Kmart's Joe Boxer Commercial Stirs Controversy

Graphene: OMG! The magic material that an elephant standing on a pencil couldn't break

Fwd: China

'Two long-range American bombers have conducted what Pentagon officials described Tuesday as a routine training mission through international air space recently claimed by China as its "air defense identification zone."


The Chinese government said Saturday that it has the right to identify, monitor and possibly take military action against aircraft that enter the area, which includes sea and islands also claimed by Japan. The claim threatens to escalate an already tense dispute over some of the maritime territory.


American officials said the pair of B-52s carried out a mission that had been planned long in advance of the Chinese announcement this past weekend, and that the United States military would continue to assert its right to fly through what it regards as international air space.'




Fwd: China

'an increasing number of Chinese and Japanese ships and planes are frequenting a very small area in the East China Sea. The Japanese government announced Tuesday that twice in the past three weeks Chinese warships have upped the ante even further by "painting" a Japanese warship and helicopter with the same type of radar used to aim missiles.


In a region devoid of rules like those that existed between the United States and the Soviet Union when their ships and planes crossed paths, the possibility of a deadly accident is high. In addition to the radar scares, the two sides have exchanged threats, with Japan stating that its fighter jets would fire tracer bullets near Chinese aircraft if they strayed too near the rocks. A retired but influential Chinese army general responded that such an act would constitute a "first shot."'




Germany rethinks its liberal ways on sex workers


Fwd: Thanksgiving

'Had today's politicians and opinion-makers been in power four centuries ago, Americans might celebrate "Starvation Day" this week, not Thanksgiving.


The Pilgrims started out with communal property rules. When they first settled at Plymouth, they were told


"Share everything, share the work, and we'll share the harvest."


The colony's contract said their new settlement was to be a "common." Everyone was to receive necessities out of the common stock. There was to be little individual property.


That wasn't the only thing about the Plymouth Colony that sounds like it was from Karl Marx: Its labor was to be organized according to the different capabilities of the settlers. People would produce according to their abilities and consume according to their needs. That sure sounds fair.


They nearly starved and created what economists call the "tragedy of the commons."


If people can access the same stuff by working less, they will. Plymouth settlers faked illness instead of working the common property. The harvest was meager, and for two years, there was famine. But then, after the colony's governor, William Bradford, wrote that they should "set corn every man for his own particular," they dropped the commons idea. He assigned to every family a parcel of land to treat as its own.


The results were dramatic. Much more corn was planted. Instead of famine, there was plenty. Thanks to private property, they got food -- and thanks to it, we have food today.'





Attorneys: What is it like to be the defense attorney of someone you strongly believe to have committed the crime? - Quora



'Pope Francis called for renewal of the Roman Catholic Church and attacked unfettered capitalism as "a new tyranny"…


In it, Francis went further than previous comments criticizing the global economic system, attacking the "idolatry of money" and beseeching politicians to guarantee all citizens "dignified work, education and healthcare".




RealClearWorld - France Flirts with Fiscal Asphyxiation


North Korea detains US war veteran, 85, son says - The Washington Post


Al Qaeda in Kentucky: US May Have Let 'Dozens' of Terrorists Into Country as Refugees - ABC News

Several dozen suspected terrorist bombmakers, including some believed
to have targeted American troops, may have mistakenly been allowed to
move to the United States as war refugees,



Fwd: 1980

'It was a case that some believe shattered part of the city's innocence.


"I think it was something that most people in Salt Lake just couldn't believe," said Salt Lake County deputy district attorney Bob Stott. "I think people almost felt like, 'Are we becoming like these big cities now? Are we having this kind of fear and this kind of violence?'


"I think it was a time when we just stopped and thought maybe life isn't as sweet or as secure as we thought it was."


On Aug. 20, 1980, David Martin, 18, and Ted Fields, 20, were shot and killed while jogging with two women in Liberty Park. The unknown assailant with a high-powered rifle sat in a vacant field, behind a hill, just outside the park boundaries.


The motive: Martin and Fields were black and the women were white.


Serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin, 63, the man convicted of murdering Martin and Fields, was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection in Missouri just after midnight on Wednesday morning.


But late Tuesday afternoon, a federal judge granted a stay of execution. U.S. District Court Judge Nanette Laughery ruled that a lawsuit filed by Franklin and 21 other death-row inmates challenging Missouri's execution protocol must first be resolved.


Franklin, a drifter from Alabama, will be put to death for the 1977 sniper shooting of Gerald Gordon at a bar mitzvah at the Brith Sholom Kneseth Israel Congregation in suburban St. Louis. He was sentenced to death in 1997.


