fav science cartoon

Unstrange Phenomena

31 August 2009

When Graphic Artists Get Bored

This is so great! The art of illusion, imagination and "what were they thinking"!

30 August 2009

4 Videos: Funny Speakers at Kennedys Irish Wake

From Denny: The highlight of dreary funerals is when people get to tell the funny stories about you and Kennedy was no exception. In fact he wanted people to tell their opinions and observations about him if only to prove just how human he really was in life. Kennedy's life was an exercise in trials, sorrows, screw-ups and redemption. He was an inspiration to many of us who think our screw-ups are beyond redemption and our sorrows too great to heal. Listen to several relatives and, most of all, even his Republican friends talk about their relationships with the beloved, and often annoying, Ted Kennedy. He was fun to the end.

Caroline Kennedy whom he fathered after the assassination of her father President John F. Kennedy:

Close friend Vice President Joe Biden whom Ted mentored in the Senate when Biden was very young and "very green" when it came to real world politics - and suggested as Vice President for Obama:

Former Senator John Culver, D-Iowa, a best friend from college who played football with Ted, brought the house down with his recounting of a harrowing sailing experience with Ted:

Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a close friend of Ted's for over 30 years in the Senate and the two were like oil and water, never mixing well, yet a real love fest that lasted in spite of political differences:

4 Videos: More Funny Speakers at Kennedys Wake

Senator John Kerry, the junior senator from Massachusetts, recalls Kennedy's booming personality that was like a force of nature. He also recounts how Kennedy never left his side during the 2004 presidential campaign.

Senator John McCain, R-Arizona, recounts his funny and downright annoying experiences with Kennedy. He also declared just how much he loved Ted and how much he misses him already. McCain was so overcome with emotion that after his speech he abruptly left the stage with welling tears in his eyes. Truly that was a close relationship in spite of political wrangling.

Governor Deval L. Patrick, Massachusets, recalls his time with Kennedy and his impressions of him:

Senator Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, recalls how Kennedy, who was more ill than Dodd, called Dodd to see how he was doing. That really touched Dodd's heart. They, too, were life long friends.

Joseph P. Kennedy II, talks about his favorite uncle who helped father him and his siblings after his father, Robert, was also assassinated on the presidential trail in 1968. You really have to ask yourself "What is wrong with the Republicans who are willing to kill politicians in this great country called America? Who are these people who are so willing to kill a fellow American?":

29 August 2009

President Obama's Eulogy of Friend Senator Ted Kennedy

From Denny: This was one incredibly beautiful funeral today - all three hours of it. President Obama was last in line to speak and what a wonderful speech it was. Here's the text in its entirety in case you missed it or only caught a few quotes of what the President had to say about his friend today at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica Catholic Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

President Obama:

Your Eminence, Vicki, Kara, Edward, Patrick, Curran, Caroline, members of the Kennedy family, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Today we say goodbye to the youngest child of Rose and Joseph Kennedy. The world will long remember their son Edward as the heir to a weighty legacy; a champion for those who had none; the soul of the Democratic Party; and the lion of the United States Senate — a man who graces nearly 1,000 laws, and who penned more than 300 laws himself.

But those of us who loved him, and ache with his passing, know Ted Kennedy by the other titles he held: Father. Brother. Husband. Grandfather. Uncle Teddy, or as he was often known to his younger nieces and nephews, "The Grand Fromage," or "The Big Cheese." I, like so many others in the city where he worked for nearly half a century, knew him as a colleague, a mentor, and above all, as a friend.

Ted Kennedy was the baby of the family who became its patriarch; the restless dreamer who became its rock. He was the sunny, joyful child who bore the brunt of his brothers' teasing, but learned quickly how to brush it off. When they tossed him off a boat because he didn't know what a jib was, six-year-old Teddy got back in and learned to sail. When a photographer asked the newly elected Bobby to step back at a press conference because he was casting a shadow on his younger brother, Teddy quipped, "It'll be the same in Washington."

That spirit of resilience and good humor would see Teddy through more pain and tragedy than most of us will ever know. He lost two siblings by the age of 16. He saw two more taken violently from a country that loved them. He said goodbye to his beloved sister, Eunice, in the final days of his life. He narrowly survived a plane crash, watched two children struggle with cancer, buried three nephews, and experienced personal failings and setbacks in the most public way possible.

It's a string of events that would have broken a lesser man. And it would have been easy for Ted to let himself become bitter and hardened; to surrender to self-pity and regret; to retreat from public life and live out his years in peaceful quiet. No one would have blamed him for that.

