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Lennon Became a Right-Winger June 29, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Music, philosophy & politics.
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John Lennon was a closet Republican, who felt a little embarrassed by his former radicalism, at the time of his death – according to the tragic Beatles star’s last personal assistant.

Fred Seaman worked alongside the music legend from 1979 to Lennon’s death at the end of 1980 and he reveals the star was a Ronald Reagan fan who enjoyed arguing with left-wing radicals who reminded him of his former self.

In new documentary Beatles Stories, Seaman tells filmmaker Seth Swirsky Lennon wasn’t the peace-loving militant fans thought he was while he was his assistant. (more…)

4 Stages of Life June 28, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in health, Humor, Lifestyle.
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12 year old Autistic Artist June 28, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Art, health, Lifestyle.
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David Barth Kunst » Portretten.

This link will take you to the Portfolio of an amazing 12 year-old Autistic Artist from Rotterdam.

from an email from David’s mother to Jill Mullen, who runs an Autistic Artists website:

His drawings often represent his current obsessions. In the attachment I send you, it’s not hard to guess what’s keeping him busy right now. There are almost 400 birds on it and he knows the names and Latin names of most of them.

Click on the picture to enlarge. Thanks to Caroline Collier.

New Insights Into Pleasure & Addiction June 25, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in health, Lifestyle, Religion.
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Do you, like many, think that drug addicts become drug addicts be­cause they derive greater reward from getting high than others? The biology says no. They actually seem to want it more but like it less.  The scientific definition of addiction is actually rooted in the brain’s inability to experience pleasure.

“There are variants in genes that turn down the function of dopamine signaling within the pleasure circuit,” explains Linden,  a professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the chief editor of the Journal of Neurophysiology.” For people who carry these gene variants, their muted dopamine systems lead to blunted pleasure circuits, which in turn affects their pleasure-seeking activities, he says. “In order to get to that same set point of pleasure that others would get to easily — maybe with two drinks at the bar and a laugh with friends — you need six drinks at the bar to get the same thing.”

It is important to realize that our pleasure circuits are the result of a combination of genetics, stress and life experience, beginning as early as the womb. Crucially, brain imaging studies show that giving to charity, paying taxes, and receiving information about future events all activate the same neural plea­sure circuit that’s engaged by heroin or orgasm or fatty foods.

via ‘The Compass Of Pleasure’: Why Some Things Feel So Good : NPR.

The Invention of Ctrl+Alt+Delete June 20, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Humor, Technology.
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At this rate, even with 12 of the country’s best engineers working round-the-clock, IBM was never going to deliver its first computer prototype to Microsoft in a matter of four months. The parts were all new. The software. The hardware. Even the names “software” and “hardware.” They were treading new ground. There had never been a “PC,” a personal computer, until this group of programmers built the first one in that lab.

So, as you can imagine, there was a lot of frustrating rebooting going on as Dave Bradley tried to get the CPU – the central processing unit, which they named – to talk to a printer or a monitor for the first time, code he had spent months writing.

He needed a quicker way to restart, to refresh, to escape from a computer quagmire than just switching the computer off and waiting for it to reboot. So he wrote nine lines of code, a “10-minute job,” Bradley remembers. He wanted to make sure it wasn’t something you could just press by accident and wipe out your work. He wrote it so that with his left hand, he held down the keys Ctrl+Alt. With his right hand, he pressed Del.

The screen went black, came back to life and voilà: A cultural icon was created and some great one-liners from the creator, such as “I got to meet Bill Gates when he was only worth millions” .

Actually, about that meeting – At a panel discussion with Gates for the 20-year anniversary of the PC, Bradley was asked about how he created the keystroke. Google Dave Bradley and Bill Gates to see video of Bradley quipping, “I may have invented it, but I think Bill made it famous.” The crowd rolls with laughter. Bill Gates, frozen in a smile-shaped grimace, is not amused.

Read more at  Palm Beach Post : In flash of keystrokes, Dave Bradley changed computer history..

Click more to see the video (more…)

Our Sick Oceans June 20, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment.
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Life on Earth has gone through five “mass extinction events” caused by events such as asteroid impacts; and it is often said that humanity’s combined impact is causing a sixth such event. The IPSO report concludes that it is too early to say definitively. But the trends are such that it is likely to happen, they say – and far faster than any of the previous five.

