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America the Super-Sized July 30, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Food, Lifestyle.
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U.S. food portions: Monuments of decadence? | U.S. | Reuters
Portion sizes in the United States not only exceed those in less-developed countries, but also in the developed world. In fact, Americans have the highest per capita daily consumption in the world, eating 3,770 calories a day, more than a Canadian at 3,590 calories or an Indian at 2,440, according to data from the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization.

Americans are putting more thought into food buying. High food prices coupled with a slowing economy have led 71 percent of Americans to eat out less and 48 percent are buying fewer groceries, according to the Food Marketing Institute.

Material Girl Turning 50 July 29, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle, Music.
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Pictures of Madonna leaving a kabala center in New York City on Friday, July 25, 2008, incited commotion on the blogosphere and tabloids.

Madonna turns 50 next month and is gearing up for her Hard Candy tour, which begins Aug . 23.

Overseas Fuel Subsidies Hurt US July 28, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics.
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Fuel Subsidies Overseas Take a Toll on U.S. – NYTimes.com
From Mexico to India to China, governments fearful of inflation and street protests are heavily subsidizing energy prices, particularly for diesel fuel. But the subsidies — estimated at $40 billion this year in China alone — are also removing much of the incentive to conserve fuel.

The oil company BP, known for thorough statistical analysis of energy markets, estimates that countries with subsidies accounted for 96 percent of the world’s increase in oil use last year — growth that has helped drive prices to record levels.

In most countries that do not subsidize fuel, high prices have caused oil demand to stagnate or fall, as economic theory says they should. But in countries with subsidies, demand is still rising steeply, threatening to outstrip the growth in global supplies.

Ultimate NASA Web-site July 28, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos, Cool Sites, Science & Technology, Video.
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NASA Images

After 5 years of development, here is an awesome searchable database from 50 years of NASA images and videos. When complete, this database will contain twenty-one collections, featuring millions of images and thousands of hours of video footage.Click on thye link or the image to go there.

Petition To Ban Di-Hydrogen Monoxide July 27, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Humor, Video.
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Thanks to Jeff Ullian

Afghanistan Becomes A Drug War July 27, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics.
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Is Afghanistan a Narco-State? – NYTimes.com
Karzai was playing us like a fiddle: the U.S. would spend billions of dollars on infrastructure improvement; the U.S. and its allies would fight the Taliban; Karzai’s friends could get rich off the drug trade; he could blame the West for his problems; and in 2009 he would be elected to a new term.

This is not just speculation, even when you stick with unclassified materials. In September 2007, The Kabul Weekly, an independent newspaper, ran a blunt editorial laying out the issue: “It is obvious that the Afghan government is more than kind to poppy growers. . . . [It] opposes the American proposal for political reasons. The administration believes that it will lose popularity in the southern provinces where the majority of opium is cultivated. They’re afraid of losing votes. More than 95 percent of the residents of . . . the poppy growing provinces — voted for President Karzai.” The editorial recommended aerial eradication

Globalizations means fewer wars, less death July 27, 2008

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Globalizations means fewer wars, less death | ScrippsNews
The “Human Security Brief 2007,” compiled by Canada’s Simon Fraser University, details the continuing overall decline in global conflict that began with globalization’s rapid expansion around the planet in recent years, to include the complete absence of classic state-on-state war since 2003.

As a result, total deaths from conflicts are now lower than the world has ever seen. For anyone looking for a “new world order” after the Cold War, this is it: far fewer wars and much less death from them.

Better yet, when Iraq’s bloody civil war is factored out of the equation, deaths from terrorism have declined globally since 9/11 by roughly 40 percent.

500 truckloads of Beach Stolen July 27, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Enviroment.
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500 truckloads of sand stolen! – JAMAICAOBSERVER.COM
PRIME Minister Bruce Golding, of Jamaica, has ordered a probe into the theft of an estimated 500 truckloads of sand from a prime 64-acre property at Coral Spring near Duncans in Trelawny, which now seriously jeopardises a proposed $8-billion beachfront development.

Will Europe Understand President Obama? July 27, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Politics.
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Democracies Can’t Compromise on Core Values – WSJ.com
To Europeans, identity and democracy are locked in a zero-sum struggle. Strong identities, especially religious or national identities, are seen as a threat to democratic life. This is what Dominique Moisi, a special adviser at the French Institute of International Relations, meant when he said in 2006 that “the combination of religion and nationalism in America is frightening. We feel betrayed by God and by nationalism, which is why we are building the European Union as a barrier to religious warfare.”

