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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 35,298

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Environmental Scientist

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The Caterpillar Defense

by Carl Zimmer

Letís say youíre a baby bird. In particular, youíre a chick belonging to the species Laniocera hypopyrra, which also goes by the elegant common name of the cinereous mourner. You hatch out of your egg and find yourself in a nest up in tree in a rain forest in Peru. You canít fly. You can only wait for your parents to bring you food. You are, in other words, easy pickings.

So what might you do to avoid getting snatched up by a predator? Perhaps you might hold very still so as not to attract attention. Perhaps you might also grow dull, bark-colored feathers to help you blend into you background.

If youíre a cinereous mourner, however, this is not what you do. As you can see in this video, you grow brilliant orange plumage. You make yourself absurdly easy to see.



Astronomers Say: Centre Of The Milky Way Galaxy Is Raspberry Flavoured

Ever wanted to take a whiff of, or a bite out of the Milky Way? Scientists have recently discovered that the centre of the galaxy has a distinct flavour and smell to it, not quite unlike an exotic, fruity cocktail. Astronomers at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn have been studying a massive dust cloud in the heart of the Milky Way, hoping to find the existence of molecules that are the very building blocks of life. What they did find, however, has left them more curiour than the fabled cat.

A team of researchers has been on the look out for existence of amino acids in outer space, which would help support and even create life. If you have ever wondered about how one could go about creating little aliens, amino acids are the answers to all your prayers! However, in their search for amino acids, the scientists stumbled onto a substance called ethyl formate. This is the chemical compound responsible for giving raspberries their distinct taste.

Arnaud Belloche of Cornell University reportedly said, "It does happen to give raspberries their flavour, but there are many other molecules that are needed to make space raspberries." What is even more fascinating is that ethyl formate has another unique trait, it smells like rum! Imagine, years from now, stepping out to the closest space market wearing a fashionable space suit and buying a basket of rum fragrant raspberries for a snack. Doesn't it leave your mouth watering and your mind boggling?

The significance of finding amino acids in outer space is like finding the lost city of gold... with all the inhabitants still alive and kicking. The possibilities of such a discovery would be endless, which is why it has been such an arduous and unceasing endevour. Over the years, astronomers have collected thousands of signals while observing the Milky Way dust cloud, that are yet to be analyzed.



The Wall Street Takeover of Charity

Donor-advised funds run by huge money management firms are exploding.

Fidelity Charitable runs the second-ranked charity in the United States, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, behind United Way Worldwide. Charles Schwab's is fourth and Vanguard's is 10th.

People aren't literally giving to these companies. They are setting up accounts at these firms and then disbursing the money, advising on which charities get how much.

The idea of the funds was to make it easier for individuals to give to charity. People could drop money into the account during flush times, and donate as they see fit, not in a panicked rush to meet the Dec. 31 deadline for contributions.

So far, this has turned out to be a bad deal for society.



Tribes Can Legalize Pot, Justice Department Decides

Source: US News & World Report

Four western U.S. states have decided to allow recreational marijuana sales, but legal pot may soon be within driving distance of many more Americans following a new Department of Justice decision.

In a memo released Thursday, the department outlined new policies allowing American Indian tribes to grow and sell marijuana on reservation lands.

Possession of marijuana is a federal crime, but the department announced in August 2013 it would allow states to regulate recreational marijuana sales. The nation's first recreational pot stores opened in Colorado and Washington this year.

Residents of Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia voted in November to also legalize marijuana, though Congress appears likely to block sales in the nationís capital.

Read more: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/12/11/tribes-can-legalize-pot-justice-department-decides

$1.1tn US budget deal imperiled by revolt over taxpayer net for risky bank trades

A last-ditch revolt against Wall Street efforts to overturn key banking reforms is threatening to derail passage of the $1.1 trillion US budget through Congress on Thursday just hours before funding for the federal government is due to expire.

Democrats in the House of Representatives have rallied around Senator Elizabeth Warren to oppose the plan, hatched with support from corporate lobbyists, which buries the clause deep in the 1,600-page omnibus spending bill and could extend future public bailouts to riskier trading activities.

Because the budget bill is also opposed by some on the right of the Republican party for delaying a fight with the Obama administration over immigration reform, the House speaker, John Boehner, may need some Democratic votes to secure passage of the omnibus bill before government funding authorisation expires at midnight on Thursday.

But the minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, has yet to say whether she will lend her support amid mounting disquiet on the left of the Democratic caucus over the Wall Street clause and other so-called ďridersĒ, including further relaxation of campaign finance limits.



Cops use taser on woman while she recorded arrest of another man

A 36-year-old Baltimore woman claims she was tased by police and arrested while filming the arrest of a man with her mobile phone, according to a lawsuit to be served on the Baltimore City Police Department as early as Thursday.

Video of the March 30 melee surfaced online this week. Police erased the 135-second recording from the woman's phone, but it was recovered from her cloud account, according to the Circuit Court for Baltimore City lawsuit (PDF), which seeks $7 million.
Kianga Mwamba was driving home from a family gathering in March. Stopped in traffic, she began filming the nearby arrest of a man who she says was kicked by police.

"You telling me I can't record," the woman says on the video as police tell her to move on.


Thursday TOON Roundup 3- The Rest


Sony Hack



Thursday Toon Roundup 2- Moral Corruption

Thursday Toon Roundup 1- See Dick Run. See Dick order war crimes....

Toon: The people in charge of the Torture program need to be decorated!

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