Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Republican Senators diss their idiot-level colleagues

Quoting from "The Cuckoo Caucus", by Peter Finn on The Hill:

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) called efforts to defund ObamaCare in this manner “dishonest” and ‘hype.” A noted fiscal hawk, Coburn says he would “love to defund it ... but it will not work.”

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said it was “foolish” not to fund the government. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) called it “terror politics.”Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) referred to it as “shenanigans.”

Finally, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said: “The only way Republicans will lose the House is to shut down the government or default on the debt ... it makes you look politically irresponsible.”

And let's remember, these are their ideological partners.  As for the more rational of us, we know that the Tea Party wing of the GOP is just plain crocked.

My favorite superhero might get back on TV

For some reason, the Flash was my favorite superhero when I was growing up.  And I also thought the short-lived TV series with John Wesley Shipp as the Flash was reasonably well done (and it provided a limitation on superhero powers, which is slightly unusual).  So this looks like an  interesting development.  They set this up with an allusion to Central City, and now it looks Dr. Barry Allen -- the most famous Flash, even though there were others -- will make an appearance as early as this fall.

Flash Arrow spin-off

A sonnet for the last day of July

The Sun rises, and so do I

So many odes have dedicated lines
and stanzas to the scattered glory in
a sunrise;  it is both the vibrant signs
of spectral color prior to the fin
of solar orb's appearance, and the mark
of each new day's commencing.  Ev'ry start
is marked with unburnt hopes that just a spark
could set ablaze -- and now I feel my heart
and soul and being looking to the east
as dawning layers flame, as I believe
that I will view the freshness of her feast,
the newness of her nudity, and leave
my lonely night behind. I know not when;
but I will be in handsome state at then.

Monday, July 29, 2013

As good as the interdimensional travel sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey

Back in 1968, the cinematic sequence in which David Bowman enters the Star Gate and goes on an interdimensional jaunt was very, very trippy. This video of colored oil and water droplets has a similar visual effect. 

Wooh, baby, this is COOL.

It's happening again

 Scientists watch arctic cyclone chew up sea ice

Last year there was a strong mid-summer Arctic storm that initiated massive loss of sea ice.  This year there's one going on now, and though not as strong as last year's, the sea ice is even  thinner.  August is going to be very rough for the Arctic sea ice cover.

Whoa, now THIS is news

 Suddenly, climate change is politically potent

It will be interesting to see if this is a political trend, or a political blip. It makes sense that the informed younger generation is not buying the propaganda and ploys of the deniers, but it's good that they also see those who are selling it (and apparently buying it, i.e. the pols, who re-espouse it) are quacks and crocks.  Much of the younger generation is better informed, DESPITE the ability to find bad informatin that confirms one's viewpoint on the Internet.  But kids are also in tune with their situation, and they can see what's happening;  floods, fires, droughts,  heat waves, "weird weather".  Even if they don't have the benefit of hindsight, the liberal young-uns can also see that there is a strong connection between a lot of the far-right positions that clearly don't appeal to them and the bashing of climate science by the same proponents of  those loony tune far-right positions. 

The problem is the entrenchment of the right in the political landscape.  So it's good to hear that Holder is going after the egregious civil rights legislation showing up in Texas and especially North Carolina.  The more they look bad and the more they show themselves taking away our rights to vote and breathe clean air and drink clean water and hopefully have a livable Earth, the more the young people will want them out.

And that's the final piece of this, I think.  The young people of the country and the world are concerned about their future.  They can see and sense and hear about the problems, and they don't want a world that is becoming increasingly unstable;  health-wise, climate-wise, and politics-wise.  They are really getting DOWN on the GOP old guard that apparently wants to perpetuate an increasingly untenable status quo with respect to the climate and the environment, and that means to me that this trend might have legs.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Waking up to the NEED for nuclear energy

Two articles confirm the viewpoint that I've known and said and advocated for several years.  My industry of career choice, nuclear energy, is NEEDED by the world to address climate change.  You can see the articles below.  One is by ex-NASA scientist James Hansen, who is really concerned about this, and who sees nuclear as really one of the only ways to start reversing climate course in the necessary near future.  The other indicates, as I also know, that the real problem is not climate change, it's ENERGY.  The world needs energy and will continue to need energy, more of it.  To make that energy less carbon-intensive and less climate-affective, renewables, though I admire them, won't provide enough of what's needed.

Nuclear energy is taking some hard knocks right now for being expensive, potentially dangerous (even though as Hansen notes it has probably saved many, many more lives, and will save more in the future, if you do the math right, than it has taken), and technologically challenging.  But new strategies, such as waste-consuming reactors, modular fail-safe designs, and small reactors, such as those on nuclear ships and submarines, can effectively address many of those concerns.  What is needed is concerted and mutual effort.  The pressing concerns of climate change, when the idiot diddies who dispute it are dealt with, can move us in the direction that will provide a secure energy future and a better-than-bad climate future.

Article 1:  Jim Hansen presses the climate case for nuclear energy

Hansen:  "I think the only hope we have of phasing down emissions and getting to the middle of the century with a much lower level of fossil fuel emissions — which is what we will have to do if we want young people to have a future — we’re going to have to have alternatives and at this time nuclear seems to be the best candidate."

