April 2012 archive

Apr 30

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

Our regular featured content-

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This is an Open Thread

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Apr 30

#OWS May Day 2012

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

It’s May, the season changes and Occupy Wall St is back with a call for a national general strike on May 1.

On May 1st,

We will celebrate a holiday for the 99%. We will come together across lines of race, class, gender, and religion and challenge the systems that create these divisions. New Yorkers will join with millions throughout the world – workers, students, immigrants, professionals, houseworkers. We will take to the streets to unite in a General Strike against a system which does not work for us. With our collective power we will begin to build the world we want to see. Another world is possible!

We call on everyone to join us: No work! No school! No shopping! Take the streets!

#OWS is calling for us to do two things to commemorate the day:

 

  • Don’t like what you do? Don’t do it. Take one day to do something you love instead.
  •  

  • Love what you do? Do it for free. Take it to the next level and bring it to the public.
  • If you’re in New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Boston, Chicago, #OWS will be there with art, entertainment, education and peaceful occupation for closed and abandoned homes and the occupation of our country. No action in your city or town? Start one. All it takes is a few people in a park with a couple of homemade signs.

    Here are some of the May Day 2012 events in some of the major US cities:

    New York:  

  • 8 AM: Bryant Park will be the site of a “Pop-up Occupation” featuring free food, a free market, free services, skillshares, workshops, teach-ins, speak-outs, public art, performances, discussions and direct-action trainings.
  •  

  • Noon: Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello leads a guitar workshop and rehearsal for the Occupy Guitarmy.
  •  

  • 2 PM: March to Union Square led by Tony Morello and the Occupy Guitarmy where they will hold a concert.
  •  

  • 5:30: March to Wall Street with a coalition of organized labor, immigrant rights groups and faith-based activists.
  • Oakland:  

  • Occupy Oakland is planning to occupy the Golden Gate Bridge at 6 am followed by a series of direct actions facilitated at three announced strike stations: the anti-capitalist station at Snow Park, the anti-patriarchy station at 1st & Broadway and the anti-gentrification at 22nd & Telegraph.
  • Los Angeles:  

  • Occupy LA is organizing a “4 Winds” People’s Power Car and Bike Caravan through sprawling of Los Angeles that will culminate with Direct Action in and around the downtown Financial District. Here’s a map to find a “wind” near you.
  • Boston:  

  • Noon: Major groups will assemble at City Hall Park.

     

  • 7 PM: Groups with gather at Copley Square Park to put on costumes, puppets and face-paint and receive instructions on their respective roles in the “funeral procession” that will proceed through areas of wealth and commerce.
  • Chicago:  

  • Noon: Groups will gather at Union Park for a march to Federal Plaza.
  • Portland, OR:  

  • 7:30 AM Student activists are planning on massing at the headquarters of the Portland Public Schools to protest budget cuts and the falling quality of our schools and to attempt to nonviolently shut down work for the day.
  •  

  • 3 PM: A family friendly event at South Park with a march at 4:30.
  • Tuscon, AZ:  

  • 9 AM: A march for immigrant rights in Tucson will move from Greyhound Park parking lot to Armory Park for a noon rally with speakers, music, entertainment and info booths.
  • If you can’t strike, there are other things you can do:  

  • Don’t shop.
  •  

  • Wear a button, a hat or a tee shirt.
  •  

  • Donate to May Day 2012
  • Apr 30

    Blame Canada

    Apr 30

    Cartnoon

    The Night Watchman

    Apr 30

    On This Day In History April 30

    Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

    This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

    Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

    Click on images to enlarge

    April 30 is the 120th day of the year (121st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 245 days remaining until the end of the year.

    On this day in 1900, Jones dies in a train wreck in Vaughn, Mississippi, while trying to make up time on the Cannonball Express.

    John Luther (“Casey”) Jones (March 14, 1863 – April 30, 1900) was an American railroad engineer from Jackson, Tennessee, who worked for the Illinois Central Railroad (IC). On April 30, 1900, he alone was killed when his passenger train, the “Cannonball Express,” collided with a stalled freight train at Vaughan, Mississippi, on a foggy and rainy night.

    His dramatic death, trying to stop his train and save lives, made him a hero; he was immortalized in a popular ballad sung by his friend Wallace Saunders, an African American engine wiper for the IC.

