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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Weird News

Every Wednesday, selected feature stories proving that truth is stranger than fiction....


Cultural Diversity

Brand-new Japanese parents receiving a gift are then customarily obligated to give a lesser one in return, and the Yoshimiya rice shop in Fukuoka recently created the ideal such return: small bags of rice of the exact weight of the newborn, printed with its face and name, so that original gift-givers (relatives, friends) can experience cuddling "the baby." Then, of course, according to Yoshimiya's owner, they can break open the bag and eat the rice, though he admitted some people have a problem with that. [Reuters, 1-8-07]

"We sleep with the snakes (meaning cobras), we eat with the snakes, we live with the snakes (but) we are not scared," said a 14-year-old girl in a village near Calcutta, India, to a Wall Street Journal reporter in November. Said a village leader, "Whenever I lie down in my bed, a cobra will just slide on top of me, without hurting me." In fact, more than 3,000 cobras live in one hamlet, mostly in peace, with few bite victims (though a cobra bite is often fatal because villagers initially trust the gods and spirit doctors to treat them). Cobras are so revered in the village that cobra bites are usually described as attacks by vipers or by "nonresident" cobras, based on a belief that local cobras are incapable of evil. [Wall Street Journal, 11-26-07]

There is usually a well-stocked Red Cross tent when the January "corralejas" (amateur bullfights) take place in towns in the Colombian countryside, reported The New York Times in January. "This year was calm, no deaths yet," said a newscaster in Sincelejo. Hundreds of wannabe matadors jump into makeshift rings, some sponsored by local merchants but others merely inebriated or sober and foolish, some gaudily dressed, some in bunches (with one group even picnicking). Wrote the Times, "A stream of men arrived" in the Red Cross tent, "intestines peeking out of a belly, bone protruding from a fractured shin, blood spurting from a gash in the buttocks." Said a local, "This is about the ecstasy of escaping death." [New York Times, 1-24-08]


Latest Religious Messages

Lord Balaji was a locally popular Hindu god in Hyderabad, India, until a few years ago when a priest noticed that more of his worshippers were complaining that valuable U.S. professional "H-1B" visas were harder to get. Overnight, Balaji was transformed from a purveyor of general prosperity to the "visa god," specializing in lucky H-1Bs, and the temple now draws 100,000 visitors a week. Said one, to a Wall Street Journal reporter in December, "I've never heard of anyone who's gone to the temple whose visa (application) got rejected" (even though typical advice from priest C.S. Gopala Krishna is simply to walk around the temple "11 times"). [Wall Street Journal, 12-31-07]

Questionable Judgments

In December, even after the widely reported tiger attack on a visitor at the San Francisco Zoo, the Houston Zoo was still allowing its visitors to play "tug of war" with its own lions and tigers. A 20-pound slab of meat, attached to a long rope, is tossed into the enclosure, and visitors are encouraged to toy with the cats by yanking on it as the animal lunges for it. Said a Houston zookeeper, the game keeps the animals from getting bored. Besides, a zoo official said, "(The lion or tiger) kind of lets us know when he wants to play, and we go along with that." [KVUE-TV (Austin), 1-9-08]

Two counselors in the Denver school system proposed in December that the school board give high school girls who get pregnant at least four weeks of maternity leave, without academic penalty, so they can bond with their newborns. The counselors said the policy would encourage teen mothers to stay in school. [Denver Post, 1-7-08]

Meanwhile, the Department of Education of the Australian Capital Territory in Canberra granted permission for a 16-year-old student at Stromlo High School to take smoking breaks, based on a doctor's finding that she is so "clinically addicted" to nicotine that her work suffers without it. [Sunday Telegraph (Sydney), 11-4-07]

A teacher at Yamata Elementary School in Yokohama, Japan, was disciplined in January after a finding that she improperly punished her class because a few students would not come to order. Officials said she lined up all students and walked down the row, slapping each one in the face. [Mainichi Daily News, 1-12-08]


Family Values

Geraldine Magda, 44, was arrested in Austin, Minn., in January, following a nursing-home visit to hold the hand of her dying sister in her final hours. Magda was charged with stealing the wedding ring from her sister's finger during the hand-holding. [Star Tribune (Minneapolis), 1-4-08]

A Chicago man traveled to Sheboygan, Wis., in December to finally meet the 18-year-old woman who was his biological daughter, but during the same visit, he was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting her while she was sleeping. [WTMJ Radio (Milwaukee)-AP, 12-8-07]


The Weirdo-American Community

In December, street performer John Domingue said the Huntington Beach, Calif., police have finally stopped hassling him for soliciting tips at the city's famous Pier Plaza when he demonstrates his skill at hammering nails into his nose without serious injury. (Some bleeding results, which is why police said they stopped him in the first place.) The American Civil Liberties Union said it is watching the case, citing Domingues' constitutional right to perform his nose-nailing, sword-swallowing and fire-eating acts for donations. [Orange County Weekly, 12-13-07]


Least Competent Criminals

More Questionable Judgments: David Holland, 46, gave a DNA sample last year to police in San Jose, Calif., to help resolve murder charges against his brother, but was then arrested for an until-then-unsolved 2001 rape when his DNA sample matched that left behind by the rapist. [San Francisco Chronicle, 11-20-07]

Edward Debrow of San Antonio, Texas, who was sentenced to 27 years in prison for a 1992 murder conviction, appealed that sentence as too harsh. After a Texas appeals court granted his challenge and ordered a re-sentencing in October, a judge gave him 40 years. [KSAT-TV (San Antonio), 10-24-07]


