Thursday, March 29, 2007

Psychology: Time Only Heals Some Wounds - Newsweek Mind Matters - MSNBC.com

Psychology: Time Only Heals Some Wounds - Newsweek Mind Matters - MSNBC.com: "When he crunched this sea of data, the results were unambiguous. As reported in the April issue of the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science, people's feelings of well-being are affected by life's stressful challenges, and healthy adaptation is not at all predictable or inevitable. Indeed, emotional equilibrium seems to depend a lot on the event. For example, people typically do adjust to marriage; after just a couple years, for better or worse; that is, most married people are just about as happy as they were when they were single.

But adaptation to other events is not so quick, nor so complete, and this is where it gets interesting. Widows and widowers do get over their grief, but it takes a full seven years for that recovery to occur. Divorce and job loss, on the other hand, seem to leave people permanently scarred."

EU must cut tuna fishing by half to save bluefin: WWF - Yahoo! News

EU must cut tuna fishing by half to save bluefin: WWF - Yahoo! News: "'There is no compromise to be had, this is a countdown to collapse,' Justin Woolford, head of the WWF's European fisheries campaign, told AFP."

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

BBC NEWS | Business | US 'no longer technology king'

BBC NEWS | Business | US 'no longer technology king': "The US has lost its position as the world's primary engine of technology innovation, according to a report by the World Economic Forum.

The US is now ranked seventh in the body's league table measuring the impact of technology on the development of nations.

A deterioration of the political and regulatory environment in the US prompted the fall, the report said.

The top spot went for the first time to Denmark, followed by Sweden."

Pop goes the american dream

Circuit City to Cut More Than 3,500 Jobs: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance: "RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Circuit City Stores Inc. said Wednesday it plans to cut costs by laying off about 3,400 retail workers, or 8.5 percent of its in-store staff, and hiring lower-paid employees to replace them. It is also trimming about 130 corporate information-technology jobs."

Really?

WASHINGTON DC, -- The long awaited US military attack on Iran is now on track for the first week of April, specifically for 4 am on April 6, the Good Friday opening of Easter weekend, writes the well-known Russian journalist Andrei Uglanov in the Moscow weekly “Argumenty Nedeli.” Uglanov cites Russian military experts close to the Russian General Staff for his account.

The attack is slated to last for 12 hours, according to Uglanov, from 4 am until 4 pm local time. Friday is the sabbath in Iran. In the course of the attack, code named Operation Bite, about 20 targets are marked for bombing; the list includes uranium enrichment facilities, research centers, and laboratories.

The first reactor at the Bushehr nuclear plant, where Russian engineers are working, is supposed to be spared from destruction. The US attack plan reportedly calls for the Iranian air defense system to be degraded, for numerous Iranian warships to be sunk in the Persian Gulf, and for the most important headquarters of the Iranian armed forces to be wiped out.

Eating beef in pregnancy may affect son's sperm - Pregnancy - MSNBC.com

Eating beef in pregnancy may affect son's sperm - Pregnancy - MSNBC.com: "WASHINGTON - U.S. women who eat a lot of beef while pregnant give birth to sons who grow up to have low sperm counts, researchers reported Tuesday.

They believe pesticides, hormones or contaminants in cattle feed may be to blame. Chemicals can build up in the fat of animals that eat contaminated feed or grass, and cattle are routinely given hormones to boost their growth."

Fear of commitment?

So I went on matchmaker date 2 last night. He was fine. Tall good looking etc and felt a whole lotta nothing. Which is fine, it's date 2 so totally reasonable and so far pretty fun. Just saying, no magic yet.


"United States: The number of women living alone has increased more than 33 percent in the past fifteen years to 30 million, and the marriage rate in 2004 has declined nearly 50 percent since 1970, from 76.5 marriages per 1,000 unmarried women to 39.9 (State of Our Union, National Marriage Project).

Japan: The number of unmarried Japanese women ages 25 to 34 is skyrocketing, so much so that the government is enacting policies to ensure the continuation of the population. How apocalyptic! What used to be a very family-centric culture has quickly become single-minded, with a bestseller about life as a thirty-something single female, titled Howl of the Loser Dogs, flying off the shelves and Boyfriend Pillows (headrests shaped like a man's arm) selling out as quickly as they're made.

Brits: When it comes to our friends across the pond, they're taking commitment-phobia to a whole new level. With the average age of women getting married now at 32 years (Office of National Statistics, 2001), there's a reason why singleton Bridget Jones was invented here. And with a new National Singles Week holiday to call their very own, it's unlikely that the trend will reverse anytime soon.

Aussies: Australia's marriage rate is the lowest it has been in a hundred years.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Wired 15.04: The See-Through CEO

Wired 15.04: The See-Through CEO: "Being 'liked' sounds awfully touchy-feely - yet it's central to this flowering of glasnost. Today's public has been serially disenchanted by years of corporate scandals and on-the-cheap customer service so inhuman it couldn't pass the Turing test. 'I think that most of the rage people feel toward these big institutions, like government or corporations or media, is that they feel they're not listened to, that no one's there,' says Shel Israel, coauthor of Naked Conversations. By seeming 'basically like a normal human,' a company can quickly generate a surge of goodwill. As Redfin's Kelman puts it, 'There's a whole class of CEOs who can hardly write an email. But I feel like in this new digital world, there are haves and have-nots, and people who can't write convincingly - they're leaving themselves defenseless. The people who clearly enjoy writing and blogging are like CEOs 2.0 - they have competitive advantage over other CEOs.'"