But that was not Ted Kennedy. As he told us, ".[I]ndividual faults and frailties are no excuse to give in — and no exemption from the common obligation to give of ourselves." Indeed, Ted was the "Happy Warrior" that the poet Wordsworth spoke of when he wrote:

As tempted more; more able to endure,

As more exposed to suffering and distress;

Thence, also, more alive to tenderness.

Through his own suffering, Ted Kennedy became more alive to the plight and the suffering of others — the sick child who could not see a doctor; the young soldier denied her rights because of what she looks like or who she loves or where she comes from. The landmark laws that he championed — the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, immigration reform, children's health insurance, the Family and Medical Leave Act — all have a running thread. Ted Kennedy's life work was not to champion the causes of those with wealth or power or special connections. It was to give a voice to those who were not heard; to add a rung to the ladder of opportunity; to make real the dream of our founding. He was given the gift of time that his brothers were not, and he used that gift to touch as many lives and right as many wrongs as the years would allow.

We can still hear his voice bellowing through the Senate chamber, face reddened, fist pounding the podium, a veritable force of nature, in support of health care or workers' rights or civil rights. And yet, as has been noted, while his causes became deeply personal, his disagreements never did. While he was seen by his fiercest critics as a partisan lightning rod, that's not the prism through which Ted Kennedy saw the world, nor was it the prism through which his colleagues saw Ted Kennedy. He was a product of an age when the joy and nobility of politics prevented differences of party and platform and philosophy from becoming barriers to cooperation and mutual respect — a time when adversaries still saw each other as patriots.

And that's how Ted Kennedy became the greatest legislator of our time. He did it by hewing to principle, yes, but also by seeking compromise and common cause — not through deal-making and horse-trading alone, but through friendship, and kindness, and humor. There was the time he courted Orrin Hatch for support of the Children's Health Insurance Program by having his chief of staff serenade the senator with a song Orrin had written himself; the time he delivered shamrock cookies on a china plate to sweeten up a crusty Republican colleague; the famous story of how he won the support of a Texas committee chairman on an immigration bill. Teddy walked into a meeting with a plain manila envelope, and showed only the chairman that it was filled with the Texan's favorite cigars. When the negotiations were going well, he would inch the envelope closer to the chairman. When they weren't, he'd pull it back. Before long, the deal was done.

It was only a few years ago, on St. Patrick's Day, when Teddy buttonholed me on the floor of the Senate for my support of a certain piece of legislation that was coming up for vote. I gave my pledge, but I expressed skepticism that it would pass. But when the roll call was over, the bill garnered the votes that it needed, and then some. I looked at Teddy with astonishment and asked how had he done it. He just patted me on the back and said, "Luck of the Irish."

Of course, luck had little to do with Ted Kennedy's legislative success; he knew that. A few years ago, his father-in-law told him that he and Daniel Webster just might be the two greatest senators of all time. Without missing a beat, Teddy replied, "What did Webster do?"

But though it is Teddy's historic body of achievements that we will remember, it is his giving heart that we will miss. It was the friend and the colleague who was always the first to pick up the phone and say, "I'm sorry for your loss," or "I hope you feel better," or "What can I do to help?" It was the boss so adored by his staff that over 500, spanning five decades, showed up for his 75th birthday party. It was the man who sent birthday wishes and thank-you notes and even his own paintings to so many who never imagined that a U.S. senator of such stature would take the time to think about somebody like them. I have one of those paintings in my private study off the Oval Office — a Cape Cod seascape that was a gift to a freshman legislator who had just arrived in Washington and happened to admire it when Ted Kennedy welcomed him into his office. That, by the way, is my second gift from Teddy and Vicki after our dog Bo. And it seems like everyone has one of those stories — the ones that often start with "You wouldn't believe who called me today."

Ted Kennedy was the father who looked not only after his own three children, but John's and Bobby's as well. He took them camping and taught them to sail. He laughed and danced with them at birthdays and weddings; cried and mourned with them through hardship and tragedy; and passed on that same sense of service and selflessness that his parents had instilled in him. Shortly after Ted walked Caroline down the aisle and gave her away at the altar, he received a note from Jackie that read, "On you the carefree youngest brother fell a burden a hero would have begged to been spared. We are all going to make it because you were always there with your love."

Not only did the Kennedy family make it because of Ted's love — he made it because of theirs, especially because the love and the life he found in Vicki. After so much loss and so much sorrow, it could not have been easy for Ted to risk his heart again. And that he did is a testament to how deeply he loved this remarkable woman from Louisiana. And she didn't just love him back. As Ted would often acknowledge, Vicki saved him. She gave him strength and purpose; joy and friendship; and stood by him always, especially in those last, hardest days.

