Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Court Ruling on Chemical That May Harm Bees #bees

Dec. 29 (Bloomberg) -- A Bayer AG unit is “disappointed” by a U.S. judge’s ruling that may prevent distribution of its spirotetramat insecticide, a spokesman said. Environmental groups say the chemical causes harm to honeybees.

U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote on Dec. 23 ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to rescind approval for spirotetramat, which inhibits cell reproduction in insects. Cote said the EPA didn’t properly seek comments or publicize the review process. The judge in New York ordered the ruling stayed until Jan. 15 and sent the matter back to the EPA.

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North Magnetic Pole Moving East Due to Core Flux - Is it going to flip?

arth's north magnetic pole is 'racing' toward Russia at almost 40 miles (64 kilometers) a year due to magnetic changes in the planet's core, new research says.

My comment: I recall reading that the Earth's magnetic core has flipped at certain points in history - South becomes North - and I cannot help but wonder whether, with the acceleration in the speed of movement that is happening now, this is another of those times.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Click Track Your Emails? JangoSMTP

How It Works - the Basics

  1. Relay your emails through
  2. Our server analyzes your email, disassembles it, adds in open and click tracking mechanisms, and adds in DomainKeys/DKIM signatures.
  3. Our server then re-assembles your email and passes it to a high performance SMTP server for sending to your recipient.
  4. Login to your account to view statistics on emails sent, opens, and clicks. You can also view SMTP log files.

Via Jango

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

China wrecked the Copenhagen deal says Mark Lynas of The Guardian

According to Mark Lynas of the Guardian who was at the Copenhagen Climate Conference, China wrecked the agreement with India's blessing:

He concludes:

China's game

All this raises the question: what is China's game? Why did China, in the words of a UK-based analyst who also spent hours in heads of state meetings, "not only reject targets for itself, but also refuse to allow any other country to take on binding targets?" The analyst, who has attended climate conferences for more than 15 years, concludes that China wants to weaken the climate regulation regime now "in order to avoid the risk that it might be called on to be more ambitious in a few years' time".

This does not mean China is not serious about global warming. It is strong in both the wind and solar industries. But China's growth, and growing global political and economic dominance, is based largely on cheap coal. China knows it is becoming an uncontested superpower; indeed its newfound muscular confidence was on striking display in Copenhagen. Its coal-based economy doubles every decade, and its power increases commensurately. Its leadership will not alter this magic formula unless they absolutely have to.

Copenhagen was much worse than just another bad deal, because it illustrated a profound shift in global geopolitics. This is fast becoming China's century, yet its leadership has displayed that multilateral environmental governance is not only not a priority, but is viewed as a hindrance to the new superpower's freedom of action. I left Copenhagen more despondent than I have felt in a long time. After all the hope and all the hype, the mobilisation of thousands, a wave of optimism crashed against the rock of global power politics, fell back, and drained away.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

FBI Probes Hack at Citibank | Wall Street Journal


The Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing a computer-security breach targeting Citigroup Inc. that resulted in a theft of tens of millions of dollars by computer hackers who appear linked to a Russian cyber gang, according to government officials.
| Full story here at

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Stephen Lawrence: Policemen arrested over evidence 'withheld' since murder 16 years ago -The Guardian

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One Hundred Milliliters Of Airport Security

On the BBC’s You and Yours a couple of days ago I listened to a program about airport security in the UK following the attempt by terrorists in 2006 to blow up airliners using liquid explosives.

In response to the threat, airports in the UK forbad passengers from bringing more than 100ml of liquid into the cabin. Any amounts above that limit are confiscated or... READ FULL ARTICLE AT NOMOREPENCILS

Tagged as: airport security

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

China central banker says harder to buy U.S. Treasuries - Yahoo! Finance

BEIJING (Reuters) - It is getting harder for governments to buy U.S. Treasuries because the United States' shrinking current-account gap is reducing supply of dollars overseas, a Chinese central bank official said on Thursday.

The comments by Zhu Min, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, referred to the overall situation globally, not specifically to China, the biggest foreign holder of U.S. government bonds.

Chinese officials generally are very careful about commenting on the dollar and Treasuries, given that so much of its $2.3 trillion reserves are tied to their value, and markets always watch any such comments closely for signs of any shift in how it manages its assets.

China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) reaffirmed this month that the dollar stands secure as the anchor of the currency reserves it manages, even as Beijing seeks to diversify its investments.

In a discussion on the global role of the dollar, Zhu told an academic audience that it was inevitable that the dollar would continue to fall in value because Washington continued to issue more Treasuries to finance its deficit spending.

