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Astronomy Picture of the Day


Thursday, February 28, 2008

An unwelcomed guest…

These pictures were taken from a friend’s kitchen onto his patio deck in Wyoming. The cougar was watching his kids playing on the kitchen floor! Thank god he noticed it before he tried to take the garbage out that night…

UPDATE: These WERE images sent to me by my friend, and are not inaccurate - they were taken years ago - 2001 I believe.

Original here

Fed-up family apprehends mailbox-vandal suspects

HATLEY -- The Fisher family prefers not to think of themselves as vigilantes, even after a middle-of-the-night stakeout led to a high-speed chase and the blocking in of a vehicle until police arrived.

After seeing their mailbox smashed four times in less than two weeks and a seventh time in less than a year, they see their actions as justice.

While repairing the mailbox again on Saturday, Greg Fisher suspected that it might again be targeted. Fisher, 49, and his son Dustin, 18, took watch at 2 a.m. Sunday, and their diligence was rewarded less than an hour later when a truck drove past three times. The final time, a man took a baseball bat to the mailbox.

"It was frustrating watching someone smash your property," said Greg, who was in the house when the mailbox was smashed.

Dustin, who was waiting in a car in the driveway, followed the truck for more than eight miles through Hatley and onto Highway 29. As the truck reached speeds of nearly 100 mph, Dustin slowed down after getting a partial license plate number, he said.

A Marathon County sheriff's deputy, however, could not find the vehicle in Department of Transportation records using the partial number.

The Fishers said they have spent countless nights worried about smashed mailboxes and several Hatley businesses, including two the Fishers own, that recently were hit with paint balls. They weren't going to give up easily.

"We only did this because we felt very violated and targeted by whoever was doing it," said Greg's wife, Kim, 47.

While Kim and Dustin drove through Hatley hours later asking acquaintances about the truck, it drove past them and parked in the BP gas station. The two parked behind it and blocked it from leaving.

The Sheriff's Department again was called, and ultimately three 16-year-olds were referred on juvenile charges and a 19-year-old was referred to the district attorney's office on a charge of criminal damage to property, according to a police report. Neither the driver of the truck or Dustin was cited for speeding.

Marathon County sheriff's Lt. Randy Albert said the Fishers should have called police with the complete license plate number and vehicle description to avoid a potential confrontation.

"This one ended peacefully, but taking the law into your own hands can have tragic results, as well," Albert said.

Original here

Missing fisherman 'a married dad and good bloke

FRIENDS of a fisherman still lost at sea off the NSW far north coast hope he will be found safe like his two crewmates.

Skipper Charlie Picton and his two deckhands were thrown into the sea when his trawler sank about 4am (AEDT) yesterday off the coast of Byron Bay.

One of the deckhands, named as Michael Williams, 39, made a marathon 12-hour swim to safety and crawled onto New Brighton Beach, north of Byron Bay, about 4pm (AEDT) yesterday.

The second deckhand, John Jarret, was plucked from the water about 8.15am today by a Queensland rescue helicopter.

He was found floating 15km north-east of Ballina, suffering from hypothermia and dehydration.

The two men are being treated in separate far north coast hospitals.

Mr Jarret's family was today overjoyed by news of his rescue.

"It's beautiful, wonderful. I just can't wait to see him," his sister Rosemary Jarret told reporters on her way into Ballina hospital with other family members.

The search continues for Mr Picton, aged in his 30s from nearby Yamba.

Picton family friend Russell Creighton said most of the fishing trawlers based in Yamba had joined the search.

"I've known Charlie for a long, long time," Mr Creighton said.

"He's a Yamba resident - born and bred there and he's been a fisherman all his life."

Mr Creighton said he was a close mate of Mr Picton's father, also a fisherman, who might be involved in the search.

"A lot of our trawlers are up there participating in the search," he said.

"He's a really, really good fisherman - a nice young bloke."

"Like everyone, I'm waiting to hear the news."

Mr Creighton said Mr Picton was married and had a number of siblings.