Article 2:  Global warming is not the world's top problem, energy is
"The obvious bridge to a cleaner energy future, one that does not bring runaway greenhouse gas emissions, is nuclear power. But activists are entrenched against it in America - unlike their political ancestors, modern liberals only care about poor people when it comes to demonizing the wealthy. Actual technological solutions that can provide cheaper, cleaner energy for the poor are blocked because activists are interested in addressing symptoms rather than cures. We're still somewhat handcuffed by resistance to nuclear power, resistance is almost autonomic even if people cannot remember why. "Pandora's Promise" director Robert Stone had a real uphill battle getting his documentary made because none of his usual backers - for his anti-nuclear and otherwise pro-environment pieces - wanted to be involved in that project. Being anti-nuclear is built into their cultural DNA. Pro- environment means anti-energy. Except it just isn't true outside fundraising brochures."
 These are great words and statements to read and think about.  But it's time to DO something.

Court confirms EPA can regulate CO2 emissions

As one might suspect, Republican-controlled states have challenged the Environmental Protection Agency's right, confirmed by the Supreme Court of the land, that CO2 can cause environmental harm and can be regulated by the EPA.   Well, it didn't work.  The right of the EPA to institute its regulations has been upheld by an appeals court.   So they can.  And they will.  And maybe we should tax carbon, which makes a lot of sense.

U.S. appeals court rejects states' challenge over climate rules

Texas doesn't like it, by the way.

"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality called the ruling "disappointing" and said it will consider future action.

"The EPA has effectively re-written the Clean Air Act to impose its new standards, imposed severely restrictive timelines on the states to implement its new requirements, and then twisted the Act to immediately impose its agenda on Texas," TCEQ Chairman Bryan Shaw said in an emailed statement."
Spoken like a good Rick Perry toady and Tea Party wannabe.

A tribute to myself

Yes, I know that title sounds pretty self-serving.  But it's my blog, nobody reads it*, so I can indulge myself.

A few weeks ago now (I haven't had a chance to write this before now), I accomplished a goal I had set for myself.  When I set it for myself, I thought it was possible, but fairly close to the limit of what I'm capable of.  It's an athletic achievement - a result time for an event, actually.  Now, when I was younger, this time was not that difficult for me to achieve, although by global standards of athletic excellence in this particular sport, I'm not particularly great, but I am proficient.  

Now, at my current age, and though there's no way to know, I suspect that not a lot of people could achieve the goal that I set, and which I achieved.  Maybe a couple hundred or so, globally.
But the real accomplishment was not really the goal, but how I got there.  You see, I tried to make the goal almost a year ago.  And I came close, but didn't make it.  I figured, with just a little more training and some adjustments, that I would be able to do it fairly readily.  However... schedules, injuries (which are an ever-present concern at the intensity I train at), illnesses, and ill-timed events sapped my training regimen and fitness level several times, sometimes with very unfortunate timing just about at the point where I was ready to try again.  But, I persevered.  And despite an illness that was poorly timed, I was able to recover and rest sufficiently to give the event another try.

And it was truly at the edge of my capability that day.  It was a 100% effort.  I had virtually nothing left at the end.  It hurt, a lot.  Every muscle in my body was drained, and my physiology was sorely taxed.  But I pushed through it.  I knew I was close, I knew I would be close, and with just a little more distance to go, I gave myself a "now or never" mental command to force every iota of effort remaining to get to the finish.   And when I saw that I had made it, I was relieved, because it had been so painful that I didn't want to think about having to try again.

So I'm proud of myself.  And weirdly enough, very few people know about it.  But now you do.  And even though I am just an average athlete in this sport, I share a kinship with those in the highest echelon who have gone to the edge, and set records.
OH, and by the way -- I didn't use any performance-enhancing drugs.  It was all me - all that's left of me, basically. Yay me!

* Not true, exactly.  My article on the female body model for the Los Angeles Olympic nude male and female torso statues, Jennifer Inniss, is number one in the search results when someone searches for "Jennifer Inniss statue".  So it's had a few hits.  And a LOT of people (relatively speaking) read my article about how pretty the mother of Lionel Messi's baby is.  Furthermore, people also keep coming back to my evaluation of Julianne Hough's virginity, or likely lack thereof.  And also, my "What ever happened to Nastassja Kinski" post is high in the search results and gets hits regularly.  So, a few people occasionally find and read articles on my blog.  Not many, but a few do.  Thank you for reading this article, if you did.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Double trouble in space (movies)

Fortunately or unfortunately, most of the problems that have occurred for the world's manned space missions have occurred either during training, during liftoff, or during re-entry.   Gemini 8 went into an uncontrolled spin, which was handled by the commander of the mission, Neil Armstrong, perhaps pushing him to the front of the line for the first moon landing (his co-pilot was David Scott).  And obviously Apollo 13 had a serious emergency in space.

Despite that fact, there have been several movies about disasters of various types in space:  Marooned, 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2010:Odyssey Two, Armageddon, Deep Impact, Alien, Sphere, Prometheus, Space Cowboys, Forbidden Planet, Mission to Mars  (yes, I'm throwing a wide net here).   This even though space is generally empty, pretty much uninhabited, and we haven't had a lot of problems up there.   Except for the occasionally malfunctioning urine recycler and air conditioning system.
But two movies coming out soon are realistic, and there are problems in space.  I'm really interested in how they're going to solve the main problem in the second one, Gravity.  (And as an aside, Gravity might bring a little attention to the real space debris problem.)

