Archive for July 16th, 2009

Cute/Ridiculous Animal Thing Of The Day: Live Squirrel Cam (VIDEO)

July 16th, 2009 admin No comments

The Bad Manors Squirrel Diner (aka a balcony in Santa Monica, California) broadcasts live each day, beaming images of the nine wild squirrels who visit the area regularly out to the world. The videographer gives them dolls, sets, and other props to interact with hence the amazing slideshow below. Enjoy!



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New Pecora Commission Will Leave No Stone Unturned

July 16th, 2009 admin No comments

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- Phil Angelides, the chairman of the newly formed Financial Crisis Commission, pledged Wednesday to leave no stone unturned as part of the body’s investigation into the events that led to the monumental collapse of the financial markets last year.

He said that he would not let partisan bickering derail the commission’s efforts, citing as an example the panel established in the wake of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

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"Operation Iraqi Baseball": Rachel Maddow Spearheads Support For National Team (VIDEO)

July 16th, 2009 admin No comments

When Rachel Maddow reported a McClatchy story on Monday night about the Iraqi national baseball team, she didn’t expect her brief mention of the team’s dire financial straits “to be a huge deal.”

However, in the days since the initial report, offers of financial assistance and shipments of much-needed uniforms and equipment came pouring in.

On Wednesday’s show, Maddow called the response “overwhelming and honestly heartwarming.” Her show, in conjunction with donors and the assistant coach of the team, is currently at work shipping the equipment to the team by Friday.

While the outpouring of support more than provided for the gear the team needed, Maddow urged viewers not to let “the generous impulse [they] had towards these Iraqi baseball players go to waste.” To that end, a link has been posted on the show’s website to Operation Give, an organization which provides humanitarian aid to combat zones.


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Isha: Can’t Buy Me Love

July 16th, 2009 admin No comments

Have you ever really wanted something in your life? Something you put all your heart into achieving? What happened when you finally achieved it? Was there a rush of adrenaline? A feeling of triumph? Ok. Then what happened? Chances are, you started working towards a new goal. Maybe something more challenging.

It seems that no matter what we achieve, it is never enough. There is always something more. Got the car of your dreams? Now you need two. Why are we always waiting for something more?

Most of us spend our entire lives waiting. It has become such a habit, that even when the things we are waiting for (the promotion, the marriage, the children) finally arrive, we are incapable of enjoying them in their entirety – we are too busy waiting for something else (retirement, the vacation, the divorce.) this is because we don’t really know what we want. We think we want things, but in reality, we want to feel satisfied. We think we want something that is coming in the future, but in reality, we simply do not want to confront our reality and embrace the present moment. This moment, right now, is the only thing we ever have. The rest is speculation and illusion, but it is here in the present where life is actually lived. If we are incapable of embracing the perfection of this moment, we are incapable of enjoying life. In reality, it does not matter how much we achieve materially; if we are rich but unable to be present, we will simply have achieved a more expensive form of misery.

On my journey as a spiritual teacher, I have taught billionaires, actresses, businessmen and jet setters. Of course they have material freedom, but not fulfillment. We only have to look at our celebrities to see that material wealth does not bring happiness – the countless cases of celebrity depression, substance abuse and broken relationships are well known to us all.

Material wealth is overrated. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with it; it’s just never enough. We live our lives as if we are in a race, chasing the proverbial carrot into infinity. We are always trying to get somewhere; if not a physical place, then at least an emotional or mental one; beneath it all is the desire to be anywhere but here.

What is so bad about what we have already? When we are truly present, we realize that the answer is… nothing. We realize that in reality, we are not running towards happiness; we are running away from ourselves. For this is the crux of the matter. That which we cannot bear to face in this moment is our own dissatisfaction. It is the hole within ourselves, the feeling of incompletion, that we are avoiding so persistently. But the trouble is, it doesn’t matter where you go, there you will be. You will always be with yourself. You can amass achievements, by all means, but until you go inwards and begin to address the separation you feel within yourself, your hunger will never be satiated.

You can create what you want in your life. And then, when you have what you thought you wanted, you can again create whatever you feel is still missing. You can go on doing this forever, until finally you find that it will never be enough. That is when the real adventure begins; the joy of discovering your true self. Loving yourself is ultimately the only solution to discontent, and that comes from expanding internal love-consciousness; an innocence, peace and joy that we had when we were children. To start embracing ourselves exactly as we are, letting go of the things that we don’t like, and polishing the aspects that we admire and enjoy, until we feel such an intrinsic joy that bubbles up from within, for no apparent reason. This joy, this love, will be mirrored externally, and it will reflect in all our relationships. We will start perceiving magic and beauty in the present moment, instead of discontent, yearning and eternal searching.