Recurring Themes

Awesome Capacities: Jason Panchalk, 36, was admitted to the Pima County (Arizona) jail in December, facing a charge of trafficking in stolen property, but he arrived prepared. According to a jailer, Panchalk was carrying "some syringes, matches, lighter, heroin, marijuana, and an assortment of pills," all inside his rectum. [KVOA-TV (Tucson), 1-9-08]

And in October, court officials in Cork, Ireland, who were suspicious of a defendant's demeanor, had him medically examined. According to a report in the Irish Independent, doctors found a mobile phone, SIM card and charger, all wrapped in foil and coated with lubricant, inside his rectum. [Irish Independent, 10-20-07]


Least Justifiable Homicides

David Thomson, 49, was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland, of smothering his mom to death after she had taunted him for his inept suicide attempt several weeks before (October). [BBC News, 10-23-07]

In Sydney, Australia, a man was charged with beating a neighbor to death because the neighbor was watering his lawn in violation of the city's water restrictions (October). [Fox News-AP, 11-1-07]

The boss of a factory in North Korea was executed by firing squad before 150,000 people in a South Pyongan province stadium after he was convicted of the crime of making out-of-country telephone calls (November). [Daily Mail (London), 11-26-07]

Hot Stories for Wed., Feb. 27, 2008

Satellite Sleuth Closes in on Noah's Ark Mystery

From Space.com

High on Mt. Ararat in eastern Turkey, there is a baffling mountainside "anomaly," a feature that one researcher claims may be something of biblical proportions.

Images taken by aircraft, intelligence-gathering satellites and commercial remote-sensing spacecraft are fueling an intensive study of the intriguing oddity. But whether the anomaly is some geological quirk of nature, playful shadows, a human-made structure of some sort, or simply nothing at all-that remains to be seen.

Whatever it is, the anomaly of interest rests at 15,300 feet (4,663 meters) on the northwest corner of Mt. Ararat, and is nearly submerged in glacial ice. It would be easy to call it merely a strange rock formation.

But at least one man wonders if it could be the remains of Noah's Ark-a vessel said to have been built to save people and selected animals from the Great Flood, the 40 days and 40 nights of deluge as detailed in the Book of Genesis.

The Genesis blueprint of the Ark detailed the structure as 6:1 length to width ratio (300 cubits by 50 cubits). The anomaly, as viewed by satellite, is close to that 6:1 proportion.

Newfound optimism

Identifying the Ararat anomaly has been a 13-year-long quest of Porcher Taylor, an associate professor in paralegal studies at the University of Richmond's School of Continuing Studies in Virginia.

Taylor has been a national security analyst for more than 30 years, also serving as a senior associate for five years at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.

"I've got new found optimism ... as far as my continuing push to have the intelligence community declassify some of the more definitive-type imagery," Taylor told SPACE.com/LiveScience. He points to a "new and significant development," a high-resolution image taken by DigitalGlobe's impressive QuickBird satellite and shown here publicly for the first time [alternate version with no annotation].

"I'm calling this my satellite archeology project," Taylor said. It's an effort that has now included use of QuickBird, GeoEye's Ikonos spacecraft, Canada's Radarsat 1, as well as declassified aerial and satellite images taken by the various U.S. intelligence agencies.

Making the mountain transparent

Taylor said his goal is straightforward: Combining this imagery to make the Ararat anomaly transparent to the public, as well as to the discerning, dispassionate eyes of scientists, imagery analysts, and other experts.

"I had no preconceived notions or agendas when I began this in 1993 as to what I was looking for," Taylor said.

As for the saga of Noah's Ark, he is quick to note that there are those who say it is fable while some take it as truth.

Nevertheless, the anomaly may not be a ridge line of ice, snow and possibly rock, but an artificial ridge line, Taylor said. "I maintain that if it is the remains of something manmade and potentially nautical, then it's potentially something of biblical proportions."

While chiding the intelligence communities to release more of their closely guarded satellite imagery, Taylor said that soon-to-fly commercial remote sensing spacecraft are sure to help his archeological undertaking.

"We've got three new birds that are going up. I'm using all my clout, rapport and lobbying to, hopefully, have them at least fly calibration runs over Mt. Ararat," Taylor said. Those images would make the mountain even more transparent, he said.

Will it float?

Meanwhile, Taylor has an ever-expanding network of experts to help tease out the truth about the anomaly.

For example, satellite imagery analyst Rod Franz of SunTek Media Group/RiteImage, Inc., located in Henderson, Nevada, has taken a look at imagery provided by Taylor of the Ararat anomaly and carried out additional analysis of the area. As director of training for the firm, Franz sharpened his skills by serving nearly 25 years as a military intelligence imagery analyst.

For the anomaly assessment, the same software tools used for studying government and commercial remote sensing data were employed, Franz told SPACE.com/LiveScience. Ground distances and scales of the anomaly were determined. That software also has the ability to adjust brightness, haze, sharpness, contrast and other factors of the area of interest, he said.

"Along with many other image manipulation functions ... I also used the pseudo-color function trying to determine if I could detect anything under the ice and snow," Franz said.

The face of the anomaly measured 1,015 feet (309 meters) across, Franz said. "I also found the shape of the anomaly appears to fit on a circle. I am not sure what this means, if anything, but I find it curious."

Given that length, Taylor pointed out, the anomaly dwarfs the Titanic and Bismarck in size, and equals the size of the largest modern aircraft carrier. That analysis would seem to call into question whether the anomaly is a wooden ship and raises a key question: If a boat were truly that huge, would it float?