Mr Williams, who is believed to be from Maclean, is a blackbelt in karate and his high level of fitness was probably a factor in his survival.

Chris Gort said he was second on the scene when Mr Williams crawled ashore at New Brighton Beach, near Byron Bay, about 4pm (AEDT) yesterday.

"I was walking along the beach and came across a female who had found this gentleman that had claimed he had been swimming for hours in the water and claimed that his boat had sunk," Mr Gort told Sky News.

"He had pretty bad cuts and bruises to his legs and his arms, he was pretty exhausted, pretty badly sunburnt."

The air and sea rescue operation continues with up to 10 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

Police said conditions remained favourable for their search.

A spokeswoman for the Maritime Safety Authority said one of the men was found floating about 15km north-east of Ballina, on the NSW north coast, at 8.15am today.

A rescue helicopter airlifted the man to Ballina Hospital in an unknown medical condition but rescue crews are concerned for the man's wellbeing.

"Obviously he's been in the water for quite some time,'' the spokeswoman said.

Queensland Rescue spokesman Andy Christie said he spoke to the helicopter crew who located the second man.

"The crew said that he was talking, he was conscious - physically appeared to be okay ... but they were quick to point out that he had spent a very cold night in the water,'' Mr Christie told Sky News.

His friend, deckhand Michael Williams, 39, from Yamba raised the alarm. He was found in a distressed state by a local walker on New Brighton Beach, near Byron Bay, at 4pm after swimming at least seven nautical miles for help.

Williams left his two friends, skipper Charlie Picton and deckhand "JJ", clinging to an Esky from the stricken vessel the Sea Rogue, which left Yamba on Monday for a four-day prawning expedition.

The man, suffering extreme exhaustion and dehydration, told authorities the boat sank about 2am and he decided to leave the men floating in the water so he could raise the alarm.

Police said it was a miracle he managed to make it to shore.

A worker at a 24-hour emergency marine radio service based at nearby Point Danger said she heard the trawler had overturned.

Vessels working in the area were radioed to be on the lookout for "two men holding on to an Esky", she said.

Mr Williams was recuperating in Mullumbimby Hospital, where he remains in a stable condition.

It is thought the 18m, 100 tonne trawler hit a reef about 2am.

Inspector Owen King said the search would resume at daybreak today for the two men, who are also believed to be from Yamba.

Insp King said conditions in the search area, a vast expanse of ocean several nautical miles off Byron Bay, were "extremely treacherous" but was not abandoning hope for the two missing men.

"At this stage we are still looking for survivors," he said.

Lismore Westpac LifeSaver Helicopter spokesman Roger Fry told The Daily Telegraph last night the crew had made its last contact with the owner at 7pm on Monday.

Mr Fry said no emergency beacon or flares had been let off when the boat sank and after an exhaustive four-hour air search, they found nothing in the sea.

"Our crew didn't see anything, no debris, nothing whatsoever," Mr Fry said.

"We have reports they have something keeping them afloat but nothing was found. The problem is there is no definitive location of where (the boat) sank."

Rescue boats and helicopters will resume the search while police will patrol the coastline in case the men have managed to reach shore.

Uncertainty surrounds the cause of the tragedy but police dismissed reports the trawler had sunk after being struck by another, larger vessel.

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100 Photographs that Changed the World...Incredible!

Anne Frank 1941

Six million Jews died in the Holocaust. For many throughout the world, one teenage girl gave them a story and a face. She was Anne Frank, the adolescent who, according to her diary, retained her hope and humanity as she hid with her family in an Amsterdam attic. In 1944 the Nazis, acting on a tip, arrested the Franks; Anne and her sister died of typhus at Bergen-Belsen only a month before the camp was liberated. The world came to know her through her words and through this ordinary portrait of a girl of 14. She stares with big eyes, wearing an enigmatic expression, gazing at a future that the viewer knows will never come.

Photographer Unknown

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Witness to Discrimination: What Would You Do?