As a public service, here are the two trailers for Europa Report and Gravity:

Speaking of Leo

Yesterday when writing of the complications of Nina Agdal, Behati Prinsloo, and Adam Levine, I called the act of switching from one Victoria's Secret model to another as your main squeezette as the "Leo Dicaprio maneuver".  So I thought it worth updating the current dating status of Leo's current VS linkage, Toni Garrn.  Now, let's remember that Leo previously famously dated Gisele Bundchen, and more recently Erin Heatherton, also a VS model, after a longer relationship with the luminous Bar Refaeli, who's been more noted for swimwear and other lingerie lines, whom she has worn quite well.  Quite well indeed.  Leo was also with Madaline Ghenea, another lingerie model, and speaking from a purely physical evaluation standpoint, I can't believe he could depart from that. (I also think Leo uses lingerie catalogs for girlfriend shopping).

But anyway, here's an article about Leo and Toni, and of course a couple of requisite Garrn shots to gander at below. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Silver from the sea, a lot of it

I was just intrigued by this report of the deepest-ever wreck salvage operation that literally recovered tons of silver ingots from a torpedoed (World War II) British cargo ship.  I'd like to know more about how they found it. 

And - what do you do with this silver to make it monetarily valuable?  It's estimated to be worth $36 million dollars, but who do you sell it to, or is it just a museum exhibit?  And if you can't sell it, how do you make a profit on this? 

Presumably they'll sell the silver to someone who can use it for coinage or wares like candelabra or teapots or flatware, or something else.  But do you label them as "Made from Recovered Shipwreck Silver" so that they command a higher price? 

I Just Don't Know.

But as usual, the National Geographic has the best pictures of the wreck.   And they answered my question about how they found it - they used side-scan sonar.  The NatGeo article also said that the company found another ship with silver on it, but not as much as the one they're salvaging now.

Side scan sonar image of the wreck (the ship was the S.S. Gairsoppa):

I don't know who they are, but they must be recognized by someone

The estimable Daily Mail had an article about two Italian girls, maybe models (they are tabbed "TV personalities" in the article), who apparently derive their news- and watch-worthiness from having attended a few parties thrown by Italy's girl-lovin' former premier Silvio Berlusconi. 

All I can say is, who has this job of spotting celebs and pseudo-celebs in bikinis on the beach, and how can I get a job as their assistant bikini-spotter?   In any case, these girls are very, very shapely.  I would have definitely spotted them.

Picking up the pieces?

Celebrity romance breakups and hookups with hotties currently in the news:

A. The absolutely tantalizingly desirable Nina Agdal got dumped, apparently by text, by Adam Levine, who took up with previous flame Behati Prinsloo, and even got engaged to her.  That has to sting a little. I'd be glad to help Nina sort it out psychologically and physically, but I doubt I'm eligible, for a lot of reasons.   Now, the wisdom of dumping Nina has to be examined, but when you can dump a hot Victoria's Secret model for a different hot Victoria's Secret model, there doesn't appear to be much of a stupidity downside.  (This is known as the "Leo DiCaprio maneuver".)

B.  Julianne Hough, who I also rank highly in a lot of desirability categories, was forced apparently by the demands of his career aspirations to break up with the total idiot.  I don't care who you are and you can date next, Ryan Seacrest, THAT IS DUMB.   But Julianne apparently has a new beau/suitor, who sent her flowers (roses) after apparently possibly spending the night.  Well, it was also her birthday.  If Julianne is no longer a virgin, as I suspected, then she's also possibly embracing her sexual freedom.    I envy the guy most seriously.

Making tracks on Mars

Every time I see these pictures of rover tracks and rovers on Mars, I'm triply impressed.    

The first reason that I'm impressed is that we, the humans of the world, actually have a researching robot on Mars that's making tracks in the dusty sandy surface.  [Actually we still currently have a couple doing that.]  

The second reason I'm impressed is that we, us humans, also have a satellite in orbit around Mars carrying an imaging system that is capable of taking pictures with sufficient spatial resolution to observe the tracks made by the rover, and also the rover itself.  [Actually, there are currently a couple of satellites with imaging systems in orbit, but I'm not sure if more than one can see rover tracks.] 
The third reason I'm impressed is that we, us humans and particularly us humans in the USA, have been able to look beyond our petty and parochial concerns (even though some of those concerns are pressing) and conduct science like this.   And I should note that the Europeans have a satellite in orbit that sends back great pictures of Mars, too.

Click here to see this image much larger.  (And you can see the blue spot that marks Curiosity's current location.)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Please, Arrow, break the Summer streak

Yesterday I watched the new trailer for the next season of  Arrow.  To my horror, I spotted Summer Glau in it.  Now, I like Summer Glau.  She's hot, and she's a pretty decent actress.  But unfortunately, her TV series track record is a litany of short-term series.  Infamously, she was on the lost and much lamented Firefly and finished that off well in the movie Serenity. Then she  had a 31 episode run as a cyborg on The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which was a good show, and lasted two seasons.   She showed up in the last few episodes of Dollhouse.   She was an important character in the promising (at least I thought so) The Cape.  And she was in the last few episodes of Alphas, too.

