Shark-Away

Divers often resort to metal armour, harpoons or simply staying in a cage to protect themselves from sharks, but researchers have shown that magnets could be the way to ensure ‘safety beneath the waves.’

Chemist Eric Stroud runs a research company called SharkDefense, and he’s proved that some sharks cannot bear to be near magnets.

He first discovered this in 2005 when he accidentally dropped one into his shark research tanks in Oak Ridge, New Jersey.

The resident lemon and nurse sharks inside raced away from the magnets as fast as they could.

He demonstrates just how effective magnets are at repelling sharks in a video (below) in the Bahamas.

The footage shows one of his collegues coaxing a small lemon shark into a sleep-like state by holding it gently upside down.

Mr Stroud then holds a piece of card next to the shark to make sure it can’t see what’s coming and moves a magnet right next to its head.

The shark instantly bends away from it, unable to stand being close by. Mr Stroud believes the process that’s taking place, is the magnet interfering with the shark’s electrical sensors, called the ampullae of Lorenzini.

These are used by the creatures to find their way around, because they tune in to the electric fields of ocean currents.

Mr Stroud said, ‘It’s probably something like a bright flashlight across your eyes. It’s just temporarily blinding, and you’re startled. And it’s not pleasant.’

Mr Stroud believes his work can not only help to keep swimmers and divers safe, but protect shark populations, too, which often get caught in nets and on fishing hooks.

To this end repelsharks.com already sells magnetic fish hooks developed by SharkDefense, while Stroud suggests that rows of underground magnets would be a far better way of keeping swimmers safe, while at the same time ensuring the sharks come to no harm.

However, not everyone is convinced of the effectiveness of magnets at keeping sharks at bay. Popular TV show Mythbusters conducted a series of experiments to test the theory and found that magnets only work with some species of shark, and not in every circumstance. It showed that lemon sharks ignored the magnets when there was food attached to them.

Attribution: The World

Afghanistan; What’s the Point?

By: The Common Constitutionalist

The attack on Afghanistan began Oct. 7, 2001 dubbed operation ‘Enduring Freedom’. It was in response to the 9/11 attacks. The stated goal was the dismantling of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization and ending its use of Afghanistan as a base.

The United States also said that it would remove the Taliban regime from power and attempt to create a viable democratic state.

The George W. Bush administration stated that, as policy, it would not distinguish between terrorist organizations and nations or governments that harbored them. Of course, it did, Saudi Arabia being a prime example.

On June 22, 2011, President Obama announced that the end of 2011 would withdraw 10,000 U.S. troops. An additional 23,000 troops will leave the country by the summer of 2012. After the withdrawal of 10,000 U.S. troops, 80,000 are left participating in the war. The War in Afghanistan is the United States’ second longest running military conflict, only the Vietnam War lasted longer.

 Almost 2,000 deaths, over 15,000 wounded. For what? What is our vital interest? I have been searching for days to find what our mission actually is over there. I cannot.

What a monumental waste of manpower, money and time. Our brave forces volunteer for military service, only to be sent over to that hellhole to be shot at & blown up & for what? They don’t know what the mission is. They don’t know what they’re fighting for. They are just told to clear those buildings, clear that road, etc. That’s not a mission. That’s a task and a very dangerous one at that. Especially when more often than not they can’t even shoot back without special permission. The enemy can shoot at us, exhaust his supply of ammunition, put the weapon & simply walk away. We are not allowed to fire on him as he calmly strolls away.

Just imagine if General Patton were told the enemy were hold up in a Mosque. There would be no more Mosque. But not in today’s enlightened military.

We, in this country cannot fight a war to win any longer. We don’t have the stomach for it. We’re too civilized, I guess.

Bring the troops home now; every last one of them, and never go to war again until such time as we can develop the courage & determination to actually win.

What the heck happened to us? Everyone knows the old saying “War is Hell”. I agree. War is hell and no one hates war more than the military. But it is also sometimes necessary. It should however be quite uncommon. We shouldn’t be inserting ourselves into every conflict around the globe.

Our leaders have somehow morphed vital or national interests into Meals on Wheels, saving the whole world, or democracy building.

Any reasonable person would understand that we can’t save the whole world and democracy building is a fool’s errand in most countries.

The United States is a good, just and very charitable country. I understand the want of many to right the wrongs in the world. I certainly don’t have a quarrel with our military acting as first responders after a natural disaster somewhere on this planet, but beyond that we must first consider our own interests.

Is the war in Afghanistan being fought for our interests or the interests of others?

Consider the wars past that America has become involved. The ones we have won and those we’ve lost.

