25 Tons of Bombs Wipe Afghan Town Off Map

2:42:44 AM, Saturday, January 22, 2011

“An American-led military unit pulverized an Afghan village in Kandahar’s Arghandab River Valley in October, after it became overrun with Taliban insurgents. It’s hard to understand how turning an entire village into dust fits into America’s counterinsurgency strategy — which supposedly prizes the local people’s loyalty above all else.

But it’s the latest indication that Gen. David Petraeus, the counterinsurgency icon, is prosecuting a frustrating war with surprising levels of violence. Some observers already fear a backlash brewing in the area.

Paula Broadwell, a West Point graduate and Petraeus biographer, described the destruction of Tarok Kolache in a guest post for Tom Ricks’ Foreign Policy blog. Or, at least, she described its aftermath: Nothing remains of Tarok Kolache after Lt. Col. David Flynn, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 1-320th, made a fateful decision in October.

His men had come under relentless assault from homemade bombs emanating from the village, where a Taliban “intimidation campaign [chased] the villagers out” to create a staging ground for attacking the task force. With multiple U.S. amputations the result of the Taliban hold over Tarok Kolache, Flynn’s men were “terrified to go back into the pomegranate orchards to continue clearing [the area]; it seemed like certain death.”

After two failed attempts at clearing the village resulted in U.S and Afghan casualties, Flynn’s response was to take the village out. He ordered a mine-clearing line charge, using rocket-propelled explosives to create a path into the center of Tarok Kolache.

And that was for starters, Broadwell writes. Airstrikes from A-10s and B-1s combined with powerful ground-launched rockets on Oct. 6 to batter the village with “49,200 lbs. of ordnance” — which she writes, resulted in “NO CIVCAS,” meaning no civilians dead…”

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White Shadow by Lupinicious

2:36:35 AM, Saturday, January 22, 2011
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Rat Killer of Washington Square Park, NYC

2:18:38 AM, Saturday, January 22, 2011

-- So this is kind of wrong, but that dog is badass... When he zooms on the cut, that was apparently caused by one of the rats' neck bones snapping and piercing the dog's gums. Oh and Washington Square Park is a pretty damn dirty place.

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Quantum Robins Lead the Way

2:08:34 AM, Saturday, January 22, 2011

"Did you know that the humble robin uses quantum physics?

Researchers have been investigating the mechanism which enables birds to detect the Earth's magnetic field to help them navigate over vast distances. This ability, known as magnetoreception, has been linked to chemical reactions inside birds' eyes.

Now a team from Oxford University and Singapore believe that this 'compass' is making use of something called quantum coherence.

In a forthcoming article in Physical Review Letters the team report how they anaylsed data from an experiment by Oxford and Frankfurt scientists on robins.

The experiment showed that the magnetic compass used by robins could be distrupted by extremely small levels of magnetic 'noise'. When this noise, a tiny oscillating magnetic field, was introduced it completely disabled the Robins' compass sense which then returned to normal once the noise was removed - good news for robins which have to navigate on the long migration route to Scandinavia and Africa and back every year.

In their analysis the Oxford/Singapore team show that only a system with components operating at a quantum level would be this sensitive to such a small amount of noise…”

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Cold As Ice

4:19:54 PM, Friday, January 21, 2011

-- Cold As Ice, street art by Cem Ulucan via Laughing Squid.

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Russian Woman Who Swings Babies is for Real

3:59:37 PM, Friday, January 21, 2011

"The viral video of a Russian woman swirling and twirling a baby about seemed so surreal and unreal. Everyone thought it was a hoax. But it turns out Lena Fokina, the famous baby swinger, runs a legit business in Egypt, where she, well, swings babies. Fokina likes to call it "baby yoga." How much do you want to bet that a baby yoga place will open up in Noe Valley within the year?"