Arrow did great for a super-hero series in its first year, but they killed off both the main villain and the hero's best friend.   And his Mom confessed to wrongdoing.  Very interesting to see where they'll go now, but the guy that is destined to play Robin to his Batman has not yet even drawn a bow yet.   So they probably still have a lot to do.   Let's hope that having Summer on the series doesn't mean that it's destined for a premature end.   The show (and Summer) deserve better than that.

And the more episodes of Arrow I get to watch, the more I get to watch Katie Cassidy and Emily Bett Rickards.  Which means I want it to run for a long time.

Arrow:  Season 2 trailer at Comic-Con

"If the show's ratings take a dive, I'm shooting Summer Glau first."

More bad sequestration cuts


(Actual title of the article is "House Republicans propose cuts to EPA, Arts")
"The $24 billion spending measure would gut the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency with a one-third cut...

Republicans control the House and are insisting on living within a tight $967 billion "cap" on agency operating budgets and are shifting more than $47 billion from domestic programs to the Pentagon – which runs counter to a 2011 budget agreement.

The measure also contains a roster of policy "riders" aimed at reining in the EPA such as language that would prohibit the agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from electric utilities."
Of course. As if we could be surprised by these asswipes.  But this case they're wiping their ass on US.

Richard III will finally rest in peace

After they positively identified the remains of the notorious and nefarious King Richard III of England, who was buried under a modern parking lot, apparently a few people thought that even the baddest of kings deserves royal treatment.  So their going to raise one million pounds sterling to give him a proper final resting place in Leicester Cathedral (even though one group has raised an objection).

I guess that's better than just leaving him in a museum, isn't it?

Richard III to be laid to rest

"The Dean of Leicester, The Very Rev David Monteith, said: 'We have listened carefully to the different views that were expressed.

'We want to create a really wonderful space in the cathedral for him and the many thousands of people we know will want to come to visit and pay their respects."
The article notes that Richard III was the last English king to die in battle.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Every now and then

Every now and then, a green tide hits the coast of China, in contrast to "red tides", which might feature algae and dinoflagellates (which are also photosynthetic) carrying a nasty array of toxins.

This year the green tide is especially thick. "Green tides" just mean a lot of algae, likely caused by a combination of sun, winds, and nutrients.  Where there's a lot more than expected, the algae may be growing rampant due to excess nutrients washing into the ocean from agricultural practices.  China is notorious for overfertilizing its crops, exacerbating the problem.

Algae along miles of coast in China

YUCK.  But also a potential biofuel feedstock;  can't overlook that factlet.

Filibuster to be busted

This might be the week that the Senate goes nuclear on Presidential nominations.

Amid acrimony, Senate moves toward historic vote to change its rules
"Reid said he planned to use a party-line vote to change the Senate’s rules so that nominees can be confirmed by a simple majority, thereby doing an end run around a Republican blockade of nominees to key boards that oversee Wall Street and labor relations.

The method for changing the rules would require a ruling from the presiding officer, likely to be Vice President Biden, declaring filibusters on such Cabinet or agency nominations invalid, followed by a vote requiring 51 votes to uphold the ruling."
It's in the Republicans power to fix this.  They can confirm several nominees this week and show that they still can cooperate.  If they don't, they deserve to lose the power they've been wieldng.

And the Democrats do, too.  Presidential nominees shouldn't be filibustered.  It's about running the country like a business.  But as we've seen, the Republicans don't want the country to run well, and they hope the ruling party in the White House will get more of the blame.  So far, this strategy isn't working.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Update on the Russian meteor (and subsequent meteorites)

Remember the asteroid/meteor that exploded over Russia early this year?  Well, they've done some analyses of some small pieces of it -- and guess what, it's a space rock.  Actually, a chondrite

Russian Chelyabinsk meteorite pieces go under microscope

In other Russian meteorite news, if you remember that they found a big round hole in a lake under the big boom, the performance of a bottom survey found an apparent much bigger piece of the rock.  But they haven't brought it up yet.

Huge chunk of meteorite located in Urals lake

 Also, apparently it wasn't hard to find pieces of this rock in the snow:

Chelyabinsk mega-meteor:  Status Report
[This article, by the way, says that they don't know if what's on the bottom of the lake is a piece of the meteor body at all, and it's covered with silt.)
"Meanwhile, even simple Russian peasants quickly realized that rocks falling from outer space are worth plenty of rubles. Although deep snow covered the region at the time, winter's blanket actually made finding fragments relatively easy. Eager searchers simply looked for small, deep tunnels in the drifts. A few seconds digging by hand down into the snow frequently revealed a piece of stone. Some holes became partly filled with icy particles that adhered to the meteorite and sintered together into relatively hard cylinders, yielding the weird cosmic snow cones like those seen at right."
So, they've found little pieces of the space rock and it was definitely a space rock.  But the big find might still be on the bottom of the lake.   Considering how much money it would be worth, I expect some entrepeneur to go fishing for it eventually.

What's the most telling statistic here?

The HuffingtonPost had an article about a poll comparing the public's assessment of who is more to blame for the inaction and massive inertia at the heart of our Government.  The results here should be noted by the Senate GOP that's getting very worried about the Dems changing the filibuster rules so as to allow the duly-elected President the ability to actually run the government effectively - clearly something that the GOP doesn't want to have happen.

Here's the article:

Poll: GOP More To Blame For Gridlock, But Both Parties At Fault 

This headline is certainly not surprising.  But I read the article looking for real indications of the public's perceptions.   And here's what I found:

" Voters also wanted to see the president and congressional Republicans come to a compromise. Fifty-three percent said Obama was doing too little to work with Congress on important issues, while 68 percent said GOP legislators were compromising too little with Obama."

