Mount Roraima, Venezuela

12:04:25 PM, Wednesday, March 09, 2011
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A Homeless City in the Woods

12:33:51 AM, Wednesday, March 09, 2011

"A crusading minister has built a forested Utopia for the itinerant and destitute. But is a social experiment what they’re looking for, or just a place to live?

The shower is a thing of beauty. Stainless-steel well point buried twenty feet below a cast-iron hand pump connected by gutter pipe to a 55-gallon drum draining through a garden hose into a propane-fueled heater hooked to an electric pump hooked to a car battery hooked to a gas generator. Flick a switch, turn a valve, and voilà: a hot shower in the woods.

Roughly three hundred feet down a rutted dirt road, in a dappled expanse of scrub pine and oak on the outskirts of Lakewood, New Jersey, about 40 men and women have made for themselves a provisional home. Dozens of tents sprawl across several acres. In addition to the shower, there is an outhouse tent with a flushable toilet pilfered from an old RV. There’s a kitchen trailer with a working range. There’s a community tent with turquoise leatherette sofas, and a washer and dryer that, when connected to the generator and filled with collected rainwater, operate as a de facto laundromat. There’s a chicken coop and a vegetable garden. There was even once a goat named Molly, passed off to a local farm because no one could stomach the taste of her milk.

The camp looks something like the scene of an extended hunting trip, but it is in fact a homeless encampment—possibly the largest in the tri-state area, not that any governmental body has bothered to keep track. Some call it Cedar Bridge, after the nearest paved road.

At night, its residents gather around campfires telling Tales of My Homelessness. Some begin with a release from jail, others with a failed business, a failed marriage, a failed drug test, or a failed ability to deal with the daily grind of a nine-to-five. Michael’s story began in New York City, where his work as a union electrician dwindled with the Dow.

“I was working with my landlord. I would send him 500 bucks, 300 bucks. Then finally I got a summons to appear in court.”

“Don’t you just love that?” asks Mary Beth, who is playing hostess tonight outside her low polyester tent.

“Three days later, I’m walking up to the apartment, I see the doorknob is different. There’s a sticker on the door: NO TRESPASSING. TENANT HAS BEEN EVICTED. Well, I managed to salvage what I wanted.”

Mary Beth nods in understanding. “I had the same thing happen, but I made sure I kept the windows unlocked, and I crawled through at night.” This was after she had been fired from Wal-Mart in what she believes to be a systematic effort to rid the company of full-time employees. “Wal-Mart sucks.” Her first night at the camp, listening to all the unknown noises of the forest, she was petrified. The next day she met Big Gerry, who had lost his house and his wife after his fitness center failed. She moved into his tent that night..."

-- Follow the link for a 31 photo slide-show even if you don't plan on reading.

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Astronomy Picture of the Day: NGC 4449, Close-up of a Small Galaxy

5:15:03 PM, Tuesday, March 08, 2011

-- "Grand spiral galaxies often seem to get all the glory. Their young, blue star clusters and pink star forming regions along sweeping spiral arms are guaranteed to attract attention. But small irregular galaxies form stars too, like NGC 4449, about 12 million light-years distant. Less than 20,000 light-years across, the small island universe is similar in size, and often compared to our Milky Way's satellite galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). This remarkable Hubble Space Telescope close-up of the well-studied galaxy was reprocessed to highlight the telltale reddish glow of hydrogen gas. The glow traces NGC 4449's widespread star forming regions, some even larger than those in the LMC, with enormous interstellar arcs and bubbles blown by short-lived, massive stars. NGC 4449 is a member of a group of galaxies found in the constellation Canes Venatici. Interactions with the nearby galaxies are thought to have influenced star formation in NGC 4449."

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Le Journal - Block CLXXIX by Julien Coquentin

3:06:37 PM, Tuesday, March 08, 2011

-- Reminded me of "The Road", if you've read the book, or seen the movie. Also very Matrix/Gotham-esque.

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The Atlantic - In Focus: Afghanistan, February 2011 (38 Photos)

2:04:45 PM, Tuesday, March 08, 2011

"Earlier this month, the U.S. military began a withdrawal from the Pech Valley in eastern Afghanistan, a narrow canyon where U.S. forces have been battling insurgents for the past 8 years. American officials say the reason for the withdrawal is to be able to refocus its efforts on providing security to the Afghan capital, Kabul. More than 100 American soldiers have died in the Pech Valley since 2003. Across Afghanistan, 34 NATO personnel were killed this month, bringing the total to 60 deaths so far this year. Civilian casualties have been much higher than usual recently, as both insurgent attacks and NATO raids have reportedly killed scores of Afghan citizens across the country. As NATO forces prepare for warmer weather and anticipate more fighting, President Hamid Karzai now claims to be in talks with the United States about the possible establishment of permanent U.S. military bases in his country. Collected here are images of Afghanistan and the continued conflict there during the month of February."