World War II was the last real war that America has won, the Cold War notwithstanding. Of course, Vietnam was the last that we lost.

In World War II we lost many battles but yet won the war. We won the war due to overwhelming force and an understanding of what had to be done regardless of the cost. We bombed cities such as Berlin inflicting horrible civilian casualties. Something we would never consider today. These attacks were not by accident. These were purposeful. They were designed to bring the enemy to their knees. The same was proven of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. All these horrific attacks were designed to bring the war to a swifter end and of course they did.

World War II was primarily controlled by the military and less by politicians. Vietnam was fought more by politicians than the military. Unlike World War II, in Vietnam, America won every battle yet still lost the war. Every time our military got close to actually winning the politicians would inject themselves into the situation and order the military to back off and cease hostilities. We could have and would have won the Vietnam War, yet we lost. How is this possible? Easy. One cannot fight a war from Washington DC. As in domestic politics the further one is removed from the front lines the more screwed up things get, which brings us right back to Afghanistan.

So I ask again, what is our mission over there? When, if ever, can we declare victory? What would victory even look like? No one can tell me these answers because there are no answers. This is not a war. It’s a never-ending conflict that can only end with us running away with our tails between our legs again.

If it were up to me, I would scorch the poppy fields, spray chemicals on the fields so that they could not be used again and leave. I would then cut all ties and end all financial assistance to any country on the terror watchlist or those with a despotic leader. Finally I would issue a proclamation, worldwide, stating that if attacked, we will find the country that harbored the attackers and bomb said country into oblivion and then leave.  No rebuilding, no assistance, no nothing. If a country chooses to harbor terrorists, they will know ahead of time the price they will pay for that choice.

Will the Real Eric Holder Please Stand Up

The ‘one person, one vote’ rule is one of the cornerstones of democracy, or is supposed to be.

And political activist James O’Keefe is determined to prove that the doctrine is at real risk of being frequently flouted in the U.S.

In a video for O’Keefe’s Project Veritas website, a man successfully registers to

The Similarity is Astounding

 vote under the name of Attorney General Eric Holder at a Washington D.C. polling station.

While it is not a legal requirement to use photo ID in the state, the ‘voter’ demonstrates how easy it is to receive a ballot under someone else’s name – even a high profile one such as the Attorney General’s.

The man in the video approaches the administration desk and asks: ‘Do you have an Eric Holder [on the list]?’

After thumbing through his papers for a few seconds, the election official confirms Mr Holder’s address, and says, ‘Sign here’.

When the mystery man, who appears to be filming the event from a hidden camera, asks if they need to see ID, the official says it’s not necessary.
‘You don’t need it, it’s OK,’ he says.

And continues with ‘As long as you are in here, you are on the list.’

O’Keefe has previously challenged the Attorney General on voter fraud, asking why there are not stricter voter ID laws.

Mr Holder claimed he needed ‘proof’ to further investigate the matter. Something that O’Keefe seems determined to provide.

You are only legally required to show photo ID in Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

Clearly O’Keefe believes this should be extended to all states.
In January, he was prosecuted for filming an election at the New Hampshire primary, where members of his crew obtained nine different ballots under the name of one recently-deceased local resident.

O’Keefe also received three years’ probation after attempting to infiltrate the office of Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu in 2010.

While O’Keefe’s video does seem to clearly show that voter fraud is possible, commentators claim that the rate of occurrence is miniscule.

Nymag.com points out that ‘there is no documented wave or trend of individuals voting multiple times, voting as someone else or voting despite knowing they are ineligible.’ The website claims that you are just as likely to be killed by lightning as you are to attempt to submit a false vote, but were unable to produce such documentation to back their claim.

Attribution: Hannah Rand

Black Gold

A California family claims it is owed a $130 million stake in Coca-Cola Co after their father bought an antique stock certificate in 2008 for a mere $5.

Tony Marohn spent the final year of his life battling the beverage company after tracing the Palmer Union Oil Co certificate to Coca-Cola.

Marohn died in 2010, but his family has taken on the legal battle, saying it is entitled to about 1.8million shares of the soft-drink maker.

Marohn had traced the certificate by way of long-forgotten companies such as Petrocarbon Chemicals Inc and Taylor Wine Co, according to court documents.

But before the family buys that vacation home in Aspen, they’ll have to convince a skeptical Delaware Chancery Court judge that the law is on their side.

‘This is a new version of the Beverly Hillbillies,’ Judge Leo Strine said at a hearing on January 31, according to a court transcript. He was referring to a 1960s television comedy about a backwoods family that becomes rich by finding oil on their property.