There are also experts in remote sensing who offer a skeptical view.


"Image interpretation is an art," said Farouk El-Baz, Director of the Boston University Center for Remote Sensing.

"One has to be familiar with Sun lighting effects on the shape of observed features," El-Baz said. "Very slight changes in slope modify shadow shapes that affect the interpretations. Up to this time, all the images I have seen can be interpreted as natural landforms. The feature that has been interpreted as the 'Ararat Anomaly' is to me a ledge of rock in partial shadow, with varied thickness of snow and ice cover.

Visual truth serum

Thanks to more satellite imagery in the offing, as well as other studies underway, Taylor said his remote archeological research is on the upswing.

There is an ultimate end-game. That is, on-the-spot ground truth ... and Taylor hopes his research findings will catalyze a top-notch expedition to the area. "It is whatever it is," he said.

But for now, satellite remote sensing to carry out archeological "digs" from space will fill in for an in-the-field expedition.

Just a few weeks ago, for example, NASA scientists utilizing space- and aircraft-based remote sensing hardware and techniques uncovered Maya ruins hidden in the rainforests of Central America for more than 1,000 years.

"For explorers, imagery from GeoEye's Ikonos satellite married with Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite data has become as indispensable as water and freeze dried food for any expedition. One does not want to leave home without it," said Mark Brender, GeoEye Vice President for communications and marketing, headquartered in Dulles, Virginia.

For researchers, imagery from space like those provided by GeoEye provides "the ultimate high shot" and a contextual view you could never get from observations on the ground or even from a plane, Brender told SPACE.com/LiveScience. "It's visual truth serum."

Notable links:

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Designer Decimals

Calculate 100/89. You get the decimal expansion 1.1235955056 . . .

Look closely, and you'll see that this fraction generates the first five Fibonacci numbers (1, 1, 2, 3, and 5) before blurring into other digits. Recall that, starting with 1 and 1, each successive Fibonacci number is the sum of the two previous Fibonacci numbers: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, and so on.

Calculate 10000/9899. This time, you get 1.0102030508132134559046368 . . .

This fraction generates the first 10 Fibonacci numbers (using two digits per number). Going further, the fraction 1000000/998999 generates the first 15 Fibonacci numbers (using three digits per number).

Note that, in successive fractions, two 0s are appended to the numerator and a 9 to the beginning and end of the denominator.

Will the next fraction, 100000000/99989999, generate the first 20 Fibonacci numbers? Does the pattern continue forever? The answer appears to be yes.

James Smoak discovered this curious phenomenon, and he and Thomas J. Osler went on to prove that this class of fractions always produces decimal expansions containing terms of the Fibonacci sequence. They described it as "a magic trick from Fibonacci."

A little later, Marjorie Bicknell-Johnson found a formula, or "generalized mathematical magician," that identifies fractions whose decimal representations include successive values belonging to a variety of other sequences. She called them designer decimals.

In the November College Mathematics Journal, Smoak (with O-Yeat Chan) continues his adventures in the realm of designer decimals.

Consider, for example, the fraction 10000/9801. It has the decimal expansion 1.0203040506 . . . , suggesting the existence of a new class of fractions with curious properties.

Smoak and Chan ask: Do all the integers from 1 to 99 occur in the sequence? Given that the decimal expansion must repeat, what is the length and nature of the repeating part?

The key, Smoak and Chan say, is to note that 9801 = 992. So 10000/9801 = (100/99)2 = (1.0101010101 . . . )2.

Then, it's possible to show that the repeating part is 0203 . . . 97990001.

In general, fractions of the form [10n/(10n – 1)]k yield the sequence of integers in their decimal expansions.

It's amazing what can lie hidden in simple fractions!

Quark Park

Crammed into a narrow wedge of land in downtown Princeton, N.J., an unusual but ephemeral park presents a quirky celebration of art, science, mathematics, architecture, and landscape design.

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A neon sign marks the entrance to Quark Park in Princeton, N.J. Marc Pelletier's 120-cell sculpture is visible below the sign.

Named Quark Park, this Alice-in-Wonderlandish garden offers an enchanting visual and aural experience. Granite pillars ring with resonant tones. Crystal shafts sprout from sand, reaching for the sky. Glass bubbles float in a sparkling sea. Mirrored double helices flash fragments of light as they twirl in the breeze. An intricate, stainless-steel cage glints geometrically in brilliant sunlight.

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When struck by a metal rod, each of these granite pillars emits a tone. This "augmented lithophone" was created by sculptor Jonathan Shor, in collaboration with Princeton music and computer science professor Perry Cook. Signal processing equipment enhances the vibrations to simulate a cave-like setting.

The park was conceived, designed, and organized by architect Kevin Wilkes and colleagues Peter Soderman and Alan Goodheart. It temporarily fills a sliver of land that is to be redeveloped into housing, so the park is open to the public only through November.

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The "Light Emerging" sculpture is meant to represent the nacsent industry of solid-state lighting. The bottom of each plastic rod has a thin layer of phosphor that converts incoming blue light into a particular color. At night, these colors are visible on the canopy that hangs over the rods.

The mathematical highlight is a stainless-steel sculpture by Marc Pelletier, honoring Princeton mathematician John H. Conway. The sculpture represents a three-dimensional shadow, or projection, of a famous, four-dimensional figure sometimes called the 120-cell, where each cell (or three-dimensional face) is a dodecahedron.

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Glinting sunlight highlights pentagons that form the basis of Marc Pelletier's 120-cell sculpture.

