Thursday, March 27, 2008

Secret is out: Prince Harry fighting in Afghanistan

US blogger Matt Drudge has broken the best-kept editorial secret of recent times. Editors had been sworn to secrecy over Prince Harry (pictured) being sent to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan three months ago.

Drudge has blown their cover. One wonders whether viewers, readers and listeners will ever want to trust media bosses again after keeping this story secret. Or perhaps this was a courageous editorial decision to protect this member of the Royal Family?

Ministry of Defense and Clarence House refuses all comment. Army chiefs have managed to keep the prince away from media and have encouraged fellow soldiers in his squadron to stay quiet.

Now that the Prince Harry story is out, the Prince is out - out of Afghanistan, that is. The British have no alternative but to bring the Prince Harry back to the UK.

It would be easy for the Taliban to learn exactly where the Prince was located. If that happed, the life of the Prince would be in deep peril.

It would be a real coup for the Taliban to kill a member of the British Royal Family!

Gays in the Military

This whole policy of don't ask, don't tell is asinine. If a homosexual wants to be openly gay and serve in the military so be it let them. The Right-Wing often says that gays aren't able to serve as strongly, as readily, or as happily (happy to serve that is). Have they already forgotten Billy Sipple a homosexual who served in the military AND saved a president's life. On September 22, 1975, Billy Sipple saved President Gerald Ford's life from an assassin's bullet. Billy died in 1989 after being turned away by a Vetrans Administratiorn (VA) hospital when he reported problems breathing. Oh Billy Don't Be a Hero

Grandmother’s apron

Most kids and a lot of young people don’t know what an apron is.

The main reason grandma wore an apron was to protect the dress underneath.

Her apron also served as a potholder when removing hot pans from the stove or oven.

It was great for drying children’s tears and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

Every day the apron was used for carrying eggs

When company came the apron was a great hiding place for shy kids.

In cold weather grandma wrapped it around her arms for warmth.

Grandma used it to wipe perspiration from her brow when bent over a hot wood cook stove.

She used the apron to bring in kindling wood for her old kitchen range.

Grandma carried all sorts of vegetables in from the garden and after the peas were shelled, the apron was used to carry out the hulls.

The apron was used to bring in the apples that had fallen from the trees each autumn.

When unexpected company drove up the lane it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch and waved her apron. That signaled to the family that it was time to come in for dinner.

It will be a long time before something is invented that will replace that old time apron that served so many purposes.

Las Vegas Facts

Las Vegas means "the meadows" in Spanish.
In Nevada, there are more than 209,000 slot machines normally operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The first neon sign appeared in Las Vegas in 1954 at the Boulder Club.
The bell is the oldest symbol still used on today's slot machines.
The average annual temperature in Las Vegas is 66 degrees.
It would take 288 years for one person to spend one night in every hotel room in Las Vegas.
Shrimp consumption in Las Vegas is more than 60,000 pounds a day. That's higher than the rest of the country combined and adds up to 22 million pounds per year.
The Stardust was the first hotel in Vegas to add a sports book to its casino.
Nickel slots on the Strip pay back anywhere from 86.9 percent to 92.8 percent of what they take in.
Las Vegas casinos never use dice with rounded corners.
It's estimated that every day Las Vegas casinos give away $3 million of freebies (more than $1 billion per year) just to get customers through their doors.
It's against the law to pawn your dentures in Las Vegas.
The Horseshoe was the first Las Vegas casino to install carpeting.
A vagrant once turned a $400 Social Security check into $1.6 million playing blackjack in a Las Vegas casino.
According to suppliers, purple is the favorite ink color in daubers used by Las Vegas Bingo players.
The beam of light atop the Luxor in Las Vegas is made up of 39 individual lamps. Each xenon lamp costs $1,200 and will last about 2,000 hours. The electric bill for the Luxor beam is $51 an hour.
Las Vegas has the highest number of unlisted phone numbers of any U.S. city.
The iconic, waving neon cowboy, located at Vegas' Pioneer Club downtown, is named Vegas Vic.
Frank Sinatra was the first Vegas headliner to earn $100,000 per week.
More than 110,000 marriage licenses are issued in Las Vegas each year.
Elvis and Priscilla Presley were married at the original Aladdin hotel.
The Silver Slipper was the first casino to hire female card dealers on the Las Vegas Strip (in 1971).

Lego lie detector

This simple lie detector is more accurately a Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) sensor.

It is just a cut 9V LEGO motor wire and some aluminum foil wrapped around your fingers with tape.

It is popularly known as a lie detector, but is also used in Biofeedback conditioning.