Bystanders Turn Away When Muslim Actor Hired By 'Primetime' Encounters Hostility

Many Muslim-Americans choose to wear the hijab, a traditional head scarf. (M. Spencer Green/ AP Photo )

The Sept. 11 attacks, the Iraq war and suicide bombings worldwide have changed not only the way we live but the way we look at those around us, especially Muslims. "Islamophobia" has entered the American vernacular, and the anti-Muslim attitudes and prejudice it describes remain common.

But what if you witnessed "Islamophobia" in action and saw someone being victimized because of someone else's prejudices? What would you do?

ABC's production crew outfitted The Czech Stop, a bustling roadside bakery north of Waco, Texas, with hidden cameras and two actors. One played a female customer wearing a traditional Muslim head scarf, or hijab. The other acted as a sales clerk who refused to serve her and spouted common anti-Muslim and anti-Arab slurs.

The polarity of reactions was shocking, from support to seething disapproval. Never did we expect customers to be so passionate or candid.

His Place, His Right

Our actor, Sabina, walked into the bakery in search of apple strudel. When she reached the counter, an actor posing as a sales clerk was quick to greet her with hateful anti-Muslim language.

"Get back on the camel and go back to wherever you came from," he said. "You got that towel on your head. I don't know what's underneath your dress. Just please take your business and go elsewhere with it."

"Sir, I am an American, I was born and raised here," she said.

The other customers seemed to hear the exchange but they barely looked toward our actors. When no one came to her defense, Sabina made a direct appeal to one customer.

"Sir, would you mind ordering me an apple strudel? That's why I am here," Sabina said.

Though visibly shaken by the hateful words, the man gave Sabina the cold shoulder, completed his purchase, and walked out of the bakery. "I really think that a person who owns his own business should be able to say who they sell to," he said after we told him about the experiment.

In fact, it is illegal for public establishments to deny service based on someone's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, according to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Regardless, this man was not the only customer to defend our sales clerk's "right" to discriminate.

A Narrowly Defined America

A little while later, Sabina again entered the bakery, and again our sales clerk refused to serve her. This time, one man spoke up, but not on behalf of the Muslim woman. He was adamant that our sales clerk did the right thing. "She wasn't dressed right," he said. "If I was running the place I'd do the same thing." Once again, our sales clerk garnered customer support. After Sabina left the bakery seemingly frustrated and empty-handed, one man thanked the sales clerk for his discriminatory behavior. He then gave our actor a thumbs-up, not once, but twice. Jack Dovidio, a social psychologist at Yale University, said these men seemed to define "American" based on the way people look. They connected with the sales clerk and considered our female actor an outsider. "When we as Americans feel threatened from the outside, we're going to define ourselves in very rigid fashions," Dovidio said. "Either you're with me, and if you're not really one of me, then you must be somebody else who's against me."

A Very Different America

The young woman in our experiment was an actor, but many of the hateful words she heard were based on the experiences of Chicago-born Nohayia Javed, who was watching our experiment from the control van. Javed said she has continually suffered verbal abuse and said she has even been physically attacked by fellow Americans — just because she is Muslim. "They always start off with, 'you're a terrorist, Osama-lover, towel-head, camel jockey' on and on," Javed said. "If I tell them I'm American, they're like, 'No you're not. Just because you were born here doesn't make you American.' And I'm like, 'What makes you American?'"

Javed is not alone. The number of anti-Islamic hate crime incidents in the United States has more than quadrupled from 28 incidents in 2000 to 156 incidents in 2006, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's most recent figures.

Back in the bakery, the next customers had a very different answer to the question of American identity. First we met a man who angrily refused to buy anything when the sales clerk refused to serve Sabina. When our actor chastised him for being a "bad American," he begged to differ. "I believe I am a good American," he said. "My son just came back from serving in the army for over a year in Iraq and that has nothing to do with her [Sabina's] rights. I am deeply offended by this."

