Hints of life

spotted in water sample extracted from hidden Antarctic lake.

The U.S. scientists in charge of the project to drill into Lake Whillans — known as the Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling, or WISSARD — will be more circumspect: They’ll have to demonstrate that the green-glowing cells are truly alive and capable of growing in culture. They’ll also conduct tests to make sure that the microbes are indigenous to the lake, rather than the result of contamination from the drilling operation.

I’m too tired to expand on this, tonight, but may post some more thoughts on it, soon. For now, the implications of the potentil for life on Europa are real, and could confirm that potential life (e.g. DNA) was “dusted” throughout the solar system prior to planet formation, for example.

Put another way, if there’s life a half mile below the ice in Antarctica, life on a moon like Europa wouldn’t be surprising, at all.

The implications of DNA seeded throughout the solar system are even more thought-provoking. It *may* mean that the planets circling the star that went supernova and gave us gold had life circling it, as well.

Deep thoughts about life, mortality, and how we’ll survive the death of our own sun…

Of course, christo-fascist fundie nutbags are incapable of considering such things, “God” (in their limited view) favoring the USA, or perhaps earth, as the hot bed of growing up “God’s children” and all being so limited when it comes to the grand scheme of things…

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Frontline This Week

Just a very good one to watch:

And this news: THE LATEST
Report: DOJ Criminal Chief Lanny Breuer Stepping Down
January 23, 2013, 6:04 pm ET · by Sarah Childress
Lanny Breuer is leaving his position as head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. As assistant attorney … Continue reading →

Did Wall St. Get Away With It? Live Chat Wed. 2 pm ET
January 22, 2013, 10:52 pm ET · by Nathan Tobey
Join us for a live chat on “The Untouchables” with producer Martin Smith and New York Times DealBook reporter Peter Eavis at 2pm ET on Wednesday, January 23rd. You can leave a question now.
Blowing the Whistle on the Mortgage Bubble
January 22, 2013, 9:44 pm ET · by Azmat Khan
Well before the 2008 financial meltdown, mortgage industry insiders discovered a ticking time-bomb that they say went up to the very top of Wall Street. What did they find? Who did they warn? And what happened to their warnings?

Too Big To Jail? The Top 10 Civil Cases Against the Banks
January 22, 2013, 9:44 pm ET · by Jason M. Breslow
In nearly every major legal case to emerge from the crisis, government prosecutors have won multi-million dollar settlements, but companies and officials have not been required to admit wrongdoing.

Were Bankers Jailed In Past Financial Crises?
January 22, 2013, 9:43 pm ET · by Jason M. Breslow
Not one Wall Street executive has been prosecuted for fraud related to the subprime crisis. How does that compare to past downturns?

Phil Angelides: Enforcement of Wall St. is “Woefully Broken”
January 22, 2013, 9:42 pm ET
The current system of enforcement in the financial services industry has done little to deter pervasive fraud, says the former chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

Lanny Breuer: Financial Fraud Has Not Gone Unpunished
January 22, 2013, 9:42 pm ET
Prosecutors are holding Wall Street to account for the financial crisis, but success should not be measured solely by the number of convictions to date, says the head of the Justice Department’s criminal division.

Ted Kaufman: Wall Street Prosecutions Never Made a Priority
January 22, 2013, 9:41 pm ET
The lack of high-level prosecutions from the financial crisis can be traced to the Obama administration’s ambivalence to upset the banks, the former U.S. senator told FRONTLINE.

As Deadlines Loom for Financial Crisis Cases, Prosecutors Weigh Their Options
January 22, 2013, 9:40 pm ET · by Jason M. Breslow
For more than four years, regulators have struggled to successfully prosecute a Wall Street bank or its executives for alleged misconduct during the financial crisis. Now, time may be running out.

“Fraud Was … the F-Bomb”
January 22, 2013, 10:29 am ET · by Jason M. Breslow
Well before the housing bubble burst, alarm bells were beginning to sound among key players in the mortgage industry: due diligence underwriters.

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Americans’ Views on Role of Government in Health Care, Entitlement Reform and Partisanship

NORC at University of Chicago releases Election Survey Addressing Americans’ Views on Role of Government in Health Care, Entitlement Reform and Partisanship
“1/18/2013, Bethesda, MD. – Today, the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago released the new report, 2012 NORC Presidential Election Study: American’s Views on Entitlement Reform and Health Care. Results from this survey suggest that substantial majorities of the American public prefer the status quo on most provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and on entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare. However, most Americans are not in favor of the status quo on partisanship and prefer that their own representatives work with others and make compromises, even those that include policies respondents dislike. ”

Please continue to read on link provided.

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“You do it first!” “No, YOU do it first!”

This is the game being played in DC, today.

The GOP wants to utterly destroy SS and medicare. They just don’t want their totally white, geriataric base to see it.

*Some* Democrats are OK with this. *Some* Democrats are opposed to it. *Some* Democrats are “on the fence”; gimme some honey and I’ll vote with you.

So, the GOP is maneuvering to have Democrats cut SS and Medicare, and the Democrats are trying to figure out a way to let the cuts to defense, already in the sequester, take place without devastating the economy. (Don’t misunderstand this. MASSIVE cuts to defense, over night, will affect suppliers of defense contractors, so there’s a bit of dancing to be done on the part of “the left” to avoid further damaging the economy.)