That's a pretty big gap.  And the fact is, it's not that they are compromising too little with Obama;  it's that they aren't compromising (or even negotiating) at all with Obama.  And that's  the recipe for unworkableness.   And that's why the nuclear option on nominations is most definitely on the table.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

There isn't much more to say...

except Nina AGDAL, doing wet the right way.


Maybe nuclear engineers should move to Japan

I should have expected this, but yet I'm still somewhat surprised by it. Japan's post-Fukushima nuclear aversion is fading given the difficulty of ramping up renewables. 

Japan's growth in renewable energy dims as nuclear strives for comeback

"The regional utility's decision to limit its purchases of solar power cannot be assigned to grid capacity alone. The decision was taken in large part due to Hokkaido Electric's expectations that all three idled reactors at its Tomari nuclear power plant will eventually go back online. Power demand in Hokkaido at its minimum is just 3 gigawatts. The three Tomari reactors have a combined power generation capacity of 2.07 gigawatts, leaving a difference of roughly 1 gigawatt if they are returned to service. But if utilities revert to relying on nuclear power to levels before the Fukushima disaster, that could leave very little room for the emerging renewable energy industries to grow."

 Plus, the article also notes that Japan is aggressively marketing the building of nuclear plants overseas, including even in Britain.  So Japan is not out of the nuclear energy sector, by a long shot.


What I think about, sometimes

OK, apparently George Clooney scratched his two-year itch, and he and Stacy Keibler are now no longer  'dating'.   Now, I'm making a presumption here, but I think that during most of George's relationships, he and his significant other engaged in coital activities.  Just a hunch.  [Actually, this was semi-confirmed when another article reported that George and Stacy hadn't gotten horizontal in the good way for months, implying that earlier in the relationship they had.  Which does not surprise me in the least.] 

George apparently has been through this before and may somehow be used to it, but if I was to break up with someone the likes of Stacy (or previously, Elizabetta Canalis), I don't know how psychologically I would handle the awareness that I would no longer have the opportunity to see Stacy Keibler nude anymore.  [Example here - this was her backside from the book on cute culos. Which translates as beautiful butts.]

That would shatter a lesser man than George, and I admit to being much his lesser. I don't know how I could remain on an even keel.  I'd binge on something.

The nuclear option on filibusters is nearing

Sounds like next week will be the one to watch in the Senate on Presidential nominations and filibuster reform.  First of all, Mitch McConnell is strident in saying that the Dems shouldn't do it, which means that he's getting scared to dickens that they're going to.

Mitch McConnell:  Democrats manufacturing nomination crisis

Are you kidding me, Mitch?  You can actually say the following without blinking at its mendaciousness?
“We see the other side cooking up phony nomination fights because they want to go nuclear,” McConnell said Tuesday. “They know their core argument — that President Obama’s nominees are being treated less fairly than those of Bush — is essentially at odds with reality.”
But fortunately, I think the Dems are going to call Itchy Mitchy's bluff.  
Reid flirts with nuclear option despite GOP shutdown threat

"The decision on whether to proceed with the controversial tactic depends on how votes on stalled nominees play out next week. If Republicans allow several of them to proceed with up-or-down votes, Democrats might have less rhetorical ammo to force a rules change."
So, will the Republicans allow enough votes on nominees to forestall the pushing of the nuclear button?  A lot of me hopes that they don't.

Now, in case you don't want to click on the link, here's the meat of what may or may not happen, and why.
"The nuclear option, so dubbed because it could cause a meltdown in bipartisan relations, entails changing the Senate’s precedents with a simple majority vote sustaining or overturning a ruling of the chair.

Reid signaled to Republicans Thursday morning that he would use it if they continue to filibuster Obama’s nominees.

He disputed Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) argument that he had promised in a colloquy earlier this year not to use the nuclear option after the Senate reached an agreement to streamline business.

Reid has since panned that deal as a failure.

“One look at the Senate’s executive calendar shows that fundamentally nothing has changed since Sen. McConnell and I entered in our supposed agreement,” he said.

Reid noted there are 15 executive branch nominees ready to be confirmed after waiting “more than 260 days,” he said."
You can't run a government effectively like that, and the Repubs know it, which is why they're doing it.  So they need to be slapped.   The time for waiting is over.

What do you think they think is the hottest?

I often profess that Emmanuelle Chriqui is hotter than the solar corona.  (That's very hot, by the way).  So when there's a collection of what they say is her top 20 hottest pictures ever, that deserves investigation.  So I did.

And note, this page also has a video of "The Top 10 Sex Scenes of the Decade".  And the page has lots of links to other places illustrated with small pictures that have a lot of boobs and butts.  So take care if you have to.

The 20 Hottest Photos of Emmanuelle Chriqui

My favorites are 7 and 15 in this set.  But I think I've seen a few better.  She is so wonderfully pretty that you have to have a nice view of her face to go with a nice view of her phenomenal body.

Regarding the sex scenes (yeah, I checked them out too):  I only saw two of them in the actual movie, i.e., I watched the movie and the sex scene that was in it.  Out of context, I don't find sex scenes as exciting;  it does matter to me what characters are getting it on, and why.   Maybe I'll write more on that later.  As it is, I'd like to know more about the movie with Marisa Tomei in it.  And "Ask the Dust" with the always-hot Salma Hayek has an uncensored clip (another warning necessary), in which it's clear exactly what the two characters are up to and in to.