This attitude can be traced back to the French Revolution, when the forces fighting under a universal banner of “liberty, equality and fraternity” were pitted against the Church.

In contrast, the America to which pilgrims flocked in search of religious freedom, and whose revolution amounted to an assertion of national identity, has been able to reconcile identity and freedom in a way no country has been able to match.

(more…)

Airborne with the Super Blob July 27, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in cool stuff, Humor, Lifestyle, Sports, Video.
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All Hail The Coming of Obama July 25, 2008

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He ventured forth to bring light to the world | Gerard Baker – Times Online
And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness.

The Child was blessed in looks and intellect. Scion of a simple family, offspring of a miraculous union, grandson of a typical white person and an African peasant. And yea, as he grew, the Child walked in the path of righteousness, with only the occasional detour into the odd weed and a little blow.

When he was twelve years old, they found him in the temple in the City of Chicago, arguing the finer points of community organisation with the Prophet Jeremiah and the Elders. And the Elders were astonished at what they heard and said among themselves: “Verily, who is this Child that he opens our hearts and minds to the audacity of hope?”

In the great Battles of Caucus and Primary he smote the conniving Hillary, wife of the deposed King Bill the Priapic and their barbarian hordes of Working Class Whites. (more…)

Im”press”ed & In Love July 23, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Humor, Politics.
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Amusing video by the McCain folks, who feels jilted that he is no longer the darling of the press core.

Irish View of Our Election July 23, 2008

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We, in Ireland, can’t figure out why people are even bothering to hold an election in the United States.

On one side, you have a pants wearing lawyer, married to a lawyer who can’t keep his pants on, who just lost a long and heated primary against a lawyer who goes to the wrong church who is married to yet another lawyer who doesn’t even like the country her husband wants to run.

Now…on the other side, you have a nice old war hero whose name starts with the appropriate Mc terminology, married to a good looking younger woman who owns a beer distributorship.

What in Lord’s name are you lads thinking over there in the colonies?

Thanks to that Leprechaun Joe Greene

Making Fun of Fonts July 22, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Humor, Streamingvideo, Video.
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Making fun of the names of all of those fonts at the “Font Conference”

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Anti-Government Quotes Through History July 22, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Humor, Politics.
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I don’t make jokes… I just watch the government and report the facts. -Will Rogers

If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free! -P.J. O’Rourke

In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other. -Voltaire (1764)

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you!
-Pericles (430 B.C.)

No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session. -Mark Twain (1866 )

Talk is cheap…except when Congress does it. -Unknown

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.-Thomas Jefferson

(more…)

Amazing Olympic Gardens July 19, 2008

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Stunning Beijing Olympic Topiary Gardens
As the world’s gaze falls upon Beijing this summer, one of the most breathtaking sights to take in at the 29th Olympic Games is the dazzling botanical display for the Olympic Topiary Gardens of artistic garden sculptures — an exhibit depicting the beauty and value of biodiversity and ongoing efforts of 80 botanic gardens from more than 25 countries to preserve our natural plant heritage. Click on “Stunning Bejing…” link for more pictures. Thanks to Renea in Anguilla.

Leopard Killing Crocodile July 19, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos, Enviroment, Video.
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Leopard savaging a crocodile caught on camera – Telegraph
The giant cat raced out of cover provided by scrub and bushes to surprise the crocodile, which was swimming nearby.

A terrible and bloody struggle ensued. Eventually, onlookers were amazed to see the leopard drag the crocodile from the water as the reptile fought back. Click picture to enlarge.

Hal Brindley’s site for more pictures

Why IndyMac failed July 17, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Economy & Business, Politics.
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The $4 Billion Senator – WSJ.com
The federal takeover of IndyMac Bank over the weekend could cost the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. between $4 billion and $8 billion. But Senator Chuck Schumer, who helped to precipitate the collapse by publicizing a letter to the bank’s regulator last month, has no remorse.

The Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), whose job it actually was to regulate IndyMac, took a different view. “The immediate cause of the closing,” the OTS wrote in a press release, “was a deposit run that began and continued after the public release of a June 26 letter to the OTS and the FDIC from Senator Charles Schumer of New York.” The OTS added: “In the following 11 business days, depositors withdrew more than $1.3 billion from their accounts.” I’ve also heard that at the time IndyMac wasn’t even on the Fed’s Watch List of Banks that could fail.

