to completely  eliminate tax expenditures for those making over $200,000 before reducing any of the benefits to those making under that amount — the study found that Romney’s tax plan would transfer a staggering $86 billion in tax burden from those making over $200,000 to those making under that amount. Millionaires would pocket an average tax cut of $87,000 while everyone else would suffer a tax hike of $500 a year.

That’s because to make up for the lost income, Congress would have to cut the mortgage deduction, the deduction for gifts to charity, the deduction for employer based health care, the Earned Income Tax Credit and child tax credit that goes to middle- and lower-income earners. But simply eliminating these and other tax breaks for the rich doesn’t generate enough revenue. So the people who really take it in the teeth are middle-income earners — small business people, middle management and professionals. It is, the study concluded, “not mathematically possible” to lower tax rates as Romney proposes without giving the rich a tax break and working and middle-income people a tax hike."

"But as the Priorities crowd discovered, voters have a hard time believing any politician could be supporting 20 percent cuts in education, an elimination of the refundable tax credit for children or dramatically changing Medicare. That is simply too extreme to be believed."

The thing is, Romney is too much of a candidate to know exactly what he's supporting (the Ryan plan).  The ideologues pushing the plan are the hardliners in the House, led by Boehner and Cantor. 

"As Grover Norquist says, the House will drive the agenda and Romney will sign anything that emerges from the Senate."

And that is the fear of all who are rational in this country. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

A couple more bikini linkages

Brooke Burke ages like fine wine. Slowly and to be savored.  Her bosom is artificially and artfully enhanced.  Her butt is probably due to both genetics and hard work.

Brooke Burke:  beach, bikini, boobs, butt (and volleyball)

On the other hand, Julianne Hough is young, bubbly, and super-sweet.  But definitely has a body that can finish.

Julianne Hough's bikini workout

I will have to note, though, that she's not quite as dancer-tight as she was when she was "Dancing with the Stars".

Another UNBELIEVABLE picture from Mars.

I hoped that the Mars Curiosity lander would land successfully, and it did.  But I sure didn't think there'd be a picture of it on its way down to the surface.  These satellite guys are AMAZING.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter picture of Mars Curiosity Lander descent

Of course I will

I have posted about how gorgeous Miranda Kerr is.  So have many, many others.

I have posted about how pretty Miranda Kerr in the nude is.  So have many, many others.

I have posted what I consider is Miranda Kerr's sexiest non-nude picture.  A few others have.

Now, when some early career and frolicsome black-and-white nude pictures suddenly show up, am I going to ignore them?   Not at all.

There is great and there is beyond the ken of human comprehension.  That's where she exists.  But the remarkable fact is, she's real (and as Teri Hatcher so wonderfully put, spectacular).

Hey, if the HuffingtonPost can link to them, I certainly can.

Miranda Kerr nudes by Laurent Damon

Some Wolf coat-of-arms

OK, I promised some of the Wolf coat-of-arms, and here they are;  pretty much the same theme, but it's fun to see the variations.  I still like the one from Germany the best.

American League wild card race is pretty darned interesting

As of this afternoon, before teams get into action, the American League (this is Major League baseball, of course) wild card race is pretty interesting:

2 teams (Detroit and Oakland) are tied, the LA Angels are 1/2 game back, the against-the-odds Baltimore Orioles are amazingly enough only 1 game back, and the pesky Tampa Bay Rays are 2 games back.

I know it's only the beginning of August, but if this holds, and if we get lucky and the Yankees slump a little, September could be a LOT of fun.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Coat of arms

Here's a link to my German family coat-of-arms.  Please do not be surprised by what it features prominently.

There's more than one version of this basic design.  I may show a few more.

Silverback backlog

I have lots of silverback news in my compendium, but meanwhile, a glimpse at one of the champion silverbacks, Flavio Briatore, with proof of his silverbackness:

Abs-olutely amazing: Flavio Briatore's wife Elisabetta Gregoraci shows off her sculpted stomach as couple enjoy day at the beach with their son

 Remember, this is the father of Heidi Klum's first baby.   And he actually looks like he's in better shape.


Oh please John, please stop

OK, bagging the napalm of Jessica Simpson OR the prime years of Jennifer Aniston alone (not to mention Minka Kelly or Jennifer Love Hewitt's wonderland, so I won't) would be a lifetime achievement, but John Mayer (who I'm not sure will ever sing again) now appears to have had a date-with-benefits with Katy Perry.   That would be a clear case of his cup running WAY over the limit.

Almost makes Leonardo DiCaprio look like an also-ran.

The details of the date and the ride home


So, do I stay up to see if the Curiosity lander becomes a fantastic scientific achievement or a $2 billion dollar hole on the dusty surface of Mars? 