The theory is that; the more relaxed you are the dryer your skin is and so the higher the skin’s electrical resistance.

When you are under stress your hand sweats and then the resistance goes down.

Oh, by the way, there is a rather ominous warning in case you decide to build this device:

Warning: You should only use this sensor with an RCX running on battery power. Operation with the RCX plugged into a AC source could result in electrocution.

Harpsichord made from LEGO blocks

This elegant harpsichord was created and built by Henry Lim using an estimated 100,000 LEGO pieces!

It is a working instrument and, with the exception of the music wires, was constructed entirely out of LEGO parts.

This LEGO harpsichord has a 61-note range. It is 6 x 3 ft. in size and weighs approximately 150 lbs.

The music wires exert approximately 325 lbs. of tension so strength and durability were important elements in the design.

Do Gin-Soaked White Raisins Really Work?

Radio news commentator Paul Harvey is said to have recommended gin-soaked white raisins to relieve joint pain. Mr. Harvey is said to have recommended taking seven gin-soaked raisins at one time.

Some kinds of pain that have claimed to have been relieved or eliminated after taking the gin-soaked raisins include migraine headaches, gout and arthritic pain in joints.

If it works, the raisins probably do more good than the gin. Grapes and raisins contain many pain relieving, anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory chemicals.

Looking over the long list of compounds that occur naturally in grapes, I see such pain relievers as ferulic acid, gentisic acid, kaempferol-glucosides and aspirin-like salicylic acid.

Grapes and raisins also contain several anti-inflammatory compounds: ascorbic acid, cinnamic acid, coumarin, myricetin, quercetin and quercitrin.

And in 1997, there was a flurry of interest in resveratrol, yet another anti-inflammatory compound of which grapes are the best source. Ounce for ounce, raisins contain more of all of these compounds than grapes because they contain less water.

All of these pain relievers occur at low levels in raisins, so how would a mere seven gin-soaked raisins (that Paul Harvey touted) contain significant doses.

The user may have benefited from a placebo effect: Believing enough in a remedy really can help it work. But a large quantity of raisins might well provide significant pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory benefits.


Urban Legends Series: Blue Star Tattoo Legend

The "Blue Star" LSD tattoo warning is a classic of the breed -- it has been terrorizing parents, fooling journalists, bewildering authorities and delighting urban legend researchers for over 15 years. It is an example of a "contamination" legend and can be classed with such other familiar legends as "Spider eggs in Bubble Yum," but it is also part of the growing ranks of "xeroxlore" like the "send a dying boy postcards" plea. More recently, the legend has picked up new virulence and new credibility through the internet, where it has appeared in mailing lists, newsgroups and on web pages.

Popular folklore chronicler Jan Harold Brunvand devoted a chapter of his book The Choking Doberman and other "New" Urban Legends to the "Mickey Mouse Acid" scare.

In a typical outbreak, a school, hospital, or police station will get a copy of a photocopied flyer warning that LSD-laden lick-and-stick tattoo transfers are being given to children in local schoolyards. The allegations in the warning typically include:

A new type of tattoo called "Blue Star" is being sold or given away to school children.
The stars are designed to be removed and ingested.
This form of LSD-laced tattoo is available all over the country.
These tattoos contain LSD.
The LSD can be absorbed through the skin by handling the tattoos.
Other LSD-containing tattoos, resembling postage stamps, also exist, depicting:
Bart Simpson
Mickey Mouse
Disney characters in general
Red Pyramid
Other varieties include "micro dot" in various colors and "Window Pane" (or "Window Pain").
These drugs are packaged in a red cardboard box wrapped in foil.
This use of cartoon characters is a new way of selling acid by appealing to young children.
Dealers or older children give these drugs to younger children either for kicks or to hook new customers.
These drugs are known to react very quickly and some are laced with strychnine.
These tattoos could cause a "fatal 'trip'" in children.
Many children have already died from accidental ingestion of these tattoos.
Symptoms you might see in children who have encountered these tattoos include hallucinations, severe vomiting, uncontrolled laughter, mood changes, and changes in body temperature.
This warning has been authorized by the authorities, such as:
Beth Israel Medical Center in New York
The Cumberland County Sheriff's Department
The Police Department
The PTA of Willow Tree Day Care Center
J. O'Donnel of Danbury Hospital's Outpatient Chemical Dependency Treatment Service
El Hospital de Saint Roch
La Brigada de Estupefacientes
Der Waadtländer Polizei
The Valley Children's Hospital
Die New Yorker Polizei
La Brigada Francesa de Estupefacientes
Mr. Guy Chaillé, Advisor to the President
You should contact the police if you see these tattoos.
You should spread the word of this danger far and wide.