    Death

    On April 29, 1900 Jones was at Poplar Street Station in Memphis, Tennessee, having driven the No. 2 from Canton (with his assigned Engine No. 382 ). Normally, Jones would have stayed in Memphis on a layover; however, he was asked to take the No. 1 back to Canton, as the scheduled engineer (Sam Tate), who held the regular run of Trains No. 1 (known as “The Chicago & New Orleans Limited”, later to become the famous “Panama Limited”) and No. 4 (“The New Orleans Fast Mail”) with his assigned Engine No. 382, had called in sick with cramps. Jones loved challenges and was determined to “get her there on the advertised” time no matter how difficult it looked.

    A fast engine, a good fireman (Simeon T. Webb would be the train’s assigned fireman), and a light train were ideal for a record-setting run. Although it was raining, steam trains of that era operated best in damp conditions. However, the weather was quite foggy that night (which reduced visibility), and the run was well-known for its tricky curves. Both conditions would prove deadly later that night.

    Normally the No. 1 would depart Memphis at 11:15 PM and arrive in Canton (188 miles to the south) at 4:05 AM the following morning. However, due to the delays with the change in engineers, the No. 1 (with six cars) did not leave Memphis until 12:50 am, 95 minutes behind schedule.

    The first section of the run would take Jones from Memphis 100 miles south to Grenada, Mississippi, with an intermediate water stop at Sardis, Mississippi (50 miles into the run), over a new section of light and shaky rails at speeds up to 80 mph (129 km/h). At Senatobia, Mississippi (40 miles into the run) Jones passed through the scene of a prior fatal accident from the previous November. Jones made his water stop at Sardis, then arrived at Grenada for more water, having made up 55 minutes of the 95 minute delay.

    Jones made up another 15 minutes in the 25-mile stretch from Grenada to Winona, Mississippi. The following 30-mile stretch (Winona to Durant, Mississippi) had no speed-restricted curves. By the time he got to Durant (155 miles into the run) Jones was almost on time. He was quite happy, saying at one point “Sim, the old girl’s got her dancing slippers on tonight!” as he leaned on the Johnson bar.

    At Durant he received new orders to take to the siding at Goodman, Mississippi (eight miles south of Durant, and 163 miles into the run) and wait for the No. 2 passenger train to pass, and then continue on to Vaughan. His orders also instructed him that he was to meet passenger train No. 26 at Vaughan (15 miles south of Goodman, and 178 miles into the run); however, No. 26 was a local passenger train in two sections and would be in the siding, so he would have priority over it. Jones pulled out of Goodman, only five minutes behind schedule, and with 25 miles of fast track ahead Jones doubtless felt that he had a good chance to make it to Canton by 4:05 AM “on the advertised”.

    But the stage was being set for a tragic wreck at Vaughan. The stopped double-header freight train No. 83 (located to the north and headed south) and the stopped long freight train No. 72 (located to the south and headed north) were both in the passing track to the east of the main line but there were more cars than the track could hold, forcing some of them to overlap onto the main line above the north end of the switch. The northbound local passenger train No. 26 had arrived from Canton earlier which had required a “saw by” in order for it to get to the “house track” west of the main line. The saw by maneuver for No. 26 required that No. 83 back up and allow No. 72 to move northward and pull its overlapping cars off the south end, allowing No. 26 to gain access to the house track. But this left four cars overlapping above the north end of the switch and on the main line right in Jones’ path. As a second saw by was being prepared to let Jones pass, an air hose broke on No. 72, locking its brakes and leaving the last four cars of No. 83 on the main line.

    Meanwhile, Jones was almost back on schedule, running at about 75 miles per hour toward Vaughan, unaware of the danger ahead, since he was traveling through a 1.5-mile left-hand curve which blocked his view. Webb’s view from the left side of the train was better, and he was first to see the red lights of the caboose on the main line. “Oh my Lord, there’s something on the main line!” he yelled to Jones. Jones quickly yelled back “Jump Sim, jump!” to Webb, who crouched down and jumped about 300 feet before impact and was knocked unconscious. The last thing Webb heard when he jumped was the long, piercing scream of the whistle as Jones tried to warn anyone still in the freight train looming ahead. He was only two minutes behind schedule about this time.

