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Export Growth September 30, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Economy & Business, Geopolitics.
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Here is the good side to a weakening dollar and the importance to Free Trade Agreements to our Balance of Trade.  Last year, U.S. exports grew by 13% over 2005 to $1.4 trillion. Exports to all regions of the world showed significant growth, rising for 29 of America’s top 30 trading partner countries — and reaching double-digit growth rates in such key markets as China, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Mexico, India, Brazil, and the European Union. Exports comprised 11.1% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2006 compared to 9.6% in 2002 and 5.2% 50 years ago.chart21.gif

Pictures That Appear To Move September 29, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Art, Cool photos, Humor.
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Anomalous motion illusion
Part of a figure appears to move in the direction different from the rest.

Caution: This page just contains works of “anomalous motion illusion”, which might make sensitive observers dizzy or sick. Should you feel dizzy, you had better leave this page immediately.

Pre-War Conversation Revealed September 27, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News.
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Full text of the top secret transcript of the conversation between US President George W. Bush and Spain’s Prime Minister José Maria Aznar at Crawford, Texas, on February 22, 2003, as printed in the Madrid daily newspaper El País on September 26, 2007 (translation: José Guardia) (more…)

Mom’s William Tell Overture September 27, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Humor, Lifestyle, Music.
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A compilation of all those admonitions that your kids ignore put to the William Tell Overture

Post-Environmentalism September 26, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Enviroment, Science & Technology.
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Outraged By the Same Old Rhetoric, Two Environmentalists Turn on Their Brethren
“There is simply no way we can achieve an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,” they write in their introduction, “without creating breakthrough technologies that do not pollute.”

Environmentalists, therefore, have missed a huge opportunity. Rather than being leaders in solving the global climate crisis, they are content to be doomsayers and scolds. What Nordhaus and Shellenberger advocate is what might be called post-environmentalism, an ambitious new philosophy that isn’t afraid to put people ahead of nature and to dream big about creating economic growth — neither of which environmentalists have been very good at. Their vision cuts across traditional political divides: It’s pro-growth, pro-technology, and pro-environment.

What if environmentalism’s emphasis on limits and “not in my backyard” restrictions was hopelessly at odds with the average American’s belief in a limitless future? With a handful of like-minded partners, they drafted the New Apollo project, the first version of their plan for a federally subsidized greening of the economy. They hired an economist to run the numbers and determined that a $300 billion government investment could call forth another $200 billion in private capital. (To prove their independence from traditional environmental politics, they picked someone who had worked for the Bush administration.) Switch Grass is a new technology example.

50% more Home Runs with 10% More Muscle September 25, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in In The News, Science & Technology, Sports.
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Tufts E-News: Study: Steroids Can Power Home Runs
Tufts physicist Roger Tobin found that increased muscle mass that can be generated by steroid use could help batters knock 50 percent more baseballs out of the park.

The 10 percent increase in muscle mass helps a batter swing five percent faster, increasing the speed of the ball leaving the bat by four percent. This extra speed, applied to a model distribution of trajectories, could result in 50 percent more home runs, Tobin found.

For pitchers, the results are good but less sensational: pitch speed can increase by approximately five percent, or four to five miles per hour, for a pitcher who throws a 90-mile-per-hour fastball, dropping his earned run average by a half-run per game, Reuters reported.

Birds on the Brain Blogs September 25, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Cool Sites, Enviroment, Lifestyle, Science & Technology.
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The Wall Street Journal has published their list of Bird Blogs. There are the mainstream bird sites, such as

BirdStuff.blogspot.com

10000Birds.com/iandthebird

They recommended these lesser-known sites

BirdWatchersDigest.com/ blog/blogger.html

BirdChick.com/blog.html


Are America’s Rich Falling Behind The Super-Rich? September 25, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Economy & Business, Humor, Streamingvideo, Video.
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In The Know: Are America’s Rich Falling Behind The Super-Rich? | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source
Panelists discuss a new study showing the gap between the wealthy and the absurdly wealthy is widening, and how we can help the merely rich catch up. The Onion spoofs the left/right argumentative TV on the woes of the Rich versus the Uber Rich.

A Carbon Tax to Fight Global Warming? September 20, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Enviroment, philosophy & politics.
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One Answer to Global Warming: A New Tax – New York Times
Among policy wonks like me, there is a broad consensus. The scientists tell us that world temperatures are rising because humans are emitting carbon into the atmosphere. Basic economics tells us that when you tax something, you normally get less of it. So if we want to reduce global emissions of carbon, we need a global carbon tax. Q.E.D.

Slide Show of Specialized Cameras September 18, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Photography, Technology.
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Photos: Camera makers bring niches into focus | ZDNet Photo Gallery
With hundreds of models on the market, it can be tough to get your digital camera to stand out–heck, it can even be hard not to be overwhelmed by the 28 models Canon sells right now. One strategy employed by mainstream manufacturers and smaller rivals: specialize.