The blue star tattoo legend frequently[citation needed] surfaces in American elementary and middle schools in the form of a flyer that has been photocopied through many generations, which is distributed to parents by concerned school officials. It has also become popular on Internet mailing lists and websites. This legend states that a temporary lick-and-stick tattoo soaked in LSD and made in the form of a blue star (the logo of the Dallas Cowboys is often mentioned), or of popular children's cartoon characters, is being distributed to children in the area in order to get them 'addicted to LSD'.

An example flyer, degraded from many generations of photocopy and fax reproduction. Collected by Jan Brunvand in his book The Choking Doberman.The legend is possibly originated from the fact that LSD solution is sometimes soaked in blotter paper and sold. In fact, LSD is not an addictive drug. The flyer lists an inaccurate description of the effects of LSD, some attribution (typically to a well-regarded hospital or a vaguely specified "adviser to the president"), and instructs parents to contact police if they come across the blue star tattoos.

No actual cases of LSD distribution to children in this manner have ever been documented.

D.B. Cooper parachute found?

The photo below is being analyzed as the possible parachute used by the highjacker D.B. Cooper in 1971.

The FBI has obtained a parachute found where hijacker D.B. Cooper is believed to have jumped, and the bureau is seeking the public's help in what may be a major break in the world's only unsolved hijacking.

"If D.B. Cooper had pulled his chute not long after that jump, he would have landed in that area," Carr said. "Is this D.B. Cooper's parachute? We don't know yet."

New poll a shock to both Hillary and Obama

Rasmussen Reports presidential tracking poll shows:

Twenty-two percent (22%) of Democratic voters nationwide say that Hillary Clinton should drop out of the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

However, the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that an identical number—22%--say that Barack Obama should drop out.

A majority of Democrats, 62%, aren’t ready for either candidate to leave the race.

Nationally, Clinton and Obama are running essentially even among Likely Democratic Primary Voters

White House Easter HUNT

IFAW disputes seal hunt changes will make annual killing more humane

An animal rights group is disputing a Canadian claim that this year's East Coast seal hunt will be more humane.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare said Thursday that a new regulation that requires hunters to bleed seals before skinning them "makes no real changes to the way seals can be killed."

Under new federal regulations, hunters will be required to sever the arteries under each flipper, thereby ensuring the animals are dead before being skinned.

But Sheryl Fink, a senior IFAW researcher, said the new regulations call only for "bleeding to be conducted at some point."

"Now that I have seen the actual text of the new condition of licence, I'm left speechless by its inadequacy," Fink said in a release.

"The impaling of live and conscious seals on steel hooks and hoisting them onto boats is still permitted. I don't know anyone who would call that an improvement in humaneness."

The hunt begins Friday in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. A much larger hunt off Newfoundland and Labrador will open in April.

This year's total allowable catch has been set at 275,000 seals, up from 270,000 last year. The total allowable catch was 335,000 two years ago, but poor ice conditions led to the change last year.

Registered hunters are not allowed to kill seal pups that haven't molted their downy white fur, typically when 10 to 21 days old.

Animal rights groups say the seal hunt, the largest marine mammal hunt in the world, is cruel, difficult to monitor, ravages the seal population and doesn't provide a lot of money for sealers.

Sealers and the Fisheries Department defend the hunt as sustainable, humane and well-managed and say it provides supplemental income for isolated fishing communities that have been hurt by the decline in cod stocks.

Rebecca Aldworth, a spokeswoman for the Humane Society International/Canada, said Thursday the Fisheries Department had refused to confirm if it will issue permits to observers wishing to document this year's hunt.

She said the hunt occurs in a public place and observing it is a right guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

"This is another attempt by the DFO to cover up the cruelty of the commercial seal hunt on the eve of the European Union deciding if it will ban seal products," Aldworth said in a release.

The Fisheries Department could not be immediately reached for comment.

The European Union is considering a ban on all seal products, having outlawed the sale of the white pelts of baby seals in 1983. Union officials said Wednesday they're also considering measures against Canada to protest the hunt.

Special Thanks to Canada East

Nike Unveils N7 Air Native Shoe Designed for Native Americans

Nike on Tuesday unveiled what it said is the first shoe designed specifically for American Indians, an effort aiming at promoting physical fitness in a population with high obesity rates.

The Beaverton-based company says the Air Native N7 is designed with a larger fit for the distinct foot shape of American Indians, and has a culturally specific look. It will be distributed solely to American Indians; tribal wellness programs and tribal schools nationwide will be able to purchase the shoe at wholesale price and then pass it along to individuals, often at no cost.

