October 26, 2016 in 3,984 words

Preserving land with plein air painting

An estimated 5.2 million people will visit Boulder County Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) this year. The land is famous for inspiring Boulder residents to spend time outside and is credited with shaping not only the character of our place, but also of our culture. But aside from this utilitarian inspiration, lies a rich history of a more poetic sort.

Since humans have lived in Boulder Valley, artists, both ancient and contemporary, have recorded not only the land they see, but the land as they want it to be. In more recent times, their canvases have preserved a sort of record of the community vision of Open Space and Public Land.

There is a critical connection between preservation and culture, one that Boulder County OSMP has worked into its mission since 2007, when the general superintendent of Golden Gate Park, Brian O’Neill, came to Boulder as part of a national campaign to incorporate communities into civic preservation efforts.

“When people care for something,” he says, “they want to protect it.” …


This Day In History: October 26, 1977

For many millennia, smallpox was one of the most easily transmitted and deadly diseases in the world for humans. In the 20th century alone, when a successful vaccine was already being widely administered in many countries, it is estimated that smallpox still caused somewhere between 300 and 500 million deaths worldwide. Approximately one-third of those who contracted smallpox died from it (closer to three-quarters of children who contracted it) and countless others were left pockmarked and often blind.

Prior to the creation of the vaccine at the end of the 18th century, eradication efforts were typically limited to variolation – injecting a bit of a processed smallpox pustule of an infected person into an uninfected person with the hope of stimulating immunity. A similar practice is thought to have originated in China at least as early as the 10th century. In the early Chinese method, they would grind up pustules from an infected person and then have an uninfected person snort the powder. Whether via injecting or snorting, while reasonably successful on the whole (with significantly less severe symptoms compared to acquiring the disease naturally and then often resulting in relatively long term immunity), this practice was not without risk since inoculation sometimes caused deaths (about 1 in 50 to 1 in 200 dying from variolation) and occasionally outbreaks of the disease. …

A guide to Donald Trump’s ‘rigged’ election

Zombie Democrats, colluding reporters and backstabbing Republicans.

Dead Democrats who “absolutely vote.” “Phony” polling and the colluding media “refusing” to report on his imminent victory. Paul Ryan’s backstabbing “months-long campaign” to get Hillary Clinton elected president. Donald Trump and his supporters keep adding to their list of the dubious ways they’ve been boxed out from winning the White House.

And with Election Day now just 13 days away, these claims will take center stage.

Like any compelling conspiracy theory, there are some kernels of truth. The country’s voting system is indeed disparate and clunky, and it’s not uncommon for the recently deceased to linger on registration rolls. Rid of context, some of John Podesta’s hacked emails look fishy. Hackers have even demonstrated they’re capable of messing with electronic voting machines.

But many of these suspicions, while popular in Trump’s social media circle, are half baked. And that’s bothersome to leaders from both parties who fret the consequences every time the GOP presidential nominee riles up his supporters. …

Samantha Bee interviews international female leaders to see what a Clinton presidency might be like

THANKS to TBS and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee for making this program available on YouTube.

If you haven’t noticed the rampant misogyny in this current election, you are either in deep denial or in a deep sleep. Now that it is looking more and more likely that Hillary Clinton will win the presidency (according to numbers, don’t yell at me), Full Frontal host Samantha Bee decided to meet with other female leaders from around the world to ask if the sexism stopped once they took office. Spoiler alert: it didn’t! …

We Just Realized Trump Doesn’t Know What ‘Condolences’ Means

Dear Donald J. Trump:

We’d like to open this letter with a sincere apology. Over the last few months, we and all the other shambling appendages of the Mainstream Media have given you shit for tweeting this after the shooting in Orlando:

And for tweeting this after the tragic death of Nykea Aldridge, whom you decided to rename “Dwayne Wade’s cousin”:

And of course, there was the time you misspelled Phyllis Schlafly’s name on this tweet of condolence, which you also used to plug your own campaign:

