New Monument for Cockleshell Heroes

4:45:01 PM, Friday, April 01, 2011

"A memorial to Second World War heroes who canoed almost 100 miles into occupied France to blow up enemy ships was unveiled yesterday after a Telegraph-backed fund-raising campaign.

The raid by the "Cockleshell Heroes" in December 1942 was so important that Winston Churchill reportedly claimed it could have shortened the war by six months.

But despite their actions being immortalised in film just over a decade later, there has until now been no public monument to recognise the bravery of the ten men.

In October we reported how Maj Malcolm Cavan, former head of the Special Boat Service, had begun raising money for a memorial at La Pointe de Grave, at the mouth of the Gironde river where the mission code-named "Operation Frankton" took place.

The appeal had stalled somewhat short of its £70,000 target, but thanks to a magnificent response from Telegraph readers the remaining £20,000 was delivered within a matter of days, allowing the project to go ahead.

The memorial is a fitting tribute to the men, all of whom had responded to an advertisement for "volunteers for hazardous service" but only two of whom survived the ordeal.

On December 7, 1942, five canoes launched from His Majesty's Submarine Tuna and headed through the night for the French coast, carrying the team who became the forerunners to the SBS.

Their mission was to plant limpet mines on a group of merchant ships 100 miles upstream in the harbour of Bordeaux, which were used to ferry supplies between Germany and Japan.

To succeed they would have to paddle through several nights, spending the days concealed on the isolated riverbank while negotiating the treacherous currents of the Gironde..."

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The Hangover Part 2 Trailer 2

3:28:43 PM, Friday, April 01, 2011
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Mali Monkey Playing With a Dachshund Puppy

3:06:58 PM, Friday, April 01, 2011
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Spring Bird by ksushiks

2:51:03 PM, Friday, April 01, 2011
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A-10 Thunderbolt II Crashes Near Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany

1:15:10 PM, Friday, April 01, 2011

"KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — A U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft crashed near Spangdahlem Air Base on Friday afternoon while on a routine training mission.

The pilot was injured and taken to a nearby hospital.

Air Force investigators and firefighters were on the scene, according to a 52nd Fighter Wing news release.

“The jet crashed on a field roughly 250-300 meters away from the town,” said Laufeld Mayor Karl-Josef Junk, who was standing outside his house when the plane crashed.

“I saw the jet — what appeared to me [to make] a slight turn to the right, and then he crashed with his nose down into the ground,” said the mayor. He added that he heard two bangs, speculating that the first bang was the ejection of the pilot, and then he saw a huge cloud of smoke.

According to Junk, the pilot complained about back injuries.

“The firefighters were quickly at the scene and a helicopter transported the pilot to a hospital,” he said.

Spangdahlem confirmed that the pilot was evacuated for medical treatment. An official announcement on the pilot’s condition was not immediately available, but a nurse at a hospital in Trier said the airman was responsive. She declined further comment.

The identity of the pilot is being withheld pending notification of family members, Spangdahlem public affairs said.

The crash occurred shortly before 4 p.m. near Laufeld, which is north of the city of Wittlich. It has a population of about 520 inhabitants, Junk said.

The aircraft, also known as the Warthog, was part of the 81st Fighter Squadron at the Spangdahlem Air Base, in Rhineland Palatinate, said Senior Airman Nathanael Callon, a spokesman for the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem. The twin-engine A-10 is used to provide close air support for ground forces by attacking tanks and other targets."

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Snooki of 'Jersey Shore' gets $2K more than author Toni Morrison to appear at Rutgers

10:44:48 PM, Thursday, March 31, 2011

"What's worth more? A commencement speech by a Nobel-winning novelist? Or a pair of Q&A sessions with one of reality television's biggest stars?

At Rutgers University, Snooki edges out Toni Morrison by a couple thousand dollars.

Last month, Rutgers officials said they had booked Morrison - author of "Beloved," "Song of Solomon" and other novels - to speak in a 52,000-seat football stadium at commencement in May. She will be paid $30,000, marking the first time Rutgers has written a check for a graduation speaker.

Tonight, Rutgers students said they had also made a big-name booking. Snooki - the "Jersey Shore" star whose real name is Nicole Polizzi - appeared at two question-and-answer sessions at the Livingston Student Center in Piscataway.