Sonnet for July - 'Personally Seeking'

'Personally Seeking'

I dream of foreign beds, of other lives
that I could live -- to be another man
who took a diff'rent path, with other wives
(or one at least) and other loves, a plan
that was not what has now indeed transpired!
There is no freedom here -- for I am bound
to what I thought was right to have desired
but now unfortunately I have found

I'm trapped by my mundane accomplishments.

So when I seek and see and read and know
of how they live, without the detriments
that hold me back, I wish that I could throw
my caution and my wisdom in the air
and live a life without a second's care.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Lucky Dion lands delish Elisha

I think a lot of women are beautiful (and a lot of women are), but I've always thought Elisha Cuthbert is the epitome of beautiful curvy cuteness;  and she's proven herself as an actress in both drama and comedy;  and she's not blandly beautiful, she has animation.

She's been dating Toronto Maple Leafs hockey player Dion Phaneuf for a couple of years, and they just got married.  That makes him a lucky guy in my little book of luckiness. 

She looks pretty happy too, in the wedding pictures.

Elisha Cuthbert marries Dion Phaneuf

Below are a couple of recent reasons that he's very lucky, along with my usual advice to a pro athlete with a lovely WAG (W, in this case), to whit:  Don't screw this up by screwing around.

Want to look inside a puffin nest?

Found this via Twitter;  a live 24/7 Webcam inside a puffin nest, which is actually a burrow, on the restored puffin colony off Maine.  As I write this, there's a puffin chick in the burrow.   As I look at the camera, it's currently all alone.  Considering the late hour, I wonder why one of the parents isn't keeping the chick warm at night?  I don't know.  I hope this is a temporary situation.   I'm pretty sure puffins don't fish at night.

Puffin Burrow Live Cam

Murray and predictions

UNFORTUNATELY, this January I didn't predict that Andy Murray would win Wimbledon this year, breaking the famed 77-year British drought at the championships.   Last year I predicted Murray would win his first major and he came through at the U.S. Open after knocking off R-Fed at the Olympics.  He has definitely come into his own, and the general excellence of the top three:  Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray -- should keep us entertained for awhile in men's tennis.  As for Federer, his time of incredible dominance may have passed, but he's so astonishingly good he might still have one major left in him.  Even if he doesn't, he's one of the greatest ever, if not THE greatest ever.

And also UNFORTUNATELY, I didn't pick Marion Bartoli to win a major, including Wimbledon. Who would have done that?  That would have been a dangerous prediction, and really unlikely. But due to the demise of the top players, she made the best of her chance and pulled off a big surprise. 

Now, considering that my one tennis prediction this year was that Caroline Wozniacki would win a major, and that's not likely to happen, and also considering we're halfway through the year, I thought now would be a good time to revisit my undangerous 2013 predictions, and see how I'm doing.  Some of them were pretty unlikely and one of them was done for the sake of love (or something like it), which would have been nice but also very unexpected, despite the excellence of the subject matter.

1. Caroline Wozniacki wins a tennis Grand Slam
Evaluation:  Not likely.  She's slid down the rankings and doesn't appear to be making a run to be (or beat) number one.

2. McCauliffe elected governor in Virginia

Evaluation:  Have to wait until November, but Cuccinelli is behind on money and big money donors aren't donating yet, as noted in a couple of recent posts.  Plus, the Virginia GOP nominated a crazy candidate for Lieutenant Governor, and any linkage between him and the on-edge-of-crazy Coochie will likely make any independents very leery of this level of Tea Party craziness in charge of Virginia.  Still, McAuliffe is liberal, linked to the Clintons, and perceived as a candidate of convenience (i.e., he decided that he wanted to run for office and decided Virginia was as good a place as any to do that).  So though I'm hopeful, and totally concerned for the neighboring state if someone as flat out conservatively nutty as Cuccinelli gets elected, this one's not a sure thing by any means.

3. Arctic sea ice doesn't set new minimum record;  skeptics publicize this everywhere
Evaluation:  Can't tell, but the low sea ice volume and potential actual open sea right near the North Pole right now (early July) might mean I'm wrong.  A new sea ice minimum would indicate we really are on an accelerating warming path, and the skeptics won't publicize this. But the climate science community should exploit it for all it is worth, because it is real and unDENIABLE.

4. Jennifer Aniston has a baby
Evaluation:  Wedding has been postponed to Justin Theroux, and so she isn't apparently going the shotgun route.  Put this in the "not happening" column.

5. Mitch McConnell has a heart attack and dies (only wishing here - skip that one)
Evaluation:   Mitch is still here with us, darn the luck.

5. The GOP House fights another pitched battle over raising the debt ceiling, and only capitulates when China threatens to cause us economic harm because our pending recession is hurting their economy.
Evaluation:   Uncertain.  Showdown is coming in September.  Republicans want to use it again for political gain and gamesmanship.  Assholes every one.

6. The U.S. Men's Soccer team fails to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Evaluation:   They're doing better than expected.  Jozy Altidore is turning into an international scorer and a threat that makes other teams worry.  A ways to go yet, but they look better than they did.