SS and Medicare are dangling by a thread, and the POTUS (yeah, our current POTUS, Barack Obama) has said, and whether you realize it or not, continues to say, “Make me do it.”

Enough with the “Obama’s gonna sell us out” comments. “Make” him “do it”.

It’s really up to us.

The “game”, right now, is to get the Republicans/teabaggers to own the calls to cut SS and Medicare. Which they won’t do, so don’t lose any sleep over the default on the debt. Meanwhile, the GOP/baggers want the Democrats to name cuts to SS and Medicare. Which they won’t do.

The debt ceiling vote will come, and it will be raised.

The next big battle is the sequester. Which defense cuts will we keep? Which social programs cuts will we keep?

Put your pants back on and get to work. Educate yourself on the sequester. Decide what YOU want to do about debt (or quit bragging about Clinton running a surplus).

The sequester battle is the one that matters, but the Battle for America never ends.

(Video posted right after the.worst.president.in.history “won” re-election.)

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Facts are stubborn things

The worst school massacre in history didn’t involve firearms.

The second worst school massacre in US history didn’t involve so-called “assault weapons” (where “assault” weapon is analogous to saying “painting racing stripes on a high performance sports car makes it a death machine”). That asshole had 2 pistols.

Existing CT law at the time of the Sandy Hook School shootings already banned high performance sports cars with racing stripes painted on them assault weapons, so the weapons Lanza used would be legal under any future “assault weapons” (a term applied to cosmetic features of guns) ban.

I want to say something about how much I loathe the people who would stand on dead bodies, like George Bush did with that megaphone on the rubble and bodies of the dead on 9/11, to further a pre-determined political position (e.g. if you wanted to ban assault weapons the day BEFORE the Sandy Hook Massacre, and are now using the deaths of those children to further your political agenda of banning so-called “assault weapons”, you disgust me), but that’s non-productive so I won’t. But using dead children as a political “wedge issue” really IS disgusting.

When will liberals get serious and address the issue of why gun violence has increased so dramatically IN RECENT HISTORY?

Semi-automatics have been around since the turn of the 20th century, 1905, or so. With the proper license you can still buy a full auto in the US (although I’m not aware of any mass killings using one, recently).

Clearly something has changed, and clearly the change is;

A) Recent (say, in the past 20 or 30 years, but that date range is open to interpretation, but NOT open to interpretation back to the turn of the 20th century), and


How’s about we fund some studies, by well-qualified research groups, competing for funding in a competitive granting process, into what’s changed? Isn’t that a “progressive” way to do things?

When will we demand that the media stop glorifying these mass killers?

When will we call them the cowards that they are, thus reducing their belief that the “winner” of the “video game” is the one who kills the most?

To this day, I can’t tell you the name of the man who killed John Lennon. This is by intent. I, personally, have relegated him to the dustbin of history.

We need to look into the abandonment of parental responsibility in favor of over-medicating children who are “different”.

What else?

I’m throwing out ideas, and may have more of my own, but I’m open to suggestion.

The one thing that’s clear is, all this talk about guns isn’t productive. Banning guns, when there are already mnillions in circulation, won’t help. Banning high-cap mags, when there are already 100s of millions in circulation, doesn’t help.

Getting all those guns and magazines out of private hands is a pipe dream that doesn’t help. There’s no way a so-called “assault weapons” ban will pass the House, and even if a high-cap magazine ban passes, there are so many out there that it won’t make a difference.

This whole discussion is a waste of time.

I probably shouldn’t even hit “post”.


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Java Security Breach

“Java 7 Update 10 and earlier Java 7 versions contain an unspecified vulnerability that can allow a remote, unauthenticated attacker to execute arbitrary code on a vulnerable system.”

“This vulnerability is being attacked in the wild, and is reported to be incorporated into exploit kits. Exploit code for this vulnerability is also publicly available. We have confirmed that Windows, OS X, and Linux platforms are affected. Other platforms that use Oracle Java 7 may also be affected.”




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India Moves to Block Dolphin Shows, Citing Cruelty

If you haven’t figured it out, by now, I love animals and think (generally) that humans are selfish, greedy pricks. (I’m reasonably certain I’m a human, so there may be some exceptions. :-))

So this was good news.

Indian animal welfare officials moved this week to block plans to put performing dolphins on display at theme parks and malls across the country, saying it would violate federal laws about cruelty to animals.

At least five dolphin park proposals have been floated in recent years by businesses and local governments, with the plans aimed at providing India’s increasingly affluent middle class with a new and exotic form of entertainment.

In a letter Monday the Animal Welfare Board of India directed state governments and wildlife wardens to block any efforts to capture or transport dolphins, or to keep dolphins, porpoises or whales in captivity. The board ruled that dolphin shows and exhibits would violate the 1960 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

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Huge Quasar Cluster is Largest Cosmic Structure


What’s the biggest thing in the universe? That would be a cluster of quasars so large it would take a vehicle traveling at the speed of light 4 billion years to cross.

The structure, known as a Large Quasar Group, or LQG, is so massive scientists say it may challenge a fundamental principle of cosmology, laid out by Albert Einstein, which states that when viewed on a sufficiently large scale, the properties of the universe are the same for all observers.

“While it is difficult to fathom the scale of this LQG, we can say quite definitely it is the largest structure ever seen in the entire universe,” astronomer Roger Clowes, with the University of Central Lancashire, said in a statement.

Click the Pic.

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