The battle over executive privilege - Yahoo! News

The battle over executive privilege - Yahoo! News: "RICHMOND, VA. - What began as a partisan battle over the disputed firings of eight US attorneys threatened to become a constitutional confrontation between the executive and legislative branches last week. At stake in the standoff is the scope and force of executive privilege – the long-contested legal doctrine that seeks to ensure the privacy and candor of conversations between presidents and their advisers"

How the World Works - Salon.com

How the World Works - Salon.com: "So when we looked at the supply of graduate and post-graduate degrees, we saw a real problem. Whereas 92% of undergraduate students were American born, this wasn't so with graduate and post-graduate.

What's more, the trend was alarming. U.S. PhD's were increasingly going to foreigners, and China's PhD production increased by a factor of 5 over a decade. Most of China's graduates aren't leaving China and an increasing number of Chinese students in the U.S. are returning home.

My recommendations are that we make it worthwhile for Americans to complete graduate and post-graduate degrees -- these are not cost justified right now. This is not a matter of discouraging students by creating a fear of jobs being outsourced -- as was the case with undergraduate degrees -- here it's all about economics."

How the World Works - Salon.com

How the World Works - Salon.com: "Recession watch

If the blogosphere has a single credo to hang its collective hat on, it should be reporter A.J. Liebling's classic boast: 'I write faster than anyone who is better than me, and better than anyone who is faster.'

It's easy enough to dash off one line or one paragraph linking to news of something happening elsewhere, reported by someone else. It's significantly harder to analyze what that news means and add significant value. Today's nominee for showing us how this is done is the economics blog Calculated Risk -- probably the best one-stop shop, right now, for news and analysis on the housing market.

The Census Bureau reported today that new home sales declined in February by 3.9 percent, compared to January (and by 18.3 percent compared to February 2006.) The Wall Street Journal called this 'surprising' -- though, at this point, the fact that anyone would consider new bad news from the housing sector as surprising is, well, kind of surprising.

At 6:33 a.m. Calculated Risk reported the Census Bureau's numbers, complete with a sheaf of enlightening charts. A little less than two hours later came the analysis, highlighting a disturbing data point connecting past recessions with home sales data.

Over the last 35 years, sales of new homes fell sharply 'prior to every recession,with the exception of the business investment led recession of 2001. This should raise concerns about a possible consumer led recession in the months ahead.""

Unfair Credit Card Fees | Facts About Fees

Unfair Credit Card Fees | Facts About Fees: "Americans pay some of the highest credit card fees in the world

Visa and MasterCard charge Americans among the highest credit card interchange fees in the world - averaging close to 2 percent for credit card and signature debit transactions, compared with only 0.7 percent in the United Kingdom and 0.55 percent in Australia. The difference translates into hundreds of dollars in added costs to the average American family.

The fact that other consumers in countries around the world are charged substantially lower credit card interchange fees than in the U.S. indicates that there is room to reduce these rates and still cover the cost of the actual transactions.

Americans should have lower credit card interchange fees like consumers are getting in virtually every other industrialized country. Why should Americans pay higher fees than consumers pay in other countries?"

Rare Semi-Identical Twins Discovered - Yahoo! News

Rare Semi-Identical Twins Discovered - Yahoo! News: "Twins can be identical, fraternal and apparently semi-identical, scientists now report.

Researchers discovered twins who are identical on their mom's side of the equation but share only half their genes from dad."

Here's how it happened: Two sperm cells fertilized one egg—an event assumed to be very rare—then split into two embryos.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

WIRED Blogs: 27B Stroke 6

WIRED Blogs: 27B Stroke 6: "In news that is sure to set the mind of climate change denialist Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) a spinnin', two head shrinkers at the University at Albany will soon publish research that suggests the human brain grew dramatically as our ancestors adapted to colder temperatures.

Jessica Ash and Gordon Gallup studied 109 fossilized skulls from different latitudes to determine that 'climate may have been an important selective force behind the evolution of human cranial capacity,' according to Gallup, who theorized that changes in global temperature could account for as much as 50 percent of the variation in headmeat. 'Specifically, we found that as the distance from the equator increased, north or south, so did brain size,' he said. The researchers will publish their study in the spring edition of Human Nature."

Friday, March 23, 2007

Study: Alcohol, tobacco worse than drugs - Yahoo! News

Study: Alcohol, tobacco worse than drugs - Yahoo! News: "Nutt and colleagues used three factors to determine the harm associated with any drug: the physical harm to the user, the drug's potential for addiction, and the impact on society of drug use. The researchers asked two groups of experts — psychiatrists specializing in addiction and legal or police officials with scientific or medical expertise — to assign scores to 20 different drugs, including heroin, cocaine, Ecstasy, amphetamines, and LSD.

Nutt and his colleagues then calculated the drugs' overall rankings. In the end, the experts agreed with each other — but not with the existing British classification of dangerous substances.

Heroin and cocaine were ranked most dangerous, followed by barbiturates and street methadone. Alcohol was the fifth-most harmful drug and tobacco the ninth most harmful. Cannabis came in 11th, and near the bottom of the list was Ecstasy.

According to existing British and U.S. drug policy, alcohol and tobacco are legal, while cannabis and Ecstasy are both illegal. Previous reports, including a study from a parliamentary committee last year, have questioned the scientific rationale for Britain's drug classification system.

'The current drug system is ill thought-out and arbitrary,' said Nutt, referring to the United Kingdom's practice of assigning drugs to three distinct divisions, ostensibly based on the drugs' potential for harm. "The exclusion of alcohol and tobacco from the Misuse of Drugs Act is, from a scientific perspective, arbitrary," write Nutt and his colleagues in The Lancet.

