January 11, 2016

The Morning After The Weekend Before

HOW AND WHY OYSTERS MAKE PEARLS

Kyle D. asks: Why do oysters make pearls?

Oysters make pearls as a defensive response to foreign objects. The process begins when some foreign body, such as sand, a parasite or some other organic material, manages to make its way inside the oyster’s shell and comes in contact with the mantle, a layer that protects the oyster’s internal organs, sometimes even damaging it.

The oyster’s body sees the invading substance as a potential threat, and in response the mantle begins to deposit a substance called nacre, also called mother of pearl, onto it. This is the same substance that coats the inner part of the shell. External damage to the shell itself that results in damage to the mantle will also trigger the same type of response to repair the damage. ...

Legendary Artist David Bowie Dies at 69

The singer-songwriter and producer excelled at glam rock, art rock, soul, hard rock, dance pop, punk and electronica during an eclectic 40-plus-year career.

David Bowie has died after a battle with cancer, his rep confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 69.

"David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer. While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief," read a statement posted on the artist's official social media accounts.

The influential singer-songwriter and producer excelled at glam rock, art rock, soul, hard rock, dance pop, punk and electronica during his eclectic 40-plus-year career. He just released his 25th album, Blackstar, Jan. 8, which was his birthday.

Bowie’s artistic breakthrough came with 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, an album that fostered the notion of rock star as space alien. Fusing British mod with Japanese kabuki styles and rock with theater, Bowie created the flamboyant, androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust. ...

David Bowie dies at 69; mesmerizing performer and restless innovator

David Bowie, the self-described “tasteful thief” who appropriated from and influenced glam rock, soul, disco, new wave, punk rock and haute couture, and whose edgy, androgynous alter egos invited fans to explore their own dark places, died Jan. 10, two days after his 69th birthday.

The cause was cancer, his family said on official Bowie social media accounts. Relatives also confirmed the news but did not disclose where he died. He had recently been collaborating on an Off Broadway musical, “Lazarus,” a sequel to his starring role in the 1976 film “The Man Who Fell to Earth.” And days earlier, he had released his 25th studio album, “Blackstar,” backed by a small jazz group and featuring songs as boldly experimental as anything else in his long career.

With his sylphlike body, chalk-white skin, jagged teeth and eyes that appeared to be two different colors, Mr. Bowie combined sexual energy with fluid dance moves and a theatrical charisma that mesmerized male and female admirers alike. ...

Remembering David Bowie

Rock’s chameleonic maestro died Monday at age 69, his family announced.

David Bowie, the mercurial British musician and artist who flitted from one otherworldly persona to the next in a dizzying, boundary-bending, four-decade exploration of rock and roll’s furthest limits, died on Monday. He was 69 years old.

Family members announced his death through his official website. “David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer,” the statement said. “While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief.”

His son Duncan Jones also confirmed the news on Twitter. ...

‘An extraordinary, alien, otherworldly creature’: David Bowie 1947-2016 - video tribute

David Bowie obituary

Artist who blazed a trail of musical trends and pop fashion, reinventing himself, his music and media across many decades

Until the last, David Bowie, who has died of cancer, was still capable of springing surprises. His latest album, Blackstar, appeared on his 69th birthday on 8 January, and showed that his gift for making dramatic statements as well as challenging, disturbing music had not deserted him.

Throughout the 1970s, Bowie was a trailblazer of musical trends and pop fashion. Having been a late-60s mime and cabaret entertainer, he evolved into a singer-songwriter, and a pioneer of glam-rock, then veered into what he called “plastic soul”, before moving to Berlin to create innovative electronic music.

In subsequent decades his influence became less pervasive, but he remained creatively restless and constantly innovative across a variety of media. His capacity for mixing brilliant changes of sound and image underpinned by a genuine intellectual curiosity is rivalled by few in pop history. Blackstar was proof that this curiosity had not diminished in his later career.

Bowie was born David Robert Jones in Brixton, south London. His mother, Peggy, had met his father, John, after he was demobilised from second world war service in the Royal Fusiliers. John subsequently worked for the Barnardo’s children’s charity. They married in September 1947, eight months after David’s birth, when John’s divorce from his first wife, Hilda, became absolute. ...

Bowie the film star: imaginative, daring and endlessly charismatic

David Bowie’s many forays into film expressed the same searching spirit as his music, and his presence filled the screen

In terms of drama and characterisation David Bowie put his genius into his music, not his movie work, although his film career was as imaginative, daring and eclectic as everything else about him. Space Oddity is, in its way, a perfectly formed sci-fi mini-masterpiece of the 60s, charting in tiny, brilliant narrative leaps Major Tom’s excitement at blast-off, his ascent to celebrity status, his “space birth” outside the capsule, the disaster of the mission, and his epiphanic acceptance of love, mortality and man’s insignificance in the vastness of space. A film might take 120 minutes to tell the same story — less well.

Pop singers from Sinatra to Elvis to Madonna have dabbled in the movies, with varying results, but David Bowie always convinced his public that every role he accepted was an artistic decision and an artistic experiment, governed by his own idealism.

