This is starting to sound a whole lot like blackmail

Snowden documents could be 'worst nightmare' for U.S.: journalist - Yahoo! News
"The U.S. government should be on its knees every day begging that nothing happen to Snowden, because if something does happen to him, all the information will be revealed and it could be its worst nightmare."

Strangelovier? Really? I am in awe

Stop Ray Kelly from leading Homeland Security Department - Salon.com
If you thought Big Brother couldn’t possibly get bigger, and if you thought this Dr. Strangelove era couldn’t possibly get any Strangelovier, welcome to the debate over the next head of the Department of Homeland Security.
But surely Obama will find just the right guy.

There'll always be an England

Undernews: The best opening paragraph in Wikipedia:

I can't wait to find out what the wife sues him for

Sex Tech: Apple sued for porn exposure, Robert Scoble, social media prenups | ZDNet
An attorney files suit against Apple for porn exposure claiming "unfair competition" with his wife...


Sit down and shut up: What's good for Chevron is good for you

In 'Chilling' Ruling, Chevron Granted Access to Activists' Private Internet Data | Common Dreams
A federal judge has ruled to allow Chevron, through a subpoena to Microsoft, to collect the IP usage records and identity information for email accounts owned by over 100 environmental activists, journalists and attorneys.

This is pretty amazing, really...

The World Almanac

...in the new networked world, the World Almanac survives. I used to buy a new edition every year, once upon a time, but the copy on my bookshelf now is dated 1992. Of course there are a lot of facts that haven't changed since then (When was the War of 1812?), but still quite a few that have, and just about all of it is now online. So my World Almanac just gathers dust these days. But it does such a good job of that I hate to throw it away.

Never a dull moment in Iowa

Firing of attractive assistant is legal, Iowa top court rules - CBS News
The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday stood by its ruling that a dentist acted legally when he fired an assistant because he found her too attractive and worried he would try to start an affair.

A new high, or possibly low, in gun laws

Tiny Georgia City, Gun Control Group Spar Over Law That Requires Gun Ownership

The Nelson [GA] City Council adopted the Family Protection Ordinance on April 1. The measure requires every head of household to own a gun and ammunition to “provide for the emergency management of the city” and to “provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants.” The ordinance exempts convicted felons, those who can’t afford a gun and those who suffer from certain physical or mental disabilities, as well as anyone who conscientiously objects to owning guns because of their beliefs or religious doctrine.  
City leaders and the police chief, who’s the only police officer in town, said during the meeting when the ordinance was passed that they had no intention of enforcing it.


Snowden’s… Defection? ← Joshua Foust
As a rule, when a cleared intelligence employee seeks refuge in another country running a hostile intelligence service while carrying gigabytes of top secret documents, that isn’t the behavior of a whistleblower. That is the behavior of a defector.
This whole Snowden thing, like fish and houseguests, is getting old.

This is really pretty cool

Choir singers' heartbeats synchronize - Boing Boing
"When you sing the phrases, it is a form of guided breathing," project leader and musicologist Bjorn Vickhoff told National Public Radio.

Et tu

Three Women Beat Up Man at Bar for Refusing to Buy Them a Drink
As the women began hitting him with their shoes, the bar's bouncer, 45-year-old Donald Atkinson, reportedly joined the brawl, taking the women's side.


¡Bienvenido, Señor Snowden! - By Peter Wilson | Foreign Policy
If you're under the impression that you're going to be living out the rest of your days in a tropical paradise, think twice before you board that plane to Caracas. And you might want to bring along your own toilet paper.

It's a great world after all

What Should Cronut Inventor Dominique Ansel Call His New Frozen S’Mores? -- Grub Street New York
It's $7, and consists of a scoop of vanilla ice cream based on Turkish maraş dondurma rolled in crispy chocolate feulletine and encased in a cube of fresh marshmallow.

But not allowed in a totally transparent way, of course

EllenBarryNYT: Video not allowed in meeting btw #Snowden and around 8 Russian human rights figures. It begins.

Nicaragua not so good?