We cannot know for certain how long we have here. We cannot foresee the trials or misfortunes that will test us along the way. We cannot know what God's plan is for us.

What we can do is to live out our lives as best we can with purpose, and with love, and with joy. We can use each day to show those who are closest to us how much we care about them, and treat others with the kindness and respect that we wish for ourselves. We can learn from our mistakes and grow from our failures. And we can strive at all costs to make a better world, so that someday, if we are blessed with the chance to look back on our time here, we know that we spent it well; that we made a difference; that our fleeting presence had a lasting impact on the lives of others.

This is how Ted Kennedy lived. This is his legacy. He once said, as has already been mentioned, of his brother Bobby that he need not be idealized or enlarged in death because what he was in life — and I imagine he would say the same about himself. The greatest expectations were placed upon Ted Kennedy's shoulders because of who he was, but he surpassed them all because of who he became. We do not weep for him today because of the prestige attached to his name or his office. We weep because we loved this kind and tender hero who persevered through pain and tragedy — not for the sake of ambition or vanity; not for wealth or power; but only for the people and the country that he loved.

In the days after September 11th, Teddy made it a point to personally call each one of the 177 families of this state who lost a loved one in the attack. But he didn't stop there. He kept calling and checking up on them. He fought through red tape to get them assistance and grief counseling. He invited them sailing, played with their children, and would write each family a letter whenever the anniversary of that terrible day came along. To one widow, he wrote the following:

"As you know so well, the passage of time never really heals the tragic memory of such a great loss, but we carry on, because we have to, because our loved ones would want us to, and because there is still light to guide us in the world from the love they gave us."

We carry on.

Ted Kennedy has gone home now, guided by his faith and by the light of those that he has loved and lost. At last he is with them once more, leaving those of us who grieve his passing with the memories he gave, the good that he did, the dream he kept alive, and a single, enduring image — the image of a man on a boat, white mane tousled, smiling broadly as he sails into the wind, ready for whatever storms may come, carrying on toward some new and wondrous place just beyond the horizon. May God bless Ted Kennedy, and may he rest in eternal peace.

Barack Obama, Senator Ted Kennedy, eulogy, Politics, America

28 August 2009

Videos: Public Turns Out for Ted Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Jr. and the Public Comment

From Denny: Robert Kennedy, Jr. talks about the expression of public sentiment today and his uncle Ted's relationship with the public over the years. Thousands of mourners came out for the 70 mile ride of the hearse yesterday from his home in Hiannisport to Boston; they lined the route to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library as he passed by.

It was like viewing the news footage from when Presidents Roosevelt and Kennedy died and how the public turned out for them. Ted Kennedy was "in office" far longer than any President could be and was able to do much more for people - and so he did. He viewed politics as a life of service.

It was amazing how many people took so much time to write in the guest books, many of them whole pages of comments. The lines were long as people in this part of the country felt a personal connection to the Senator because he did so much for everyone from every walk of life.

Ted Kennedy reached far into the everyday lives of these working class people who knew him personally. Listen to their stories of interacting with him.

Breaking News, politics, President John F. Kennedy, Senator Ted Kennedy

27 August 2009

How Senator Ted Kennedy Affected Your Life in America

From Denny: Did you know that Ted Kennedy passed over 300 bills during his tenure in the Senate? He also co-authored another 550!

“Ted Kennedy changed the circumstances of tens of millions of Americans,” VP Biden.

How did he affect our lives today? How does that translate into your everyday life that this generation may take for granted was always there?

Here are just a few examples that make life easier for so many to live well:

Wheelchair ramps:
wheelchair access in public places; those are thanks to Ted Kennedy.

Minimum wage: you earn more thanks to Kennedy

Children’s Health Insurance: he went to bat for the most vulnerable members of our society – children

Kennedy was the driving force behind COBRA - for people in need of health insurance when just fired from a job.

He developed personal relationships with people like a 6 year old child suffering from diabetes who could have benefited from stem cell research. He didn’t just use her in front of the cameras for politics. She first wrote him a letter asking for his help on pushing for stem cell research; he read that letter on the Senate floor. For years he privately corresponded with Lauren Stanford, thanking her for her help and encouraging her in her fight with juvenile diabetes. The public never knew about that.

Christi Coombs, September 11th widow: Kennedy wrote her every year on the anniversary of her husband’s death. She recognized he truly did know what loss she was feeling as he had experienced so much loss in his life. The public never knew about that either.

