Link Collection

July 5, 2009

LOTD for July 5

Filed under: Uncategorized — gokamoto @ 1:21 pm

The US bought 3 VIP helicopters for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, providing him with wood paneling, flat-panel TVs, leather executive chairs…but for some reason the US skimped on protection against missile attacks, something that he really needs to worry about:
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/07/flat-panel-tvs-weak-defenses-on-karzais-us-bought-copter/

It is pretty sad that government credit cards have been abused so badly…paying for things such as laser eye surgery, first-class tickets to Hawaii, and wasting $100 million in unclaimed refunds for airline tickets that were purchased but never used. This report says that the Obama Administration sees this as a way to quickly reduce government waste, and I hope they stop (or at least greatly reduce) this type of thing:
http://www.parade.com/news/intelligence-report/archive/090705-federal-employees-rack-up-big-bills.html

TV gameshow tries to convert atheists–putting a Muslim imam, a Christian priest, a rabbi and a Buddhist monk in a room with 10 atheists:
http://www.thrfeed.com/2009/07/tv-gameshow-atheists.html#more

Disney World monorail trains crashed collided late last night, killing the 21-year-old operator of one of the trains:
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/orl-disney-world-monorail-crash-070509,0,2802055.story

Utah has apparently been overrun by a swarm of grasshoppers. Seagulls (flocks have been brought to Utah because of the grasshopper buffets), chickens, and poisons cannot keep up with the hordes of grasshoppers:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iRTpTzMLacy6tuI5bngLJTXaQzNAD9949TI03

During breeding season the male hummingbirds dive about 100 feet, soaring by female hummingbirds while pulling up to 10x the force of gravity (385 body lengths per second is about twice what the space shuttle can do and much more than 2x the fastest fighter jet can do)…and they orient their dive so that the sun shows off the dramatic pink plumage on their heads:
http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/44531/title/Hummingbird_pulls_Top_Gun_stunts

Two baby flamingos at the London Zoo have an unusual phobia of the color pink! Hopefully they will get over soon because they will change from gray to pink by the time they are 1-year-old:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/unleashed/2009/06/london-zoo-flamingos-scared-of-pink-.html

Global warming has been melting the Alpine glaciers that marked the border between Italy and Switzerland, forcing the countries to redraw their border:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/5046622/Melting-snow-forces-Italy-and-Switzerland-to-redraw-borders.html

Despite bans on sending text messages during class, 1/4 of all text messages sent by US teenagers are sent during class. Only 23% of parents think that their teens use their cell phones during the school day, but 65% of students say that they do:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-06-17-cellphones-in-class_N.htm

Gray hair is apparently due to genotoxic stress, the kind that can damage a cell’s DNA. This finding contradicted assumptions about how stem cell age and might lead to knew ways to prevent hair from graying. Genotoxic stress also is responsible for things like cancer, so being able to deal with it could be significant:
http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2009/611/2

It used to be thought that fingerprints improved our grip, but a study found that fingerprints might actually weaken our grip by reducing friction:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8093134.stm

Study found that having people say positive statements to themselves (as recommended by books and some psychologists) actually lowers the self-esteem of people who think poorly of themselves…so the standard advice actually may backfire for those who need positive thinking the most:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-skeptical-psychologist/200906/is-positive-psychology-everyone-new-research-raises-doubts

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