If upheld, Marohn’s estate would become among the largest non-institutional investors in Coca-Cola, according to Reuters data.

‘The claim of Mr Marohn’s estate that it is entitled to millions of dollars in Coca-Cola stock – based on a canceled stock certificate for a long-defunct oil company purchased at an estate sale – is meritless and unfair to the Company’s millions of legitimate shareholders,’ said a Thursday statement from Coca-Cola.

Bob Kerstein, who runs the scripophily.com website, which researches and sells antique stock certificates, said he gets lots of inquiries from people who want to redeem old certificates.

‘We get people who have blank stock certificates and they think they have hit the lotto,’ said Kerstein. He said he has to break the news to them they need to be on record with the company as well.

Margules, the Wilmington, Delaware attorney for Marohn’s estate, said he thinks he can persuade Strine that the law favors his client. Marohn’s certificate was endorsed and assigned, but the transferee was left blank.

Marohn filled in his name and began digging through corporate records. He eventually wrote to Coca-Cola to demand 1.8million shares of common stock for his 1,625 Palmer Union Oil shares.

The company refused, and sued Marohn in Delaware’s Chancery Court in 2009 seeking a declaration he was not entitled to the company’s stock.

Marohn’s estate filed papers last week showing courts have upheld that a person who was issued a stock certificate and then endorsed and assigned it – but left blank the name of the transferee — essentially transformed the certificate into a bearer stock. By writing his name on the stock, Marohn became the legal owner, his estate argued.

Strine said in January he would soon decide how to proceed. He also warned the Marohn estate against pursuing ‘a drive by of a public company’ to extract money to drop the case.

‘It’s just not a sport,’ Strine said.

 
 Attribution: Mail Online

Yeah, This is Just What We Need

Neo-Nazis pledge to descend on Sanford, Fla., where Trayvon martin was killed, to protect ‘white citizens’

 By AND / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS:

 The Florida town roiled by the controversial Trayvon Martin shooting soon may get unwelcome visitors — a group of neo-Nazis.

Members of the Detroit-based National Socialist movement have pledged to descend on Sanford to protect “the white citizens in the area” if there are race riots in the aftermath of the killing that has gripped the nation.

“It’s a virtual tinder box right now,” the group’s leader, Jeff Schoep, told the Daily News. “It’s explosive. It’s on the verge of violence. We need to make sure our white citizens aren’t left defenseless.”

Schoep claimed that up to 20 well-armed members are already in position in Sanford.

Sanford police officials said Saturday they have not spotted any neo-Nazis but have coordinated with the feds to be ready in case violence erupts.

Martin, a 17-year-old black high school student, was wearing a hoodie and unarmed when he was shot Feb. 26 by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman claimed he fired in self-defense after Martin attacked him. He has not been arrested or charged and has kept out of the public eye since the incident.

Schoep justified his group’s plan by noting that the New Black Panther Party offered a $10,000 bounty on Zimmerman.

“We had to act,” Schoep said. “Why is it all right for a black group to put bounties on people?”

Still, Schoep did not exactly offer a rousing defense of the shooter, saying he looked “half-Hispanic or Cuban or something. He certainly doesn’t look white to me.”

Meanwhile, NBC News fired a producer for editing a recording of Zimmerman’s 911 call the night he shot Martin.

The producer, who was not identified, trimmed the tape in a manner that suggested Zimmerman volunteered that Martin was black.

Stormy Weather

Mars orbiters have captured dust devils thundering across the plains of Mars before – but on March 14, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snapped a 12-mile-high monster.

The ‘devil’ left a streak across the planet’s surface – it’s just 70 yards wide, but higher than Earth tornadoes, a column of dust whirling so fast it would sandblast anything in it.

The length of the shadow indicates that the dust plume reached a height of 12 miles above the surface.

Dozens of smaller dust devils were captured by the Mars Reconnaissance orbiter’s cameras, ‘vacuuming’ the surface around the monster ‘devil’.

Despite its gargantuan height, the plume is only 70 yards in diameter, giving it a snake-like appearance that is twisted by high altitude winds, similar to another dust devil spotted recently in this region.

Despite the atmosphere on Mars being desperately thin – one per cent of Earth’s pressure – the planet’s winds are strong enough to produce dramatic events and in the area observed, paths of many previous whirlwinds, or dust devils, are visible as streaks on the dusty surface.

‘Because the density of Mars’ atmosphere is so low, even a high velocity dust devil is unlikely to knock you over,’ says the University of Arizona team which posted the video.