Wii game console bowling over U.S. retirees - Yahoo! News

Wii game console bowling over U.S. retirees - Yahoo! News: "There are Wii parties and Wii bowling contests. Players, who often look quite silly and occasionally injure themselves in fits of overzealous play, upload video of their Wii antics to a variety of technology Web sites like GameTrailers.com and Google's YouTube.

'I thought it was tremendous,' said Ted Campbell, 77.

Last week he played the Wii for the first time at Springfield, Virginia's Greenspring Retirement Community, where Ebert is also a resident.

The community hasn't yet decided where to keep the Wii, although Ebert has volunteered her one-bedroom apartment, with its big-screen TV.

WII WAVE

Flora Dierbach, 72, chairs the entertainment committee at a sister facility owned by Erickson Retirement Communities in Chicago and helped arrange a Wii bowling tournament -- the latest Wii craze.

'It's a very social thing and it's good exercise ... and you don't have to throw a 16-pound (7.25-kg) bowling ball to get results,' said Dierbach, who added the competition had people who hardly knew each other cheering and hugging in the span of a few hours."

Blue Cross fined $1M; dropped policies - Yahoo! News

Blue Cross fined $1M; dropped policies - Yahoo! News: "The investigation found that Blue Cross used computer programs and a dedicated department to cancel the policies of pregnant women and the chronically ill regardless of whether they lied on their applications about pre-existing medical conditions — a standard required by state law.

Regulators examined 90 randomly selected policy cancellations, out of about 1,000 a year in California, and found violations in each one. Blue Cross already is appealing a $200,000 fine the department imposed in September for rescinding one person's policy, the first in an individual rescission case."

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Harvard club promotes abstinence - Yahoo! News

Harvard club promotes abstinence - Yahoo! News: "They founded a student group called True Love Revolution to promote abstinence on campus. The group, created earlier this school year, has more than 90 members on its Facebook.com page and drew about half that many to an ice cream social.

Harvard treats sex — or 'hooking up' — so casually that 'sometimes I wonder if sex is even a remotely serious thing,' said Kinsella, who is dating Murray."

Fla. community college checkmates Ivys - Yahoo! News

Fla. community college checkmates Ivys - Yahoo! News: "MIAMI - Don't underestimate the grocery store deli worker, the security alarm salesman or the 34-year-old computer science student who anchor the Miami Dade College chess team. The community college undergrads have already faced Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth, Northwestern and beaten them all."

Creepy: Spiders Love to Snuggle - Yahoo! News

Creepy: Spiders Love to Snuggle - Yahoo! News: "While not usually considered paragons of tender, familial love, some spiders do have a touchy-feely side. Scientists have discovered two arachnids that caress their young and snuggle together.

Social behavior is extremely rare in arachnids, a group of critters typically defined by their aggression, clever hunting methods and even predatory cannibalism.

'This was the best example I had ever seen of friendly behavior in an arachnid,' said lead study author Linda Rayor, a Cornell University entomologist.

'I was amazed at how incredibly interactive the groups are,' Rayor said. 'They are in constant tactile contact with one another. They are constantly exploring one another and interacting with their siblings.'"

Neatorama » Blog Archive » 10 Most Magnificent Trees in the World.

Neatorama » Blog Archive » 10 Most Magnificent Trees in the World.: "Pando [wiki] or the Trembling Giant in Utah is actually a colony of a single Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) tree. All of the trees (technically, 'stems') in this colony are genetically identical (meaning, they’re exact clones of one another). In fact, they are all a part of a single living organism with an enormous underground root system.

Pando, which is Latin for 'I Spread,' is composed of about 47,000 stems spread throughout 107 acres of land. It estimated to weigh 6,600 tons, making it the heaviest known organism. Although the average age of the individual stems are 130 years, the entire organism is estimated to be about 80,000 years old!"

Mortgage crisis overwhelming credit counselors - CNN.com

Mortgage crisis overwhelming credit counselors - CNN.com: "CINCINNATI, Ohio (Reuters) -- Until last year, financial counselors at the Home Ownership Center of Greater Cincinnati spent most of their time teaching Americans how to buy a first home. Now, they're deluged by broken and bereft homeowners facing foreclosure.

'Oh Lord, there is no way we can keep up with these calls,' said Kaye Britton, a foreclosure counselor at the downtown nonprofit group that promotes home ownership to minority Americans, among others.

Britton has been helping clients reach the American dream of owning a home since 2002. Handmade wall signs urge would-be buyers to 'sweat the small stuff' and note the lender's golden rule: 'They have the gold, they make the rules.'

Foreclosures were formerly rare, caused mostly by the loss of job, divorce or medical bills.

But when rising interest rates began driving up mortgage payments last year, homeowners started to feel the pain. Phones at credit counselors across the country are now ringing off the hook."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Daily Kos: The hidden scandal within the prosecutor purge

Daily Kos: The hidden scandal within the prosecutor purge: "One other question remains unanswered: What about the law? In an informative New York Times piece, Adam Cohen sketches out four potential crimes that may one day be associated with the prosecutor purge. About his first instance, 'Misrepresentations to Congress', Cohen writes, 'It is illegal to lie to Congress, and also to 'impede' it in getting information.' It doesn't take much of an imagination to see how an orchestrated refusal among top administration officials to use e-mail for even basic communications could be construed as an intent to impede Congress from getting information. Especially considering the information Chuck Schumer relayed Tuesday when discussing the initial offer from the White House to allow Rove and Harriet Miers to testify before Congress, though unsworn, not under oath, not in public and with no transcript: 'They [the White House] did offer to turn over documents, but that too was extremely incomplete because the only documents they'd turn over to us are communications from the White House to the Justice Department, from the White House to other third parties, and back. But no intra-White House communications."