Ted Kennedy at the Democratic Convention in 2008 - Photo (Mike Segar / Reuters)

Senator Kennedy, kicks off the Democratic Party's national convention Aug. 25, 2008, his was a performance that galvanized the audience, producing a roaring frenzy. The crowd cheered, then wiped away tears for several minutes, then cheered again. They knew Ted was thhe last living Kennedy brother.

He smiled and declared loudly, "My fellow Americans, it is so wonderful to be here." He was alluding to news reports hinting his doctors were hesitant to allow him to travel to the Denver convention.

The Senator continued, "Nothing, nothing is going to keep me away from this special gathering tonight. I have come here tonight to stand with you, to change America, to restore its future, to rise to our best ideals and to elect Barack Obama President of the United States."

Take a look at his long list of accomplishments that affect our lives to the postive!

The Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Voting Rights Act of 1965
The Americans with Disabilities Act
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
The Family and Medical Leave Act
The Fair Housing Act
No Child Left Behind Act
AMBER Alert Notification Systems Funding
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
The Meals on Wheels Act (elderly)
The Economic Opportunity Act
The Occupational Health and Safety Act
The National Community Health Center Program
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act
The Bilingual Education Act
The Older American Community Service Employment Act
The Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program
Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program
Title IX of the Education Amendments (female athletes)
Individuals with Disabilities Education
Civil Rights Commission Act Amendments
Civil Rights for Institutionalized Persons Act
Comprehensive Crime Control Act
1985 Anti-Apartheid Act
Employment Opportunities for Disabled Americans Act
The Handicapped Children’s Protection Act
The Fair Housing Act Amendments
The National Military Child Care Act
The 1980 Refuge Act
The Job Training Partnership Act
The Civil Rights Act of 1991
Summer Jobs for Youth Program
The Mammography Quality Standards Act
The National and Community Service Trust Act (created AmeriCorps)
The School-to-Work Opportunities Act
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
Children’s Health Insurance Program
Work Incentives Improvement Act
The Minority Health and Disparities Research and Education Act
2002 Bioterrorism Preparedness Act
The Pediatric Graduate Medical Education Act
Enhanced Border Security and Visa Reform Act
The Project Bioshield Act
The Family Opportunity Act
The Ryan White Care Act (for AIDS patients)
The Higher Education Opportunity Act
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

In honor of Ted Kennedy, President Obama signed a $5.7 billion national service bill April 21, 2009.

The bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act strives to open up new service opportunities for millions of Americans, tripling the size of the AmeriCorps service program over the next eight years.

"I'm asking you to stand up and play your part," said the president. Kennedy championed the legislation with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. Photo (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Senator "Ted" Kennedy changed history in America. He fought against racism and sexism. He championed the poor for equal opportunities for jobs, homes and being able to go to college.

Too many middle class Republican families who foolishly denounce Ted Kennedy do so without full knowledge of how he has benefited their lives. They have been the direct beneficiaries of his humanity.

Among many fights for the middle class, it was Ted Kennedy who fought hard to provide college grant money to middle income families, not just the poor. This generation owes a lot of their successful lifestyle to his endeavors to make America a better country and a better society. Let not his humanity fall on deaf ears to the next generation...

Barack Obama, Senator Ted Kennedy, Democrats, diabetes, Politics, September 11th, America

26 August 2009

Funny Illusion Photo: The Art of Hiding Well

From Denny: This funny photo showed up on Digg yesterday so I'm passing it forward for the rest of the world to enjoy! This is truly the art of hiding well. Look closely... Don't you just love the art of illusion? In this case, it isn't mathematical or a visual illusion on paper but demonstrated in real life right before our eyes! :)

Quote: "This demonstrates the value of not being seen." - British comedian John Cleese

odd photos, funny photos, Digg, animals, pets, humor, dogs, monkeys

21 August 2009

Just How Do You Store All That Sun Power From the Solar Panels Anyway?

From Denny: Lately, I've been watching Renovation Nation and other green shows on planetgreen.com (check out Emeril Green for great food!) and the science channel. The solar panels all sound great as a cheap way to acquire energy. I've long wondered why new houses in the South don't come with solar panels already installed. Of course, this last week I found out that the panels are less efficient in hot weather than in cool weather. Who knew?

Another thing I've wondered about is how to store all that power. I was less enthused when I saw the huge batteries and wires and all for those houses using a large number of solar panels. In the South we have to think about what we put up on our roofs for two reasons: one, hurricane damage from high winds and flying debris and two, flooding as you may be forced up into your attic and have to take an axe to cut your way out of your home. In low-lying areas like New Orleans and closer to the coast that happens often. America saw some of that during the Hurricane Katrina news coverage.