From the LA Times quoting John M. Reich, director of the Office of Thrift Supervision:

Leaking his IndyMac letter to the press was reckless and grossly irresponsible. I don’t see how he can be trusted with confidential information in the future. What this incredibly stupid conduct does is put at risk the willingness of regulators to share any information with the [congressional] oversight committees. After this, you’d be crazy to share information with Schumer.”

Wanted – Obama Jokes July 16, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Humor, Politics.
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Want Obama in a Punch Line? First, Find a Joke – NYTimes.com
Jimmy Kimmel, the host of the ABC late-night talk show “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” said of Mr. Obama, “There’s a weird reverse racism going on. You can’t joke about him because he’s half-white. It’s silly. I think it’s more a problem because he’s so polished, he doesn’t seem to have any flaws.”

Mr. Maher said that being sensitive to Mr. Obama was in no way interfering with his commentary, though on HBO he has more freedom about content than other comedians. “There’s been this question about whether he’s black enough,” Mr. Maher said. “I have this joke: What does he have to do? Dunk? He bowled a 37 — to me, that’s black enough.”

Mr. Kimmel said, “His ears should be the focus of the jokes.” (more…)

Time For Campaigning July 16, 2008

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Climate Panic July 15, 2008

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Björn Lomborg: | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
It is hard to keep up the climate panic as reality diverges from the alarmist predictions more than ever before: the global temperature has not risen over the past 10 years, it has declined precipitously in the last year and a half, and studies show that it might not rise again before the middle of the next decade. With a global recession looming and high oil and food prices undermining the living standards of the western middle class, it is becoming ever harder to sell the high-cost, inefficient Kyoto-style solution of drastic carbon cuts.

A much sounder approach than Kyoto and its successor would be to invest more in research and development of zero-carbon energy technologies – a cheaper, more effective way to truly solve the climate problem. (more…)

Peak Water & Food? July 14, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Food, Geopolitics.
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Lester Brown: Higher food prices are here to stay | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
The world’s total irrigated area stopped growing in 2000. We may have reached peak water before peak oil. It takes 1,000 tons of water to produce one ton of grain, but water tables are now falling and wells are going dry in countries that contain half the world’s people, including China and India, two of the largest grain producers.

An estimated one-third of the world’s cropland is now losing topsoil at a rate that reduces its productivity. As soil erodes and crop yields fall in countries like Mongolia, Lesotho and Haiti, their dependence on imported grain is soaring.

Beyond these resource constraints, the backlog of agricultural technology is shrinking. This helps explain why the rise in world grain yields per acre of over 2% per year from 1950 to 1990 has dropped to scarcely 1% per year since 1990. (more…)

Uproar Over Michelangelo’s David July 13, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Art, Cool photos, Humor.
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Europeans are very upset with the condition that Michelangelo’s masterpiece sculpture “David” returned in, after spending a year in the United States. Thanks to the ever-critical eye of Renea Lesley to point-out this expanding International controversy.

Trash Bags + NYC Subway = Art July 13, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Art, Humor, Streamingvideo, Video.
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Video: Artist Joshua Allen Harris Turns Garbage Bags Into World’s Greatest Balloon Animals — Vulture — Entertainment & Culture Blog — New York Magazine

As a New York Subway wooshes through its tunnel it forces the air out of its way through ventilation grates in the sidewalk. Joshua has recycled that energy into kinetic art sculptures fastend out of garbage bags. Thanks to the ever-environmentalist Natalia Collier  of EPIC for this find.

Effect Of Girls Reading “The Twilight Saga” July 13, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in Books, Lifestyle.
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Op-Ed Columnist – A Virginal Goth Girl – Op-Ed – NYTimes.com
“Only a vampire, ladies,” said Jessica Valenti, the author of “Full Frontal Feminism.” She worries that in the real world, young men are spending so much time watching pornography on the Internet that they will never be satisfied with normal women and normal relationships.

This sure sounds like trouble to me: A generation of guys who will settle for nothing less than a porn star meets a generation of women who expect their boyfriend to crawl through their bedroom window at night and just nuzzle gently until they fall asleep.

It’s no wonder that Valenti sees today’s young women being pulled between complete chastity and utter sluttiness. Good girl or “Gossip Girl?” Courtney Martin, the author of “Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters,” spends a lot of time on college campuses and says students seem to be torn between anonymous sex and monogamy — “either hooking up with no expectations or you’re basically married. You stay home and watch movies.”

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