A regular dodecahedron has 30 edges and 12 faces, each of which is a regular pentagon. Its four-dimensional analog—a polydodecahedron—contains 120 dodecahedra. Pelletier's sculpture embodies one possible, particularly symmetric projection of this four-dimensional object in three dimensions.

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This view of the 120-cell reveals striking symmetries.

The sculpture, in which steel rods define the edges of the object's dodecahedra, features an undistorted dodecahedron at its center. This dodecahedron is surrounded by 12 others, which are only slightly distorted by foreshortening. Proceeding outward, the next layer has 20 dodecahedra, then 12 more that are considerably flattened by foreshortening. The final layer consists of 30 dodecahedra that are seen edge-on and so appear flat, delineating the sculpture's outer surface.

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In a different setting and viewed from a different angle, the 120-cell shows off other geometric patterns.

The original version of the 120-cell sculpture created by Pelletier is located at the Fields Institute in Toronto, where it honors geometer H.S.M. Coxeter, who died in 2003.

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This model, crafted by George Hart, represents an alternative three-dimensional projection of the 120-cell—one that shows all of the object's 120 cells.

Another sculpture at Quark Park that has a mathematical element is the result of a collaboration between Princeton physicist Paul Steinhardt and sculptor Christoph Spath. Called "Forbidden Geometry," it is based on three-dimensional models of four different shapes that can be combined as building blocks to form so-called quasicrystals.

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This sculpted model of a quasicrystal is made up of 6 building blocks (zonohedra), three fashioned from limestone and three from glass. The projections on the blocks represent the rules that define how blocks can be combined to form larger structures.

One of my favorite installations at Quark Park appears to have, at first glance, little to do with mathematics. Called "Motion in the Ocean," it consists of 1,200 hand-blown glass bubbles hanging from an overhead frame. The assemblage looks like a school of glistening fish, drifting underwater in a seaweedy nook.

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Glass artist Bob Kuster collaborated with mechanical engineer Naomi Ehrich Leonard to create a school of glass fish.

Mechanical engineer Naomi Ehrich Leonard, who inspired the artwork, studies how animals use feedback to move as a cohesive whole, with the idea of applying similar principles to coordinate the movements of robots. The result may be a school of robotic underwater gliders. And there's certainly math in modeling the synchrony and interconnectedness required to get this to work.

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Entering a glassy sea.

It's a shame that this assemblage and all the other wonderful elements of Quark Park will soon disperse and disappear.

An Attack on Fermat

The first female research mathematician had a program to solve Fermat's Last Theorem, and it was almost lost to history.

First of two parts

Around 1630, Pierre de Fermat scribbled his famous note in the margin of a book stating what is now known as "Fermat's Last Theorem." "I have discovered a truly remarkable proof which this margin is too small to contain," he added. His proof has never been found and was almost certainly wrong, but Fermat's conjecture bedeviled mathematicians for centuries to come.

Mathematicians soon realized that the problem was far harder than it first appeared. Number theorists labored endlessly to nibble off small parts of it, but in the early 1800s, one mathematician finally developed a bold strategy that had the potential to solve the whole problem at once. But the entire approach was very nearly lost to history, because until recently, all the notes and manuscripts were moldering unread in a French library.

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Sophie Germain was the first person to develop a realistic plan to prove Fermat's Last Theorem.

The mathematician who developed the approach was respected by luminaries like Carl Friedrich Gauss, Adrien-Marie Legendre, and Joseph-Louis Lagrange, but was marginal in the mathematical community, with no formal training or university position. That's because the mathematician was a woman—indeed, the first woman to do significant research in mathematics.

Sophie Germain has been known for her work in the theory of elasticity and the curvature of surfaces, but until now, her only known work in number theory was a single result that Legendre attributed to her in a footnote.

"What he credited to her in this footnote is in some sense really a misrepresentation of what she did," says Reinhard Laubenbacher of Virginia Polytechnic and State University in Blacksburg. He and David Pengelley of New Mexico State University in Las Cruces searched through her notes in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. Of the over 2,000 pages in the archive, hundreds and hundreds concerned number theory.

Some pages contained mere doodles that degenerated into chicken scratches, but many were filled with remarkable results. Included was a 20-page manuscript Germain had written so meticulously that not a single word was scratched out. "I personally believe," Pengelley says, "that she intended to submit it to the French academy for the prize for Fermat's Last Theorem."

Fermat's Last Theorem states that there are no nonzero whole numbers x, y, and z such that xn + yn = zn for any n greater than 2. (For n = 2, there are lots of solutions, for example, 32 + 42 = 52.) No complete solution to the problem was found until 1994, when Andrew Wiles of Princeton University cracked it using very sophisticated modern techniques from algebraic geometry.

During Germain's time, the main approach to the problem was to tackle it for particular exponents n. And Germain herself used the proof she has been known for, called Sophie Germain's Theorem, to show that the theorem is true for any n less than 100, if none of x, y, or z is divisible by n.

This result alone was remarkable, given the challenges Germain faced. As a woman, Germain couldn't enroll in the universities in France. So she took on the identity of a male student who had recently left the school, Antoine-August LeBlanc, reading lecture notes and sending in her homework assignments.

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Auguste Eugene Leray painted this portrait of Germain at 14. She had started studying mathematics a year earlier, despite her family's efforts to discourage her. A friend noted in her obituary that she studied "by getting up at night in a room so cold that the ink often froze in its well, working enveloped with covers by the light of a lamp even when, in order to force her to rest, her parents had put out the fire and removed her clothes and a candle from the room."