7. Playboy will make an inspired choice for Playmate - Audrey Nicole (@msaudreynicole).
Evaluation:  Even though this Playboy model is beatiful in terms of facial features, and stunningly spectacular in the nude body department, I don't think she's on Playboy's list for the monthly spot. She should be.

8. Due to the nation's budget problems, several large national parks will close for at least a few days during the summer vacation season, to demonstrate how bad the situation is.
Evaluation:   Though some areas opened late or didn't open, maintenance has been deferred, park programs have been canceled, less summer staff have been hired, and a host of other things (due to sequestration) no major parks appear to be in danger of closure. 

9. Joe Lieberman gets a position in the Obama administration.
Evaluation:  What has happened to Joe, anyway?  Actually, he joined a New York law firm. No apparent administration position in the offing, but in a pinch, the Prez could still tap him.

10. A major satellite collision in space emphasizes the space debris problem.
Evaluation:  This one sorta came true twice.  I've always been concerned about an asteroid impact, and didn't predict one, but the Chelyabinsk meteor was something that showed this potential concern area is still a real concern area, despite the low likelihood.  And then something hit a little Ecuadorian cubesat (their first ever), making this prediction come true actually. 

So, here's my current score:
Not going to happen:  3
Have to wait and see:  6
Fulfilled:  1

I think I've still got a good shot of 2 and 5 happening.  Even though I don't think Audrey will be centerfolded, I'll wait til January to declare that one wrong, even though I didn't think it was likely to begin with.   And I put Woz winning the U.S. Open at zero chance, even though it hasn't technically occurred yet.

Oh well, this was all for fun.  But next year, I'm going to try a little harder to predict things that I think will happen.

See you in December.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Good news, this

I linked to this in another earlier article, but I just wanted to point this good news again.  Big money donors aren't donating big money to Ken Cuccinelli's governor campaign in Virginia.  I'm not surprised by that, but it still feels so good to repeat it.

Wallets closed (so far) to Coochie in Virginia race

She's got the blues

Julianne Hough did blue right in this outfit at Paris Fashion Week.

Julianne takes the plunge

Thursday, July 4, 2013


I am always incredibly happy to find more news about Zahia Dehar, the Bardot-esque French call girl who entertained a couple of noteworthy French soccer players when she was noteworthily only 16 (a legal non-non for the boys), and who has transformed her sex trade business into a fashion business with a large emphasis on the sex aspect of said business.   She's designing and selling some really on-the-edge lingerie, both in terms of design and the limited amount of actual fabric she employs

But why does this make me so happy?  Because usually anytime the Daily Mail reports on Zahia Dehar's latest entrepreneurial progress, the article is usually accompanied with several images of Zahia wearing something that shows off her non-financial assets.  

The next two articles, about her lingerie getting it's own French boutique and another about the lingerie getting sold in the USA, do not disappoint.  Especially the first one, in which Zahia appears to be wearing a translucent sheath decorated with strategically placed sequins.  I grabbed a shot to show what this means.  She also has an incredible mane of hair to go along with her somewhat extraordinary physique.

Zia Dehar attends launch of her Paris boutique wearing a see-through mesh dress

Zia Dehar set to sell risque 'couture' lingerie line in the U.S.

Just plain oo-la-wow

Think sequestration isn't hurting? Ask researchers

The Washington Post had a recent strange article in which they noted that many of the horror stories that were suggested could happen with sequestration haven't happened.  It was weird because one of the main reasons that they haven't happened is that Republicans have let slip the noose when it got tight on some of the issues, most notably with air traffic controllers.  And the article does note that military readiness is likely being impacted, but it isn't clearly obvious yet.

But one somewhat invisible (to the general public) sequestration impact is on science research.  This article from the Minnesota's Star Tribune describes what is happening at the University of Minnesota in terms of medical and biomedical research (and research in general in the U.S.).

There's a lot in this one:

The U [of Minnesota], for example, could lose $50 million of its $750 million federal research budget in the next couple of years.

The NIH, with an annual budget of about $30 billion, is the largest biomedical research organization in the world. Dr. Francis Collins, known for his leadership of the Human Genome Project, heads the NIH and recently warned a Senate subcommittee that countries such as China and India have been ramping up their investments in biomedical research while the NIH budget — essentially flatlined since 2003 — has seen inflation erode its purchasing power by about 22 percent.
The United States now spends less on R&D, as a percentage of its GDP, than Israel, Japan, Korea, Sweden and Switzerland, he said.
Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., said China increased its basic research budget by 26 percent last year and plans to spend $300 billion on biotechnology research over the next five years. In the United States, he said, “We risk losing a generation of scientists.”

Dr. Brian Herman, the U’s vice president of research, said other federal agencies also are slashing research budgets. He said NASA, for instance, is on pace to drop to its lowest level since 1988. The NSF’s budget declined 24 percent between 2009 and 2012.   [And in the mid-oughts Congress and the Prez made noise about doubling NSF's budget.]


An assistant professor at the U’s medical school, who asked not to be identified, said she advises students to think hard before pursuing a career in academic research. The lab where she works with genetically engineered mice used to have 30 people, including grad students, post-docs and research associates, she said. Now it’s down to just two — and they are working for three-quarters’ salary because their latest grant request wasn’t funded and the U chose not to support the lab any longer.
This situation is pretty bad.  And in a few years a lot more people will realize it and wonder what happened.  I'll be able to say "I told you so", not that it will make me feel much better.