I'm going to bed.  There will be plenty of replays if the "safely down" signal is received.

But I sure hope I wake up to good news.  I really, really hope so.

Good for Murray

Even though Andy Murray's win for the Olympic gold medal in tennis doesn't make my beginning-of-the-year prediction that he'd win a Grand Slam this year correct, it's still good to see, and might, just might give him enough confidence for a U.S. Open win in September.  We'll find out soon.  It was a heck of a run to take out both Djokovic and Federer, and also another big win for the hosts.  (Great Britain, you know).

What Phelps might do now

Thinking about what Michael Phelps might do after his post-Olympic victory tour (and the USOC would be stupid not to milk him for everything they can get out of him), the question must be -what do you do next?  I imagine that it might have something to do with swimming.   And that reminded me of Tom Dolan, who held the 400 IM record for a remarkable 8 years until Phelps broke it, and if the 400 IM can be considered the decathlon of swimming (reasonable), then he was arguably the world's greatest all-around swimmer from 1994 to 2000.  

Let me also note here that winning the Olympic 400 IM is not easy, in case anyone thinks Ryan Lochte had a poor showing at the Olympics. 

But anyway, Dolan opened the Tom Dolan Swim School in northern Virginia.  While there's been a recent scandal about the conduct of Dolan's coach Rick Curl, Dolan's record and accomplishments shouldn't be affected at all by that.  And the point of this article is:   it wouldn't surprise me if Phelps follows Dolan's lead and opens a similar type swim school at the NBAC facility in Baltimore, working with Bob Bowman.  On the other hand, the love-hate relationship between Phelps and Bowman might mean that won't work, and Phelps might freelance.  It will be interesting to see where he goes, considering that it's ALWAYS difficult for anyone whose entire life, or close to it, has been defined by and dedicated to one thing.  I hope he does well. One interesting thing about athletes as good at what they do as Phelps -- sometimes it's hard to tell and teach others how to do it they way they do.  The fact that they have unusual natural abilities that make it possible for them to exceed the average human capabilities is one reason for that common difficulty.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Daily Mail links lingerie and Olympics

However unlikely the linkage, when the titular lingerie is being worn by Luisana Lopilato, I am habitually required to take full note of it.

Argentinian lingerie model Luisana Lopilato supports Team GB the best way she knows how ... by posing in patriotic pants

They happen to be patriotic for Britain, not Argentina, but maybe she'll pose nude if Argentina makes the Olympic basketball final.  A guy can hope, at least.

Leaning left, the right way, with 99 days to go

Checking the HuffingtonPost electoral college map finds that the as of today (August 1) the entire Midwest is now leaning Obama.  Despite the ups-and-downs of polling, the trend of increasing leans in the Midwest swing states is good to watch.  It is SO hard to figure out how the Republicans are going to get enthusiastic enough in these states to change Romney's fortunes when they can't be really enthused about Romney, and when the Dems can keep showing how far removed from being a common (blue-collar, redneck, average) man Romney is.  Despite the fact the the GOP aristocracy wants to preserve tax breaks for the wealthy super-stratum, the main support Romney needs does not come from that group -- after all, there aren't very many of them.  And the more Romney doesn't look like one of the good ol' boys, the less chance he has. 

The desperation is seen now in the Republican effort to blame Obama for the looming sequester defense cuts.  All the GOP has to do is to accept the logical inevitability of tax increases, and then the problem, which they made themselves because the supercommittee couldn't come up with a workable plan they'd accept with tax increases, goes away.

Let's hope the European Union can keep its head above water at least until after the first Tuesday of November.

Turnabout is fair karma, Part 2

Still watching Olympic swimming -- Phelps found himself on the losing end of a mistimed finish in the 200 butterfly, rather than the winning end as happened in the 100 fly in Beijing four years ago.  Obviously as I write these words today he has two more chances to win the same event in three Olympics, but also obviously the 200 fly was his best chance.  As I thought earlier before these things started, the 200 IM will be the definitive mano-a-mano event in the pool this Olympics (even though Adrian vs. Magnussen in the 100 free was pretty good).

Soni - magnificent WR in the 200 free semis.  Can she lose?  I sure hope not.  It's sure hard to see how anyone could beat her.  (Also, great WR by Gyurta in the men's final of the 200 breaststroke.  Not noted much in USA tweets because of the lack of U.S. medalists, but I'm sure GBR noticed because of close 2nd place finish by Michael Jamieson.)

Also enjoying watching what I've seen of women's hard court (traditional) volleyball.  Destinee Hooker is a phenomenal athlete.