But somehow, her instructor, the great mathematician Lagrange, discovered her secret. According to a commentator at the time, Lagrange "went to her to express his astonishment in the most flattering of terms," and the commentator goes on to say that "the appearance of this young 'geomètre' made quite a stir." Nevertheless, the barriers against Germain's inclusion in the mathematical community didn't come tumbling down. She still couldn't enroll in the university, and her education was haphazard. And even after she had produced many impressive results, she had difficulty getting access to the French Academy of Sciences.

Indeed, Pengelley and Laubenbacher believe that she must have worked in far greater isolation than previously thought, judging from her notes. Legendre had been thought to have been a mentor for Germain. They both lived in Paris and both worked on Fermat's Last Theorem. But her notes show that they independently proved many of the same theorems and seemed to know little of one another's methods.

"Legendre's techniques were much more ad hoc," Pengelley says. "Germain would develop a theoretical approach or algorithm, not a computational one. She focused on methods of general applicability. She was more the theoretical mathematician." Pengelley and Laubenbacher presented their findings at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego in January.

Furthermore, Pengelley and Laubenbacher were astonished to find that Germain had something no other mathematician had at that time: a plausible, realistic plan for cracking Fermat's Last Theorem in its entirety, not just one number at a time, and not just if none of x, y, or z is divisible by n. This newly discovered grand plan used a completely different approach than what mathematicians have known from Sophie Germain's Theorem all this time.

"She was out to prove it all in one fell swoop," Laubenbacher says. "She was going to use this new math Gauss had developed. She read Gauss's book and said, 'That's the ticket to proving Fermat!' That was very bold. Nobody thought like that. Her role in 19th-century number theory was revolutionary."

Look for part II next week.

The Top 10 Lies of the Left

Lie#1: "It is uncertain when human life begins, therefore it's a religious question, not a scientific one."

It is an undisputed biological scientific fact that human life begins at conception. At the very moment of conception, the unique creation is completely human in every one of his or her characteristics totally unique from any other living organism. The new developing baby has the same 46 human chromosomes and DNA he or she will have until death. Even an atheist can acknowledge this fact.

Lie #2: "The Constitution mandates the separation of church and state."

Actually that's correct. The Constitution does mandate a "separation of church and state" -- the former Soviet Union's Constitution (article 52) that is. The First Amendment ensures freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. The words "separation of church and state" neither appear in the U.S. Constitution nor the Bill of Rights but rather were used in a private letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptists 11 years after ratification of the 1st Amendment to assure them that the federal government would not establish a federally recognized "state" religion. Anti-American/Anti-Christian organizations such as the ACLU and Americans United For the Separation of Church and State have intentionally distorted and perverted the true meaning of the 1st Amendment in a concerted effort to banish the Judeo-Christian underpinnings of our nation while simultaneously imposing their own Secular Humanist theocracy in America.

Lie #3: "The Republican Party is racist."

The Democratic Party has had a long history of racism that is still alive and well today. The Republican Party was founded in 1854 to abolish slavery. Democrats founded the KKK. Democratic Senator Robert Byrd from West Virginia was a Kleagle in the KKK and used the "n-word" twice on "Fox News Sunday" just a few years ago. Slavery, the poll tax, and Jim Crow laws were primarily institutions of the Democratic Party. Eugene "Bull" O'Connor (the poster boy of American racism) was a Democrat. Democrats almost unanimously support raced based "affirmative action" –essentially a form of racism and oppose school vouchers for minorities trapped in under performing government run schools.

Lie#4: "Tax cuts- such as the Reagan and Bush tax cuts- cause budget deficits."

Historical evidence has demonstrated that tax cuts have increased tax revenues to the federal treasury. Three times in the 20th Century (the 20s, 60s, and 80s,) and once in the 21st century (2003 Bush Tax Cuts), taxes were cut across the board. All four cuts stimulated the economy substantially and immediately, resulting in increased tax dollars to the federal treasury not decreases as Democrats predicted. Any "deficits" were primarily the result of government spending not tax cuts.

Lie #5: "Bush exaggerated the case for war in Iraq by lying about WMD."

Almost every nation's intelligence agencies, American, British, and Russian intelligence, U.N. intelligence, and even prominent Democrats shared the Bush Administration's view that Iraq posed a grave and imminent threat to America's security, that sanctions and resolutions were not working, and that force was necessary to disarm and remove Saddam from power.

President Bush's famous 16-word statement in his 2003 State of the Union that Iraq had been seeking uranium ore from Africa was factually correct and confirmed by the Senate Bi-Partisan Intelligence Committee and British Pre-War Intelligence Report. The only proven liar was former ambassador and partisan Democrat Joe Wilson who lied when he claimed that Vice President Cheney had asked him to go to Niger on a "fact finding trip."

Lie #6: " Global warming is the result of human induced carbon emissions."

Carbon Dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas produced by burning fossil fuels is not a toxic pollutant and is vital for life on earth. According to the U.S. National Climate Data Center, the world in 2006 was only .03 degrees Celsius warmer than it was in 2001 within the margin of error and not statistically significant. Although there is a "consensus" that the earth has warmed about a degree Celsius over the last century, there is no similar "consensus" among scientists that said "warming" is human induced. Moreover, average global surface temperatures actually fell during the greatest increase in man made fossil fuels from 1940 to the late 1970s. The "Man Made Global Warming" theory is based on very weak and uncertain science and is essentially a far left political movement that is inherently anti-capitalist and anti-human. Many world renowned scientists such as R. Timothy Patterson has shown that there is a strong correlation between natural solar activity and warming and that "global cooling" is the major threat to the world.