Defense Spending Soars to Highest Levels Since World War II

Defense Spending Soars to Highest Levels Since World War II: "WASHINGTON - As the Iraq war enters a fifth year, the conflict that President Bush's aides once said would all but pay for itself with oil revenues is fueling the highest level of defense spending since World War II.

Even with past spending adjusted upward for inflation, the $630 billion provided for the military this year exceeds the highest annual amounts during the Reagan-era defense buildup, the Vietnam War and the Korean War.

When lawmakers approve a nearly $100 billion emergency spending bill in the next few weeks, Congress will have appropriated $607 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with about 75 percent going to Iraq, according to a new Congressional Research Service study obtained by McClatchy Newspapers."

How to clone a biometric passport while it's still in the bag | The Register

How to clone a biometric passport while it's still in the bag | The Register: "The data in the chip is essentially a digital version of what is printed inside the passport itself. The printed data can be read if the passport is presented and opened, and the chip's security system attempts to duplicate this process. The chip data can be read wirelessly, but it is encrypted, with the key printed inside the passport. So in theory, although the chip can be read without the passport (or indeed the delivery envelope) being opened, the data is meaningless without the key.

But the key in this first generation of biometric passport is relatively easy to identify/crack. It is not random, but consists of passport number, the passport holder's date of birth and the passport expiry date. The Mail found it relatively easy to identify the holder's date of birth, while the expiry date is 10 years from the issue date, which for a newly-delivered passport would clearly fall within a few days. The passport number consists of a number of predictable elements, including an identifier for the issuing office, so effectively a significant part of the key can be reconstructed from the envelope and its address label."

Anti-war Iraq vets reenact occupation at Washington DC landmarks : Indybay

Anti-war Iraq vets reenact occupation at Washington DC landmarks : Indybay: "WASHINGTON DC (March 19, 2007) – A platoon of Iraq Veterans Against the War (http://www.IVAW.net) took to the streets of downtown Washington DC today reenacting their experiences in Iraq as participants in an unjust war. A dozen others people filled the roles of Iraq civilians under foreign occupation. Troops reenacted mass roundups and detentions, prisoner searches and interrogations, and patrol operations on the Capitol Building lawns, the gates of the White House, the Washington Monument, the Treasury Building, and a military recruiting station. Troops barked orders, “To shut the hell up or I’ll blow their freaking head of!” to suspected insurgents and/or Iraqi civilians. Leaflets were distributed to people walking by to explain that “this is what is happening every day in Iraq.” Although the IVAW platoon was detained briefly near the Capitol Building, and shadowed by a multi-agency SWAT team, no casualties were taken. Midway throw the day the platoon joined a press conference with Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace, and the Appeal for Redress to call on congress to “Support the troops by de-funding the war.”"

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

BBC NEWS | Americas | Grand Canyon glass Skywalk opens

BBC NEWS | Americas | Grand Canyon glass Skywalk opens: "The Hualapai Indians, who own the site, are hoping to attract visitors to a high unemployment area.

But some tribal members say this is a desecration of sacred ground.

Former astronaut Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin was among the first to go onto the walkway to join Hualapai leaders for a brief ceremony."

The ex-gay movement takes another hit at Pandagon

The ex-gay movement takes another hit at Pandagon: "Founding Executive Director of Truth Wins Out, Wayne Besen, was on the Daily Show last night, in a hilarious segment spoofing the ex-gay movement. It’s a must-click.

Without fail, the show also managed to get camera-loving ‘ex-gay” therapist Richard Cohen on to do further damage to his movement by simply letting him do his thing on the air. Cohen, who heads up something called the International Healing Foundation, in all seriousness, explained how “natural sex” means the peg fits in the hole. He also recreates his “holding therapy” exercise that allows him to display “healthy touch” to male clients who seek freedom from homosexuality."

MyDD :: Direct Democracy for People-Powered Politics

MyDD :: Direct Democracy for People-Powered Politics: "Make sure to be polite, but firm. If you use email, make sure you send them a link to the Fox Attacks: Black America video. It demonstrates quite clearly who they are negotiating with right now."

Click to see the video, so disturbing.

Lawmakers threaten FBI over spy powers - Yahoo! News

Lawmakers threaten FBI over spy powers - Yahoo! News: "WASHINGTON - Republicans and Democrats sternly warned the
FBI on Tuesday that it could lose its broad power to collect telephone, e-mail and financial records to hunt terrorists after revelations of widespread abuses of the authority detailed in a recent internal investigation."

"From the attorney general on down, you should be ashamed of yourself," said Rep. Darrell Issa (news, bio, voting record), R-Calif. "We stretched to try to give you the tools necessary to make America safe, and it is very, very clear that you've abused that trust."

Texas dolphin die-off puzzles scientists - Yahoo! News

Texas dolphin die-off puzzles scientists - Yahoo! News: "'This is the calving season so we often have strandings at this time of the year. It's tough to be an air-breather born in the water,' said Dr. Daniel F. Cowan, professor of pathology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and director of the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

'But over the last few weeks we have had about 3 to 4 times the usual mortality,' he told Reuters.

Most of the carcasses were in an advanced state of decomposition, suggesting that they were carried to Texas beaches from areas further off or up the shore."