When you love yourself unconditionally, your attachment to money and the material changes completely. Ironically, when that happens, you attract everything in absolute abundance. Yet your focus is no longer on that; your focus is on the love. Maybe you’ll find you won’t want as much as you thought you wanted. Maybe you’ll want things to be a lot more simple.

Like Siddhartha, whose privileged life in the palace was not enough, there is a yearning that cannot be satisfied by the material. What was Siddhartha looking for? Truth. Love. To understand. To experience union. Ultimately, we will all want for the same.

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Ben Carmichael: Half-Baked Alaska: Palin’s Confused Vision of Energy & Environment

July 16th, 2009 admin No comments

Now that Sarah Palin has announced her resignation as Governor of Alaska, you may wonder: What has she been doing? How will she fill her time? In an Op-Ed piece for The Washington Post, Palin kindly provided an answer. She’s committed herself to a single task: confusing the American public on energy and the environment.

On Tuesday, Palin’s Op-Ed criticized Obama’s cap and trade bill — known as the American Clean Energy & Security Act, or ACES — and refused to acknowledge the existence of climate change. The article so fully muddles the issues that the best thing one can hope for is that someone else wrote the article, and the Governor simply signed her name.

Behind all the bluster — and the exclamations! that neatly turn fact into fiction — are familiar phrases. She appeals to national independence, rising unemployment, taxes, supply side economics and God’s creation. In so doing, she positions Democrats as enervating technocrats opposed to prosperity, and herself as rooted in a history of economic growth, rugged independence and faith.

To use talking points is one thing, to rely on them another. This isn’t a partisan issue; candidates from both parties have lines they work through. But Palin’s argument is so dependent on established Republican strategy that is reads like a grab bag of worn-out phrases.

This is where Palin’s argument veers from the path of denial. In making her argument, she ignores mounting, if not overwhelming evidence on energy and environment. She also strays from mainstream public opinion.

The Nobel Prize awarded to the IPCC was an acknowledgment that the fundamental science of climate change is firmly established. Furthermore, a recent survey of American opinion on climate change revealed that 72% find climate change to be personally important, while 90% believe the US should act to reduce climate change.

In her Op-Ed, Palin ignores both science and public opinion. If David Brooks was right in describing the Republican party as intellectually bankrupt, Palin’s Op-Ed positions herself as both lender and borrower of Republican subprime arguments. After articles like this, I would hope she’s flush out of capital.

Let’s take a few moments, then, to review Palin’s major points in the article, and trace where she goes astray.

Palin: “There is no denying that as the world becomes more industrialized, we need to reform our energy policy and become less dependent on foreign energy sources.”

Palin’s argument is afflicted as much by what is not there as what is not. Note here how she discusses the need to reform energy policy without mentioning why – that we live in a world of increasing resources scarcity facing and that we face uncertain risks from a climate that promises to change in the short and long-term, with potentially sever damages.

Palin engages in a critique of ACES without discussing why it’s being implemented in the first place. It’s like arguing against throwing water on a house fire, by avoiding all mention of the fire.

This shouldn’t be surprising. Palin has argued that man is not responsible for climate change. Or, rather, she said:

“I’m not one to attribute every man — activity of man to the changes in the climate. There is something to be said also for man’s activities, but also for the cyclical temperature changes on our planet.”

Again, she seems confused, and is trying to confuse the American public.

Palin: “I believe [the cap-and-trade energy plan] is an enormous threat to our economy. It would undermine our recovery over the short term and would inflict permanent damage.”

Contrary to this argument, ACES will help to grow the economy. Palin distorts the picture by overstating the costs and ignoring the benefits.

For instance, any costs to the economy as a result of cap-and-trade largely nominal. Aluminum and chemical businesses will see an increase in costs of about 2% by 2030, while the steel industry would see a rise in costs of between 4% and 11%. Similarly, the cost to each American family would be about $174. These costs are real, but not huge.

Far from the crippling burden Paling describes, the cap-and-trade program would create market for carbon, spur investment and expand an already rapidly growing sector of the economy.

For instance, ACES would help spur $150 billion in clean energy investments, help to create 1.7 million jobs throughout the United States. ACES would help to unleash billions of dollars of investment in energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean-car technology. According to Andy Stevenson’s excellent piece over on NRDC’s Switchboard blog, the result of these improvements in fuel efficiency would be “1.4mln barrels a day by the year 2020…providing a cumulative savings to American households around $1,900 through the year 2020.” Those are real savings for American families.