‘However, you might be blasted by any sand or dust particles carried along by the dust devil, which might scratch the visor of your space suit quickly if you were caught outside by this monster.’

Just as on Earth, winds on Mars are powered by solar heating. Exposure to the sun’s rays declines during this season, yet even now, dust devils act relentlessly to clean the surface of freshly deposited dust, a little at a time.

Dust devils occur on Earth as well as on Mars. They are spinning columns of air, made visible by the dust they pull off the ground. Unlike a tornado, a dust devil typically forms on a clear day when the ground is heated by the sun, warming the air just above the ground.

As heated air near the surface rises quickly through a small pocket of cooler air above it, the air may begin to rotate, if conditions are just right.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been examining Mars with six science instruments since 2006 and has has returned more data about Mars than all other orbital and surface missions combined.

One of its cameras is so powerful they can reveal objects on Mars as small as an office desk.

It has taken over 20,000 photographs of the Red Planet so far.

The Orbiter makes a complete circuit of Mars every 112 minutes, flying a nearly circular orbit that ranges in height from about 255 kilometers (160 miles) over the South Pole to 320 kilometers (200 miles) over the North Pole.

For handling large amounts of data, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has 160 gigabits of solid-state memory and a processor operating at up to 46 million instructions per second.

Explanation of the Martian dust devil construction:

Below is video animation of the Martian dust devil:

Anyone Up for a Race War?

Should we be preparing for a Race War. I don’t know, but listening to these New Black Panther members, maybe so. They seem to be ready & willing for violence. Just listen to this audio and you decide if these people are serious or is it all just bluster. I think, this time, we had better take them at their word.

** Obscene Language Alert**

Stickum Up and Buy this Healthcare plan

By Eric Peters

This is written as the Supreme Court is weighing the constitutionality of ObamaCare – in particular, it is considering whether the federal government has the authority under the Constitution to force people at gunpoint to buy a health insurance policy from a private, for-profit business. That this is even being – as opposed to dismissed out of hand – tells us just how far down the slippery slope we’ve already slid. But what most people – especially people who support the mandate – may not have considered is where the precedent about to be established will take us.

Unfortunately in law, precedent is everything, because it becomes practice.

Once the courts countenance a given thing, it becomes the basis for countenancing other, similar-in-principle things.  Some 25 years ago, when the courts ruled it was within the government’s constitutional authority to stop motorists at random, without even the pretext of probable cause (as clearly demanded – without qualification – by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution), a precedent was established. Today, we are subject to random stops – and random searches – at any time, just about. It has become a routine – and routinely accepted – practice.

If the government has the authority to force each of us to buy a health insurance policy on the basis of “interstate commerce” or some appeal to the collective greater good – then a new precedent will have been established. Why, having gone that far, would they stop there? Do you imagine the government will stop there?  Has it ever once, having expanded its authority, failed to expand upon that authority?

Why not also force people at gunpoint to buy life insurance?  As things stand, there are families left without a breadwinner – and the breadwinner’s income – following an untimely death. Perhaps some people cannot afford to buy life insurance.  Surely life insurance is just as vital to interstate commerce – and the “security” provided by a policy just as much a “right” as the “right” to health care? Precisely the same arguments can – and will – be used. You are a fool if you don’t see it coming. And it will not come because of the government’s concern for you. It will come because of the concern over the money (and power) to be had – the two things really driving the individual mandate of Obamacare.

Private (an increasingly meaningless term) businesses have had an epiphany. They have come to realize that it’s in their interests to crawl under the sheets with the government. Because government can force people to buy the businesses’ product or service. Why compete for customers’ dollars when you can use the police power of the state to compel them to hand over the loot? And even better, you (the “private” business) no longer need worry much about quality, efficiency or customer service. After all, what are your customers going to do? They have to buy what you’re selling – or else.

As bad as HMOs and PPOs are – as Soviet and DMV-like as the staff at your doctor’s office may be – at least they cannot put a gun to your head. At least, you have the option of telling them what you think – and walking out the door. Shortly, that may change. And the only thing that will change is the threat of violence for noncompliance. The Soviet and DMV-like experience will be the same – no, it will grow worse. Because you won’t be able to say no – or walk out the door.

Not without the NKVD[People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs] stepping in to correct you. 

And then the precedent will be expanded – and become the general practice.

Life insurance. Home insurance (even if you’ve paid off your home and would rather save the $800 a year that is typically charged). And since this is a car-minded column, let’s not forget cars.