More than anything I'm a bit uncomfortable with all the wires and other goodies that seem to require a little space apart from the house to contain it all. Somehow having all that electricity buzzing in my attic seems an invitation to a fire as our attics can get extremely hot around here in the middle of the summer.

Then I happened upon this article from New Scientist demonstrating this hand sized battery so small and yet it can power the whole house! Cool! Remember, you can have a gazillion solar panels but still require something to store all that power or they are useless. Right now the house battery is a prototype.

This new battery was developed out of a Utah-based company called Ceramatec. It's supposed to be able to store up to 20 killowatt hours which is enough to power a whole house for a day.

This is exactly what I've been hoping for in solar energy development. After all, what's the biggest point of going solar but to get off the energy grid? Without a way to store solar power you are still bound to the grid. I want complete self-sufficiency and the ability to sell excess power back to the energy companies (my dream of revenge at stuipidly high energy prices in the hurricane zone). Even if you are still bound to the energy grid at least with this new battery you would be able to stockpile that solar energy during the less expensive off-peak hours and lower your bill by using your own energy during peak hours on the grid.

What does this new battery run on? A sodium-sulfur composition which normally operates above 600 degrees F. You see that this combo is considered more energetic than the composition of lead-acid. The point is to get it to operate at a lower temperature so it can be employed for residential use.

Ceramatec's new house battery is a success story as it runs at less than 200 degrees F. How do they do it? Apparently, their secret is a thin ceramic membrane that gets squeezed like a sandwich filling between the sodium and sulfur. The reason for this is that only positive sodium ions can pass through it which means it leaves electrons as masters of the energy grid universe to create an electrical current we can use in our homes.

So, when is this miracle battery available? The company is going into market testing in 2011. At this time they have priced the battery at $2,000 when it is available for sale. Let's hope it's available a lot sooner - and cheaper by then! Well, I guess you could just refinance your home and roll it into the note... :)

Written by Denny Lyon
Copyright 21 August 2009
All Rights Reserved

17 August 2009

Astronomy: Where Do All the Perseid Meteor Showers Come From During August Nights?

From Denny: Have you been enjoying the meteor showers the past week? They were the best on August 12th. Unfortuately, my sky was heavy with rain clouds that night and the next so I missed the biggest show of meteors. Hopefully, some of you got a much better view than I did.

Even this morning around 4:30 AM we went out and saw a few meteors streaking across the sky! Yay! There are still a few sky crumbs left to enjoy as there have been the past few days since my sky cleared! :)

We just pull out the lawn chairs, sit in the dark with the cats who lounge around and we all sip good strong Louisiana coffee au lait to start our morning! The moon sliver was on its back today and around here that means cooler weather is coming. We are so ready for a break from this heat index of 109 degrees F. daily.

Here's what astronomer Chris Peterson from Cloudbait Observatory had to comment today about where the Perseid meteor showers originate: "In terms of direction on the sky, the pointed answer is the constellation of Perseus. That is why the last week's meteor shower was known as the Perseids -- the meteors all appear to come from a radiant toward Perseus.

"Three dimensionally, however, sand-sized debris expelled from Comet Swift-Tuttle follows a well-defined orbit about our Sun, and the part of the orbit that approaches Earth is superposed in front of the Perseus. Therefore, when Earth crosses this orbit, the radiant point of falling debris appears in Perseus.

"Pictured above, a composite image of this year's Pereids meteor shower shows many bright meteors that streaked through the sky on August 12. To the surprise of many, the next night, August 13, also showed many meteors, as demonstrated by rolling one's cursor over the above image by going here.

"This year's Leonids meteor shower in November is expected by some to be exceptionally active, perhaps producing as many as 500 meteors per hour."

Photo from Astronomy Pic of the Day This is a composite image of 96 meteors collected between sunset on August 11 through sunrise on August 12.

From Denny: Make sure you check out all the linked words in this post as there are some fabulous photos and more information, including a chart of constellations you will enjoy.

I can't wait until November for the next big show of meteor showers! Hard to imagine 500 meteors an hour...

astronomy, Perseid meteor showers, meteors, Perseus, constellations

16 August 2009

3 Videos: How Deep Sea Coral Can Help Us Heal

From Denny: Until recently the deep sea coral was too difficult for us to reach the ocean floor to explore the possibilities of harvesting for healing benefits. Now we are able to investigate and have discovered many healing properties on the ocean floor. One is the benefit to helping heal a stubborn and highly fatal cancer: pancreatic cancer. We had better get busy on this planet lessening our pollution so we don't kill off what may be our last natural resource for healing such difficult illnesses such as cancer.

