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Monday Toon Roundup 1: Secret Secret

Jerome Karle dies at 94; Nobel winner in chemistry

By Monte Morin, Los Angeles Times
June 23, 2013, 6:32 p.m.
When Jerome Karle learned he was to share the Nobel Prize in chemistry, the Brooklyn-born scientist was miles above the Atlantic Ocean and quite unaware that his flight was about to turn into a champagne fete.

Karle had left his hotel room in Munich, Germany, before he could receive the news from Stockholm and was instead told by the pilot, who informed the entire aircraft and invited all to toast the passenger in seat 29C.

"It will take at least 24 hours for this to sink in," Karle told reporters after his arrival in Washington, D.C.

Indeed, it had taken decades for Karle's work to sink in with the scientific community. Initially, many scientists were puzzled by and skeptical of the methods and mathematical formulas he had used to describe crystal molecules after bombarding them with X-rays. By the time he and his colleague, mathematician Herbert A. Hauptman, were awarded the Nobel in 1985, their technique had been used to study poisons, heart drugs, antibiotics, anti-carcinogens, anti-malarials, explosives and propellants.

Yet until Karle's death from liver cancer June 6, in Annandale, Va., the 94-year-old had hoped to see a third collaborator recognized: his chemist wife, Isabella.

Karle and others have credited Isabella with championing the practical applications of X-ray crystallography at a time when it was viewed as a theoretical curiosity. After learning of his Nobel, Karle told reporters that his wife also deserved the prize and hoped that she would one day receive the recognition. "I can't think of anyone who is more qualified than my wife," Karle said.



Herbal Earth

by KEN KREMER on JUNE 22, 2013

Earth’s Vegetation from Suomi NPP satellite. World map of vegetation data collected by the Suomi NPP satellite (National Polar-orbiting Partnership) in a partnership between NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Credit: NASA/NOAA

Herbal Earth: that’s the title of a spectacular collection of vivid new views of the Earth’s vegetation captured over the past year by the Suomi NPP satellite.

NPP is short for National Polar-orbiting Partnership – an Earth science satellite partnership between NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Although it’s rather reminiscent of the manmade ‘World at Night’ – its actually the ‘Natural World of Living Green Life.’

The Suomi NPP satellite data were collected with the Visible-Infrared Imager/Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument from April 2012 to April 2013 and used to generate this gallery of images and animations – released by NASA and NOAA on June 19.

Read more: http://www.universetoday.com/103072/herbal-earth-spectacular-vegetation-views-of-our-home-planet-and-the-natural-world-of-living-green-life/

Time Cover Story Wrongly Attacks Atheists for Not Helping Out Victims of Oklahoma Tornadoes

By Hemant Mehta Leave a Comment
The cover story in this week’s Time magazine, written by Joe Klein, is all about how volunteering and doing service projects may help curb the effects of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on our veterans:

co-founder of volunteer group Team Rubicon] Jake Wood has little tolerance for veterans who see themselves as victims. Posttraumatic stress is, he believes, a condition that can be battled and defeated. “If you’re out doing disaster relief,” Wood says, “you’re less likely to be thinking about yourself and more likely to be thinking about the people you’re helping. You’re also presenting yourself, and other veterans, as a model, as a potential community leader.”

Okay. Sounds all well and good. The article goes on to note that doing these projects can help veterans in any number of ways, including providing them with “health and psychological benefits… greater longevity, reduced depression, and a greater sense of purpose.” All of that makes sense.

As part of his reporting, Klein joined one of the disaster relief groups and worked at a site damaged by the Oklahoma tornadoes… and that’s when he wrote this:
… there was an occupying army of relief workers, led by local first responders, exhausted but still humping it a week after the storm, church groups from all over the country — funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals — and there in the middle of it all, with a purposeful military swagger, were the volunteers from Team Rubicon.

Wow. My jaw dropped while reading that because it’s absolutely not true.


Klein is a dick.

They just can't get over it-Obama birthplace mistake: Yahoo! News declines comment

By Erik Wemple,
In April 2011, Barack Obama, president of the United States, took the extraordinary step of releasing the long-form version of his birth certificate. As the New York Times wrote at the time, the idea behind the move was “to finally end a long-simmering conspiracy theory among some conservatives who have asserted that he was not born in the United States and was not a legitimate president.”

The certificate proved that Obama was born in Hawaii.

Rachel Rose Hartman, a White House reporter for Yahoo! News, couldn’t possibly have missed the “birther” story. It was unavoidable, after all, for an unhealthy chunk of the president’s first term.

Yet: In her story yesterday on Obama’s Africa trip, Hartman managed to say that “he won’t be stopping in the country of his birth.” From the context of the story, it’s clear she was referring to Kenya. The Wrap captured the original text of the error (see below).


The Stupid never ends....