But then footage surfaced of you bragging about having the new tallest building in Manhattan on the day after 9/11, and we started to get worried. But once we sat down and really thought about it, we started to think that this behavior legitimately may not be your fault. What if this isn’t just you being a self-aggrandizing asshole with no sense of shame or self awareness? What if it’s simply a case of no one ever explaining to you how to offer condolences? What if you think it’s your responsibility to comfort the grieving by distracting them from their loss and focusing all their attention on you? …

Donald Trump has close financial ties to Dakota Access pipeline company

Trump’s financial disclosure forms show he invested in Energy Transfer Partners, operators of the controversial pipeline, and its CEO donated to his campaign

Donald Trump’s close financial ties to Energy Transfer Partners, operators of the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline, have been laid bare, with the presidential candidate invested in the company and receiving more than $100,000 in campaign contributions from its chief executive.

Trump’s financial disclosure forms show the Republican nominee has between $500,000 and $1m invested in Energy Transfer Partners, with a further $500,000 to $1m holding in Phillips 66, which will have a 25% stake in the Dakota Access project once completed. The information was disclosed in Trump’s May filing to the Federal Election Commission, which requires candidates to disclose their campaign finance information on a regular basis.

The financial relationship runs both ways. Kelcy Warren, chief executive of Energy Transfer Partners, has given $103,000 to elect Trump and handed over a further $66,800 to the Republican National Committee since the property developer secured the GOP’s presidential nomination. …


THANKS to Comedy Central and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah for making this program available to embed.

After Donald Trump threatens to sue his sexual assault accusers, the American Bar Association examines how often the presidential hopeful uses lawsuits to intimidate critics. …

Trump implies he would fight vice-president Biden: ‘I’d love that’

Comments came after Joe Biden said of Trump: ‘Do I wish I was debating him? No, I wish we were in high school and I could take him behind the gym’.

Republican nominee Donald Trump implied on Tuesday that he would be willing to fight the sitting vice-president Joe Biden behind a barn.

Speaking at a rally in Tallahassee, Florida, almost precisely two weeks to the minute to when polls close there on election day, Trump said of a fist fight between the two: “I’d love that.”

The 70-year-old Republican nominee for president also labeled the vice-president “Mr Tough Guy” and said of beating up the 73-year-old Biden: “Some things in life you could really love doing.”

The comments came after Biden said of Trump on Saturday: “The press always asks me, don’t I wish I was debating him? No, I wish we were in high school and I could take him behind the gym. That’s what I wish.” …

10 Terrifying Glimpses Into Life With Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia can be a real-life horror story, far more terrifying that any supernatural phantom. Schizophrenics are real people living with real, haunted minds. They may even become trapped, living through their own personal terror.

10. Self-Portraits ~ Bryan Charnley

As his schizophrenia worsened, Bryan Charnley spent the last year of his life experimenting with different doses of medication and drawing self-portraits. He drew a note on each portrait to explain his thoughts, which revealed the torment inside his mind.

His first portrait was a realistic picture of his face. For the second portrait, he added vibrations to represent the thoughts escaping from his head. “The person upstairs,” Bryan’s note explained, “was reading my mind.”

Shortly after, Bryan cut his thumb and splattered the blood on the canvas to show his mental pain. He often drew himself with a nail in his mouth or brain, representing his struggle to communicate normally with others. …

Samantha Bee Drops The Jokes And Gets Serious About Catholic Dogma That Kills Women

Samantha Bee has had some great success on her TBS show, Full Frontal With Samantha Bee with her ‘Daily Show style’ brand of satire and snark. Bee has been effective in delivering a message along with the yucks on a host of issues, not the least of which is women’s reproductive health. Sometimes, though, one needs to lose the jokes and just deliver the serious message when push comes to shove.

Apparently, that time has come for Samantha Bee.

Last night on her show, Bee began a segment on the largest growing healthcare provider in America — Catholic Hospitals. The church’s hospitals now number over 600 in the US and in some areas are the only accessible healthcare provider.