“What we’re seeing at the moment is unprecedented in the fossil record – the environmental changes are much more rapid,” Professor Rogers told BBC News. “We’ve still got most of the world’s biodiversity, but the actual rate of extinction is much higher [than in past events] – and what we face is certainly a globally significant extinction event.”

The report also notes that previous mass extinction events have been associated with trends being observed now – disturbances of the carbon cycle, and acidification and hypoxia (depletion of oxygen) of seawater. Levels of CO2 being absorbed by the oceans are already far greater than during the great extinction of marine species 55 million years ago (during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum), it concludes.

via BBC News – World’s oceans in ‘shocking’ decline.

Latest Episode of “Lord of the Rings” Poster June 17, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Humor, Sports.
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June 17, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics.
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China Has Divested 97 Percent of Its Holdings in U.S. Treasury Bills June 17, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics.
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China has dropped 97 percent of its holdings in U.S. Treasury bills, decreasing its ownership of the short-term U.S. government securities from a peak of $210.4 billion in May 2009 to $5.69 billion in March 2011, the most recent month reported by the U.S. Treasury.

Treasury bills are securities that mature in one year or less that are sold by the U.S. Treasury Department to fund the nation’s debt.

Mainland Chinese holdings of U.S. Treasury bills are reported in column 9 of the Treasury report linked here.

Until October, the Chinese were generally making up for their decreasing holdings in Treasury bills by increasing their holdings of longer-term U.S. Treasury securities. Thus, until October, China’s overall holdings of U.S. debt continued to increase.

Since October, however, China has also started to divest from longer-term U.S. Treasury securities. Thus, as reported by the Treasury Department, China’s ownership of the U.S. national debt has decreased in each of the last five months on record, including November, December, January, February and March.

via China Has Divested 97 Percent of Its Holdings in U.S. Treasury Bills | CNSnews.com.

Mini Ice Age within a Decade? June 15, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment.
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What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening, as heavyweight US solar physicists announce that the Sun appears to be headed into a lengthy spell of low activity, which could mean that the Earth – far from facing a global warming problem – is actually headed into a mini Ice Age.

As NASA notes:

Early records of sunspots indicate that the Sun went through a period of inactivity in the late 17th century. Very few sunspots were seen on the Sun from about 1645 to 1715. Although the observations were not as extensive as in later years, the Sun was in fact well observed during this time and this lack of sunspots is well documented. This period of solar inactivity also corresponds to a climatic period called the “Little Ice Age” when rivers that are normally ice-free froze and snow fields remained year-round at lower altitudes. There is evidence that the Sun has had similar periods of inactivity in the more distant past.

via Earth may be headed into a mini Ice Age within a decade • The Register.

Garbage is USA’s Most Containerized Export June 14, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Enviroment.
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America Chung Nam, the sister company and supplier of wastepaper to China’s largest containerboard manufacturer, was the largest American exporter of containerized goods by volume in 2010 for the 10th year in a row, according to the latest Journal of Commerce Top 100 Importers and Exporters annual rankings.

The California-based company shipped a total of 300,800 20-foot equivalent units from the U.S. in 2010. The volume was 16 percent ahead of the 259,300 TEUs America Chung Nam exported in 2009.

America Chung Nam, founded in 1990, sends recycled paper goods to Chinese paper mills, which are then converted into fiberboard, cardboard, and packaging. The company has their customer base in the U.S., Asia and Europe. In addition to containerboard, they also exports plastic recyclables.

Recycling paper, plastics and scrap metal is good not only for the environment but also for reducing the U.S. foreign trade deficit. Then, it comes back to us, as Wal-Mart remained the No. 1 importer of containerized ocean cargo, increasing its shipping volume into the United States 1.8 percent in 2010. The world’s largest retailer imported 696,000 20-foot equivalent units last year, up from 684,000 TEUs in 2009. The company also was No. 39 on the Top Exporters 2010 list with 28,000 TEUs shipped out of the U.S.

via Wastepaper Giant ACN Was Top US Exporter | Journal of Commerce.

Why Food Will Become the Biggest Security Threat June 11, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Food, Geopolitics.
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The 19th century is the century of chemistry and that gets us chemical weapons in World War I. The 20th century is the century of physics and that gets us nuclear weapons in World War II. But the 21st century? That’s the century of biology, and that gets us biological weaponry and biological terror. My point: obsessing over nuclear terrorism is steering by our rearview mirror. If you think people are afraid of radiation (dirty nukes, etc.), that’s nothing compared to their fear of tainted food. My point: if you’re a terrorist looking to sow fear and confusion, disrupt supply chains and ruin crucial industries, you can’t do much better than to work some biological mischief on food networks.