"...It turns out this hard-bodied, 50-year-old woman is for real--and babies are a lot stronger than you ever imagined. Lena Fokina runs a yoga business in Dahab, Egypt, and Nathan Thornburgh, a daddy blogger and contributing writer for Time magazine, tracked her down and interviewed her..."

-- YouTube pulled the original video, but you can see it bellow or by following the link.

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Shuttle Discovery Astronaut Replaced After Bike Accident

1:11:38 PM, Thursday, January 20, 2011

“A biking accident has prompted NASA to replace one of the astronauts who was scheduled to travel to the International Space Station next month.

Astronaut Steve Bowen (below, left) will replace astronaut Tim Kopra (below, right) on the STS-133 mission, which is set to launch on February 24. Kopra was injured in a bike accident over the weekend, and while he is expected to recover, he will not be ready for the Discovery launch.

"Tim is doing fine and expects a full recovery, however, he will not be able to support the launch window next month," Peggy Whitson, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, said in a statement. "If for some unanticipated reason STS-133 slips significantly, it is possible that Tim could rejoin the crew."

The Discovery launch has, in fact, been delayed several times due to weather, leaks, and cracks, but NASA said recently that it has resolved those issues and is confident that the February 24 launch date is a go. Switching out Kopra with Bowen should not delay the mission any further, NASA said.

Bowen will be training with the STS-133 crew this week, and will also train to perform two planned spacewalks, which include moving a failed ammonia pump and performing other external station configurations…”

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Giant Crayfish Found in Tennessee is a New Species

11:04:20 AM, Thursday, January 20, 2011

“A new species of giant crayfish literally crawled out from under a rock in Tennessee, proving that large new species of animals can be found in highly populated and well-explored places, researchers said on Wednesday.

The new crayfish should not have been easily overlooked, as it is huge -- twice the size of other species, the team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Eastern Kentucky University said.

But the crustacean is also quite rare, they report in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington.

"This isn't a crayfish that someone would have picked up and just said, 'Oh, it's another crayfish,' and put it back," said University of Illinois aquatic biologist Chris Taylor, one of the researchers.

"You would have recognized it as something really, really different and you would have saved it," Taylor added in a statement.

Taylor and Guenter Schuster of Eastern Kentucky University found their first specimen of the new species under one of the biggest rocks in the deepest part of a commonly explored Tennessee creek.

The new species, called Barbicambarus simmonsi, is about 5 inches long and has antennae covered with a sensitive fringe of tiny, hair-like bristles, called setae…”

-- "The new crayfish species, Barbicambarus simmonsi (L) is more than twice the size of a typical crayfish (R) found in the same creek - and yet generations of aquatic biologists somehow missed it."

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Burglars Snorted Ashes of Dead Father, Great Danes

10:21:26 AM, Thursday, January 20, 2011

“SILVER SPRINGS, Fla. - Marion County Sheriff's deputies on Tuesday arrested five burglary suspects stemming from an investigation which began last month.

The victim in the burglary said she returned to her home on Locust Lane in the Silver Springs Shores to discover that several items were missing. Some of the items included electronics and jewelry, but what she found most troubling, was the theft of her late father's ashes and the ashes of her two Great Danes.

During the investigation, detectives learned that the ashes were taken because the suspects mistook the cremains for either cocaine or heroin. It was soon discovered that the suspects snorted some of the ashes believing they were snorting cocaine.

According to detectives, the suspects realized they had the remains from the dogs and the victim's father, so the suspects got rid of the ashes. Detectives are presently working with the Marion County Sheriff's Office Dive Team to locate the ashes.

Arrested were Waldo Soroa, 19, who faces seven charges and has a bond of $17,000, Matrix Andaluz, 18, who faces six charges and has a bond of $11,500, and Jose David Diaz Marrero, 19, who faces four charges and has a bond of $9,000. There are two juvenile suspects facing charges which include attempted residential burglary and impairing a phone line to the home…”

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The Mystery of Why Humans Can’t Walk In a Straight Line

9:28:56 PM, Wednesday, January 19, 2011

-- You can walk, you can run, you can swim, you can drive, but you will do it in circles.