When we told him about the experiment, he explained why he stood up for Sabina. "I believe that people who use dress, skin color, language, heritage, financial means, education level, any of those things to say one group is better than another are using empty excuses for bigotry and hatred, and there's been enough hatred," he said.

We also met two young women who refused to let our sales clerk's hateful words go unchecked. "Sir, we are not buying our kolaches because you are really offensive and disgusting," one said. "Just because she's dressed like that doesn't mean anything," said the other, a Muslim-American woman herself. Rather than simply taking their business elsewhere, the young women demanded to speak to the manager, and they also challenged our sales clerk's definition of "American." "She's American. She's American. I'm American. You're the one that's anti-American right now," one said to the sales clerk.

When he refused to budge and our actress turned to leave, the two women walked out with her in a show of support.

The Silent Majority

Even though people seemed to have strong opinions on either side, more than half of the bystanders did or said absolutely nothing. This is a familiar reaction for many Muslims such as Javed. "I was shocked because when these things happen to me in real life … I never see what happens after I walk out of that store," she said. "I would try to justify … that they probably didn't hear it … when I watched it, I realized, no, they hear it and they see it and they're okay with it."

For Javed, tears of fear were mixed with tears of thanks for those she saw come forward to support Sabina. "In my lifetime, I've never ever had anybody stand up for me," Javed said. "It's very touching to see that because that's the right thing to do, I believe … as an American."

Original here

bacon cups

I had an occasion calling for bacon themed food and my mind immediately turned towards the famed bacon mat. I needed something a little more single-serving though, so I decided to attempt bacon cups. In the bacon mat instructions there is mention of draping the mat over an overturned metal bowl and cooking it so that it would turn out in as a bowl shape. I decided to try using the backs of various muffin and mini cake pans, I ran out of bacon before I got to try as many as I would have liked so I'll have to try more at a later date. Any excuse for more bacon.

I set the oven at 400 degrees and carefully formed foil over the back of the muffin pan. I did not coat with cooking spray, it would have been easier to remove but I suspect that the bacon would not have held the form as well if the foil was oiled and would have popped apart half way through cooking. On the other hand some bacon did break when I was peeling away the foil. I cooked the bacon, moving the pans around, until it was crisp looking and waited for it to cool before removing the foil and shaped bacon.

This all took three hours and my house filled with smoke, but it was worth it. Be sure to put a cookie sheet with a rim below the cooking bacon in the oven, there was a lot of dripping fat and I saw a few flames. Watch your oven carefully!

For cup shapes I used the back of this Wilton King-Size Muffin Pan. These are the width of jumbo muffins but are almost twice as tall (see this cupcake for a visual).

For the first try I used two layers of bacon on the sides and wove it like a basket, or at least like I imagine a basket would be woven:

I turned out to not be enough after the bacon cooked and shrank:

It held it's structure very well though:

The next time I used three layers of bacon on the sides, this worked out better:

For as floppy as the bacon is when trying to weave it, it keeps it's shape really well once cooked to the point that it is crisp.

I also tried to make small round bowls using the back of a Betty Crocker mini filled cake pan.

It shrank up quite a lot, leaving more of a shallow rounded shape:

Going for a breadless BLT I filled the cups with lettuce (the arugula was the best) and sliced cherry tomato. After some serious investigation it was determined that the shallow bowls were the easiest to eat as finger food, while the cups were dramatic.

I had hoped to make a mayo-based salad dressing to really fill out my the BLT theme but I completely ran out of time. Overall, a success!

Original here

Good Luck!

The Web's Most Watched Winning Video

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Anti-blogger campaign launched in Russia before presidential elections

Savva Terentyev, a citizen of the town of Siktivkar, 22, is charged for the first Russian case of posting abusive comments in the popular online blog Terentyev is accused for inciting racial and religious hatred and word abusing of law-enforcement authorities.

According to the spokesman of the Siktivkar Court, “thorough text expertise concluded Terentyev’s comment to incite hatred on base of religious, political or cultural differences, and also to abuse people publicly by means of mass media”.