Edward Snowden reportedly wants asylum in Russia - CBS News
Edward Snowden, the leaker of U.S. National Security Agency secrets, reportedly told representatives of human rights groups in a meeting at Moscow's international airport that he wants to stay in Russia under asylum.

Donut bonanza

In the used bakery basket this morning I found a bag of four (4) stale donuts for one (1) single buck. Who could resist a deal like that. So now they're mine. And three remain.

Also there was a good price on dead chicken parts too, so all in all it was a good morning in the hunter-gatherer biz.

A lot less under than you think

Temp Towns - Lawyers, Guns & Money
Essentially, there’s an entire temporary work economy that has sprung up under our noses...


This "market" is such a baby

Bernanke calms markets, eases fears of early Fed taper - CSMonitor.com
After rattling markets last month by hinting the Fed might roll back stimulus earlier than expected, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke quieted anxieties, saying the US economy needs to be bolstered by a "highly accommodative monetary policy for the foreseeable future."

Sounds a little fishy to me

Florida mermaids: Weeki Wachee and other great state parks. - Slate Magazine
“I spent about a year and a half trying not to be a mermaid, and it was just like, 'Well, I am.' ”

Nobody escapes. Nobody.

California grows all of our fruits and vegetables. What would we eat without the state? - Slate Magazine
Food scientists at Cornell University have produced a strain of broccoli that thrives in hot environments, which may make it possible for states with stiflingly hot summers to grow the vegetable.

But we'll get over it

Watchdog: Military’s new $34M Afghan facility won’t be used - The Hill's DEFCON Hill
John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR), said in a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel this week that the facility in southwest Afghanistan was a “potentially troubling example of waste.”

Unclear on the concept

Diversifying the "Anonymous" Guy Fawkes Mask

Maybe we should just ban Florida and be done with it

Florida bans computers - Boing Boing
Florida tried to ban Internet Cafes that were functioning as unlicensed casinos, but may have banned smartphones and computers instead, due to language that defines slot machines as "any machine or device or system or network of devices" that can be used in connection with games of chance....ironic, as Florida is the state whose law once took over 100 words to precisely define "buttocks.""

That's it? Money? Cell phones?

Masked man carjacks D.C. ice cream truck - The Washington Post
Money and cell phones were taken from the truck.


Go figure, right?

Lots of People Have Never Finished "Ulysses" | Mother Jones

"I just feel violated," says dupe

Skinny Dipping Woman Baits Man While Husband Robs His Home
A former Mississippi deputy says he was the victim of a crafty robbery perpetrated by a next-door neighbor and his very naked wife.

Yeah, let's get real

Barack Obama's love for broccoli: brave, noble, preposterous - CSMonitor.com
Broccoli is no one's favorite food unless it's covered in cheese, in which case "cheese" is really your favorite food.

iPhone art: Phil Compton          comptonphotoart.com 

Next thing you know, somebody will be growing pot there

Should we have a national park on the moon?
Yes, that moon. And, yes, this is a serious question.

"We try to deliver"

The Director of 'Sharknado' Explains the Joy of 'Sharknado'
Ferrante is well aware that the idea of a tornado full of sharks is completely ridiculous. "But there's a sincerity in its ridiculousness," he explained.

A few modest additions...

Greatest Women in History - Esquire

...to this Esquire piece on great women in history (and the present, as it turns out) - which includes Britney Spears (really), Jennifer Anniston, Cybill Shepherd, and Goldie Hawn, the following:

Maria Callas, Martha Graham, Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, and Betty Grable (the legs that won the war).

Plus a pretty good list of other additions in the comments thread, here.

Tut, tut, Esquire. Get with the program here.

Did I say Congress was starting to look like the 4th grade?

GOP Bill Would Block Federal Funding To Schools That Ban Imaginary Guns | TPM LiveWire
The bill provides a list of activities that would be grounds for cutting federal funding. Among the activities: "brandishing a pastry or other food which is partially consumed in such a way that the remnant resembles a gun..."
I can't wait til they get around to debating imaginary sex.