    Jones reversed the throttle and slammed the airbrakes into emergency stop, but “Ole 382” quickly plowed through a wooden caboose, a car load of hay, another of corn and half way through a car of timber before leaving the track. He had amazingly reduced his speed from about 75 miles per hour to about 35 miles per hour when he impacted with a deafening crunch of steel against steel and splintering wood. Because Jones stayed on board to slow the train, he no doubt saved the passengers from serious injury and death (Jones himself was the only fatality of the collision). His watch was found to be stopped at the time of impact which was 3:52 AM on April 30, 1900. Popular legend holds that when his body was pulled from the wreckage of his train near the twisted rail his hands still clutched the whistle cord and the brake. A stretcher was brought from the baggage car on No. 1 and crewmen of the other trains carried his body to the depot ┬Ż-mile away.

    Apr 30

    Muse in the Morning

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
    Muse in the Morning


    Feathering 3

    Apr 30

    Late Night Karaoke

    Apr 30

    Pique the Geek 20120429: Technetium, An odd Element

    Last week a commenter suggested this topic, and I am always happy to get reader feedback and try to honor requests.  Technetium is one of only two elements with an atomic number (Z) less than 82 (Z =  43) without a stable isotope, the other one being promethium, with Z = 61.  Dimitri Mendeleev predicted this element after he had perfected the Periodic Table of the elements in 1871.  He called it ekamanganese since it occupies the place in the table one row under manganese.

    Technetium was claimed to have been discovered over and over, and credit to its discovery goes to Emilio Segre and Carlo Perrier in 1936.  It was discovered in a foil that Ernest Lawrence had given Segre that was composed of molybdenum.  Some of the molybdenum had been transmuted into technetium, and the Italian team confirmed this.

    Apr 30

    West Side Story Night:

    Hello, everybody!    I figured that I’d make today’s essay about my big night last Thursday, once again seeing my all time favorite movie.     I  wrote this same essay on firefly-dreaming.com, gave Aziza her medicine, cleaned her cage, changed her veggies and water, covered her cage, and went to bed.  It was all worth it, even though I got home well past midnight.  

    Back to the subject at hand;  Here goes my essay on my big night last Thursday:

    I left Somerville slightly before two o’clock on Thursday afternoon,  so that the afternoon/evening rush-hour out of Boston wouldn’t hold me up.   Swinging west onto the Mass. Turnpike, I drove until I was way out of the Route 128 area, into very pretty greenery and scenery.  As always happens here in New England, in late April, things are beginning to look really green and lush, especially when one arrives in the Berkshires, which are at the far western part of the Bay State, and open out like a beautiful panorama of mountainous green.  Great scenery to behold!  This is definitely the time of year to really appreciate it, although I would never, ever want to set up and establish roots out in that part of the state for at least two reasons:  It’s too far out on the frontier for my liking, and the winters out there can be extremely long…and brutal, if one gets the drift.   Given our New England winters (and weather, generally), which are often quite hit-or-miss, it’s too unpredictable for me to want to deal with.  

    When I finally got off the Mass. Turnpike, at the next to last exit before one hits Albany, NY, however,  I noticed that, since it does tend to be considerably cooler out in the other end of the Bay State, that the trees didn’t seem half as green or lush.  Oh, well…maybe a little later.  Pretty soon, I think.  

    Apr 29

    Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

    Our regular featured content-

    These featured articles-

    our weekly features-

    This is an Open Thread

    The Stars Hollow Gazette

    Apr 29

    Health and Fitness News

    Welcome to the Health and Fitness News, a weekly diary which is cross-posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette. It is open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

    Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

    You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

    Four Bowls of Pho

    Photobucket

       I have made delicious classic beef pho using oxtail and short ribs to flavor the broth, but this time I just focused on the charred ginger and onion; the spice bag filled with star anise, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and cloves; and an abundance of sweet vegetables to obtain a light but highly aromatic broth. I achieved the flavor I wanted, and now had this beautiful vegan broth, with the option of fish sauce for nonvegetarians to add.

       This would be my canvas for the week’s recipes. I used classic wide rice noodles in some of my soups, untraditional soba in others and quinoa in one. Protein came in the form of tofu, and I mixed and matched seasonal vegetables. The herbs – cilantro, Thai basil, mint – are classic, and the chilies and lime, also classic, bump up the flavor. I served smaller portions as a starter at a dinner party, but mostly enjoyed my pho as dinner every night for a week, and I was sad to see it go.

    ~ Martha Rose Shulman ~

    Simple Vegetarian Pho Broth

    To create this broth, use lots of sweet vegetables and the spices that infuse traditional beef pho broth.

    Pho With Carrots, Turnips, Broccoli and Tofu

    This vegetable combination is sweet and colorful, and soba noodles add heartiness.