We have already devastated the Amazon forest - the lungs of our planet - that held much promise for healing until slash and burn agriculture and logging ravaged the area. These videos hold exciting news!

This video is only available on the web. Some of the beginning footage is the same as video one, keep watching as the detail is worth the watch.

Ocean, marine biology, coral reefs, pancreatic cancer, Breast cancer, healing, medical research

12 August 2009

3 Videos: Violent Typhoons Affect 9 Million People in Asia

From Denny: These typhoon stories in Asia began on August 9th and the ramifications are still playing out. Over 1 million people in China had to flee the first day. Hundreds are dead from China, Taiwan, Japan to the Philippines from these two violent typhoons. Over 9 million people have been displaced or affected by these violent storms to date.

As an American teenager living in Taiwan many years ago, I went to an American school on the island. I spent two summers on the southern part of the island country helping medical missionaries for free as my boarding school roommate was the child of medical missionaries.

The second summer was cut short as a typhoon was coming your way off the water and it sure was scary. If you have never seen a typhoon coming at you, well, hurricanes are tame. It looks just like a funnel tornado only it's still connected to the sky and the water, builds up tremendous speed and starts rushing toward the shore: you! It hits with the tremendous force of both wind and water, a double whammy. No wonder you see huge homes on concrete foundations just drop off into the water and sail away in this news footage.

typhoon, Asia, Taiwan, Philippines, China, Weather Phenomena

05 August 2009

Video: Test Your Moon Trivia, Learn Whats In Your Night Sky

From Denny: Our Earth's moon has mesmerized humanity for thousands of years; we write childrens' rhymes and books about it. We dedicate love poems to the moon. We wonder about it constantly, both romantically and scientifically. We make jokes about it; there are incredible legends associated with lunar light. Have some fun learning moon trivia and laugh at the comments with the answers.

Try your hand at the Moon Quiz trivia.


1 - Which mythical creature comes to life during a full moon?


2 - New Zealand's Maori people tell the story of Rona, who was swept up by the moon after she yelled at it. Why was she angry?

She saw an ogre's reflection in the moon
The tide came up suddenly and got her wet
The moon was her father, who had punished her
She hurt her foot when the moon darkened suddenly

3 - According to folk lore: What happens if you cut your hair between the new and full moons?

It will stop growing
It will fall out
It will grow healthier and faster
It will turn curly

4 - Which Greek god was the personification of the moon?


5 - In England during the Victorian era, women would gather under a new moon and recite a verse for what reason?

Bringing good health
Ensuring a good harvest
Seeing their true love in a dream
Becoming pregnant

6 - What people call the moon Annigan?


7 - The moon has long been associated with which of the following?


8 - According to Chinese lore, the Man in the Moon is responsible for what?

Creating the weather
Playing tricks on children
Marital matchmaking
Creating all animals

9 - In 1835, the New York Sun reported that what English astronomer saw what on the moon?

Furry, winged beings

10 - It's considered bad luck to do which things?

Stand with your back to the moon
Point at the moon
Get married during a waxing moon
See a full moon rise

Learn about what's in your night sky:


1 - Werewolf - humans bitten by another werewolf or placed under a curse were reputed to undergo a hairy transformation at the appearing of a full moon. Will someone with a salon that waxes off ugly body hair please give these guys their business cards? They will keep you in business for years!

2 - She hurt her foot when the moon darkened suddenly - Roma was the tide controller and the daughter of the sea god. She was walking through the forest carrying a bucket of water. The story goes that Roma stumbled and hurt her foot in the darkenss when the moon darkened suddenly. She foolishly screamed insults at the moon until it swept down and carried her away.

Moral of the story here is to watch your temper. You never know when someone with a worse temper can be more terrifying and one-up you. Have you ever noticed how the little gods threw lots of temper tantrums and the bigger more powerful gods always had to intervene and discipline their silly offspring? They often got whisked away from the sight of mankind. No sense is airing their dirty laundry in front of the humans I suppose... It's all about your rep in the galactic neighborhood!

3 - It will grow healthier and faster - Moon lore has it that if you cut your hair when the moon is waxing, between the new and full moons, it will grow healthier and faster. If you cut your hair when the moon is waning, between the full and new moons, your hair will become unhealthy and grow slowly. So, quit complaining about your bad hair day! :)

4 - Artemis - Apollo's twin sister was the goddess of the woodland and the hunt, therefore the personification of the moon. Eternally young, she was always accompanied by her warrior virgins, the Amazons.