Several of the dolphins which have washed up on shore have been young with umbilical cords still attached.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Woman dies after Mass. cops restrain her - Yahoo! News

Woman dies after Mass. cops restrain her - Yahoo! News: "BOSTON - State and local officials are investigating the death of a developmentally disabled woman who was restrained by police officers at the group home where she lived, authorities said Sunday.
ADVERTISEMENT

Brenda Ellison, 42, appeared to go into cardiac arrest as she was restrained, according to police. She was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead."

Loving - and respecting - the sissy at Pandagon

Loving - and respecting - the sissy at Pandagon: "The defiant sissy who cannot pass, who refuses to pass, is what foments anti-gay violence of the type you see by hypermasculine, insecure young men who feel they have license to “beat the gay” out of a peer, or worse, go out and try to pick up “a fag” and kill him in order to set the cultural world of gender expression back into balance.

Sessum’s father knew this and it scared the sh*t out of him — that he, a man’s man, could produce a male child that is hopelessly effeminate. The power of the clear sense that Kevin was born that way was hard for him to accept, and we see that in our culture today when effeminate men and butch women are often marginalized and told to “pass,” lest they hurt the movement’s assimilation into the dominant culture. Obviously some people choose to appropriate particular expressions of gender by choice, but when you shoot out of the womb and express culturally “inappropriate” gender mannerisms before you can learn what they even are still scares and perplexes a large swath people of this country."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

American Prospect Online - What Do Women and Men Want?

American Prospect Online - What Do Women and Men Want?: "f the realities of time-demanding workplaces and missing supports for caregiving make it difficult for young adults to achieve the sharing, flexible, and more egalitarian relationships most want, then how can we get past this impasse? Clearly, most young women are not likely to answer this question by returning to patterns that fail to speak to either their highest ideals or their greatest fears. To the contrary, they are forming fallback strategies that stress personal autonomy, including the possibility of single parenthood. Men's most common responses to economic pressures and time-demanding jobs stress a different strategy -- one that allows for two incomes but preserves men's claim on the most rewarding careers. Women and men are leaning in different directions, and their conflicting responses are fueling a new gender divide. But this schism stems from the intensification of long-simmering work/family dilemmas, not from a decline of laudable values."

Where the Wolf Comes Knocking - washingtonpost.com

Where the Wolf Comes Knocking - washingtonpost.com: "'The tragedy of the current situation is that it was entirely predictable,' said John H. Vogel Jr., a professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, who wrote in 2005 about the dangers of mortgage-loan excesses. 'What's surprising is how fast this is unraveling,' he said. 'Mortgage brokers pushed exotic mortgage products that allowed people to buy houses that only made sense if prices kept rising. Now that houses have stopped appreciating, people are going to lose their homes and their savings.'

A major sign that broader trouble could be brewing emerged Tuesday after a national survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed a soaring number of homeowners failing to make their mortgage payments in the last three months of 2006. The group also reported that foreclosures on all homes leaped to the highest level in nearly four decades.

That news sent every major stock-market index plummeting as soon as it was released Tuesday.

A deeper look at the survey reveals a tale of two Americas.

In many parts of the country, including the Washington region, housing prices skyrocketed beyond income growth over the past few years. Millions of people, wanting to get a piece of the action, got risky types of mortgages to finance a home-buying splurge that was beyond their means."

ABC News: EXCLUSIVE: E-Mails Show Rove's Role in U.S. Attorney Firings

ABC News: EXCLUSIVE: E-Mails Show Rove's Role in U.S. Attorney Firings: "March 15, 2007 — New unreleased e-mails from top administration officials show that the idea of firing all 93 U.S. attorneys was raised by White House adviser Karl Rove in early January 2005, indicating Rove was more involved in the plan than the White House previously acknowledged.

The e-mails also show that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales discussed the idea of firing the attorneys en masse while he was still White House counsel, weeks before he was confirmed as attorney general.

The e-mails directly contradict White House assertions that the notion originated with recently departed White House counsel Harriet Miers, and was her idea alone.

Two independent sources in a position to know have described the contents of the e-mail exchange, which could be released as early as Friday. They put Rove at the epicenter of the imbroglio and raise questions about Gonzales' explanations of the matter."

Intimacy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Intimacy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "The main forms of intimacy are emotional intimacy and physical intimacy. Intellectual intimacy, familiarity with a person's culture and interests, is common among friends. Members of religious or philosophic groups may also perceive a 'spiritual intimacy' in their commonality. Some describe intimacy with the homonymous 'into me see'.

Intimacy can also be identified as knowing someone in depth, knowing many different aspects of a person or knowing how they would respond in different situations, because of the many experiences you've shared with them."

So I signed up with a matchmaker. Part of my list of committing to my new life in my new city. I felt odd leaving the office, like it was a doctor's appointment or something. I suppose I am way past imagining it will just "happen". Still, I feel to old to still be wrestling with solitude vs the need for companionship. I'm not sure when I think I should have figured this stuff out and I try not to be jealous of my friends who have their companions, but still, I'll sit at my window wondering how it is possible that I feel no more clear on it now than I did 5 years ago. What on earth have I been doing? I mean I know what I have been doing, but I really did think that time would teach all sorts of inner knowledge. It doesn't. I just paid money to a matchmaker because I think I want companionship and I'm still terrified that being with someone means having to be a "better" (nicer, funnier, sweeter, more attentive yadda yadda yadda) version of me. Because even though I know some crazy ass bitches who are totally in love I still imagine my set of personality traits to somehow be inherently unlovable. It's ridiculous. I'm too old to be saying I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and gosh darnit...people like me. Ugh.

yes, yes you are!