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'Slow Loris' Loves His Tiny Umbrella

1:39:15 PM, Tuesday, March 08, 2011
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Obama To Restart Guantanamo Bay Trials

12:29:54 PM, Tuesday, March 08, 2011

"President Barack Obama reversed course Monday and ordered a resumption of military trials for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, making his once ironclad promise to close the isolated prison look even more distant.

Guantanamo has been a major political and national security headache for the president since he took office promising to close the prison within a year, a deadline that came and went without him ever setting a new one.

Obama made the change with clear reluctance, bowing to the reality that Congress' vehement opposition to trying detainees on U.S. soil leaves them nowhere else to go. The president emphasized his preference for trials in federal civilian courts, and his administration blamed congressional meddling for closing off that avenue.

"I strongly believe that the American system of justice is a key part of our arsenal in the war against al-Qaida and its affiliates, and we will continue to draw on all aspects of our justice system – including (federal) courts – to ensure that our security and our values are strengthened," Obama said in a statement.

"Going forward, all branches of government have a responsibility to come together to forge a strong and durable approach to defend our nation and the values that define who we are as a nation."

The first Guantanamo trial likely to proceed under Obama's new order would involve Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the alleged mastermind of the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. Al-Nashiri, a Saudi of Yemeni descent, has been imprisoned at Guantanamo since 2006.

Defense officials have said that of around 170 detainees at Guantanamo, about 80 are expected to face trial by military commission.

On Monday, the White House reiterated that the administration remains committed to eventually closing Guantanamo – which is on a U.S. Navy base – and that Monday's actions were in pursuit of that goal..."

-- Change we can't believe in.

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Yin - Yang - Do Not Care

12:43:08 AM, Tuesday, March 08, 2011

-- The clip is quite a bit WTF reaction inducing, but awesomeness.. haha...

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Subway Restaurants Now Outnumber McDonald's

12:17:52 AM, Tuesday, March 08, 2011

“It's official: the Subway sandwich chain has surpassed McDonald's Corp. as the world's largest restaurant chain, in terms of units.

At the end of last year, Subway had 33,749 restaurants worldwide, compared to McDonald's 32,737. The burger giant disclosed its year-end store count in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing late last month.

The race for global dominance is an important one for an industry that's mostly saturated in the U.S. High unemployment and economic uncertainty have battered the restaurant industry in the U.S., and chains are increasingly looking overseas for growth, particularly in Asia.

Starbucks Corp. recently said it plans to triple its number of outlets in China, for example. Dunkin' Brands Inc., parent of Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, plans to open thousands of new outlets in China in coming years as well as its first stores in Vietnam in the next 18 months. Subway just opened its 1,000th location in Asia, including its first in Vietnam.

Subway, which opened its first international restaurant in 1984, in Bahrain, expects its number of international restaurants to exceed its domestic ones by 2020, says Don Fertman, Subway's Chief Development Officer. The chain currently has just over 24,000 restaurants in the U.S., where it generated $10.5 billion of its $15.2 billion in revenue last year.

The closely held company, owned by Doctor's Associates Inc., does not disclose its profits.

McDonald's is still the leader when it comes to sales. The burger chain reported $24 billion in revenue last year. "We remain focused on listening to and serving our customers, and are committed to being better, not just bigger," a McDonald's spokeswoman says…”

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The Big Picture: Afghanistan, February 2011

9:06:16 PM, Monday, March 07, 2011
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The Ocean Of Song by Elena Kalis

7:21:09 PM, Monday, March 07, 2011
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Newly Released NYPD Footage of 9/11 Events Up Close

3:46:21 PM, Monday, March 07, 2011

-- “Just released video from a New York police helicopter reveals the horror of the terror attack on the World Trade Center as it happens. The 17-minute footage shows incredibly close footage of black smoke billowing from the towers in the biggest terror attack ever on US soil. "Holy shit," says one cop as the crew watches later as the first tower crumble to dust from a helicopter landing pad. The video was obtained by the National Institute of Standards and Technology under the Freedom of Information Act and was sent with several photos anonymously to the Cryptome website.”

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Milow - Ayo Technology

3:22:51 PM, Monday, March 07, 2011
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Pictures of the Day: 7 March 2011 (23 Photos)

2:22:18 PM, Monday, March 07, 2011

-- "An African spurred tortoise (Geochelone sulcata) with two heads and five legs is displayed in Zilina, Slovakia. The seven-week-old two-headed tortoise has been given two names: Magda (left head) and Lenka (right head)."

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Jay Sean - Eyes On You

2:12:56 PM, Monday, March 07, 2011
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