Lie #7: "Children who are raised in same-sex homes fair as well, if not better, than children raised in divorced or step-families."

There is little hard clinical data to suggest "same-sex" family configurations would be a healthy environment for children. The small amount of research available regarding children raised in same-sex couple households reveals that those children are comparable in terms of well being to those in single parent households. But single parent households, though necessary sometimes, are not the ideal -- financially or emotionally.

Supporters of same sex marriage and adoption cite the 2002 American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) Report as proof that same sex couples are equivalent to heterosexual couples with regard to raising children. However, the report concluded that, "Research exploring the diversity of parental relationships among gay and lesbian parents is just beginning," and that "the small and non-representative samples studied and the relatively young age of most of the children suggest some reserve."

Lie #8: "Bush stole the 2000 election."

Every individual recount concluded that Bush was the winner in Florida. Although the left leaning Florida Supreme Court improperly attempted, to aid Gore in illegally recounting votes in select Democrat precincts, their judicial activist ruling was overturned 7-2 by the Supreme Court and nullified. Bush got more votes on election night, following the automatic recount, and after all absentee ballots were counted. Seven media publications including USA Today (hardly a rightward leaning newspaper) sponsored recounts and concluded that, under any proposed standard of methodology, Bush won every recount. It was Al Gore and the liberal media who attempted to "steal" the election by prematurely calling the election for Gore on election night before the polls closed in the heavily GOP populated Florida panhandle and attempting to nullify overseas military votes from being counted.

Lie #9: "Bush is stupid."

George W. Bush scored a 1206 on his SAT. He graduated from Yale and earned a 3.6 GPA at Harvard Business School, flew fighter jets in the Texas Air National Guard during Viet Nam, was a successful business owner, became Governor of Texas twice in landslide victories, and became President of the United States twice, the second time getting more votes than any president in the history of the United States. He also scored higher on military intelligence tests than John Kerry. It was Al Gore who received mostly C's at Harvard, dropped out of Vanderbilt law school and failed out of divinity school. It was Ted Kennedy who was kicked out of Harvard for cheating. By the way, why is it, do you suppose, that Hillary still refuses to release her transcripts from Wellesley and Yale?

Lie#10: The lefties say: "School vouchers unfairly benefit the wealthy."

Voucher programs have almost exclusively benefited poor minority students. The vast majority of voucher programs have almost exclusively enabled minorities in cities such as Washington D.C., Cleveland, and Milwaukee to transfer from under-performing public schools to a superior charter schools where, on average, grades and test scores have risen dramatically at a lower per pupil expenditure.

Liberal-Democratic politicians overwhelmingly choose private and parochial schools for their children but side with the teachers union (the NEA-National Education Association and AFT-American Federation of Teachers) -- who happens to be its largest financial contributors -- in opposing minority parents from having the same opportunity.

12-Month Long Drop In World Temps Wipes Out A Century Of Warming

A funny thing happened during mankind's inevitable march towards a fiery apocalypse caused by global warming -- it got cold,

Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile -- the list goes on and on.

No more than anecdotal evidence, to be sure. But now, that evidence has been supplanted by hard scientific fact. All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.

A compiled list of all the sources can be seen here. The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C -- a value large enough to wipe out nearly all the warming recorded over the past 100 years. All in one year's time. For all four sources, it's the single fastest temperature change ever recorded, either up or down.

So, when does Al Gore give his Nobel Peace Prize back?

Guns DO Save Lives

It's all too predictable. A day after a gunman killed six people and wounded 18 others at Northern Illinois University, The New York Times criticized the U.S. Interior Department for preparing to rethink its ban on guns in national parks.

The editorial board wants "the 51 senators who like the thought of guns in the parks -- and everywhere else, it seems -- to realize that the innocence of Americans is better protected by carefully controlling guns than it is by arming everyone to the teeth."

As usual, the Times editors seem unaware of how silly their argument is. To them, the choice is between "carefully controlling guns" and "arming everyone to the teeth." But no one favors "arming everyone to the teeth" (whatever that means). Instead, gun advocates favor freedom, choice and self-responsibility. If someone wishes to be prepared to defend himself, he should be free to do so. No one has the right to deprive others of the means of effective self-defense, like a handgun.

As for the first option, "carefully controlling guns," how many shootings at schools or malls will it take before we understand that people who intend to kill are not deterred by gun laws? Last I checked, murder is against the law everywhere. No one intent on murder will be stopped by the prospect of committing a lesser crime like illegal possession of a firearm. The intellectuals and politicians who make pious declarations about controlling guns should explain how their gunless utopia is to be realized.

While they search for -- excuse me -- their magic bullet, innocent people are dying defenseless.

That's because laws that make it difficult or impossible to carry a concealed handgun do deter one group of people: law-abiding citizens who might have used a gun to stop crime. Gun laws are laws against self-defense.

Criminals have the initiative. They choose the time, place and manner of their crimes, and they tend to make choices that maximize their own, not their victims', success. So criminals don't attack people they know are armed, and anyone thinking of committing mass murder is likely to be attracted to a gun-free zone, such as schools and malls.

Government may promise to protect us from criminals, but it cannot deliver on that promise. This was neatly summed up in book title a few years ago: "Dial 911 and Die." If you are the target of a crime, only one other person besides the criminal is sure to be on the scene: you. There is no good substitute for self-responsibility.

How, then, does it make sense to create mandatory gun-free zones, which in reality are free-crime zones?