ABC News: Christian Men...Too Wimpy?: "March 15, 2007 — Three hundred men — all Christian — gathered behind closed doors at a Tennessee mall trying to figure out the difference between being 'nice' (which is not good) and being 'good' (which is). They struggled in the dimly lit hall — after a Christian rock band handed it off to the comic in charge — to make sense of the message they were hearing from the stage: that church has been 'feminized' and that the Jesus talked about in many modern churches is too wimpy and gentle.

The men had to decide by day's end (that is, after six hours of listening) whether they were ready to take up the challenge of becoming a 'Christian warrior' modeled on the 'manlier' version of Christ they were told has been overlooked — the Christ who took a whip to moneychangers, and used the word 'dung' when he had to.

This was GodMen, a movement that is still a work in progress, according to principle founder Brad Stine, who calls himself 'America's comic' and is often written up as 'the Christian comic.'

Stine is convinced that American men in general, and Christian men in particular, have surrendered their masculinity to the shackles of political correctness, especially within the framework of the typical present day church. So he started GodMen as an "

Thinking inside the box: Trapped light spurs quantum computing - Yahoo! News

Thinking inside the box: Trapped light spurs quantum computing - Yahoo! News: "Photons are arguably the ultimate existential particle in physics. By switching on a light bulb, you release a million billion photons every second.

But as soon as you see a photon, it dies, for its contact with the retina expends the energy that made it exist.

'Photons are easy to detect. You do it yourself, every second for instance when you are looking at a computer screen,' Jean-Michel Raimond of France's National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), who is one of the innovators, told AFP.

'But you do this only once. It's post-mortem analysis. We, though, can now analyse it in real time, while the photon is still alive.'"

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

So FCUKIN SCARY

Glenn Greenwald - Salon: " he combined Roberts-Stelzer response: The causes of rampant anti-Americanism do indeed include dislike of Bush. But there are others: the war in Iraq; anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian sentiment, laced with some covert anti-Semitism; and resentment of American power. Roberts urged the president not to concern himself with these anti-American feelings, since in a unipolar world the lone superpower cannot be loved. His advice: 'Get your policies right and history will prove a kind muse.'

Nothing matters -- not the disapproval of the American people of the President's actions nor rising anti-Americanism around the world. He should simply ignore all of that and continue to obey the mandates of neoconservatism because that is what is Good and his God will be pleased.

Other lessons that Bush was taught that day: 'First: Do not set a deadline for withdrawal. That led to the slaughter of 700,000 to 1 million people in India, with the killing beginning one minute after the midnight deadline.' They also told the President to ignore the fact that other powerful countries and even empires that tried to dominate the world have all collapsed. Those incidents are irrelevant and teach us nothing because -- unlike the Glorious Leader today -- those people simply lacked the Will to Power. Thus:

Second lesson: Will trumps wealth. The Romans, the tsars, and othe"

Congress must aid subprime victims: consumer group | U.S. | Reuters

Congress must aid subprime victims: consumer group | U.S. | Reuters: "WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. homeowners with subprime mortgages struggling under payments need federal government help to ease them through the crisis, a leading consumer advocacy group said on Wednesday.

Fresh data on increased mortgage delinquencies and the collapse of several mortgage lenders have increased attention on subprime loans offered to borrowers with damaged or sketchy credit histories.

As many as 1.5 million Americans could lose their homes as the subprime market shakes out, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) said, and so Congress should step in to protect those troubled homeowners."

As rates soar, 2.2 million Americans risk losing homes this year - Yahoo! News

As rates soar, 2.2 million Americans risk losing homes this year - Yahoo! News: "Edwardsen, a 47-year-old assistant optician, was tempted to take out a special high-risk loan targeted at people with low credit ratings. Today her monthly repayments have soared to 2,800 dollars, yet she only takes home 1,600 dollars.

She is among 2.2 million people across the US who risk forfeiting their homes by the end of the year as they struggle to meet monthly repayments swollen by rising interest rates, and triggering fears that a financial crisis could sweep US lenders.

'I'm panicking every day. I'm not sleeping because I'm worrying. This house has been in my family forever and I don't want to lose it. But I can't make the payments they are asking me for,' she told AFP."

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Hullabaloo

Hullabaloo: "But this attitude is pervasive in Washington circles and it's causing some serious problems. (Partisan impeachments against the will of the people. Illegal wars. Out of control executive branch.) It comes at least partially from the fact that journalists think that by simply telling the public what the politicians are saying (much of it on double super-secret backround) they are doing their jobs. They allow both sides to play out their political games in the mainstream media and then provide running color commentary on who's 'winning.' In their minds, if the Democrats aren't as good at stoking scandals or creating an atmosphere of political terrorism, then it's not their job to uncover what the Republicans are doing. Democrats need to 'play better' if they want to 'win.' (You often see a kind of admiration for the bold machismo of the Republican character assassins in the press -- they are winners.)

The fact that the Republicans are better at dirty politics and hand-feeding the kind of scandals to the press that they like should not be what controls the coverage of politics. A nose for news should be and it's clear that some combination of intimidation, laziness, commercial concerns, habit and, yes, political and cultural bias (see the disparate degrees of MSM revulsion shown toward the Democratic base and the GOP base when they exert their influence on their party)have tilted this ridiculous 'playing"

Study links sense of humor, survival - USATODAY.com

Study links sense of humor, survival - USATODAY.com: "BUDAPEST, Hungary — Laugh and the world laughs with you. Even better, you might live longer, a Norwegian researcher reports.