What fall in value?

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Amazing Carl Jung art at the Rubin Museum, {A Psychoanalyst’s Inner Universe}

We know the archetype; we cherish the myth. The hero, like the world around him, is in a state of crisis. And in seeking to restore himself and the shattered cosmos, he valiantly passes through a vale of despair, descending into darkness. He risks his life and psyche in perilous encounters with dreams or dragons and finally emerges into the light, spiritually transformed, ushering in a new age.

From “The Red Book” by C. G. Jung (W. W. Norton & Company), via Rubin Museum of Art

An image on display in a new exhibition of work by Carl G. Jung at the Rubin Museum of Art. More Photos »

Next Article in Arts (1 of 21) » A version of this article appeared in print on December 12, 2009, on page C1 of the New York edition.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Quillcards Festive and Seasonal Ecards — Quillcards

What Kind Of Holiday Message Do You Want To Send?
With the festive season almost upon us, what kind of holiday messages do you want to send to your friends and family: playful? traditional? nostalgic? religious? funny?

A Sampler Of Quillcards Christmas Ecards

A Sampler Of Quillcards Christmas Ecards


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Copenhagen climate summit in disarray after leak of 'Danish Text' |

The UN Copenhagen climate talks are in disarray today after developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN's role in all future climate change negotiations.

The document is also being interpreted by developing countries as setting unequal limits on per capita carbon emissions for developed and developing countries in 2050; meaning that people in rich countries would be permitted to emit nearly twice as much under the proposals

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Study shows Honeybees Face Threat From Cell Phones radiation | Biomed Middle East #Bees

Could be, could be - has any other independent tester researched this?

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A7News: Has Iran's Supreme Leader Disappeared?

Has Iran's Supreme Leader Disappeared?
by Hana Levi Julian and Nissan Ratzlav-Katz Where is Iran's Supreme Leader?

An underground Iranian activist has told Israel National News that the country's highest official -- Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei -- was spirited to a "secret place" for his own safety and that the nation's religious leaders are "scared." The source - an activist in the global Iranian pro-democracy movement who is involved in assisting a group of some 30,000 students located in Tehran and several other major cities - said Khamenei has disappeared. It is the Supreme Leader who controls Iran's foreign policy, and specifically its decisions regarding its nuclear development activities.


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Monday, December 7, 2009

No global warming, no climate change

I listen to arguments about global warming and climate change; about the effects or non-effects of human intervention and the tipping point, and I think that somewhere in all of that, something is being lost.

That 'something' is that even if global warming and climate change prove to be no more than a blip, polluting the planet is bad, and it should not take the threat of global Armageddon to stop people from doing it.

David Bennett
Repeating himself

Dec. 2009

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Tech Ticker's Take On TAR

Congress Fighting Over $200 Billion TARP Windfall

Posted Dec 07, 2009 12:30pm EST by Henry Blodget in Investing, Recession, Banking

If an investment firm tried to spin numbers this way, its principals would immediately be rounded up by the SEC.

It turns out that the TARP program--the emergency "investment" program designed to save our financial system--will lose $200 billion less than expected, according to new Treasury estimates.

The program will still lose a boatload of money, of course--$141 billion--but this loss is smaller than the White House's old loss estimate of $341 billion.  So this news already has Congress fighting over what to do with the windfall.

Before you pick a side in that fight, however, don't lose sight of what's really going on here.

The TARP was sold as an investment, one that would produce a major return for taxpayers once a "temporary liquidity issue" in the financial sector abated (Remember that one?  It's even more comical now).  Now, Congress is celebrating the fact that the loss on the TARP investment will be less than it thought--and fighting over what to do with the amount that won't be incinerated.

In any normal investment program, this return on our investment would go right back to the taxpayer--it's ours, after all.  In government, however, it goes right back to the White House and Congress, who will get to determine what is done with it.

So now you can pick a side: The Republicans want to use the leftover TARP to reduce the deficit.  The Democrats want to use it to fund a jobs program.

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What's $200 billion between friends ?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration will lose $200 billion less than expected from the federal bailout program and is looking at using part of the savings to fund new job creation efforts.

A Treasury official said Sunday that the administration now believes the cost of the financial rescue program will be at least $200 billion below the $341 billion estimate it made in August

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

.test .example .invalid and .localhost - why you can't have these domain names

Reserved Top Level DNS Names Status of this Memo This document specifies an Internet Best Current Practices for the Internet Community, and requests discussion and suggestions for improvements. Distribution of this memo is unlimited. Copyright Notice Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1999). All Rights Reserved.