Translation: No need for the peons to know

The Biggest Secret Trade Deal You've Never Heard Of, Explained | Mother Jones
Trade deals always operate under a certain level of secrecy, trade experts say, which makes it easier for countries to negotiate amongst themselves without too much noise from advocacy groups and others inside countries.
If you're still thinking about government "by the people" you might as well just stop. Thinking. At all.

From our investments desk: Buy rulers

Undernews: Nanny cities banning saggy pants
The terms of the laws vary – some ban showing any underwear at all, some ban pants below the waist, some measure the number of inches that may show before violating the law.

"On the whole, I would rather be in Philadelphia"*

The worst 48 hours in Minneapolis/St. Paul - Boing Boing
Reuters has a travel guide to how to spend a weekend in Minneapolis and St. Paul. It's supposed to be an enjoyable weekend, I think, but that's not entirely clear.
*W. C. Fields

Beach tip



Twinkies forever! (Or 45 days at least)

Twinkies will return with longer shelf life
The new Hostess Brands...says that when Twinkies return they'll have a 45-day shelf life. That's significantly longer than the 26-day shelf life they previously had.

Back in the days of long, long ago...

...when guys like Ray Bradbury, Willy Ley, and Isaac Asimov were publishing in Boy's Life I was a huge sci-fi fan and spent many hours trying to imagine how cool life in the 21st Century would certainly be (a lot cooler than it really is, but still there's the 121st Century to look forward to as Asimov does in this book, Foundation, brought to our attention recently by some guy in Seattle).

Also, it's on the list.

Who says you can't learn anything useful by avoiding work?

Undernews: How to avoid zombies
The conclusions suggest that the people trapped in a mall in "Dawn of the Dead" may be better off than the folks stuck in a farmhouse in "Night of the Living Dead."

Yeah, we could get one more good season in at least

President Obama said to be considering "zero option" in Afghanistan - Jennifer Rowland and Bailey Cahall | The AfPak Channel
There are currently 63,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, a number that is scheduled to go down to 34,000 by next February.  The option now under consideration would withdraw the bulk of U.S. soldiers - if not all - by next summer, after the annual fighting season winds down.

Don't hold your breath (and keep your mouth shut)

The Members of Congress Who Want to Reform NSA Surveillance - Philip Bump - The Atlantic Wire

Fine, so what if the zombies really do attack?

U.S. Emergency Alert System open to more 'zombie' hackers after accidental SSH key disclosure | ZDNet
The key allows anyone with limited knowledge to log in at the root level of the server and "manipulate any system function," including browse key directories and access its peering arrangement.
OK, that's pretty techie but the bottom line is, if you think you're safe you're not.

Of course a little danger can definitely spice up your day.

Maybe we should have a puzzle section

With a coming void in Oregon’s news ecosystem, public broadcasting’s trying to build a new kind of state wire

WTF does that mean?

And these are the guys we've been fighting all these years?

Taliban close Qatar office in dispute with U.S., Afghan government over signage - CBS News
A diplomat and Taliban official say the Afghan Taliban are closing their Qatar office at least temporarily to protest demands they remove a sign that identified the movement as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
Maybe we could have just taken them out for lunch.

Cool bug physics

How spiders use an electrical charge to trap insects - CSMonitor.com
The spider web - already one of nature’s greatest marvels for its strategic architectural design and the adhesive strands - has now been found to have another advantage: a negative electrical charge, which can snap up positively charged insects in a quite literally fatal attraction.

And can you spell "fat chance"?

Guantánamo: US judge condemns force-feeding, but declines detainees' appeal - CSMonitor.com
A US district judge said she lacked the jurisdiction to halt the practice of force-feeding at Guantánamo, but condemned it as 'painful ... and degrading' and said Obama could stop it.

But if you have twin beds that's only $235,000 each

In Photos: Celebrity Real Estate | Photos - ABC News
Scarlett Johansson sold her one-bedroom, two-bath unit in the Hollywood Versailles Tower for $470,000, the Los Angeles Times reported.