"Nike is aware of the growing health issues facing Native Americans," said Sam McCracken, manager of Nike's Native American Business program. "We are stepping up our commitment ... to elevate the issue of Native American health and wellness."

Nike said it is the first time it has designed a shoe for a specific race or ethnicity. It said all profits from the sale of the shoe will be reinvested in health programs for tribal lands, where problems with obesity, diabetes and related conditions are near epidemic levels in some tribes.

Nike designers and researchers looked at the feet of more than 200 people from more than 70 tribes nationwide and found that in general, American Indians have a much wider and taller foot than the average shoe accommodates. The average shoe width of men and women measured was three width sizes larger than the standard Nike shoe.

As a result, the Air Native is wider with a larger toe box. The shoe has fewer seams for irritation and a thicker sock liner for comfort.

Jerry Bread, outreach coordinator for the Native American Studies program at University of Oklahoma, said the idea was "fantastic" and addressed a core issue for tribes, though he was skeptical that the feet of people from so many tribes could be so similar.

"It's an excellent gesture and I know it will get a lot of support from tribal people," Bread said. "We stand to profit from it in our physical health and well being."

Dr. Kelly Acton, director of the national diabetes program for Indian Health Services, said she was dubious of working with a corporation at first but said she was delighted with the result, saying Nike "bent over backwards" to design a shoe and respect public health needs.

The N7 name is a reference to the seventh generation theory, used by some tribes to look to the three generations preceding them for wisdom and the three generations ahead for their legacy.

The design features several "heritage callouts" as one product manager described it, including sunrise to sunset to sunrise patterns on the tongue and heel of the shoe. Feather designs adorn the inside and stars are on the sole to represent the night sky.

The company anticipates selling at least 10,000 pairs and raising $200,000 for tribal programs. At $42.80 wholesale, it represents less of a financial opportunity than a goodwill and branding effort.

"The reason I like it is that, even if there's not a big Native American market, it gives people the impression there is a constituency that deserves attention," said John Dickson, a member of the executive council of the Native American Leadership Alliance in Washington, D.C.

Paul Swangard, managing director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon, said the product reflects how Nike does business.

The company prides itself on designing specifically for certain athletes and having close ties to its customers. Nike has been involved with the tribal community for years, supporting tribal athletic teams, events and other social initiatives.

"It reinforces the core of the Nike brand, which is: If you have a body you are an athlete," Swangard said.

Special Thanks to MSNBC

White House Hosts Annual Easter Egg Roll

President Bush and first lady Laura Bush, accompanied by daughter Jenna Bush, and former first lady Barbara Bush, kick off the annual Easter Egg Roll, Monday, March 24, 2008, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.

'Twas a sunny Easter Monday. Turf's up time on the South Lawn of the White House.

Bundled up against a crisp March morning, thousands of children ran, jumped, crawled and skipped merrily across the lawn in this year's renewal of a spring rite dating to President Rutherford B. Hayes' administration in 1878.

This time around President Bush joined his wife, Laura, his mother and former first lady, Barbara Bush, and daughter, Jenna, in presiding over the festivities. "We're sure glad you're here," Bush shouted from the White House's Blue Room balcony. Later he blew the whistle to start the egg roll races, chuckling at the children's mirth while the first lady applauded their efforts.

"This event is one of the happiest traditions on the White House lawn," Mrs. Bush said. "It's always fun to see the South Lawn filled with children."

Young people competing in the event's namesake races pushed eggs across a stretch of grass using giant spoons. The festivities also included an egg hunt, musical performances, reading, magicians and face painting.

About 7,500 eggs were available for the egg roll races. Another 3,200 dyed eggs were used for the egg hunt and 4,500 were boiled for children to dye.

After the start of the races, Mrs. Bush sat in a designated reading nook and read "Arthur Meets the President" while a person in costume as Arthur helped illustrate some of the story's events. The character also helped former first lady Barbara Bush when she read "Arthur's New Puppy." Both books were written by Marc Brown.

Jenna Bush selected three children from the audience to act out the story "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak while she read. She encouraged them to roar, roll their eyes, gnash their teeth and show their claws in time with the story's action.

The President Hugs The Easter Bunny.

Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman and a number of Bush administration Cabinet secretaries were also scheduled to read stories. A popular band — the Jonas Brothers — performed the national anthem.

Each child got to take away a commemorative White House wooden Easter egg, an activity coloring book, baseball cards of the first family's pets, a White House bookmark, a children's book, candy, a commemorative poster, a "My American Journal" booklet and stickers relating to this years theme of ocean conservation.

Special Thanks to The Assosciated Press