Her fee: $32,000

Unlike Morrison, who was booked by university officials, a student-run committee invited Snooki. The Rutgers University Programming Association paid the reality star using the mandatory student activity fees undergraduates must pay with their tuition.

Gregory Kassee, vice president of the association's comedy and movies committee, said the group was looking for a speaker who would appeal to Rutgers students..."

-- WOW... Just wow... Speechless. 32k?! They shouldn't have her appear even for free. Heck I'd pay her to stay away from me...

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Video of Huge Helicopter Formation In Iraq

10:02:29 PM, Thursday, March 31, 2011

-- 101st Airborne Division (AA) arriving in Mosul, Iraq after an Air Assault. When they said invasion...

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For 12-Year Old Astrophysics Prodigy, The Sky’s The Limit

8:29:32 PM, Thursday, March 31, 2011

"In some ways, Jacob Barnett is just like any other 12-year-old kid. He plays Guitar Hero, shoots hoops with his friends, and has a platonic girlfriend.

But in other ways, he's a little different. Jake, who has an IQ of 170, began solving 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzles at the age of 3, not long after he'd been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, a mild form of autism. A few years later, he taught himself calculus, algebra, and geometry in two weeks. By 8, he had left high school, and is currently taking college-level advanced astrophysics classes—while tutoring his older classmates. And he's being recruited for a paid researcher job by Indiana University.

Now, he's at work on a theory that challenges the Big Bang—the prevailing explanation among scientists for how the universe came about. It's not clear how developed it is, but experts say he's asking the right questions.

"The theory that he's working on involves several of the toughest problems in astrophysics and theoretical physics," Scott Tremaine of Princeton University's Institute for Advanced Studies—where Einstein (pictured) himself worked—wrote in an email to Jake's family. "Anyone who solves these will be in line for a Nobel Prize...""

I thought this kid would get more media attention, but since he didn't (unless he did?) here I am posting this.

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Video: Gravity Makes Earth Look Like Lumpy Ball of Play-Doh

3:18:46 PM, Thursday, March 31, 2011

-- "By taking more than 70 million observations during its first 2 years in orbit, a limousine-length satellite has given scientists their most detailed map yet of Earth's gravitational field. The lumpiness of that geoid—the theoretical surface that a planet-wide ocean would take if there were no tides or currents—betrays the irregularity of the planet's mass distribution, including concentrations of mass such as mountain ranges and ice sheets. Yellows and reds mark areas of higher-than-normal gravitational strength; blue shades are lower than normal. The unprecedented precision of the new geoid, released today by the European Space Agency at a workshop for scientists in Munich, will lead to better understanding of the speeds and paths of ocean currents, as well as improved estimates of how they disperse pollutants, the researchers say. The geoid will also provide new insights about geological processes occurring deep within Earth, such as the movement of one tectonic plate being shoved beneath another, and when combined with other data will help improve estimates of the thickness and mass of polar ice sheets."

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Astronomy Picture of the Day: The Grand Canyon of Mars

2:25:41 PM, Thursday, March 31, 2011

-- "The largest canyon in the Solar System cuts a wide swath across the face of Mars. Named Valles Marineris, the grand valley extends over 3,000 kilometers long, spans as much as 600 kilometers across, and delves as much as 8 kilometers deep. By comparison, the Earth's Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA is 800 kilometers long, 30 kilometers across, and 1.8 kilometers deep. The origin of the Valles Marineris remains unknown, although a leading hypothesis holds that it started as a crack billions of years ago as the planet cooled. Several geologic processes have been identified in the canyon. The above mosaic was created from over 100 images of Mars taken by Viking Orbiters in the 1970s."

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Could Obama Be Impeached Over Libya? Let's Ask Biden

2:10:58 PM, Thursday, March 31, 2011

‎-- "The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." - Senator Barack Obama, 2007

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Skittles Touch: Cat

11:21:01 AM, Thursday, March 31, 2011

-- Put your finger on the screen and touch the rainbow. A cute but weird kitty cat will lick it...

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Trees Cocooned In Spiders Webs After Flooding In Sindh, Pakistan

10:34:18 AM, Thursday, March 31, 2011

-- "An unexpected side-effect of the flooding in parts of Pakistan has been that millions of spiders climbed up into the trees to escape the rising flood waters.