After some set-up via the Alfred E Smith Memorial Dinner, a charity fundraiser that raises money for Catholic Charities, including their hospitals, Bee laid into the church’s policies on reproductive health. …

Bill Maher drops truth bomb on why people are ditching religion: They know bullshit when they smell it

Americans re jumping ship when it comes to religion, according to new data from the Public Religion Research Institute.

And Bill Maher is here to translate exactly what it all means. The study found that 39 percent of young adults have no religious affiliation, and that the number is nearly four times higher among young adults today than ever before.

So what does it all mean?

According to Maher, the 60 percent of people who “stopped believing in the religion’s teachings” are doing so because, “I know bullshit when I smell it.” …

READ MAHER’S entire post here.


While landmines have existed as a concept as early as the 13th century when they were used by the Chinese to repel Mongol Invasions, it’s Imperial Germany that is credited with making the advances that led to modern landmines as we understand them. Utilised extensively during WWI by the Germans, the weapons proved to be so effective that they were rapidly copied and deployed by all the major superpowers involved in the conflict. When Hitler assumed power of Germany in 1933, landmine technology was once again pushed to the forefront of military research. This brings us to the topic of today.

Variously called the Schrapnellmine 35 (Shrapnel Mine 35), Splinter-mine, or “Bouncing Betty”, the S-Mine, as it was officially dubbed in Allied memos, was a deceptively simplistic weapon that one Lt. Col. C. E. E. Sloan dubbed “the most feared device encountered by Allied troops in the war.” …

The Trials of Sheriff Joe

Years of racial profiling and ignoring a federal judge’s order to stop his immigration sweeps may have finally caught up.

oe Arpaio has reigned as Sheriff of Arizona’s largest county, Maricopa, since 1993, when Latinos made up less than a fifth of the state’s population. In this time, he has forced prisoners to wear pink underwear, striped black-and-white jumpsuits, work chain gangs, and serve time beneath the desert sun in Army-surplus tents. He calls it his “concentration camp.” Most famously, he has dispatched his deputies to largely Latino neighborhoods where officers arrest people with the goal of checking their immigration status, then queue them up for deportation. It is for continuing these immigration sweeps against a federal judge’s injunction that Arpaio was officially charged Tuesday with misdemeanor contempt of court.

Arpaio has embraced controversy, and has repeatedly won re-election. After six terms in office, it seemed only age would defeat the 84 year old. But this election year appears different—not only because Arpaio faces a misdemeanor and up to six months in jail, but because polls give his Democratic rival, Paul Penzone, a comfortable lead. Arpaio’s last election was called his toughest yet, but this one may be his last. …

Terrifying Nightmares from Around the World

For two years, I’ve traveled the globe collecting dreams for my World Dream Atlas photography project. Below is an assortment of the most intense nightmares I’ve encountered this year. I had plenty I could choose.

Recently, I spent time in Iraqi Kurdistan on the front lines reporting on the war against ISIS. Not surprisingly, the Kurds there had particularly vivid nightmares. Despite talking with many people, I don’t think I collected one pleasant dream the entire time I was there. In Iraq, as in other Muslim countries, good dreams are believed to be messages from Allah, while nightmares come from the devil. That perspective, enshrined in the Qur’an itself, leads many Muslims to pay close attention to their nocturnal visions and regularly seek interpretation from companions or religious leaders.

In rural Morocco, a craftsman recounted recurring nightmares of the devil attempting to enter his front door. …

Living in an Extreme Meritocracy Is Exhausting

A society that glorifies metrics leaves little room for human imperfections.

A century ago, a man named Frederick Winslow Taylor changed the way workers work. In his book The Principles of Scientific Management, Taylor made the case that companies needed to be pragmatic and methodical in their efforts to boost productivity. By observing employees’ performance and whittling down the time and effort involved in doing each task, he argued, management could ensure that their workers shoveled ore, inspected bicycle bearings, and did other sorts of “crude and elementary” work as efficiently as possible. “Soldiering”—a common term in the day for the manual laborer’s loafing—would no longer be possible under the rigors of the new system, Taylor wrote.