The full story at

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The newspapers that will carry the Cophenagen Climate Summit leader -

December 7 - 18 - the days the Earth stood still and waited....

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

13 Doctors to challenge David Kelly suicide finding - The Guardian July 13 2009 - 4 months earlier....

A team of 13 doctors is set to mount a legal challenge in a bid to overturn the "flawed" finding that government scientist David Kelly killed himself. Their report rejects Lord Hutton's conclusion that Kelly, 59, died from blood loss after cutting his wrist with a gardening knife. The report's authors, including retired consultant in orthopaedic and trauma surgery David Halpin, said a cut to the ulnar artery was "highly unlikely" to have caused enough bleeding to kill. Kelly's body was found six years ago after he was exposed as a source of a BBC report on the grounds for going to war in Iraq.

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Dr David Kelly: Six Senior Doctors start legal action for new inquest - Telegraph

by Andrew Alderson, Chief Reporter
Published: 12:51PM GMT 05 Dec 2009

Six senior doctors have begun legal action to force a new inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly, the scientist who died days after being exposed as the source of a controversial BBC story on the Iraq war.
The body of Dr David Kelly was found in woods Photo: GETTY

The action is being taken because six doctors are convinced that the original verdict of suicide is unsafe and should be overturned.

Some suspect that Dr Kelly, 59, was murdered shortly after it was revealed that he was the source of a BBC story which alleged that evidence against Iraq had been "sexed up" by the Government in order to justify the 2003 invasion.

The body of Dr Kelly, who was a UN weapons inspector, was found more than six years ago in woods near his Oxfordshire home after he went out for a walk. His wrist had been slashed. He also had painkillers in his bloodstream, although not at a lethal level.

At the time of his death, Dr Kelly was under pressure because it had emerged that he had provided confidential information for the BBC story.

However, in a 13-page dossier prepared as the basis for the legal action, the doctors argue that the bleeding from Dr Kelly's ulnar artery in his left wrist is "highly unlikely" to have caused his death. They say a number of studies have shown that it is unusual for a patient to die from a single deep cut to the wrist.

The revelation of the move for a new inquest is embarrassing for the Government, particularly as it comes just two weeks into the inquiry chaired by Sir John Chilcot which is examining Britain's role in the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath.

The doctors are applying to the Attorney General, Baroness Scotland for permission to go to the High Court for a new inquest, or the resumption of the previous inquest.

Their case rests on section 13 of the 1988 Coroners Act, which allows the High Court to order a new inquest, or to resume a previous inquest, in "special cases", including cases where "it is necessary or desirable in the interests of justice".

Unusually, no coroner's inquest was ever held into Dr Kelly's death. Instead, the official verdict of suicide was provided by the Hutton Inquiry, commissioned by Tony Blair, the then-Prime Minister.

Nicholas Gardiner, the Oxfordshire coroner, initially opened the inquest but it was Lord Falconer, then the Lord Chancellor, who ruled that Lord Hutton's inquiry would fulfil "the function of an inquest". It concluded that Dr Kelly died from a loss of blood after cutting his wrist with a blunt gardening knife, having earlier taken a cocktail of painkillers.

Dr Kelly had been one of the few to examine, prior to its publication, the Government dossier that declared that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) which could strike Britain in 45 minutes. The claim was used by Mr Blair in 2002 as a central justification for a war against Iraq.

The Government was incensed when Dr Kelly emerged as the source for the BBC's story. He was forced to appear before television cameras giving evidence to a House of Commons committee. Later he was taken away to be interviewed by the British intelligence services in a safe-house. In a telephone call shortly before his death, Dr Kelly said he would not be surprised "if my body was found in the woods".

The doctors say the Hutton inquiry was "totally inadequate" as a means of identifying the cause of Dr Kelly's death and they are seeking to obtain Dr Kelly's autopsy report.

Their main argument is that the bleeding from Dr Kelly's ulnar artery in his left wrist is "highly unlikely" to have caused his death. They say a number of studies have shown that it is unusual for a patient to die from a single deep cut to the wrist.

They say the Hutton Inquiry lacked the powers of a full inquest because it did not hear evidence taken under oath, it did not have the power to subpoena witnesses and it did not have the power to summon a jury.

They also say that the proviso which enabled the Hutton Inquiry to replace an inquest has only previously been used for mass deaths, such as the Ladbroke Grove rail crash or the inquiry in the deaths of patients the hands of Dr Harold Shipman.