The usual suspects keep calling for more gun control laws. But this idea that gun control is crime control is just a myth. The National Academy of Sciences reviewed dozens of studies and could not find a single gun regulation that clearly led to reduced violent crime or murder. When Washington, D.C., passed its tough handgun ban years ago, gun violence rose.

The press ignores the fact that often guns save lives.

It's what happened in 2002 at the Appalachian School of Law. Hearing shots, two students went to their cars, got their guns and restrained the shooter until police arrested him.

Likewise, law professor Glenn Reynolds writes, "Pearl, Miss., school shooter Luke Woodham was stopped when the school's vice principal took a .45 from his truck and ran to the scene. In (last) February's Utah mall shooting, it was an off-duty police officer who happened to be on the scene and carrying a gun".

It's impossible to know exactly how often guns stop criminals. Would-be victims don't usually report crimes that don't happen. But people use guns in self-defense every day. The Cato Institute's Tom Palmer says just showing his gun to muggers once saved his life.

"It equalizes unequals," Palmer told "20/20". "If someone gets into your house, which would you rather have, a handgun or a telephone? You can call the police if you want, and they'll get there, and they'll take a picture of your dead body. But they can't get there in time to save your life. The first line of defense is you."

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Communist in America

I find it both intriguing and troubling that the same issues that the Democratic party represent in their "platform for change" is echoed by the U. S. Communist Party. Take some time and peruse their website: http://www.cpusa.org

There is no such thing as a coincidence.

Just a thought.

Also consider this:

"The problem of the Illegal immigration, it is just part of a bigger problem… and this problem is called COMMUNISM!
I know something about communism...
One of the reasons why I left Europe and Italy it’s because I can’t stand it...
just mentioning the word it can give me a nervous breakdown!
Communism is the social castration of every free human being!

The Communists have found the plan of how to destroy and conquer America from within.
This Country is being poisoned and weakened everyday with a virus and this virus is called Illegal Immigration!

As you know, Communists forces are already in our system, in most of our bias media, in our brainwashing schools, universities, in our liberal courts, we have also them on Capitol Hill… many of our politicians they supposed to defend us and represent us, instead they are working for the interests of foreign Countries trying to plant this seed of evil in form of less violent socialism!

Finally Communism has found the way how to conquer and
transform America without firing a bullet!

Here the recipe for destruction:
1) Erase our borders
2) Let millions of desperates illegal aliens coming in without control and without love for our Constitution
3) Give them driver licenses
4) Let them continue speak another language different from english... no assimilation, no integration.. silent invasion!
5) Let them vote, legally or illegally,
they already are voting or they will vote very soon…

And voila… at the next election,
your communist red cake is ready...
America is ready to collapse and become a new Russia!

Look at California and our new Mayor Antonio Mecha Villaigrosa, a great socialist Trojan horse on the payroll of Mexico
They are forcing us to pay with the fruit of our hard work and sacrifice to people that don’t deserve and don’t have the legal rights to be here... free education for the Illegals, free healthcare for the illegals, social security benefits for the illegals... and on top, we are feeding the monster that is trying to kill us and divide America and give it to Mexico!

First we let them in, we feed them and then we let them use violence to shut us up and deny us our Freedom of speech.
Like in Cuba, like in Russia, North korea, or China...
You have freedom only if you agree with them.

California my home state is the living proof…. Baldwin Park May 14th, 2005 … Garden grove May 25th 2005...
We American Citizens we are losing the freedom to use our first amendment…
Police can't or does not want defend us, but at the same time our socialist state is trying to disarm us and denying us the use our second amendment with the extreme joy of the United Nations!
Illegals aliens and communists American traitors united to threaten our way of life… and destroy America!
We go around the world to give others the freedom that today we are losing in our own Country! How sad!

What 100 millions of Chinese soldiers from the Red Army could do easily one near day (yes red China has 100 million soldiers ready to be deployed, plus 3 millions from Noth Korea... and I believe we have only 1 million American soldiers... spread around the world),
it can be done even easier without firing a bullet!!
Just keep attacking this Country from within !
Let the trojan illegal Aliens in, let them blend,
let them me reach the power, let them vote...
let them use our democratic system to destroy us!
And when somebody try to wake up the rest of America,
the enemy has found the magic word that they think is gonna shut us up: RACIST!!!

My answer is very simple: KISS MY ASS

It's time to turn our brainwashing TV off, drink less beer and go in the streets and remind our corrupted politicians,
that our Constitution says "WE THE PEOPLE"... not We the Illegals, or We the Communists, or We the bureaucrats...
We the American People.
Let's remind them that we are ready to defend our Constitution, our way of life, and our Freedom... even with our life if necessary.
that's why our Founder Fathers gave us the second Amendment
Communism does not and will not rule in America,
not till I will live at least!"

- Luca Zanna

"We cannot expect the Americans to jump from capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving Americans small doses of socialism, until they suddenly awake to find they have Communism."

- Nikita Khrushchev

Walter

An Open Letter to Doudou Diene - UN Racism Expert

Dear Dr. Diene,

Your UN mandate charges you with speaking out against racial and religious intolerance, and you often have done so commendably. To give a recent example, in November 2005, after UN Watch and 30 other organizations sent you a complaint about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s call for Israel to be “wiped off the map,” you admirably took action by demanding that Iran explain itself. In your January 2006 report (E/CN.4/2006/16), you condemned the Iranian statement as “a manifestation of anti-Semitism.” I commend and thank you for your strong stand on this issue.