    Pho With Spinach and Tofu

    Using soba rather than rice noodles and seasoning the tofu with soy sauce fuses Asian cuisines in this inviting soup.

    Vegetarian Pho With Asparagus and Noodles

    The asparagus is cooked separately and added just before serving, to preserve its signature flavor and a little crunch.

    Pho With Broccoli and Quinoa

    A high-protein grain replaces noodles in this fragrant soup.

    Apr 29

    Stop CISPA: What You Need to Know

    Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

    CISPA, the cyber-security bill which threatens individual privacy rights on the internet, has passed the House, ignoring a possible veto, and will go to the Senate:

    On a bipartisan vote of 248-168, the Republican-controlled House backed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (Cispa), which would encourage companies and the federal government to share information collected on the internet to prevent electronic attacks from cybercriminals, foreign governments and terrorists.

    “This is the last bastion of things we need to do to protect this country,” Republican Mike Rogers, chairman of the House intelligence committee, said after more than five hours of debate. [..]

    The White House, along with a coalition of liberal and conservative groups and lawmakers, strongly opposed the measure, complaining that Americans’ privacy could be violated. They argued that companies could share an employee’s personal information with the government, data that could end up in the hands of officials from the National Security Agency or the defence department. They also challenged the bill’s liability waiver for private companies that disclose information, complaining it was too broad.

    “Once in government hands, this information can be used for undefined ‘national security’ purposes unrelated to cybersecurity,” a coalition that included the American Civil Liberties Union and former conservative Republican representative Bob Barr, lawmakers said on Thursday.

    CISPA Critics Warn Cybersecurity Bill Will Increase Domestic Surveillance and Violate Privacy Rights

    As it heads toward a House vote, critics say the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) would allow private internet companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft to hand over troves of confidential customer records and communications to the National Security Agency, FBI and Department of Homeland Security, effectively legalizing a secret domestic surveillance program already run by the NSA. Backers say the measure is needed to help private firms crackdown on foreign entities – including the Chinese and Russian governments – committing online economic espionage. The bill has faced widespread opposition from online privacy advocates and even the Obama administration, which has threatened a veto. “CISPA … will create an exception to all existing privacy laws so that companies can share very sensitive and personal information directly with the government, including military agencies like the National Security Agency,” says Michelle Richardson, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. “Once the government has it, they can repurpose it and use it for a number of things, including an undefined national security use.” [includes rush transcript]

    Think Progress has a summery of what we need to know  about CISPA to fight to stop its passage:

  • CISPA’s broad language will likely give the government access to anyone’s personal information with few privacy protections: CISPA allows the government access to any “information pertaining directly to a vulnerability of, or threat to, a system or network of a government or private entity.” [..]
  • It supersedes all other provisions of the law protecting privacy: As the bill is currently written, CISPA would apply “notwithstanding any other provision of law.” [..]
  • The bill completely exempts itself from the Freedom of Information Act: Citizens and journalists have access to most things the government does via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a key tool for increasing transparency.
  • [..]

  • CISPA gives companies blanket immunity from future lawsuits: One of the most egregious aspects of CISPA is that it gives blanket legal immunity to any company that shares its customers’ private information.
  • [..]

  • Recent revisions don’t go nearly far enough: In an attempt to specify how the government can use the information they collect, the House passed an amendment saying the data can only be used for: “1) cybersecurity; 2) investigation and prosecution of cybersecurity crimes; 3) protection of individuals from the danger of death or physical injury; 4) protection of minors from physical or psychological harm; and 5) protection of the national security of the United States.”
  • Citizens have to trust that companies like Facebook won’t share your personal information: CISPA does not force companies share private user information with the government. {..] Companies may not be legally required to turn over information, but they “may not be in a position to say no.”
  • Companies can already inform the government and each other about incoming cybersecurity threats: {..} opponents of the bill point out that “network administrators and security researchers at private firms have shared threat information with one another for decades.”
  • The internet is fighting back: The same online activists who fought hard against SOPA are now engaged in the battle over CISPA.
  • Most Republicans support CISPA, while most Democrats oppose it: Among congressmen that voted, 88 percent of Republicans supported the bill while 77 percent of Democrats opposed it.
  • President Obama threatened to veto it: Recognizing the threat to civil liberties that CISPA poses, President Obama announced this week that he “strongly opposes” the bill and has threatened to veto if it comes to his desk.
  • Join the Fight to Stop CISPA! Sign the petition:

    Save the Internet from the US

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