OK, what's the point of eternal youth if you can't have a few boyfriends? Like you need a chic brigade to keep you from going man crazy???

5 - Seeing their true love in a dream - This is the verse: "New moon, new moon,I hail thee! By all the virtue in thy body, grant this night that I may see he who my true love is to be."

6 - Inuit - They live in Alaska, Greenland and the Artic. They say he is a stubborn and cruel god who once took advantage of his sun-god sister, Malia. Annigan constantly pursues Malia through the sky without eating - which is why the moon gets slimmer over the month.

Now there's the biggest dieting excuse I've ever heard! Watch those cosmic portions on your plate.

7 - Madness - For thousands of years humanity has believed this to be true. Words like lunatic, lunacy, and looney all come from the Latin root word for the moon called luna. There have been scientific studies to link violent or unstable behavior to the moon yet still prove inconclusive.

We all need some excuse for a bad day. With scientists ruining all our fun what will be our next eternal cosmic excuse: Jupiter made me do it?

8 - Marital matchmaking - The Chinese call the Man in the Moon Yue-Laou and he is responsible for uniting men and women on Earth with silken cords. It is believed that later in life those men and women are drawn together by the unbreakable cord and eventually marry.

You had better hope this guy knows his craft. I sure would hate to be joined to someone who is totally not hot. What do you think is his success rate for marriage vs. divorce? Have you ever noticed how the gods of legend never publish their failure rate???

9 - Furry, winged beings, no kidding! Using a new telescope, Sir John Herschel claimed he has discovered furry, winged beings on the moon. America followed the series of articles with a fever pitch fervor. At the end of the series, the author, Richard Locke, said he had written the pieces as satire to mock the gullibility of the American public.

That must have been a telescope on steroids AND halluncingens! Maybe our first moon hoax in print? And you wonder why con artists declare, "There is a sucker born every minute!"

10 - Pointing at the moon - Guess it's not polite to point, folks! Folk lore teaches that hard times will follow if you point at the moon. Negative superstititions declare not to sleep in the moonlight or see a red moon because it will prepare you for war. A positive superstitition promotes shaking a quarter at the moon for it will bring you wealth. OK, everyone, get your quarters jingling because we are going out for a moon visit tonight!

04 August 2009

Can You Really Separate the Liars from the Truth-Tellers?

Face illusion photo, take a look at the word the face spells

From Denny: Seems the deception researchers think they are on to something in the ongoing search to separate the liars from the nervous who appear to be lying but are not during interviews or interrogations. Most people don't bear up well under interrogation and are understandably nervous, appearing to be guilty when actually they are not. Therefore, the usual "tells" of nervousness or shifty eyes is not enough to determine a liar. You require more than that to make a sound judgment about the veracity of what the subject is telling you.

Scientists have a new theory they think works and it's called "cognitive load." We all know that lying (for most people) is mentally taxing just to keep up with a consistency of the lie over time. You know, get your story line straight. So, scientists think the trick to do while interrogating someone is to ask them to perform a task while lying - or telling the truth - and it will become evident which it is because lying is supposed to be more taxing on the liars.

I doubt how well this theory will hold up; I certainly have known what could be termed professional liars and they demonstrate complete ease at lying. "If their lips are moving; they're lying" is our motto. This theory may work for the majority of the population and in certain cultures. Time will tell as it is tested worldwide.

The researchers are in England and here is what they set up as a study to test their theory: One group was asked to lie convincingly and the other group was told to tell the truth. The story line was about a staged theft scenario that only the truth tellers had actually experienced.

Then the researchers, led by psychologist Aldert Vrij of the University of Portsmouth in England (a completely different culture than in America), brought in a second pair of groups to do exactly the same but with an added condition: they had to maintain eye contact while relating their stories.

When the researchers took the videotapes back to the lab to examine for "tells" and cognitive load they did find some interesting facts. Verbal signs of cognitive load were displayed as fewer spatial details in the suspects' stories. Nonverbal signs of cognitive load were displayed as fewer eye blinks. Eye blinks, you say? Yes, eye blinks when rapid suggest nervousness; fewer blinks are a "tell" displaying cognitive load. So, guess how this is useful? Liars blink less. (I could have told you that and saved you a few million dollars...)

How did the eye contact figure in? It was subtle according to this experiment but did manage to define and magnify the difference between the liars and the truth-tellers.