Galaxy ‘Hunting’ Made Easy September 18, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Photography, Science & Technology.
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ESO 40/07 – Galaxy ‘Hunting’ Made Easy
Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope have discovered in a single pass about a dozen otherwise invisible galaxies halfway across the Universe. The discovery, based on a technique that exploits a first-class instrument, represents a major breakthrough in the field of galaxy ‘hunting’.

There are estimated to be hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe, but only about a dozen that sit in front of quasars have been detected at such a distance from Earth. The latest finds have doubled this tally.

Light from the newly found galaxies comes from the time the universe was about 6 billion years old, less than half its current age. By studying the light, the researchers have determined they are starburst galaxies that form lots of new stars — the equivalent of 20 suns a year.

Wind power takes a toll on migratory bats September 17, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Science & Technology.
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Wind power takes a toll on migratory bats
The danger of wind turbines to birds has long been known and well documented. Most recently several studies and articles have attempted to place the level of bird casualties in perspective: “More birds killed by cats than wind turbines”. But lesser known—and lesser studied—is the effect wind turbines have on bat populations. Collisions between groups of bats and wind turbines have been observed at numerous turbines in America, Australia, and Europe. While these fatalities, sometimes killing hundreds of bats, have been seen for years, their cause remains unknown.

Though a distressing and new issue, wind turbines are not the only threat to bat populations. Years of pesticide use has taken heavy tolls on insectivorous bats, while timber roofs treated with toxic chemicals is another pollutant issue. Cavers disturbing bats amid hibernation can be devastating. Habitat loss continues to be a top threat—as it is with many species. Finally, these nocturnal flying-mammals are still greatly misunderstood; in some places species suffer systematic killing: people set fires inside caves or use shotguns to decimate what they consider a pest species. 

100-plus snakes greet Firemen. September 17, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Humor, In The News, Lifestyle.
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Fire reveals 100-plus snakes
DELRAY BEACH — The hissing coming from the smoky warehouse Sunday morning wasn’t from fire.

When firefighters, responding to a 1:31 a.m. call, forced the door open, they found more than 100 boa constrictors and pythons – some on the loose.

Others were in metal, glass and plastic cages that had started melting when firefighters arrived at the warehouse at 340 N.E. Fourth St., Battalion Chief Russ Accardi said. The boas were about 8 feet long and the pythons 12 to 17 feet, he said. The big ones weighed about 200 pounds. Some of the smaller ones were dead when firefighters arrived. (more…)

Ancient Records Indicate Climate Change September 15, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, In The News, Science & Technology.
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Ancient Records Help Test Climate Change – Forbes.com
EINSIEDELN, Switzerland –

A librarian at this 10th century monastery leads a visitor beneath the vaulted ceilings of the archive past the skulls of two former abbots. He pushes aside medieval ledgers of indulgences and absolutions, pulls out one of 13 bound diaries inscribed from 1671 to 1704 and starts to read about the weather. “Jan. 11 was so frightfully cold that all of the communion wine froze,” says an entry from 1684 by Brother Josef Dietrich, governor and “weatherman” of the once-powerful Einsiedeln Monastery. “Since I’ve been an ordained priest, the sacrament has never frozen in the chalice.”

Pfister has found that from 1900 to 1990, there was an average of five months of extreme warmth per decade. In the 1990s, that number jumped to an unprecedented 22 months. The same decade also had no months of extreme cold, in contrast to the half-millennium before.

Even in the last major global warming period from 900 to 1300, severe winters were only “somewhat less frequent and less extreme,” Pfister says. Over the past century, temperatures have gone up an average of 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit, which is often attributed to the accumulation of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere.

Stem Cells Save Endangered Fish September 13, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, In The News, Science & Technology.
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Salmon Spawn Baby Trout in Experiment – Forbes.com
Initial attempts to transplant sperm-producing cells into normal masu salmon mostly produced hybrids of the two species that didn’t survive.

This time, Yoshizaki engineered salmon to be sterile. He then injected newly hatched salmon with stem cells destined to grow into sperm that he had culled from male rainbow trout.

Once they were grown, 10 of 29 male salmon who got the injections produced trout sperm, called milt.

Here’s the bigger surprise: Injecting the male cells into female salmon sometimes worked, too, prompting five female salmon to ovulate trout eggs. That’s a scientific first, Yoshizaki said. The stem cells were still primitive enough to switch gears from sperm-producers to egg-producers when they wound up inside female organs, explained Idaho’s Cloud.

Then Yoshizaki used the salmon-grown trout sperm to fertilize both wild trout eggs and the salmon-grown trout eggs. DNA testing confirmed that all of the dozens of resulting baby fish were pure trout, he reported.