Moreover, Palin seems to ignore that in the clean energy economy, jobs have grown by nearly two and a half times faster than over overall job growth since 1998. It is a field that is already growing. This will help accelerate growth in an already growing field.

For an economy in decline, job creation and the accelerated expansion of markets with demonstrated potential is exactly what this country needs.

Palin: “But the answer doesn’t lie in making energy scarcer and more expensive!”

Scarcity isn’t the answer. But putting a price on carbon is.

One of the challenges in creating substantive reductions in carbon emissions is generating the capital needed to develop and deploy clean energy technology at scale.

Cap-and-trade helps to provide this capital not by making energy scarce, but to create a market of perceived scarcity that drives up market prices for carbon. That market then provides a revenue stream to be invested in R&D measures for clean energy technology. It’s one of the best, and only, ways to generate the kind of revenue needed.

But this move is cute. It’s the rhetorical equivalent of Palin winking her way through the presidential debate. Too bad an exclamation point doesn’t magically convert fiction into fact.

Palin: “Those who understand the issue know we can meet our energy needs and environmental challenges without destroying America’s economy.”

To judge from all of the above, we know Palin is describing someone else. She clearly doesn’t understand the issues.

Palin: “We are ripe for economic growth and energy independence if we responsibly tap the resources that God created right underfoot on American soil.”

This is not only offensive, but reflects a shockingly limited theological vision.

In the first place, it is offensive to claim a responsible use of God’s creation is to limit our economy activity to only those fuels which are dirtiest and which therefore degrade the world we’re meant to protect. In fact, if you look at the position of many religious environmental groups, you’ll find Palin to be dramatically out of sync.

Furthermore, did God create only the resources beneath the surface of the earth? Did he not also create the sun? Did he not also create the wind and rain?

Palin: “Can America produce more of its own energy through strategic investments that protect the environment, revive our economy and secure our nation?”

Yes, we can. The Waxman-Markey Bill is a first step. It’s not perfect, but it’s not a stake to the heart, as Palin describes it. Much to the contrary, it’s a much-needed shot in the arm.

(This post was originally published on Ben Carmichael’s On Earth blog.)

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McCartney Returns To The Ed Sullivan Theater

July 16th, 2009 admin No comments

Last time Paul McCartney played the Ed Sullivan Theater it was really great for his career. And since last night’s encore was 45 years in the making, David Letterman gave him the whole show. Sir Paul reminisced with the Late Show host — Ed Sullivan was scary, “Paul Is Dead” was strange, working with Michael Jackson was great … until it was “just business” — but the memorable stuff happened outside on the marquee. There the ex-Beatle performed “Get Back” and (the Fireman’s) “Sing The Cha

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Outdoor grill coffee roaster

July 16th, 2009 admin No comments

Via BB Gadgets comes a link to this commercially-available coffee roasting drum which fits onto the rotisserie unit of your outdoor gas grill. The roaster drum costs $110. If you’re crafty with a little metalwork, I bet you could fabricate one yourself for cheaper. Coffee Roaster Drum for your Barbecue Read more | Permalink | Comments | Read more articles in Makers | Digg this!

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Create co-op levels by playing in Lego Indiana Jones 2

July 16th, 2009 admin No comments

It seems that user-generated content has usurped co-op as the hot new “gotta have it” feature. Lego Indiana Jones has found a way to bridge the gap between the two features (impressive, considering his stubby legs), allowing two players to create levels simultaneously (a la LittleBigPlanet ) in his upcoming sequel, subtitled The Adventure Continues . Good news: The feature will appear on Wii as well as 360 and PS3. Bad news: They won’t be sharable on any console, which just seems silly. Our

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Do That Thing You Do: After Cuts, Both Yahoo and MySpace Need a Little Something

July 16th, 2009 admin No comments

A few weeks ago, when I was having breakfast with legendary Silicon Valley entrepreneur Marc Andreessen about his new venture fund , he talked about what he thought was critical to being successful as an Internet company. Ticking off names from Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Andreessen said he always favored technical entrepreneurs for one key reason: “You need some one who lives and breathes product.” It’s a refrain I have heard a lot recently from a wide ran

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Google Reader now 66.6% less antisocial

July 16th, 2009 admin No comments

Filed under: Google , Social Software , web 2.0 Those of you who use Google Reader for your RSS fix may have already noticed the newly-added following and liking features . There’s a new box in Reader’s sidebar aptly called ‘People you follow.’ Using the search feature, you can hunt for specific names or terms in Google Profiles and follow them to view news items they like. As with your subscriptions, Reader will update counts next to each user when new items are liked. When sifting

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