Am I reading this right? An inch of snow in Atlanta has resulted in citywide gridlock, people abandoning their cars in the streets, school busses trapped in the streets with students inside for a half a day, students trapped in schools, and residents overnighting in gas stations and Home Depots. Seriously, what am I missing here? If it's really just 1", sure there will be some accidents among drivers who don't know to drive differently in snow, but still, the entire city brought to a halt? For just an inch?

Originally posted on Dreamwidth. comment count unavailable comments there. Comment here or there.
asterroc: (xkcd - Fuck the Cosine)
Less than 1% of oiled birds survive. Somebody want to explain to me why? What actually kills them? Is it predators? Ingestion of oil (and if so, is the oil toxic or does it disrupt normal digestion)? Temperature regulation? Insufficient buoyancy? What?

Edit: The correct answer is, (E) All of the above.
CNN has an article up about Disney's new black Princess. While the article leaves some to be desired (as do most CNN articles), it's still an interesting read.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/Movies/12/11/princess.frog.parents/index.html
CNN's outdone itself in a headline that reads the exact opposite of reality.

Headline: "Gal wearing 1 dress every day for year"

My reading of it: "Gal wears a different dress every day for a year, for a grand total of 365 dresses." Curious what the big deal was (and out of non-work things to do on the intertubes), I clicked.

Reality: "Gal wears the same dress for a year, for a grand total of 1 dress." Social activist, Sheena Matheiken, from India got her designer friend to make a versatile dress, 7 copies of it in fact. Matheiken is wearing one of the 7 copies every day for a year, accessorizing it to the hilt, and raising donations for education in India.

CNN Video
The Uniform Project
asterroc: (xkcd - Fuck the Cosine)
A disgusting article written by a mother of two boys about why she doesn't want a girl for her third child. Absolutely disgustingly prejudiced and stereotyped and sexist and makes me want to puke. Moreover, what's this poor girl going to think when she grows up enough to read this article by her mother?

Mr. Moms

Jan. 23rd, 2009 12:43 pm
asterroc: (*Hyuk!*)
In line with my fear of housewivery, it's nice to see that some dads are attempting to work from home - even if they do decide they can't cut it.
In case you missed this news of the past few years, the melamine-poisoned milk from China that surfaced in Sept 2008 was prefaced a year and a half earlier in April 2007 by a massive recall of pet foods made by company Menu Foods due to melamine poisoning. Melamine is a chemical usually found in plastics that causes complete kidney shutdown in humans and cats, and significant kidney damage in dogs. The reason the melamine was added in the first place was a scam - regulations in China require a certain amount of protein in both milk powder (which was part of the final milk product) and wheat gluten (which was part of the final petfood products). The simple tests used in China cannot distinguish between protein (expensive) and melamine (cheap), so the outcome was inevitable.

And now pet foods produced in the US are turning up tainted with salmonella (PetSmart brand dog treats that include peanuts from one factory). There's already been an outbreak in humans handling their pets' treats, but I predict that in a year and a half this will make it into the human food supply. Avoid peanuts Summer 2010.

Edit: turns out it wasn't just petfood peanuts that were contaminated, but lots of others, so it's already hitting the humans. So much for petfood being a litmus test.
Scanning the various ballot measures listed by CNN, it turns out that Arkansas has a ballot initiative to prevent adoptions or fostering by unmarried couples - straight or gay. Glad to know they consider me an evil sinner too!
asterroc: (doll)
CNN has a series of interviews (videos) regarding people's identity as black. The first one is with a woman author, and discussed the "one-drop" concept, as well as self-identity and isn't half bad (though the camera work is mostly bad). If you watch the whole thing through, the next will load, but I haven't watched the others yet.
Here, finally, is the part I care about.

Do I have to pay the rebate back?

No. And here's why.

Your rebate is a one-time tax cut - an advance on a credit you'll receive on your 2008 return.

It's based on your 2007 income initially. If it turns out that your 2008 income and number of children would have qualified you for a larger rebate than the one you received, you'll be sent the difference. If it turns out your 2008 income was lower than in 2007 and you should have gotten a lower rebate, you get to keep the difference.

"If you were supposed to receive a larger payment than you did, you will get the extra money," said Treasury spokesman Andrew DeSouza. "If you received more than what you should have gotten, you will not be penalized." [CNN]
After a week of heated argument (and "boos") with other countries in Bali, US Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky finally agreed to an amended compromise statement. According to the NY Times,

The agreement notes the need for "urgency" in addressing climate change and recognizes that "deep cuts in global emissions will be required." Still, it does not bind the United States or any country to commitments on reducing greenhouse pollution.