I write now to ask you to take action against another instance of contemporary racism and intolerance: state-sponsored anti-Semitic and anti-Christian school textbooks in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. These books, for example, repeatedly refer to Jews and Christians as “cursed,” as “infidels,” as “unbelievers,” and as “enemies of Islam.” They teach schoolchildren that “the Jews are a people of betrayal and treachery” and that “a malicious Crusader-Jewish alliance [is] striving to eliminate Islam from all the continents.” Despite Saudi assurances of textbook reform, the May 2006 Freedom House report entitled "Saudi Arabia's Curriculum of Intolerance" reveals that the teaching of hatred continues.

The non-governmental organization UN Watch sent you allegation letters about these textbooks in January and May of 2005. I urge you to respond to these letters without any further delay. Please raise these allegations with the Egyptian and Saudi governments and demand that they stop teaching this offensive curriculum of hate.

In your report E/CN.4/2006/17, you criticized the Danish government for lacking “commitment and vigilance [to] combating religious intolerance and incitement to religious hatred” because it was not, in your view, quick enough to condemn a private newspaper’s publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Surely governments whose official schoolbooks are, and have long been, promoting blatant anti-Semitism and Christianophobia should also merit your prompt attention, and should receive a strong rebuke. This rebuke against systematic and state-sponsored incitement of children to racial hatred should include a joint statement—as you did for the private Danish newspaper—by yourself together with the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion.

Sincerely,

Walter@360 Degrees

Farrakhan endorses Obama

An endorsement from the Black Hitler. How nice.

The Barak Obama/Nation of Islam connection grows. We last left our "hero" with these revelations.
  • Cynthia K. Miller, treasurer of his senate campaign is a Member of a member Farrakhan's Nation of Islam
  • Jennifer Mason, Obama's Director of Constituent Services is also a member of the Nation of Islam.
  • When a former associate raised objections to Nation of Islam staffers, he says Mr. Obama's position was that he saw nothing wrong with the Nation of Islam and didn't think it was a problem. If true--and the fact that Ms. Mason still holds her prominent Obama Senate staff position bears that out--Obama's condemnation of Farrakhan, this month, is phony.Nation of Islam members, including consultant Shakir Muhammad, held important roles in the Obama state senate campaign.

Now he has received an endorsement from the Head Honcho himself-the Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan

Farrakhan Sings Obama's Praises

Feb 24 08:28 PM US/Eastern

By SOPHIA TAREEN

CHICAGO (AP) - In his first major public address since a cancer crisis, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan said Sunday that presidential candidate Barack Obama is the "hope of the entire world" that the U.S. will change for the better.

The 74-year-old Farrakhan, addressing an estimated crowd of 20,000 people at the annual Saviours' Day celebration, never outrightly endorsed Obama but spent most of the nearly two-hour speech praising the Illinois senator.

"This young man is the hope of the entire world that America will change and be made better," he said. "This young man is capturing audiences of black and brown and red and yellow. If you look at Barack Obama's audiences and look at the effect of his words, those people are being transformed."

Farrakhan compared Obama to the religion's founder, Fard Muhammad, who also had a white mother and black father.

"A black man with a white mother became a savior to us," he told the crowd of mostly followers. "A black man with a white mother could turn out to be one who can lift America from her fall."

Farrakhan also leveled small jabs at Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama's rival for the Democratic nomination, suggesting that she represents the politics of the past and has been engaging in dirty politics.

Farrakhan's keynote address at McCormick Place, the city's convention center, wrapped up three days of events geared at unifying followers and targeting youth.

It had a different tone from a year ago, when Farrakhan made what was called his final public address at a Saviors' Day event in Detroit. The 74-year-old was recovering from complications from prostate cancer and months earlier had temporarily passed on leadership duties of the organization's day-to-day activities to an executive board.

Sources: http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com, ABC.com & The Associated Press

Vanessa Carlton


As a piano player myself, I always enjoy hearing other pianists tickle the ivories. Vanessa has been a long-time favorite of mine...enjoy!

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A Thousand Miles Lyrics

Thoughts on My Faith

When you become a Christian, God’s own Spirit lives within you, and heaven becomes a part of your life here and now. All of this begins with a radiant relationship with Jesus Christ. The Kingdom of Heaven isn’t simply a destination, it’s a continuous journey with God. And life is not to be divided into a life today on earth and life tomorrow in heaven. We are already citizens of eternity.

I have felt God’s presence in this world. I have seen God’s hand at work in my own life, bringing people and circumstances together in a way I never could have engineered or imagined. When I see God’s power at work, I know that heaven is here right now - an intrinsic part of the world God created. Knowing Jesus opens my spirit and my understanding to see and participate in heaven in my daily life; knowing Jesus makes the ordinary extraordinary.

Having a heavenly perspective now is like standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon. Rafting the Colorado River in the steep inner gorge of the canyon, you often can’t see what’s around the next bend, much less where the river is going. But from a vantage point above on the rim, you can see glimpses of the river’s course. Flying over the canyon at 30,000 feet, you can easily follow the river as it flows from north to south.

When we’re on the river of daily life, with the rush of rapids ahead and the walls of circumstances closing in on us, it’s hard to see where the river is taking us. But having a heavenly perspective now, like standing on the rim, lifts me up to see something of God’s direction and purpose in my life (revealing His truths and His will). This gives me courage, faith and the power to steer my thoughts and actions toward Him. I can actually run the river effectively, wisely and joyfully now, knowing that one day I’ll fly above and see the whole course of my life with new understanding.

Walter

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Coca-Cola Commercial...in Japanese!

I've had this TV spot for a while, but never shared it until now. Enjoy!

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Making a Difference