GM and Ford and the rest of them are having a heck of time selling the American consumer on the merits of electric and other “green” cars. Surely, it is in the interests of the furtherance of interstate commerce and the Greater Good that Americans be required to purchase a “green” vehicle. It would help the car companies. It would be an investment in “our future.” Surely, we cannot afford to allow selfish and irresponsible people to avoid paying their fair share….

I wish this were farce. But if the Supremes hold ObamaCare “constitutional” then we no longer have a Constitution. What we will have is the precedent of unlimited, open-ended federal authority – which in short order will become the routine practice of forcing each of us to do (and buy) literally anything. The flower will have blossomed. America will cease to exist.

But we’ll have “health care.”

And much more besides…

I Can Fly

The nation’s first ever zip-line roller coaster, the Rattlesnake, sends dangling riders flying off a 65 foot tower over treetops on a 1,000 feet long rail of sharp curves and plunging dips.

The eco-tourism ride, which lasts for about a minute, is set on the 4,700-acre Forever Florida conservation area in Osceola County.

The attraction is part of a $1.5 million expansion at Florida EcoSafaris in St. Cloud and opened Friday.

‘It’s inspired by zip lining, but it’s gone way past that,’ Matt Duda, sales and marketing director at Florida EcoSafaris, which opened the state’s first zip line in 2009, told the Orlando Sentinel.

Unlike the traditional zip lines the Rattlesnake does not follow a straight course.

‘It’s the evolution of zip line toward high-volume, high-capacity thrill rides. This is one of many ways that zip rides are going — further, faster and articulated turns.’

 ‘That’s the amusement-park ride aspect of this.’ Michael Smith, adventure-course consultant and operator told the Sentinel.

The Rattlesnake is only the second of its kind in the world, the first is similar ride at a park in Tulum, Mexico.

Emily Kaufman, a California-based travel expert known as the Travel Mom, who previewed the ride last month gave it her approval

‘It married a couple of things that I really love: The-zip line experience – the fantasy of feeling like you’re really flying – and a roller coaster. It wasn’t too intense, but intense enough,’ she told the Sentinel.

Zip Lines which began as a form of transportation have become more and more popular in the country.

‘Every single day I’m learning about a new tour. We’re seeing a boom simply because the population is desperate for activities that evoke imagination and inspiration.’

‘And you pair that with the green movement that’s going on – the connecting with the natural world – you have a product that sells itself on so many levels.’ Mr Smith said, reports the Sentinel.

The park’s expansion also saw several other rides opening today, including the Panther Pounce, a 68-foot freefall from an observation tower; Swooping Crane, where guests drop themselves from a height of 55 feet, creating a giant, swinging motion; and Peregrine Plunge, side-by-side, 1,300-foot straight zip lines.

Attribution: Daily Mail

What a Looker

For suspected drug trafficker Ronaldo Silva, prison was a real drag… so he decided to escape in what he thought was the perfect disguise.

When his wife came to visit him at Penedo prison in Brazil , he popped on her bra, threw on a wig and poured his curves into her pretty blue dress.

He even shaved his arms and legs for good measure, and squeezed into a pair of killer heels.

But his plan to sashay through the prison gates went awry after he forgot one thing: it can take a woman years to master how to glide naturally in high heels.

Half an hour into his daring bid for freedom, one eagle-eyed guard noticed that, despite looking like a woman, he didn’t walk like one.

He was followed as far as the bus station before police picked him up and dragged him back to jail.

The jail’s director Carlos Welber said Silva had swapped clothes with his wife during her weekly visit.

She left the prison wearing his bermuda shorts and another top she had brought in her bag.

He told Brazil’s Globo G1 website: ‘He left the prison shortly after her, along with other inmates’ wives. He was wearing a wig, painted false nails and a long dress. He’d spent a long time shaving his legs and arms. There was a lot of preparation and premeditation involved in this.’

Silva managed to get past prison guards, but a policeman patrolling the street outside became suspicious and decided to follow him.

Mr Welber said: ‘He noticed that the woman was walking funny and looked strange. He followed him to the bus station, where two men were waiting on motorbikes to pick him up.

‘The policeman approached him and managed to arrest him and bring him back, still dressed as a woman.’

Silva had been awaiting trial for drug trafficking.

He was transferred to the prison last month after another escape attempt, when armed men tried to invade another jail to release him.

According to Mr Welber, Silva’s wife admitted changing clothes with her husband but claimed she had no idea why he wanted them.

He said: ‘He was the one who demanded her clothes, at least that’s what she’s telling us. Of course we don’t believe her, but that’s her story.

‘At the time it was visiting hour and there were more than 150 family members inside the prison. But we’re taking measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again.’

Attribution: Matt Blake