Many Government critics, including Norman Baker, the campaigning Liberal Democrat MP, have claimed that Dr Kelly was murdered. A film, Anthrax War, alleged that Dr Kelly, who was the head of biological defence at Porton Down, the Government's secret military research establishment in Wiltshire, "knew too much". The film claims he may have been murdered because of his links to the West's secret germ warfare programme.

Dr Stephen Frost, one of the six doctors, who has spend six years studying the case, said: "We are determined to get to the bottom of this death. We will pursue it to the very end."

Dr Michael Powers QC, a medical lawyer and another of the six experts to put their names to the 13-page dossier, has said that the evidence for Dr Kelly's suicide is "very thin". The other four signatories include consultants and experts united by a sense of concern over the lack of a full inquest: Martin Birnstingl, Dr Christopher Burns-Cox, David Halpin, and Dr Andrew Rouse.

At the time Dr Kelly's body was found on July 17 2003, an unopened letter marked "personal" lay on the desk of his study. It threatened him with the sack if he ever repeated his indiscretion and spoke publicly – or briefed journalists – about his work.

Government sources dismiss suggestions that Dr Kelly was murdered and they are convinced the Hutton Inquiry's verdict remains safe. His family has also supported the findings of the Hutton Inquiry and does not believe that a new inquest is necessary.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Denmark 'rushes in' laws to stop carbon trading carousel scam: From

Europe's flagship carbon trading scheme suffered a blow today as the Danish government was forced to rush an emergency law through parliament to clamp down on a virulent form of VAT fraud.

On the eve of the Copenhagen climate talks, which will attract world attention to emissions trading schemes, police and tax investigators across Europe are believed to be investigating hundreds of millions of euros worth of fraud involving carbon quotas originating in Denmark.

Since British, French and Dutch governments took similar action in the summer, much of the "carousel" fraud involving carbon credits moved to Denmark, where registration of carbon quotas for the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is easy and a VAT rate of 25% makes the fraud attractive to international criminals.

Experts said today that Copenhagen had long been an accident waiting to happen in terms of carousel fraud.

Richard Ainsworth, professor of VAT policy at Boston University in the US said: "It is extremely surprising that after the French, British and Dutch had to move against this fraud in the summer that the Danes did not act more quickly, especially with the climate summit about to start."

The Danish government today said it did not know how much money it had lost to the fraud but the number is likely to run into hundreds of millions – if not billions – of kroner.

A spokesman for the Danish Energy and Climate Ministry, which supervises Denmark's carbon quota registry, said the rules for registration were being immediately tightened so anyone applying to trade carbon would face stringent checks.

The fraud occurs when a trader of carbon credits in one EU country buys some from another country free of VAT, then sells them on, charging the VAT to the buyer. The seller then disappears without handing the VAT to the taxman.

Some criminals re-export the credits, reclaiming VAT as they do so, then re-import them. They can do this repeatedly, reclaiming VAT many times, hence the "carousel" label.

One Kroner is worth about $0.20 or about £0.12p

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dubai World's Needle To The Sky

Perhaps no edifice symbolizes Dubai's corporatist dream better than the Burj Dubai, built by Nakheel's rival, Emaar, part of the Investment Corporation of Dubai. Constructed at a cost of $4.1 billion, its needlelike spire soars 2,684 feet, more than half a mile, into the sky -- a breathtaking sight.

Hoping to ascend to its top, Mohammed Ali, a retired civil servant from Abu Dhabi, took advantage of a national day here on Wednesday and brought his family to Dubai, only to learn that the tower's opening had been delayed yet again till early January.

"It is a very nice thing," he said, as martial music blared over loudspeakers and the fountains in the lagoon shot spray over the gawking crowd. "But it's a waste of money. Millions of flats, but for whom? Now the investors, they have run away and they leave everything here."

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How to Move to the Cloud « Geek Chic (Good and thorough walk-through)

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A Photoshop Technique For Dealing With A Soft Outline




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Tony Blair's finances

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HEADLINE: AIG reduces government borrowings by $25 billion REALITY: Not Quite

NEW YORK (AP) -- American International Group Inc. on Tuesday slashed the amount of money it owes the government by $25 billion, completing a move of two subsidiaries into special holding units ahead of their planned spinoff or sale.


The government is receiving preferred equity stakes in the two life insurance companies worth $25 billion in exchange for a reduction in the amount of money AIG owes the government.

My comment

Preferred stock is not the same as $25 billion in cash.

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MarsEdit 4

I've been using MarsEdit for just over seven years. I started with version 2, and then upgraded to version 3 in 2010. Now, in 2018, I...