Adults who have a sense of humor outlive those who don't find life funny, and the survival edge is particularly large for people with cancer, says Sven Svebak of the medical school at Norwegian University of Science and Technology."

A quick walk could help smokers quit - Yahoo! News

A quick walk could help smokers quit - Yahoo! News: "LONDON - As little as five minutes of exercise could help smokers quit, says a new study. Research published in the international medical journal Addiction showed that moderate exercise, such as walking, significantly reduced the intensity of smokers' nicotine withdrawal symptoms."

Please let this one stick!

Shakespeare's Sister: "Another familiar name is popping up again, too—Harriet Miers, ill-fated Supreme Court nominee and former White House counsel. In 2005, Miers sent a memo to Gonzo's chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, inquiring 'whether it would be feasible to replace all United States attorneys when their four-year terms expired.' Sampson responded that 'filling so many jobs at once would overtax the department,' and began to work with Miers on 'devising a list of attorneys to oust.' Yikes. Sampson resigned yesterday.

Today the WaPo reprints some damning correspondence between Sampson advises Miers, in which he outlines how the Patriot Act can and should be used to make interim appointments (as I described here):

Sampson, Sept. 7, 2006: 'I am only in favor of executing on a plan to push some USAs out if we really are ready and willing to put in the time necessary to select candidates and get them appointed. It will be counterproductive to DOJ operations if we push USAs out and then don't have replacements ready to roll immediately. I strongly recommend that as a matter of administration, we utilize the new statutory provisions that authorize the AG to make USA appointments. [By avoiding Senate confirmation], we can give far less deference to home state senators and thereby get 1.) our preferred person appointed and 2.) do it far faster and more efficiently at less political co"

Pandagon

Pandagon: "If your nuptial dreams include a fairy-tale wedding, Walt Disney Co. might have the perfect solution.

The company is using its stable of imaginary princesses as inspiration for a new line of wedding gowns. Disney and bridal designer Kirstie Kelly have developed a line of ethereal gowns that pay homage to Cinderella, Jasmine, Snow White, Ariel and Sleeping Beauty."

If you want to dress up like a character from Disney on your wedding day, you actually need serious psychological help.

There goes the gayborhood - Yahoo! News

There goes the gayborhood - Yahoo! News: "In just about any other place, the sight of a man and woman pushing a stroller would be welcomed as a sign of stability and safety. In San Francisco's heavily gay Castro District, some people can't help but think: There goes the neighborhood.

Gay leaders in the Castro and other gay neighborhoods around the country fear their enclaves are losing their distinct identities.

These areas are slowly being altered by an influx of heterosexual couples, the forces of gentrification, and growing confidence among gays that they can live pretty much wherever they want nowadays and do not need the security of being in a 'gay ghetto.'"

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Democrats cancel Fox News debate - Yahoo! News

Democrats cancel Fox News debate - Yahoo! News: "'We cannot, as good Democrats, put our party in a position to defend such comments,' Collins and Reid said in the letter. 'We take no pleasure in this, but it the only course of action.'

Fox News Vice President David Rhodes responded with a written statement criticizing the Democrats for caving in to MoveOn.org.

'News organizations will want to think twice before getting involved in the Nevada Democratic Caucus, which appears to be controlled by radical fringe out-of-state interest groups, not the Democratic Party,' David Rhodes said in the statement."

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Killer bug kills scores, sows panic in Israel - Yahoo! News

Killer bug kills scores, sows panic in Israel - Yahoo! News: "Five hundred people in more than 10 hospitals have been struck down with the lethal Klebsiella bacteria strain in the past six months, with 30 percent of cases ending in death, senior health ministry official Yair Amikam told AFP.

Battling to cope, the health ministry is demanding an extra half a billion dollars to improve hospital infrastructure and for hundreds of new beds, as doctors raise alarm bells of a wildfire epidemic failing decisive action.

'There were 500 cases in the last six months, 30 percent of which end in fatality. All of them are old patients suffering from many kinds of illness and this is not the only reason that caused death,' Amikam said."

Murphy's Lesser Known Laws

Murphy's Lesser Known Laws: "4. Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

5. The 50-50-90 rule: Anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there's a 90% probability you'll get it wrong."

Porn free | Salon.com

Porn free | Salon.com: "Porn reduces the mind and flattens the soul. I don't like it. That's not hypocrisy talking; that's just experience. I sometimes think of myself, ironically, as a progressive: I started off as a liberal but I progressed to conservatism. Part of that transformation is due to my time in the industry. How does a conservative trace his roots to such distasteful beginnings? I didn't like porn's liberalism. In porn, everything taboo is trivialized and everything trivial is magnified.

Being in the adult entertainment industry was sort of like being in a cult, and like all followers of a cult, I have a difficult time figuring out when I stopped believing in the party line. I can tell you, though, that by the time I finished my brief tour of the major studios, I was pretty disgusted with myself. It was an emotional low, and the people who surrounded me were like drug dealers interested only in being with the anesthetized in order not to shake off the stupor of being high.

Why did I become a conservative? Just look at what I left, and look at who is attacking me today. Let's face it: Those on the left who now attack me would be defending me if I had espoused liberal causes and spoken out against the Iraq war before I was outed as a pseudo celebrity. They'd be talking about publishing my memoir and putting me on a diver"

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

FCC payola probe boosts indie music - Yahoo! News

FCC payola probe boosts indie music - Yahoo! News: "While it is not part of the consent decree, a separate voluntary side deal between the station groups and the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) would set aside 8,400 half-hour blocks of time for independent music.