Although he was convicted of one murder in St. Louis, in a recent interview with CNN, Franklin admitted that he had killed about 22 people across the United States between the late 1970s and 1980. He has been given six life sentences, including two in Utah for the deaths of Martin and Fields. Franklin was also responsible for the 1978 shooting of Larry Flynt that left the Hustler magazine publisher permanently paralyzed.


Franklin's hate-filled, cross-country killing spree, which he claimed was done in an effort to start a race war, ended in what seemed at the time to be the most unlikely of places, Salt Lake City.'



Fwd: Venezuela

'Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro received authority to pass economic laws without congressional approval, a move the opposition says will increase the harassment of businesses and attacks on political rivals ahead of local elections.


The national assembly approved today the so-called enabling law by a three-fifths majority, allowing Maduro to enact laws, such as limits on profits, without the oversight of congress.


"It's my responsibility to sign this to fight against corruption and speculation," National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello said from congress in comments broadcast on state television. "I sign this in Chavez's name."


Maduro acquired for the first time the same power his late predecessor Hugo Chavez relied on for a third of his 14 years in office to nationalize companies, create taxes and increase labor rights. Maduro said he will use decrees to protect the people from the "parasitic bourgeoisie," which he accuses of hoarding goods and overcharging customers. He will pass populist measures to regain support that has been eroded by the fastest inflation in the world ahead of the Dec. 8 vote, David Smilde, a sociology professor at the University of Georgia, said.'





Fwd: Oil



'The U.S. will end 2013 as the world's largest producer of petroleum and natural gas, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia, the Energy Information Administration said Friday.


The EIA estimated combined U.S. petroleum and gas production this year will hit 50 quadrillion British thermal units, or 25 million barrels of oil equivalent a day, outproducing Russia by 5 quadrillion Btu.'




Fwd: Jupiter

Fwd: Mexico

'Since 2008, the seven main drug cartels have emerged as an existential threat to Mexico's future. Cartels like Los Zetas, which recruit members from Mexico's Special Forces and federal police, behave like organized paramilitaries, not ordinary criminals. They generate perhaps $30 to $40 billion a year in illicit profits. And the price has been horrendous. Between 2007 and 2012, around 47,000 Mexicans were killed in the drug war. Some estimate that the true toll is over 60,000.


When we think of torture, beheadings and assassination, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia come to mind. Many Americans and Canadians would be surprised to learn that these are commonplace in Mexico, a country many associate with beaches and margaritas. Yet the situation in Mexico has deteriorated so badly that one Juarez mayor and a newspaper publisher took up residence in Texas, while one journalist took refuge in Canada.


As neighbors, we should be concerned. But there's even more to it than that: The drug cartels pose a direct threat to American and Canadian security.'




Fwd: Russia

'Police detained more than 1,000 migrant workers for several hours Monday in an effort to calm simmering ethnic tension in Moscow following a weekend riot triggered by the killing of a Russian man that residents blamed on a migrant.'




Fwd: Brazil

Fwd: Iran

'Instead of opining on the proposed deal with Iran taking shape in Geneva, let's decode it.


From the reported outline of the proposal, we learn four things:


1) Iran remains intensely committed to achieving a nuclear weapon.


Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, promised his countrymen relief from international sanctions. Since coming into office this summer, he has made various conciliatory noises. Was he readying Iran for a real deal?


The message of Geneva is: No, no real deal.


Iran's red line at Geneva, the thing it would not trade away, was a capacity to continue and resume nuclear bomb development at any time. Iran's offer at Geneva amounted to a six-month delay of its nuclear program that will not in any way impair its ability to get back to bomb-making at any time.


Iran won't neutralize or surrender any of its fissile material; that is, material used to fuel reactors—or nuclear bombs. It won't disable any of its nuclear facilities. It will only pause. Economists use the phrase "revealed preference" to describe the way in which our actions indicate our priorities. Iran's priority remains gaining a weapon; post-Geneva, there can be no doubt about that.


2) The Iranian economy has collapsed into desperate condition.


At Geneva, Iran gained a promise of the potential release of $3 billion in frozen international reserves and the right to import potentially up to $9.5 billion of gold. For a major oil producing nation, these should be petty sums. (Iraq's oil revenues amounted to about $7 billion per month in 2013.)…


3) The Obama administration wants an Iranian nuclear deal more than Iran does.


By most reports, it was the United States that came to Geneva armed with proposals, and Iran that did most of the refusing.


As Eli Lake and Josh Rogin reported in the Daily Beast last week, the Obama administration began relaxing sanctions simply to get talks started. Iran, by contrast, has offered no such concessions to the United States….


4) America's allies are not deferring to American leadership on this one.