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Toledo by Carlos Galvan

9:17:51 PM, Wednesday, January 19, 2011

-- Oil and acrylic painting on canvas.

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Evolution of Feathers: The Long Curious Extravagant Evolution of Feathers

9:12:56 PM, Wednesday, January 19, 2011

“Most of us will never get to see nature's greatest marvels in person. We won't get a glimpse of a colossal squid's eye, as big as a basketball. The closest we'll get to a narwhal's unicornlike tusk is a photograph. But there is one natural wonder that just about all of us can see, simply by stepping outside: dinosaurs using their feathers to fly.

Birds are so common, even in the most paved-over places on Earth, that it's easy to take for granted both their dinosaur heritage and the ingenious plumage that keeps them aloft. To withstand the force of the oncoming air, a flight feather is shaped asymmetrically, the leading edge thin and stiff, the trailing edge long and flexible. To generate lift, a bird has merely to tilt its wings, adjusting the flow of air below and above them.

Airplane wings exploit some of the same aerodynamic tricks. But a bird wing is vastly more sophisticated than anything composed of sheet metal and rivets. From a central feather shaft extends a series of slender barbs, each sprouting smaller barbules, like branches from a bough, lined with tiny hooks. When these grasp on to the hooklets of neighboring barbules, they create a structural network that's featherlight but remarkably strong. When a bird preens its feathers to clean them, the barbs effortlessly separate, then slip back into place…”

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The Trashmaster, A Feature-Length Film Created Entirely of Grand Theft Auto IV Footage

7:24:11 PM, Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"The “trashmaster” divides his time between collecting garbage and cleaning up other forms of trash fouling up New York City’s streets: dealers, small-time criminals… When the dancers in his favorite strip club are mysteriously killed, the trashmaster finds himself hot on the trail of a particularly twisted serial killer."

-- I had this open for awhile, but only got a chance to take a look at it today and... it's pretty damn impressive! French filmmaker Mathieu Weschler created this film entirely out footage from Grand Theft Auto IV, a video game by Rockstar Games.

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Study Claims 100 Percent Renewable Energy Possible by 2030

6:36:39 PM, Wednesday, January 19, 2011

“Achieving 100 percent renewable energy would mean the building of about four million 5 MW wind turbines, 1.7 billion 3 kW roof-mounted solar photovoltaic systems, and around 90,000 300 MW solar power plants.

Mark Delucchi, one of the authors of the report, which was published in the journal Energy Policy, said the researchers had aimed to show enough renewable energy is available and could be harnessed to meet demand indefinitely by 2030.

Delucchi and colleague Mark Jacobson left all fossil fuel sources of energy out of their calculations and concentrated only on wind, solar, waves and geothermal sources. Fossil fuels currently provide over 80 percent of the world’s energy supply. They also left out biomass, currently the most widely used renewable energy source, because of concerns about pollution and land-use issues. Their calculations also left out nuclear power generation, which currently supplies around six percent of the world’s electricity.

To make their vision possible, a great deal of building would need to occur. The wind turbines needed, for example, are two to three times the capacity of most of today’s wind turbines, but 5 MW offshore turbines were built in Germany in 2006, and China built its first in 2010. The solar power plants needed would be a mix of photovoltaic panel plants and concentrated solar plants that concentrate solar energy to boil water to drive generators. At present only a few dozen such utility-scale solar plants exist. Energy would also be obtained from photovoltaic panels mounted on most homes and buildings…”

-- Build a lot more of the same old is their answer?

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The Lost Photos of The New York Blizzard

4:45:48 PM, Wednesday, January 19, 2011

-- While skiing through Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York, Todd Bieber found a roll of undeveloped film that was shot during the New York City blizzard. He is now on a quest to figure out who shot these photos and how he can return the film to them. So if you feel you can help Todd out, shoot him an email!

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