Peter Gordon, founder of Thirsty Ear Recordings and A2IM's chief negotiator, said in an interview that the 'agreement in principle' is a way to get independent music on the air that also avoids undue government interference.

'It's a private relationship between the radio groups and the independent music sector,' he said. 'It's a chance for all of us to embrace each other's cultures, and it looks like the best way to get good stuff for people to listen to.'"

Researchers discover spider 'chastity belt' - Science - MSNBC.com

Researchers discover spider 'chastity belt' - Science - MSNBC.com: "BERLIN - A new study by German scientists of spiders' copulation techniques found that males leave part of their sex organ inside their female partner as a sort of 'chastity belt' to deter rivals."

The language of whales revealed - LiveScience - MSNBC.com

The language of whales revealed - LiveScience - MSNBC.com: "A related study, also by Scripps researchers, found that there are distinct 'dialects' of whale-speak in different regions of the ocean. The finding could have implications for preservation efforts.

The scientists used acoustic recordings to delineate nine population regions worldwide. They found the whales weren't evenly distributed, though: Populations using a 'Type 1' call, for example, live within a narrow band of ocean hugging the North American coast, while whales that use a 'Type 4' call are spread over a large swath of the Northern Pacific Ocean."

BBC NEWS | Europe | Couple stand by forbidden love

BBC NEWS | Europe | Couple stand by forbidden love: "The couple's lawyer, Endrik Wilhelm, has lodged an appeal with Germany's highest judicial body, the federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, in order to overturn the country's ban on incest.

'Under Germany's criminal code, which dates back to 1871, it is a crime for close relatives to have sex and it's punishable by up to three years in prison. This law is out of date and it breaches the couple's civil rights,' Dr Wilhelm said.

'Why are disabled parents allowed to have children, or people with hereditary diseases or women over 40? No-one says that is a crime."

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Hidden fees seen eroding U.S. 401k retirement plans - Yahoo! News

Hidden fees seen eroding U.S. 401k retirement plans - Yahoo! News: "WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government should require clearer disclosure of hidden fees that erode the investment returns of millions of Americans' 401(k) retirement plans, said a senior lawmaker and pension experts on Tuesday.

Just a one percentage point difference in fees over time can cut the gains in a 401(k) account by as much as 20 percent, said Rep. George Miller (news, bio, voting record), chairman of the House of Representatives E"

They Won’t Know What Hit Them

They Won’t Know What Hit Them: "In the 2006 elections, on a level where a few thousand dollars can decide a close race, Gill’s universe of donors injected more than $3 million, providing in some cases more than 20 percent of a candidate’s or organization’s budget. On Election Day, fifty of the seventy targeted candidates were defeated, Danny Carroll among them; and out of the thirteen states where Gill and his allies invested, four—Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Washington—saw control of at least one legislative chamber switch to the Democratic Party. (In Massachusetts, Travis decided to retire rather than seek reelection.) The national climate, which was strongly anti-Republican, helped bring about this transformation. But Gill’s stealth campaign was both effective and precedent-setting. For the first time, in a broad and organized way, gays had taken the initiative in a sweeping multistate strategy and had mostly prevailed."

Glenn Greenwald - Salon

Glenn Greenwald - Salon: "Coulter insisted last night that she did not intend the remark as an anti-gay slur -- that she did not intend to suggest that John Edwards, husband and father, was gay -- but instead only used the word as a 'schoolyard taunt,' to call him a sissy. And that is true. Her aim was not to suggest that Edwards is actually gay, but simply to feminize him like they do with all male Democratic or liberal political leaders.

For multiple reasons, nobody does that more effectively or audaciously than Coulter, which is why they need her so desperately and will never jettison her. How could they possibly shun her for engaging in tactics on which their entire movement depends? They cannot, which is why they are not and will not.

The converse of this is equally true. As critical as it is to them to feminize Democratic and liberal males (and to masculinize the women), even more important is to create false images of masculine power and strength around their authority figures. The reality of this masculine power is almost always non-existent. The imagery is what counts.

This works exactly the same as the images of moral purity that they work so hard to manufacture, whereby the leaders they embrace -- such as Gingrich, Limbaugh, Bill Bennett, even the divorced and estranged-from-his-children Ronald Reagan and Coulter herself -- are"

Monday, March 05, 2007

Oprah's ugly secret | Salon Life

Oprah's ugly secret | Salon Life: "The promises of Oprah culture can seem irresistible, and its hallmarks are becoming ubiquitous. Believers may be separated into tribes according to what they believe, but they do it in pretty much the same way, relying on a 'Secret'-style conception of 'intuition' --- which seems to amount to the sneaking suspicion that they're always right -- to arrive at their tenets. Instead of the world as it is, constantly changing and full of contradiction, they see a fixed and fantastical place, where good things come to those who believe, whether it's belief in a diet, a God, or a Habit of Successful People. These believers may believe in the healing power of homeopathy, or Scripture or organizational skills -- in intelligent design, astrology or privatization. They all trust that their devotion will be rewarded with money and boyfriends and job promotions, with hockey championships and apartments. And most of all they believe -- they really, really believe -- in themselves.

For these believers, self-knowledge is much less important than self-'love.' But the question they never seem to ask themselves is: If you wouldn't tell another person you loved her before you got to know her, why would you do that to yourself? Skipping the getting-to-know-you part has given us what we deserve: the Oprah culture. It's a culture where superstition is"

Thursday, March 01, 2007

wow breakthrough

so the rollback segments, completely separate from the online redo logs.... the world makes sense again!

things i look out

http://www.ejb.com/pictures.html

When I should be focusing on database inconsistencies...