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This toon really got to me

Mike Luckovich Toon- The Grinch

Curiosity Inspects ‘Shaler’ Outcrop on Descent to Yellowknife Bay Drill Target

Image caption: Sol 120 colorized panorama of big and stunning ‘Shaler’ layered rock outcrop snapped by Curiosity’s right eye Navigation Camera (Navcam) on Dec. 7, 2012. ‘Shaler’ exhibits a pattern geologists refer to as ‘crossbedding’, at angles to one another. Some of the larger individual plates are about a foot or more wide. The cropped view spans from north at left to south at right. Future destination Mount Sharp is visible in the background. See the full 2-D panorama below and compare with the stereo effect available from NASA’s 3-D panorama, below. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Ken Kremer/Marco Di Lorenzo

NASA’s Curiosity rover is on the final steps of her descent into a geologist’s paradise at an area called ‘Yellowknife Bay’.

Along the way just days ago on Sol 120 (Dec 7, 2012) she stopped to inspect a huge outcrop of layered rocks dubbed ‘Shaler’ and snapped dozens of high resolution photos with the Navcam and Mastcam cameras.

The ‘Shaler’ outcrop features a plethora of striking layers, angled to each other in a pattern geologists refer to as ‘crossbedding’.

Read more: http://www.universetoday.com/98973/curiosity-inspects-shaler-outcrop-on-descent-to-yellowknife-bay-drill-target/

Are you never more than 6ft away from a rat?

By Charlotte Pritchard
BBC News

The old adage has it that we're never more than six feet away from a rat - but how was this worked out, and is it true?

It's a saying that seems almost deliberately contrived to get a reaction, but isn't exactly clear where the adage comes from.

It may derive from the former Ministry of Agriculture, suggests rodent expert Prof Rob Smith from the University of Huddersfield. They circulated many public health announcements to promote hygiene in homes.

It is also associated with another commonly quoted statistic, that the population of rats outnumbers the population of humans.


A River in Retreat: In Two Weeks, the Mississippi Could Shut Down

ST. LOUIS — The Mississippi as seen from Ed Drager's tug boat is a river in retreat: a giant beached barge is stranded where the water dropped, with sand bars springing into view. The floating barge office where the tugboat captain reports for duty is tilted like a funhouse. One side now rests on the exposed shore. "I've never seen the river this low," Drager said. "It's weird."

The worst drought in half a century has brought water levels in the Mississippi close to historic lows and could shut down all shipping in a matter of weeks – unless Barack Obama takes extraordinary measures.

It's the second extreme event on the river in 18 months, after flooding in the spring of 2011 forced thousands to flee their homes. Without rain, water levels on the Mississippi are projected to reach historic lows this month, the national weather service said in its latest four-week forecast.

"All the ingredients for us getting to an all-time record low are certainly in place," said Mark Fuchs, a hydrologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) in St Louis. "I would be very surprised if we didn't set a record this winter."


Michael Douglas' son Cameron reportedly beaten badly in prison

Michael Douglas' son reportedly has been beaten in a Pennsylvania prison, winding up with a broken finger and a broken leg.

Cameron Douglas, 34, suffered the injuries — including a broken femur — after a New York City crime boss put a $100 bounty on his head during the prison flag-football league season because he was a "rat," a prison source told the New York Post.

Although the younger Douglas reportedly dropped out of the league where he was targeted, he nonetheless turned up badly injured. The actor's son blamed his injuries on a handball game, the source said, and a doctor's aide reportedly misdiagnosed the break as a sprain at first.Michael Douglas' son reportedly has been beaten in a Pennsylvania prison, winding up with a broken finger and a broken leg.



Monday Toon Roundup 2-The Rest

Right to Work







Monday Toon Roundup 1- Gun Massacre

LSD in the Cold War

For decades, the U.S. Army conducted secret clinical experiments with psychochemicals at Edgewood Arsenal. In the nineteen-sixties, Army Intelligence expanded the arsenal’s work on LSD, testing the drug as an enhanced-interrogation technique in Europe and Asia. This companion piece to “Operation Delirium,” which ran in the December 17th issue of The New Yorker, documents the people who were involved and what they did.

Dr. Van Murray Sim, the founder of Edgewood Arsenal’s program of clinical research on psychochemicals, was a man of deep contradictions. He was a Navy veteran, but he worked at the Army post as a civilian. For the doctors who worked with him, he was like Dr. Strangelove; he was a leader; he was the “Mengele of Edgewood”; he was a good old soul. Sim could be manipulative and vengeful, ethically shortsighted, incoherently rambling, rashly slipshod in his methods, but he was also fearless and ambitious and devoted to chemical-warfare research. He was gargantuan—his body exuded forcefulness, like an oversized rook on a chessboard—but he was willing to allow himself to be rendered helpless. In 1959, he was the first person to be given VX, a highly lethal nerve agent. As the drug began to take effect, Sim became irrational and started to thrash around. “I was having difficulty with vision, seeing—a distortion of vision, sweating, tremors, nausea, vomiting,” he later recalled. His face grew pale. He eventually stopped talking and descended into a world of his own imaginings.

Not everything that Sim sampled was so deadly; he also kept unauthorized vials of Demerol, which he used habitually, in his travel case. He had taken LSD several times, and also Red Oil, a highly potent synthetic version of marijuana. The drugs were being tested at the arsenal for use in “psychochemical warfare”—a concept, developed at Edgewood in the nineteen-forties, that entailed a search for mentally incapacitating chemicals to replace guns and grenades on the battlefield. Sim once mixed a milligram of crystallized psilocybin—a drug found in hallucinogenic

mushrooms—with water and drank it as if it were lemonade. He saw people nearby turn sickly green. “I feel very light, almost weightless,” he pronounced. “And, for me, that’s quite a trick.”

These self-experiments—with their egocentricity and their daring—helped give Sim the status of a minor military legend. At the time, the clinical research at Edgewood was conducted on soldier volunteers, recruited from around the country. “He became a guinea pig,” a general testified before Congress in 1959. “He got pushed around by the other doctors just as any other volunteer would. And once he entered that chain of events he was no longer the head of the laboratory. He was just a little boy in a cage.”

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/12/us-army-experiments-with-lsd-in-the-cold-war.html#ixzz2FGjeWNMO

Put Out The Fire- Queen

They called him a hero
In the land of the free
But he wouldn't shake my hand boy
He disappointed me

So I got my handgun
And I blew him away
That critter was a bad guy
I had to make him pay

You might fear for my reason
I don't care what they say
Look out baby it's the season
For the mad masquerade

Put out the fire
You need a bullet like a hole in the head
Put out the fire
Don't believe what your grandaddy said

She was my lover
It was a shame that she died
But the constitution's right on my side

Cos I caught my lover in my neighbour's bed
I got retribution, filled 'em full of lead

I've been told it's the fashion
To let me on the streets again
It's nothing but a crime of passion
And I'm not to blame

Put out the fire
You need a weapon like a hole in the head
Put out the fire
And let your sons and your daughters
Sleep sound in their beds

You know a gun never killed nobody
You can ask anyone
People get shot by people
People with guns

Put out the fire
You need a gun like a hole in the head
Put out the fire
Just tell me that old fashioned gun law
Is dead
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