In case proved guilty, Terentyev will be either charged the fine of 4 up to 12 thousand dollars or will have to pay off his 1 to 2-year minimum salary, or will be forced to obligatory work for 180 hours.

The accusation against the musician in based on the results of the expertise held in Komi Language and Literature University. They proved his comment in the LiveJournal to be immoral and abusive.

The case started a year ago, when Terentyev posted a comment in the blog of one of komi’s journalist. The comment was a rough offence to the police. In a few days Terentyev’s apartment was raided and system block with floppies was withdrawn.

Translated by Lena Ksandinova

Original here

Nazi propaganda book reveals Charlie Chaplin was on Hitler's death list

Charlie Chaplin: Attacked in book

As the Little Tramp, he made millions laugh.

But the Nazis never saw the funny side when it came to Charlie Chaplin.

Adolf Hitler's hatred of the politically outspoken movie star is apparent in a yellowing book of Nazi propaganda which includes Chaplin in a hit list of prominent Jews.

The fact that Chaplin was not Jewish didn't save him from being a target. The book, Juden Sehen Dich An (The Jews are Watching You), brands him a "pseudo-Jew".

He was in excellent company. Albert Einstein was among the international Jewish figures listed in 95 pages corroded with hate.

The book, which includes names and photographs of activists, bankers, economists, journalists, academics and entertainers, was written by Dr Johann von Leers, a notorious anti-Jewish propagandist.

Published in Berlin in the 1930s, it is thought to have inspired Chaplin's classic comedy The Great Dictator, in which he both directed and starred.

In the 1940 movie, Chaplin plays a Nazi-like tyrant, Adenoid Hynkel, dictator of Tomainia, clearly modelled on Hitler.

The book is to be auctioned in Shropshire next month.

Auctioneer Richard Westwood-Brookes said: "The book aims to attack leading Jews worldwide, warning the German people that these people were forming an international network aimed at world domination. Each leading Jew is featured with a photograph and a pen portrait, but by far the most remarkable and bizarre aspect of this book is the inclusion of Charlie Chaplin.

"He is attacked in a section named 'Artistic Jews', with the suggestion that he was of Jewish origin and therefore a pseudo-Jew.

"Chaplin must have feared for his life when he saw the book, because the majority of the people in this book were exterminated by the Nazis.

"These pieces of history serve as a reminder of what happened and what could have happened.

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Adolf Hitler: Chaplin mercilessly parodied him in The Great Dictator

"It's easy to look at movies, but when you have original pieces like this in your hand, it's chilling."

Film historian Kevin Brownlow said Chaplin made The Great Dictator in response to seeing himself on the book's hit list.

"The Nazis mistakenly thought he was Jewish because Chaplin never denied it," he said.

"He was sent a copy of this book and it is widely believed that this led to him to make the film The Great Dictator as an act of defiance."

Mr Brownlow said the picture of Chaplin used in the book was chosen because it was one in which he looked least like Hitler.

A film maker called Ivan Montague working in Berlin in the 1930s found a copy of the book and sent it to the actor.

"Chaplin even took the time to send a letter back to Montague, thanking him for sending the book," said Mr Brownlow.

"This shows us that Chaplin was very much aware of the book and was certainly roused by it."

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New Underwear Technology May Devastate U.S. Masculinity


The issue of fancy men's underwear is still threatening to undermine this great country. Andrew Christian has unveiled his new, horrific men's underwear with Flashback Butt-Lifting and Contouring Technology. He promises that it "gives men the illusion of having a sought-after "bubble butt" without having to spend hours in the gym." Great John Wayne's ghost, is a bubble butt now sought-after among men?!? An actual quote from the designer, who is suspected by me to be working with the terrorists: "Surprisingly, I was actually inspired to create this technology while at the gym and seeing how hard men work on exercising their buttocks. I just knew that there had to be a way to achieve similar results by simply wearing underwear." Good. God. After the jump, before and after pictures of the new underwear technology at work. We beg you, do not be seduced.

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