Heroes of the meltdown

By Mark Willacy.

Forty-one minutes after the earthquake's opening shudder, the first tsunami crashed over the front line of defence at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant: a 2.5-kilometre breakwater of 60,000 concrete blocks. Eight minutes later, an even larger wave surged over the second and last line of protection: the compound's 5.7-metre seawall. Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) earthquake-proof bunker was just 400 metres from the seawall, but it sat on a raised area 35 metres above sea level. Inside it, on the monitor, the company's employees watched a fast-moving wave the colour of oil roiling across the Sendai Plain, further north up the coast. It was pushing fishing boats inland, exploding plastic greenhouses and picking up parked trucks. In the images taken from a news helicopter on March 11, Takashi Sato, the reactor inspector at Fukushima Dai-ichi, could see the black wave tearing apart homes.

"The tsunami has hit the side of the turbine buildings." It was not the TV, but a voice inside the bunker. Sato was jolted away from the television. What did they say? Only then did he realise the same wave had hit the Fukushima coast, too.

'We are finished,' thought Sato. All around him he could hear the muttering of men who believed they were damned.

"The tsunami alarm said the height would be about three metres," said Atsufumi Yoshizawa, the director of Reactors 5 and 6 at Fukushima Dai-ichi, who was outranked only by plant manager Masao Yoshida. A lithe, quietly spoken man with neatly parted salt-and-pepper hair, Yoshizawa was a TEPCO veteran of 30 years.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/heroes-of-the-meltdown-20130617-2ocz5.html

In Savannah, Many Defend Paula Deen From Critics

ple lined up Saturday outside Paula Deen’s restaurant in Savannah, Ga. Many were angry that Food Network had dropped Ms. Deen.


Published: June 22, 2013

SAVANNAH, Ga. — The line of Paula Deen fans waiting for her restaurant here to open grew throughout the hot, muggy morning Saturday.

They discussed what they might select from the buffet inside The Lady and Sons, her wildly popular restaurant in the heart of Savannah.

But they also talked of boycotting the Food Network, which dropped their beloved TV chef on Friday after she awkwardly apologized for having used racial slurs and for considering a plantation-themed wedding for her brother, with well-dressed black male servants.

The predicament that Ms. Deen finds herself in began when a former employee — a white woman who is now managing restaurants in Atlanta — filed a discrimination lawsuit in March 2012. She claimed that racial epithets, racist jokes and pornography on office computers were common while she managed Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House, one of the restaurants in Ms. Deen’s empire. Forbes has estimated her net worth at $17 million.


Introducing the NSA-Proof Font

At a moment when governments and corporations alike are hellbent on snooping through your personal digital messages, it'd sure be nice if there was a font their dragnets couldn't decipher. So Sang Mun built one.

Sang, a recent graduate from the Rhode Island Schoold of Design (RISD), has unleashed ZXX—a "a disruptive typeface" that he says is much more difficult to the NSA and friends to decrypt. He's made it free to download on his website, too.

"The project started with a genuine question: How can we conceal our fundamental thoughts from artificial intelligences and those who deploy them?" he writes. "I decided to create a typeface that would be unreadable by text scanning software (whether used by a government agency or a lone hacker)—misdirecting information or sometimes not giving any at all. It can be applied to huge amounts of data, or to personal correspondence."

He named it after the Library Congress's labeling code ZXX, which archivists employ when they find a book that contains "no linguistic content."



I doubt anything is really NSA proof. But they would have to look for it first.

Toon: GOP Fetal 'Facts'

GM silkworms bred to spin fluorescent silk

(Phys.org) —Scientists in Japan have genetically engineered silkworms to create red, green or orange silks that glow under fluorescent lights.

The silkworm is the larval form of the domesticated silkmoth (Bombyx mori) and is one of only two insects domesticated by humans (the other being the bee). The larvae build a cocoon around themselves in which to pupate, and each cocoon is made from a fine protein thread of silk up to 900 meters in length. Silk is made by harvesting the cocoons (with larvae inside) and softening them so the threads can be reeled. Around 6,000 cocoons are needed to make a kilogram of silk. Normal silk is a soft, white thread.

Now a research team led by Tetsuya Iizuka and Toshiki Tamura of the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences in Ibaraki, Japan, has genetically modified the silkworm by transplanting genes from organisms that produce fluorescent proteins into the silkworm genome at the site coding for the silk fiber protein fibroin. The genes they used to make the transgenic silkworms came from the Fungia concinna coral (orange), Discoma coral (red) or jellyfish (green).

Silkworms had previously been genetically modified to produce human collagen proteins and spider silk. Co-author Tamura, said they had earlier produced green fluorescent protein that was used to make beautiful silks, and the new research extended the method to produce the three fluorescent silks in large enough amounts to be useful in making fabrics.

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