What to watch for when you try to apply this new theory? Be aware some people naturally blink less than others, so you really need to spend some time getting to know a person before placing them in a stress situation to determine if they are lying or not. Other people have such good and disciplined minds they can carry the cognitive load better than others can. In short, you better actually know the person before you place them in a situation like this because individual differences muddled some of the group results here.


Use this theory as a general baseline to measure the liars in your life. It isn't foolproof or totally accurate like most generalizations. It will help you to grow in your own emotional intelligence about relating to other people.

And, remember, some people appear to be lying because they are withholding private information. Keep that in mind when trying to determine if a person is lying to you: what is their agenda for lying? Are they private people? Are they philanderers? Are they embarrassed for others to realize they are not quite as important as they boast to others?

There are a lot of reasons people lie. Gamblers lie about what they had for breakfast afraid you will nail them down as to where they actually were at a certain time of day and the wife may find out. Other people lie to enhance their status in life and don't want to be found out. Some people lie just to appear more interesting and worthy to others. People are people; love them any way! :)

Written by Denny Lyon
Copyright 4 August 2009
All Rights Reserved

Source: Scientific American

England, University of Portsmouth, Society and Culture, science, research, Eye contact, Cognition, Social Sciences, Psychology, Cognitive load, Emotional intelligence, eye contact, cognitive science

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02 August 2009

Blogging with Ads and a Blog Store

Whew!Image via Wikipedia

From Denny: Whew! I've been blogging for nine months now (on the oldest blog The Social Poets where I started all this craziness) and am just getting into learning about ads. There are so many options and it takes a while to absorb it all. Mostly, I've waited to develop my content on each blog and then see what people find interesting.

You can develop your own aStore with Amazon Associates though it sure takes some time to develop the look you want to best complement your blog in color and design. Of course, I just wear it out trying different combinations so it takes me longer. :) I finally got around to developing this blog's own store.

Amazon is a trusted company for both the customer and the blogger. I prefer an ad company with a good reputation since it's my reputation on the line as well.

Anyway, there are ads for MP3 Music, Free Music, Sale Books, Video, Cell phones, and the The Soul Calendar Store as choices. Take a look and browse through it all for ideas. If you are like me you just enjoy window shopping! :)

What's fun about some of these ads is they add visual interest to what could be a static blog so I thought I'd try it out and see what appeals to everyone. At least they are tasteful unlike what some companies offer. The ads are placed at the top, sprinkled in the sidebar and above and below the posts area.

Oh, yes, for new bloggers, you definitely want to get Google ads. Why? Forget about making money from them as it's a joke unless you get a million hits. The only sites and blogs that get hits like that are porno and I'm not interested in writing garbage. You only make $1 for every 1,000 hits so it could take you a year or more to make $100.

When you go to join up with Google just make sure you have at least 60 to 90 posts of content. They might turn you down for less. What they are looking for is enough content to analyze to know what ads to place with you. If you post daily it won't take long to develop a theme or trend that Google will find attractive. Once you have been at blogging for a good six months and are not overwhelmed, upgrade for free to Google Analytics. Analytics goes deeper into analyzing how you are doing and what posts are the most popular. They let you know if your traffic is from search engines or direct because people already know about you.

The real reason you want Google ads is because they keep track of your numbers for you to let you know if folks are actually reading your blog. That was the real reason I activated Google ads. I wanted to see if anyone was interested in what I was offering since I was a newbie to blogging. Previously, I always kept private journals and then finally decided to go public. It was a pleasant surprise to learn the level of interest out there in web land! :) Thanks for your support, everyone!

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01 August 2009

3 Octupi Videos: Escape of the Shapeshifting Octupus

From Denny: I haven't seen this National Geographic video in a while and it turned up again today on Digg. You have to see this 600 pound octupus and how he moves into such tiny spaces, so graceful for a huge animal. Did you know an octupus has NO bones? Yes, that's how he accomplishes his amazing feats of a big body in a tiny space. Take a look.

"Talk about morphing - a 600 pound octopus shape-shifts itself to wriggle through a passageway the size of a quarter!"

Here's another video about the contest between a shark and an octupus in an aquarium tank. Unbelievable ending!

From Denny: I didn't know that octupi have poor blood circulation and that's why they live in such cold water for the oxygen-rich environment. Really creepy when a huge octupus decided to wrap itself around one of the divers while filming. Take a look.

"Watch this amazing footage as Steve Leonard gets up close and personal with a giant octopus in the freezing sea waters. Would you be happy to get this close to an Extreme Animal with giant eyes and pale blue blood? Find out now as you take a dive into this beautiful aquatic environment."

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