The average farm-to-fork journey in this world is now about 1,500 miles, and it’s getting longer by the week. Global climate change will make it harder to grow food across a thick band of territory (roughly up to/down to the 35th parallel) centered on the Equator. That’s where most of the population growth and water stress problems will erupt in coming decades, and it’s also where countries all tend to be highly dependent on imported food. See your Arab Spring and realize how much of this unrest is caused by rising food prices and you’ll get the overall picture.

Mark my post: this century is all about biology, rising food demand – and thus dependencies exacerbated by climate change (see the buying-up of arable land in Africa by Arab and Asian nations), and thus biological terror comes to the fore. Forget about energy nets, because they all go far more localized with smart grids, co-located generation/distribution, etc. It’s food that will be the most vulnerable global network in the future.

via The future of Fifth Generation Warfare: Follow the food! – Battleland – TIME.com.

Warning Sign Along a Florida Road June 9, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos, Enviroment, Humor.
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Thanks to Floridiot Randy Marks

The Great Disruption Has Arrived June 8, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Enviroment, Food, Geopolitics.
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Why didn’t more of us see it coming? After all, the signals have been clear enough – signals that the ecological system that supports human society is hitting its limits, groaning under the strain of an economy simply too big for the planet. But we didn’t and, as a result, the time to act preventatively has past.Now we must brace for impact. Now comes The Great Disruption.It is true that the coming years won’t be pleasant, as our society and economy hits the wall and then realigns around what was always an obvious reality: You cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet. Not ‘should not’, or ‘better not’, but cannot. We can, however, get through what’s ahead – if we prepare. (more…)

Decline of Snail Mail Killing U.S. Postal Service June 5, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Business, In The News.
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The USPS has 571,566 full-time workers, making it the country’s second-largest civilian employer after Wal-Mart Stores (WMT). It has 31,871 post offices, more than the combined domestic retail outlets of Wal-Mart, Starbucks (SBUX), and McDonald’s (MCD). Last year its revenues were $67 billion, and its expenses were even greater. Postal service executives proudly note that if it were a private company, it would be No. 29 on the Fortune 500.

The problems of the USPS are just as big. It relies on first-class mail to fund most of its operations, but first-class mail volume is steadily declining—in 2005 it fell below junk mail for the first time. This was a significant milestone. The USPS needs three pieces of junk mail to replace the profit of a vanished stamp-bearing letter.

During the real estate boom, a surge in junk mail papered over the unraveling of the postal service’s longtime business plan. Banks flooded mailboxes with subprime mortgage offers and credit-card come-ons. Then came the recession. Total mail volume plunged 20 percent from 2006 to 2010. (more…)

Boy regrets selling his kidney to buy iPad June 3, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in In The News, Lifestyle, Technology.
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17-year-old student in Anhui Province sold one of his kidneys for 20,000 yuan only to buy an iPad 2. Now, with his health getting worse, the boy is feeling regret but it is too late, the Global Times reported today.

“I wanted to buy an iPad 2 but could not afford it,” said the boy surnamed Zheng in Huaishan City. “A broker contacted me on the Internet and said he could help me sell one kidney for 20,000 yuan.” (more…)

Ten Rules for Being Human June 1, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Life, Lifestyle, Religion.
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via 9GAG – Ten Rules for Being Human.

Atheists have ‘better sex than religious followers who are plagued with guilt’ June 1, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle, Religion.
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Atheists have far better sex lives than religious people who are plagued with guilt during intercourse and for weeks afterwards, researchers have found.

But devoutly religious people rated their sex lives far lower than atheists. They also admitted to strong feelings of guilt afterwards.

Strict religions such as Mormons ranked highest on the scale of sexual guilt. Their average score was 8.19 out of 10. They were followed closely behind by Jehovah’s Witness, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist, and Baptist. Catholics rated their levels of sexual guilt at 6.34 while Lutherans came slightly lower at 5.88 . In contrast, atheists and agnostics ranked at 4.71 and 4.81 respectively.

People who had left their beliefs behind said their sex lives were ‘much improved’ and rated their new experiences on average as 7.81 out of ten.

The findings emerged in the ‘Sex and Secularism’ survey of more than 14,500 people carried out by psychologist Darrel Ray and Amanda Brown from Kansas University.

via Atheists have ‘better sex than religious followers who are plagued with guilt’ | Mail Online.

 

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