Because of the scale of the flooding and the fact that the water has taken so long to recede, many trees have become cocooned in spiders webs. People in this part of Sindh have never seen this phenonemon before - but they also report that there are now less mosquitos than they would expect, given the amoungt of stagnant, standing water that is around.

It is thought that the mosquitos are getting caught in the webs and may be reducing the risk of malaria, which would be one blessing for the people of Sindh, facing so many other hardships after the floods..."

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Watch Out Below: Wasps Battle Ants by Dropping Them

8:55:49 AM, Thursday, March 31, 2011

"As anyone who has been stung by one would know, wasps have anger management issues. The yellow jacket wasp is no different, but when it wants to bully something small, it eschews the stinger for something more creative. When a wasp comes upon a swarm of ants on food it wants, it will simply pick the pests up and fling them away: a previously undocumented way of dealing with a competitor that is reported for the first time in Biology Letters today.

This inventive wasp, Vespula vulgaris, is native to the Northern Hemisphere; when it invaded New Zealand 30 years ago, it saddled the country with the highest density of wasps in the world. "It's a big ecological problem here," says biologist Julien Grangier of Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. With these large numbers of wasps suddenly wanting access to limited protein sources, Grangier was curious whether they would compete directly with native species such as ants.

So he set up a cage match. He placed little piles of canned tuna fish on plates in beech forests where the ants and wasps live and trained cameras on the dishes. When a wasp approached a swarm of ants on the tuna bait, the ants would begin charging at it, spitting acid and trying to bite the insect, which is 200 times larger. Often this was enough to make the poor wasp flee in a panic, but in rare bursts of bravery, it would occasionally grab a Napoleonic ant in its mandibles, fly backward a few centimeters with the insect twitching in its jaws, open its mandibles, and let gravity do its work. The dazed ant generally didn't come back after that. But the wasp seemed to weigh its odds carefully and when it did approach a swarm, the more ants there were, the farther away they were flung. Grainger says the video evidence didn't show either insect winning in the end: both ultimately maintained a presence around the tuna.

"It's very intriguing," says behavioral ecologist Monica Raveret-Richter of Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. "I didn't know who to root for." Richter says it's surprising that wasps would get so aggressive when the food was already swarming with ants, spending time and energy removing the food competitors rather than just abandoning the meal. Grangier says that under natural conditions, the wasps would more likely prefer to disable a single scout before it could recruit its friends.

Dropping ants seems an unusual way of accomplishing this. "Wasps are massive and could crunch them, but on the other hand, ants are walking chemical factories," says behavioral biologist Robert Jeanne of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. "I'd guess the wasps pick them up gingerly and drop them quickly because if they crush them, they'd get a mouthful of something pretty distasteful..."

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Obama Signed Secret Libya Order Authorizing Support For Rebels

1:29:38 AM, Thursday, March 31, 2011

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

Obama signed the order, known as a presidential "finding", within the last two or three weeks, according to four U.S. government sources familiar with the matter.

Such findings are a principal form of presidential directive used to authorize secret operations by the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA and the White House declined immediate comment.

News that Obama had given the authorization surfaced as the President and other U.S. and allied officials spoke openly about the possibility of sending arms supplies to Gaddafi's opponents, who are fighting better-equipped government forces.

The United States is part of a coalition, with NATO members and some Arab states, which is conducting air strikes on Libyan government forces under a U.N. mandate aimed at protecting civilians opposing Gaddafi.

In interviews with American TV networks on Tuesday, Obama said the objective was for Gaddafi to "ultimately step down" from power. He spoke of applying "steady pressure, not only militarily but also through these other means" to force Gaddafi out.

Obama said the U.S. had not ruled out providing military hardware to rebels. "It's fair to say that if we wanted to get weapons into Libya, we probably could. We're looking at all our options at this point," the President told ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer.

U.S. officials monitoring events in Libya say that at present, neither Gaddafi's forces nor the rebels, who have asked the West for heavy weapons, appear able to make decisive gains.

While U.S. and allied airstrikes have seriously damaged Gaddafi's military forces and disrupted his chain of command, officials say, rebel forces remain disorganized and unable to take full advantage of western military support..."

-- Typical and not at all unexpected... If we are friends on Facebook you know exactly how I feel about this war and the blatant lies that were supposed to sell it to the US public as a humanitarian effort. I won't say much more, because I feel like the blog has been too political recently as it is, but if anyone is up for discussing anything you can always friend me on Facebook.

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