The principles of data-driven planning first laid out by Taylor—whom the management guru Peter Drucker once called the “Isaac Newton … of the science of work”—have transformed the modern workplace, as managers have followed his approach of assessing and adopting new processes that squeeze greater amounts of productive labor from their employees. And as the metrics have become more precise in their detail, their focus has shifted beyond the tasks themselves and onto the workers doing those tasks, evaluating a broad range of their qualities (including their personality traits) and tying corporate carrots and sticks—hires, promotions, terminations—to those ratings. …

10 Mysterious Images That Appear Across The Ancient World

The ancient world remains shrouded in mystery, with records and artifacts shining a limited light on our ancestors. Oddly, certain motifs seem popular in many ancient societies. However, no one can say for sure how they spread or what exactly they mean.

10. The Master Of Animals

The Master of Animals depicts a man (or woman) flanked by two animals, which he holds in a show of dominance. The specific animals vary, from snakes to bulls to lions. One of the oldest examples, a 5,000-year-old seal from Uruk, shows a figure holding two goats.

For 3,000 years, the symbol was borderline ubiquitous, appearing on everything from Bronze Age Mongolian petroglyphs to bronze vessels from Roman Italy to the grave goods of sacrificed Afghan queens. The mysterious Indus Valley culture put it on seals, while the Scythians loved it so much they put it on basically everything. Two particularly famous examples can be found on the Gebel el-Arak Knife (from prehistoric Egypt circa 3400 BC) and the Gundestrup Cauldron (from Denmark around 100 BC). …

Who’s Responsible When Your DVR Launches a Cyberattack?

The companies who make the devices could be held accountable.

On Friday, millions of connected devices—webcams, routers, DVRs—banded together to attack a fundamental cornerstone of the internet’s infrastructure. It happened suddenly, without the knowledge of the gadgets’ owners, and it kept going for hours.

Using a virus called Mirai, hackers commandeered insecure internet-connected devices worldwide and instructed them to throw relentless, repeated bursts of data at a target—this time, an essential service that helps route online traffic to the appropriate destinations—with the goal of overwhelming it. (This is called a denial-of-service attack.) Brian Krebs, a prominent security expert and independent journalist, suffered a Mirai-powered attack on his website just last month. After that, the malware’s source code was made free and available for anyone to access, leaving little doubt we’ll see more of Mirai in the near future.

Is there any way to prevent repeat performances? Ideally, law enforcement would go after the hacker that launched the attack, but it can be hard to attribute a distributed assault like this to a perpetrator, who might have orchestrated it from some overseas location that’s out of easy reach for the U.S. government. …

Can you really stop ransomware?

Ransomware is one of the most worrisome types of malware.

It doesn’t steal your data; it threatens to cripple your business — to tie up the resources that you need to service your customers, produce your products, send invoices, pay your bills. And even paying the ransom does not guarantee that you’ll regain control of your systems. In fact, it encourages the perpetrators to continue using their tools to attack other organizations and maybe even come back your way.

The cautions routinely offered to keep you from being victimized include backing up your data to multiple locations, being more cautious online, using tools to detect intrusions and the presence of malware, limiting access privileges, etc.

But what if you could disable malware before it ever had a chance to touch your files? What if ransomware couldn’t “see” your files at all, never mind leave them encrypted and inaccessible? …

10 Fleeting Cosmic Events We’ve Been Lucky Enough To Witness

Just like a photographer getting that lucky shot, astronomers sometimes look in the right spot at the right time at the right wavelength to find something really nice and rare.

10. Early Glimpse Of Supernovae

Astronomers have witnessed plenty of supernovae after the fact. Recently, they caught two within the initial stages of dissolution and glimpsed the shock wave thrown by a dying sun.

Both stars were red supergiants, elderly stars at the end of their tenure. The smaller of the two still dwarfs our own middle-aged Sun, with a radius 270 times greater. The second, girthier specimen boasts a radius 460 times greater than our relatively puny solar parent. …

Scientists say signals from certain stars are “probably aliens”

Scientists writing in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific have found unusual signals emanating from a group of stars that are “signals probably from extraterrestrial intelligence.” The signals “have exactly the shape of a signal predicted in the previous publication and are therefore in agreement with this [extraterrestrial intelligence] hypothesis.”