2:26 of Nina Agdal

Wow, just a few minutes after I posted about Nina Agdal in an article that doesn't have a video, I found this article that does.   And since it's YouTubed, I provide it below.

Music by Maroon 5.  Lead singer is the incredibly lucky Adam Levine, who is dating Nina after previously dating, consecutively, two other Victoria's Secret models.  There are some perks to being a rock star.

Run, Wendy, Run? She should stay a symbol

After her courageous filibuster, Texas state senator Wendy Davis has been suggested as a Democratic candidate to run against dangerous Governor Rick Perry.   She's thinking about it, according to this article.  She has name recognition now, and she stands for the right Democratic issues.

But according to this article, it would be a tough run against Perry.   He's got a big numbers advantage, he's been in the game for a long time, and  he has no qualms about saying bad things about other people, and then claiming that's not what he meant.  Texas is still predominantly a rural, Bible Belt, southern bastion of whitedom.   There are some eclectic and integrated urban pockets that have some Democrats, but over the whole state Republicans still have considerable advantages in numbers, and Perry is proving he knows what buttons to push to keep his base in line and on point.  Passing the abortion restriction bill will just keep his minions following him dutifully.

And while Perry is very far right, he's not been as audacious about it as Virginia governor candidate Ken "The Cooch" Cuccinelli, and that would probably mean that the big money supporters in Texas will be reliable supporters of Perry, which right now is not the case for Cuccinelli.

I'm thinking that Wendy Davis should try to stay where she is and act as a powerful symbol of what the Republicans are doing to oppress women's rights.   As has just been done in Ohio, where the Republicans have shown that they have no clothes, when they restricted access to contraception AND passed abortion clinic restrictions.  That's just plain scummy awful.

This is an example of how far the new laws in Ohio go:
Rape crisis clinics are also in jeopardy, thanks to passage of the new budget. If these clinics are caught counseling sexual assault victims about abortion, they could lose their public funding, Reuters reported.
The mind boggles.  But this is an excellent example of hard conservative Republicanism in action.

Helping the Red Knot by rescuing horseshoe crabs

The Red Knot, a shorebird, has been featured several times in nature documentaries both textual and video in which the marvels of migration are described.  The bird makes a very long migration every spring, and one of its most noted stops is on the shores of the Delaware Bay beaches.  After a long flight from South America, the hungry birds need food -- and so they time their arrival to coincide with the mating period of the horseshoe crab.   The crabs mate en masse right on the beach, so there are masses of horseshoe crab eggs in the sand, which the red knots gorge on during the stopover, then they finish their migration up to the Arctic.  A wonder of nature, to be sure.

But the red knot numbers have been going down, partly because horseshoe crab populations have been going done.  Though totally inedible from a human standpoint, they were being used as bait.  This got cut back by legislation, and now there's a program called "Re-Turn the Favor" in which the general population is being encouraged to flip over hapless horseshoe crabs whom waves or other actions have flipped onto their carapace back, and assist them in a return to the ocean.  In this manner losses due to accidental attrition in the horsheshoe crab population can be reduced.  

This is such a noble thing to do I may have to go do it myself one weekend.  And in the meantime I'll also do some boob, er, bird-watching at the same time.

Save me!  Save me!

A couple of things about Nina Agdal

I'll be following the career arc of Nina Agdal for awhile.    So here's a couple of very recent appearances. 

First, she's a bombshell in Galore magazine.  This picture-heavy publication features a lot of models.  And videos.   Nina doesn't have a video, but she does have a picture in a fabulous USA flag one-piece swimsuit (made more fabulous by her display of curves) and another picture in which it appears that the bottle of mustard got over-excited to be in her presence and got smeared all over the wiener.  Can't say that I blame it.  

The issue also has a feature with up-and-getting-noticed, much due to the "Blurred Lines" video, Emily Ratjakowski.    This has a video, complete with nipple flash and naked butt shot.  Probably NSFW, if I have to state the obvious, and the music is loud if you don't turn it down.   If you want more of her in toto, just find the "Blurred Lines" video on Vimeo -- the one with the mostly naked girls.

Back to Nina.  In a very recent post, I wondered if Nina would be the next Miranda Kerr for Victoria's Secret.  The Huffington Post wonders if Nina will be the next Kate Upton.  (It's actually a Splash video). Considering that Kate is definitely still at the top of her game, I don't think Nina will be a 'next' Kate Upton.  I think they'll be side by side for awhile.  Miranda is moving on from VS, so that's why I think in short order Nina will be one of the top five VS models.  I'm pretty sure that Nina will still be in the SI swimsuit issue a few more times.   That would put her in the Tyra Banks & Heidi Klum neighborhood.

Where did I know THAT guy from?

"The Dark Knight Rises" is playing in rotation on HBO now, and it allowed me to see it again, after seeing it  once in the theaters.  I kept wondering who the judge that "iced" all of the upper class was. Turns out that I remembered him from "Inception";  he was the target that the dream team (ha) was trying to influence.  Christopher Nolan does like to keep his acting friends close.

Actor's name is Cillian Murphy.  He also had a role in "Batman Begins", and he is actually reprising that role in "The Dark Knight Rises", but I've only seen glimpses of "Batman Begins".    Also had a significant role in "In Time".

He's got some seriously intense eyes.   And he's married with two kids.