Moreover, those new trout grew up able to reproduce. Sockeye Salmon and Bluefin Tuna are the next endangered species that this technique will be tried on.

Get Spaced on the Net September 12, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos, cool stuff, Science & Technology, Streamingvideo, Video.
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Steve Bass’s Tips & Tweaks Outer Space Apps and Sites
For the last couple of days, I’ve had some fun exploring Google Sky and satellite videos. In the last of a series, here are some free tools and sites you can use to expand your knowledge of outer space.If you’re interested in tracking satellites and poking around in outer space (and haven’t had your fill with Google Sky), here are some programs and sites you might want to look at: Click on the Steve Bass link. Also check-out the 2 previous links on his page on Google Sky and Balloon pictures. You can also click on the picture and then on the video, from which this picture was taken.

London Most Expensive Place To Eat Out September 12, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Food, Lifestyle.
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Average Restaurant Meal in London: $79 | World Latest | Guardian Unlimited
London is the most expensive dining capital in the world, restaurant rating company Zagat said Tuesday.

The average meal in London costs just over $79, beating out Paris, at nearly $72 and Tokyo, at just over $71, according to the company’s survey of 5,300 Londoners.

That makes eating out in the British capital more than twice as expensive as New York, where the average meal costs $39.

What is the Average American Woman’s Bust Size? September 12, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Business, In The News, Lifestyle.
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What is the Average American Woman’s Bust Size? | LiveScience
In the last 15 years, the average bust size has increased from 34B to 36C. Whether the lift is due to breast augmentation surgeries or a side-effect of expanding waistlines is not known.

  • A single bra weighs about 1.6 ounces (45 grams) and contains more than 40 components.
  • Caterpillar spit, dirt, crude oil and molten metal are several of the ingredients in a bra.
  • More than 4 million new bras are created on average every day.
  • Consumers spend around $16 billion a year on bras.
  • Each woman owns an average of about six bras.

Eyes lock on different letters when reading September 9, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in In The News, Lifestyle, Science & Technology.
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Eyes lock on different letters when reading | Science | Reuters
When we read our eyes lock on to different letters in the same word instead of scanning a page smoothly from left to right as previously thought, researchers said on Monday.

Using sophisticated eye tracking equipment, the team looked at letters within a word and found that people combined parts of a word that were on average two letters apart, said Simon Liversedge, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Southampton. (more…)

For the first time in 10,000 years, farming is not the dominating industry September 5, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Economy & Business, In The News, Lifestyle.
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For the first time in 10,000 years, farming is not the dominating industry « Peter S Magnusson
So, firstly, modernization of large economies is largely bypassing industrialization and going straight for service industries – in our western economies the service sector was about two-thirds of the economy, and has grown further (to 71.2%). But the so large parts of the world economy are moving straight to service industries that their roles have changed. Worldwide, in 1996 agriculture employed 42%, industry 21%, and services 37%. In 2006, the numbers are 36%, 22%, and 42%. So in the period, services has overtaken farming on a global scale. (more…)

What’s Underneath that Burqa September 4, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos, Religion.
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What’s Underneath that Burqa « Whore Church

How We Fool Ourselves September 2, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Life, Lifestyle, philosophy & politics, Religion.
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Forer effect – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Forer effect (also called personal validation fallacy or the Barnum effect after P. T. Barnum) is the observation that individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people. The Forer effect can provide a partial explanation for the widespread acceptance of some pseudosciences such as astrology and fortune telling, as well as many types of personality tests.

A related and more generic phenomenon effect is that of subjective validation (Marks, 2000, p. 41). Subjective validation occurs when two unrelated or even random events are perceived to be related because a belief, expectancy, or hypothesis demands a relationship. Thus people seek a correspondence between their perception of their personality and the contents of a horoscope.

Survey: Less Than Half of all Published Scientists Endorse Global Warming Theory September 2, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, philosophy & politics, Science & Technology.
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DailyTech – Survey: Less Than Half of all Published Scientists Endorse Global Warming Theory

It will be interesting to see if after peer review that the British Journal Energy and Environment will publish this survey.
In 2004, history professor Naomi Oreskes performed a survey of research papers on climate change. Examining peer-reviewed papers published on the ISI Web of Science database from 1993 to 2003, she found a majority supported the “consensus view,” defined as humans were having at least some effect on global climate change. Oreskes’ work has been repeatedly cited, but as some of its data is now nearly 15 years old, its conclusions are becoming somewhat dated.

Medical researcher Dr. Klaus-Martin Schulte recently updated this research. Using the same database and search terms as Oreskes, he examined all papers published from 2004 to February 2007. The results have been submitted to the journal Energy and Environment, of which DailyTech has obtained a pre-publication copy. The figures are surprising.

Of 528 total papers on climate change, only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the consensus. If one considers “implicit” endorsement (accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to 45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the largest category (48%) are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis. This is no “consensus.”

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