What is the opposite of free speech?

Geithner cashes in on Wall Street : Columbia Journalism Review
Deutsche Bank was one of Geithner’s first stops, and it paid the former Treasury Secretary and New York Fed chief $200,000 for one speech in June. Two hundred thousand dollars.  
But for the Germans, it’s the least they can do to thank Geithner for his service.


And this, boys and girls, is why you weigh too much

A lip-smacking look at the day that drinking straws got bigger - The Washington Post
I decided to look into this. I found that, yes, you can divide modern U.S. soda consumption into BBS and ABS: Before Big Straws and After Big Straws.
Or then again, maybe not. But it's clear bendy straws are one of the greatest achievements of modern civilization.

We're No. 2!

Mexico replaces US as world’s fattest nation - Salon.com
“The same people who are malnourished are the ones who are becoming obese,” said physician Abelardo Avila with Mexico’s National Nutrition Institute. “In the poor classes we have obese parents and malnourished children. The worst thing is the children are becoming programmed for obesity. It’s a very serious epidemic.”

But not so much any more

Graham cracker - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The graham cracker was originally conceived of as a health food as part of the Graham Diet, a regimen to suppress what he considered unhealthy carnal urges, the source of many maladies according to Graham....

Obamacare may have its flaws but it sure cures insomnia

It’s not just the employer mandate: Three Obamacare delays you haven’t heard about

But an exception to the Second Amendment? In your dreams

A Tiny Little Peek Inside the FISA Court | Mother Jones
In one of the court’s most important decisions, the judges have expanded the use in terrorism cases of a legal principle known as the “special needs” doctrine and carved out an exception to the Fourth Amendment’s requirement of a warrant for searches and seizures...
Where is the NRA when you need them?

Imagine our joy

Laundry Innovations - New Laundry Tech 2013 - Esquire
It's even more exciting than you think...

Horsepuckey just ain't what it used to be

News from The Associated Press
The CIA, noting that the bin Laden mission was overseen by then-CIA Director Leon Panetta before he became defense secretary, said that the SEALs were effectively assigned to work temporarily for the CIA...

W00t! A lot of physics in this

The Physics Behind waterslides
At National Geographic, we enjoy a good waterslide (who doesn't?) but were also wondering just how they work—and how water parks use basic physics and engineering concepts to keep their 85 million annual riders safe....

Who knew we had a national raisin reserve?

One grower’s grapes of wrath - The Washington Post
KERMAN, Calif. — In the world of dried fruit, America has no greater outlaw than Marvin Horne, 68....

Our freedom and your information

Tikkun Daily Blog » Blog Archive » NSA Rejecting Every FOIA Request Made by U.S. Citizens
Meaning: the NSA is classifying every single bit of data it receives from ordinary American citizens based on the premise that it has been gathered covertly.

The business of America...

Campaign Ad Cash Lures Buyers to Swing-State TV Stations - NYTimes.com
As Leslie Moonves, the chief executive of the CBS Corporation, which owns 29 stations, memorably said last year, “Super PACs may be bad for America, but they’re very good for CBS.”

No fair! More stuff we don't want to know

Study: Hawk moths use sonar jamming genitals in fight against bats


File under Headlines We Never Finished Reading

Flight Attendant Denies Smuggling Pet Rat in Her Underwear...

But what choice did he have?

Billionaire Art Man Divorces Wife for Disappointing Lack of Strangling Defense - Connor Simpson - The Atlantic Wire
Billionaire art collecter Charles Saatchi has decided to leave his celebrity chef wife Nigella Lawson...because she didn't publicly defend him after he choked her. "
Really? To himself?

Maybe not this time

Alpine Abyss: 'Stairway to Nothingness' Opens in Austria - ABC News
The freshly inaugurated suspension bridge near the town of Schladming leads to fourteen steps down a cliff, ending on a glass platform that highlights vertigo-inducing views of the mountain landscape below. The "stairway to nothingness" is only for visitors with "nerves of steel," the Dachstein Glacier resort's website reads.