It's not only France that has rebelled against the outlined deal in Geneva. Israel is protesting vocally and publicly; America's Gulf Arab allies are protesting less publicly, but nearly equally vocally. On "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Kerry insisted that there was "zero gap" between the United States and its regional allies. Then he immediately got on a plane to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, presumably to try to upgrade his Sunday talk-show words into something closer to reality…'




Fwd: 5th year approval

'OBAMA = BUSH - The latest survey from Gallup finds President Obama holds a nearly identical approval rating to former President George W. Bush at this point in his presidency. The firm's tracking poll shows Obama with a 39 percent approval rating compared to Bush's 40 percent in the fall of his fifth year in office.'




Fwd: 11/11

'Chinese shoppers spent billions of dollars online Monday, data showed, as they took advantage of discounts offered on Singles Day, a festival created by e-tailers to persuade the loveless to console themselves with retail therapy.


November 11 -- or 11.11 -- was proclaimed as "singles' day", because of the number of ones in the date, with sellers promoting discounts to the nation's singletons.'




Maybe this tradition would spread to other countries?  In the U.S. it would be an excuse to party.

Fwd: History

'More than a decade later, most people remain totally unaware of the troubling issues behind "Roots" — or simply don't want to hear that this still-acclaimed work was essentially a fake.


That view is shared even by such noted African-American historians as Harvard's Henry Louis Gates, a Haley friend who conceded that it's time to "speak candidly" and admit that "it's highly unlikely that Alex actually found the village from whence his ancestors sprang," adding that it was not "strict historical scholarship." The late John Henrik Clarke, dean of Afrocentrist scholars, said he "cried real tears when I realized that Haley was less than authentic."


Genealogists, eager to retrace the historical steps Haley claimed he took in his 12-year search for his family heritage, discovered this early on: Documents didn't match any information Haley cited; the dates were all wrong and so was the supposed slave lineage. Elizabeth Shown Mills, editor of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, went so far as to denounce Haley's "subterfuge."


And the first half of the book — Kunta Kinte's life in Africa — was blatantly plagiarized from an earlier novel by anthropologist Harold Courlander, who sued Haley, accepting a $650,000 settlement after the court's expert witness concluded that the copying in the book and the movie was "clear and irrefutable . . . significant and extensive."


That deal was made after the judge hearing the case, alarmed not only by the extent of the copying but also by Haley's repeated perjury in court, pressed the sides to settle, then sealed the official file from public view. The judge later admitted (in a BBC documentary that has never run on American TV) that he "didn't want to destroy" Haley and his reputation.


Perhaps the most damning exposé of Haley's historical hoax came in a devastating 1993 Village Voice cover piece by Philip Nobile, who'd had access to Haley's personal papers before they were broken up and auctioned off. There he found compelling evidence that the non-plagiarized section of the book had been primarily written not by Haley but by his longtime editor at Playboy magazine, Murray Fisher.


Moreover, the BBC located a tape of the famous session in Gambia with the griot, or oral historian, who supposedly made the link between Haley's slave forebears and their African ancestor, Kunta Kinte. It showed the griot's story being repeatedly corrected by Gambian officials and Haley himself specifically asking for a tale that fit his predetermined narrative.'





'France blocked the first stage of a nuclear deal with Iran that had support from the United States, Britain, Germany, most of the rest of Europe, Russia, and China.


French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he was preventing his allies from falling for an Iranian "con game…


Diplomats in Geneva criticized the French privately not only for objecting to some aspects of the interim deal with Iran, but also for leaking the substance of some of the discussions. One of the hallmarks of the diplomacy that led to the near-breakthrough had been the extent to which its details were kept under wraps, even as the atmospherics raised great expectations.'




Fwd: Iran

From: <larry.r.trout

'Current Iranian President Hasan Rouhani was his country's nuclear negotiator from 2003 to 2005, when Iran briefly suspended its civilian and military nuclear work in the teeth of intense international pressure (and American armies on its borders with Iraq and Afghanistan). That previous suspension is treated by U.S. negotiators as a model of what they might achieve now.


It's really a model of what they should beware. "Tehran showed that it was possible to exploit the gap between Europe and the United States to achieve Iranian objectives," Hossein Mousavian, Mr. Rouhani's deputy at the time, acknowledged in his memoir. "The world's understanding of 'suspension' was changed from a legally binding obligation" to "a voluntary and short-term undertaking aimed at confidence building."


Now the U.S. seems to be falling for the same ruse again. This time, however, Iran is much closer to achieving its nuclear objectives...The Saudis, who gave up on this Administration long ago, are no doubt thinking along similar lines. The BBC reported last week that the Kingdom has nuclear weapons "on order" from Pakistan.'





'Saudi Arabia has invested in Pakistani nuclear weapons projects, and believes it could obtain atomic bombs at will, a variety of sources have told BBC Newsnight.


While the kingdom's quest has often been set in the context of countering Iran's atomic programme, it is now possible that the Saudis might be able to deploy such devices more quickly than the Islamic republic.