CNN:

The EU wanted an agreement to require developed countries to cut their emissions by 25 to 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2020. The United States opposes those targets, along with Japan and Canada. The latest draft of the agreement removes the specific figures and instead, in a footnote, references the scientific study that supports them.


BBC:

The US and the EU earlier agreed that industrialised countries would not set firm emissions targets at this stage. The "Bali roadmap" initiates a two-year process of negotiations designed to agree a new set of emissions targets to replace those in the Kyoto Protocol.
...
The document coming out of the meeting, the "Bali roadmap", contains text on emissions cuts, the transfer of clean technology to developing countries, halting deforestation and helping poorer nations protect their economies and societies against impacts of climate change such as rising sea levels and falling crop yields. The roadmap sets the parameters and aims for a further set of negotiations to be finalised by the 2009 UN climate conference, to be held in Denmark.


So as far as I can tell, this is again an agreement with no teeth. The US has agreed to no tangible results whatsoever. It's progress in that we've agreed that Something Needs To Be Done and therefore are acknowledging that global warming is taking place, but all we've agreed to so far is to continue talking. Well, better that than nothing.
A Florida judge Friday handed a legal victory to a former astronaut [Lisa Nowak] accused of assaulting a romantic rival [Colleen Shipman], ruling evidence found in her car and statements she made to police after her arrest were inadmissible at trial. ...no written consent was obtained to search her car.
...
On the audiotape of the interview [and Miranda rights], there was no audible response from Nowak on whether she understood that her statements could be used against her in court, and when she was asked whether anyone had threatened or promised her anything to get her to talk to police, [Judge] Lubet wrote. "Thus, there is nothing in either the audio recording or the transcript of the interview that demonstrates that defendant understood these two rights and waived them."
...
she was "subjected to a barrage of questions" beginning in the predawn hours and was questioned for six hours without being given the opportunity to sleep or make a phone call. "Defendant had not slept during the preceding 24 hours," the judge said.
...
Nowak's attorneys in August filed a notice of intent to rely on an insanity defense, saying in court documents her diagnoses include a litany of more than a dozen psychiatric disorders.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/11/02/nowak.ruling/index.html


As Foxtrot puts it, "And she made it into the astronaut corps how?"
asterroc: (Astro - 2MASS)
In case you haven't heard, a spate of earthquakes have hit the Sumatra region of Indonesia in the last 24 hours - more than 60 of them according to CNN. For the scientifically/geographically minded, here's a map of the region from the USGS in which color indicates how recent the quake was (red is most recent), and size of the box indicates magnitude. It's a little nuts how many of the >7 boxes there are.

FWIW, the biggest nuclear bomb ever exploded had as much energy as a 7th magnitude quake, and ever additional magnitude is more than 30 times more energy.

No significant tsunami as of yet thankfully - a 0.6m (2ft) one was confirmed yesterday, and there's rumors of a 1-3m (3-9ft) one but unconfirmed.
asterroc: (xkcd - Escher)
CNN reports that Wikinews reports that Nancy Benoit's death at the hands of her husband and WWE wrestler Chris Benoit was announced on Wikipedia prior to the police actually knowing about it. It's making my head spin. It's sad when a "trusted" news source is getting its news from wikis.
Browsing thru CNN's special page on LGBT America, I came across a page that lists the current candidates' stances on gay marriage, as well as other issues. Sadly, the two top Dems, Clinton and Obama, are both against gay marriage, but on the positive side for them they're both against a US constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriage - the same stance as Repub McCain has. Unfortunately the page doesn't have anything on their stances on a few other issues that matter to me, primarily education and the environment.
B/c some people on my friendslist have discussed this in the last few months, here's a CNN article on the dropping rate of infant male circumcision. Surprisingly, only around 57% of male babies are circumcised at birth in the US, and we're more than most of the world.
A third of the sextuplets has died. Maybe they really should've done the selective abortions in the womb, that way the remaining ones would've had a better chance of living, not to mention developing further.
asterroc: (rhino)
If so, you may have been exposed to a multiple-drug resistant strain of TB that could be fatal, and should get tested for it - specifically Air France Flight 385, departing Atlanta on May 12 and arriving in Paris on May 13, and Czech Air Flight 0104 from Prague, Czech Republic, to Montreal, Canada.
I really had to go digging for this one. Poultry and fish that were previously suspected contaminated with melamine have been tested and declared free of taint and safe to eat. Pork has also been declared safe.

In the pet realm, Chenango Valley Pet Foods has recalled 8 pet food products, one of which is for ferrets - pass that on if you know any ferret owners - including "Doctors Foster and Smith" and "Shop Rite" brands.

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