Their paper, “Discovery of peculiar periodic spectral modulations in a small fraction of solar type stars,” details their hypothesis that these signals indicate some sort of alien intelligence.

“The fact that they are only found in a very small fraction of stars within a narrow spectral range centered near the spectral type of the sun is also in agreement with the ETI hypothesis” the paper’s authors, E.F. Borra and E. Trottier, wrote. …

Who’s got a big gob then? Parrot reveals husband’s affair with housemaid to wife by repeating smutty chats

The parrot accidentally revealed the affair

A parrot landed its owner in hot water after accidentally exposing a husband’s affair with the housekeeper – in front of his wife.

The pesky bird began repeating the conversations the man was having with his lover, causing suspicion with his wife.

Realising that the parrot was picking up the flirty comments from inside the home, she put two and two together and exposed their love affair.

The couple live in Kuwait, where adultery is illegal, and so the wife marched to police with the parrot as evidence. …


Today I found out the origin of superstitions surrounding black cats including why a black cat crossing your path is considered bad luck.

Black Cats weren’t always the butt of superstitions, feared, or even considered bad luck. In fact, in early Egyptian times, dating back as far as 3000 BC, cats (including black ones) were the rock stars of the animal world, held in high esteem; to kill one was considered a capital crime. It wasn’t until the middle-ages in Europe that the black cat’s rock star status started to go downhill as they began to be associated with so-called witches. The hysteria of witches practicing black magic had just hit Europe and alley cats were often cared for and fed by the poor lonely old ladies (funny how some things never change) later accused of witchery.

Their cat companions, some of which were black ones, were deemed guilty of witchery by association. This belief was taken up a notch when a folklore involving a father and son in Lincolnshire in the 1560’s started making the rounds. The pair were said to have been traveling one moonless night when a black cat crossed their path and dove into a crawl space. Naturally, they did what any guys would do, they threw rocks at the furry feline until the helpless injured creature scurried out into a woman’s house, who at the time was suspected of being a witch. The next day, the father and son came across the same woman and noticed she was limping and bruised and believed that to be more than just a coincidence. From that day on in Lincolnshire, it was thought that witches could turn into black cats at night. …

Video Goodnesses
and not-so-goodnesses

THANKS to CBS and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for making this program available on YouTube.

Tuesday’s monologue included a captivating World Series recap, a Wikileaks bombshell, and a NSFW moment between Donald Trump and a flag.

Om Nom Nom Nom Nom…

CAUTION: Some language may not be appropriate for work or children.

Pebble didn’t want to go back to her cage. I think she let me know what she thought about going. She’s not afraid to let her feelings be known. Listen close to the whole video she’s fucking stuff throughout the whole video. A couple stood out to us tho. At 1:50 I certainly do! Ya I do! Fucking around up there looking at fucking marrying me but tell me whos marrying you? I just like rock and roll! Then At 2:43 I ask “do you have an attitude Pebble?” She says “ya! That’s right! The fucking veterinarian!” How many statements can everyone hear? …


THANKS to Comedy Central and @Midnight with Chris Hardwick for making this program available to embed.

Former President George W. Bush (Will Ferrell) opens up to Chris about his feelings on Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and the 2016 election.

Art aficionado George W. Bush (Will Ferrell) joins Brandon Johnson, Mary Lynn Rajskub and David Koechner to answer questions about outrageous politically themed portraits.


A US man who covered himself in branches is arrested for obstructing traffic

A man in America has been arrested for obstructing traffic after crossing the road dressed as a tree.

Asher Woodworth, from the US state of Maine, covered himself in branches and walked really slowly across a street.

Police escorted him to the side of the road before taking him into custody.

Asher, who people are now calling “Tree Guy”, has now been released by police. He told Newsbeat that he was trying to cross five roads, before officers arrived on his third crossing.

DEGREE OF MOTIVATION: “I just had this very clear vision as I was meditating one day.”