Earlier this year, a senior Nato decision maker told me that he had seen intelligence reporting that nuclear weapons made in Pakistan on behalf of Saudi Arabia are now sitting ready for delivery.


Last month Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence, told a conference in Sweden that if Iran got the bomb, "the Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb, they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring."


Since 2009, when King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia warned visiting US special envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross that if Iran crossed the threshold, "we will get nuclear weapons", the kingdom has sent the Americans numerous signals of its intentions.


In the late 1980s they secretly bought dozens of CSS-2 ballistic missiles from China.'





'We never thought we'd say this, but thank heaven for French foreign-policy exceptionalism. At least for the time being, François Hollande's Socialist government has saved the West from a deal that would all but guarantee that Iran becomes a nuclear power.


While the negotiating details still aren't fully known, the French made clear Saturday that they objected to a nuclear agreement that British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Barack Obama were all too eager to sign. These two leaders remind no one, least of all the Iranians, of Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush. That left the French to protect against a historic security blunder, with Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius declaring in an interview with French radio that while France still hopes for an agreement with Tehran, it won't accept a "sucker's deal."'




Fwd: recognizers

'The London police at Scotland Yard, like the police everywhere, use all kinds of technology to solve crimes, such as DNA evidence, modern forensics and fingerprints. However, they've also discovered that the best tool in fact may be the oldest tool: the human eyeball.


British officials have discovered that not all eyeballs are the same. They found out something they were not expecting at Scotland Yard a couple of years ago.


During the week of street rioting and looting that was the low-light of the 2011 London summer, much of the lawlessness was captured on security cameras, but unless those breaking the law could actually be identified, the images were useless as a policing tool.


Much vaunted computer facial recognition software was supposed to be able to spot the faces of known criminals in the crowd. Except, according to Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville, something else worked better.


"We had 4,000 images and we put them through the facial recognition software. It picked out one suspect," said Neville. "I've got one officer here, P.C. Gary Collins, he picked out 180 suspects. So the human is 180 times better than the magic machine."


Police Constable Gary Collins has now identified more than 600 suspects for all sorts of crimes over the years, suspects no other person or machine managed to spot. He never stops.


He told CBS News' Mark Phillips that it becomes an "addiction" and he doesn't always know what he's looking for, but he knows he's got the knack.


Collins is called a "super-recognizer" and the trick for Scotland Yard has been to identify others like him. They're working with a psychologist, Dr. Josh Davis, to try to find other police officers who are also good at it.'





Fwd: memo

Fwd: 20% chance of Goldilocks

'Kepler space telescope finds Earth-size, potentially habitable planets are common


Roughly one in every five sunlike stars is orbited by a potentially habitable, Earth-size planet, meaning that the universe has abundant real estate that could be congenial to life, according to a new analysis of observations by NASA's Kepler space telescope.


Our Milky Way galaxy alone could harbor tens of billions of rocky worlds where water might be liquid at the surface, according to the report, which was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and discussed at a news conference in California. '





Fwd: Saudi Arabia

'The historic 15-minute phone call between President Barack Obama and Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani may have cost the U.S. one of its key friends in the Middle East.


President Obama's phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani marks the first time the nations' leaders have communicated directly since 1979. What does this mean for their future relationship? NBC's Chuck Todd reports.


The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have been allies for some 80 years, with the U.S. offering military protection to the world's second-biggest oil producer.


But as relations warm between Tehran and Washington, Saudi Arabia last month signaled that it will "shift away from the U.S.," giving Secretary of State John Kerry plenty to discuss with King Abdullah when they meet on Monday.

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Riyadh is deeply skeptical of Iran's charm offensive and frustrated by an alleged lack of consultation over Washington's changing stance toward a country once branded as a member of the so-called "axis of evil."


Only five years ago, the Saudis urged the U.S. to strike Iran -- which is situated just across the Persian Gulf from the kingdom. The Saudi government fears that the development of an Iranian nuclear weapon would seriously threaten its national security.'





‘Brazil’s government acknowledged on Monday that its top intelligence agency had spied on diplomatic targets from countries including the United States, Iran and Russia, putting Brazilian authorities in the uncomfortable position of defending their own surveillance practices after repeatedly criticizing American spying operations.’





Review: Microsoft Surface 2 a worthy iPad rival


Fwd: Roma

'heir names are as mysterious as their origins: Often called the Roma or the Romani people, they're also known as gitanos in Spain, Kale in Finland and Portugal, Manush or gitan in France and Travelers in Scandinavia.


And almost everywhere they go, they're referred to -- somewhat pejoratively -- as gypsies, a people who have migrated throughout the world over the course of several centuries.


The Roma have one of the most dramatic stories in human history, but few people know their ancient tale of travel, persecution and survival. Here are five intriguing facts about the Romani people:…'




Fwd: France