His orchidaceous strangeness made Bowie perfect casting for Nic Roeg’s 1976 movie The Man Who Fell To Earth — his film debut, in fact — based on the Walter Tevis novel, about the extraterrestrial creature who comes to Earth looking for water and natural resources for his own stricken planet. Bowie himself, the exotic exquisite, was to all intents and purposes an extraterrestrial himself; and unlike all the other heroes of 70s glam, it seemed as if his eerie beauty would not come off with the make-up.


...

Rest in peace Mr. Bowie.

10 Bizarre Feuds That Should Have Been Laughed Out Of Court

When we hear about a bizarre lawsuit, we usually chalk it up to someone trying to squeeze some cash from a business. But major brands and organizations have waged some of the most comical legal battles of all time. It seems that no transgression is too small to provoke even a well-respected organization from filing a lawsuit.

Some plaintiffs drop their suits when the press reports on their strange complaints. But in other cases, organizations will continue the fight until a judge laughs them out of court.

10. William Faulkner Feuds With Woody Allen

William Faulkner is well-known for his literary works like The Sound and The Fury and As I Lay Dying. When he died in 1962, his legacy seemed set. Besides becoming a fixture in classrooms and libraries, Faulkner’s work has been referenced by other artists.

In Woody Allen’s 2011 film, Midnight in Paris, one character quotes a line from Faulkner’s 1950 novel, Requiem for a Nun. The film character says, “The past is not dead. Actually, it’s not even past. You know who said that? Faulkner.”

The line in the book actually reads, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” The character gets a couple of words wrong, but the point is that he admired and learned from Faulkner. A positive, if imprecise, nod to the writer.

Faulkner’s estate was not pleased by the mention. In fact, they sued Sony Pictures and claimed that the misquote would “confuse or mislead viewers.” Chief Judge Michael P. Mills of the US District Court in Mississippi took the case seriously. ...

Donald Trump's Abuse of Power

The Republican frontrunner asks security to take coats from protestors, and then turn them out into the freezing cold.

Last week, Donald Trump was addressing a large crowd in Burlington, Vermont, when he was interrupted by a series of protestors who raised their voices against him. Soon, he asked security to remove the disruptive audience members, asserting his power in a legitimate manner so that he could continue with his remarks.

But that wasn’t enough for the billionaire.

Standing before a crowd of supporters and acting on an impulse, he piled on, ordering security personnel at the event to seize the coats of the protestors in addition to kicking them out. “Get him outta there! Don’t give him his coat,” he said on one occasion. “Keep his coat. Confiscate his coat. You know it’s about 10 degrees below zero outside. No, you can keep his coat. Tell him we’ll send it to him in a couple of weeks.” In the clip below he gives those orders near the beginning and the end.


...

The Real Ted Cruz

I studied nearly every word the Texas senator uttered during the immigration showdown. He may be the most spectacular liar ever to run for president.

Ted Cruz is the only true conservative running for president. That’s the message of his campaign: He’s the only senator who stood and fought against amnesty, Obamacare, and Planned Parenthood. His finest hour was the defeat of immigration reform three years ago. Democrats wanted to give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship. Cruz said no. He took on the establishment and won.

It’s a good story, and the immigration fight tells us a lot about Cruz. But the fight didn’t happen the way he says it did. Cruz didn’t marshal the opposition or even take a firm stand. He’s a lawyer, not a leader. He chose his words exquisitely so that down the road—say, in a future campaign for president—he could position himself on either side of the immigration debate. And he delivered, with angelic piety, speeches that he now claims were lies. ...

5 Products That Failed For Ridiculous Reasons

Brands can go from little mom-and-pop operations to global corporations because they know how to avoid screwing up. Then, before releasing a new product, they go through years of testing and surveying to ensure they aren't wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on something that is going to flop harder than Johnny Depp's recent career.

But, no matter how careful they are and no matter how many people are involved, sometimes something so obvious a blind child could have seen it coming completely passes a company by.

#5. Coca-Cola Ignored Market Research That People Didn't Want New Coke

Those of us who were around in the 1980s barely made it out of the Cola Wars alive. We've seen things, man. Seen and, more importantly, tasted.

What started out as some aggressive ad campaigns soon turned into a dire situation for Coke as customers abandoned the company's products for the sweeter taste of Pepsi. Coke's executives then felt they had to make a big change, leading to the most famous casualty of that time: The original formula for Coca-Cola was replaced with New Coke. It was at that point, according to one historian, that people "[couldn't] take it anymore."

Although, they did not resort to arson over it.


...

Why most cancer isn’t attributable to simple ‘bad luck’

Recent research suggested that most cancers arise for intrinsic reasons that cannot be prevented. But a newer study suggests external factors play a vital role

A study published in Science in early 2015 reported that most cancers aren’t preventable and are simply a case of “bad luck”. A year on, however, and a study published in Nature has come to the opposite conclusion: that external factors such as tobacco, sunlight and human papilloma virus play a greater part in whether or not a person gets cancer.

So what does cause cancer: bad luck or avoidable lifestyle choices and environmental factors?

The “bad luck” study, by Tomasetti and Vogelstein from Johns Hopkins University, was based on two facts. ...

No more excuses. We have the tools to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

By Anthony S. Fauci

Anthony S. Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

In the summer of 1981, the world became aware of a mysterious new disease that was seen initially among a relatively small group of gay men in the United States and was soon shown to be caused by the human immunodeficiency virus. Fast- forward more than 30 years, and the entire world is struggling with one of the most devastating pandemics in history. More than 70 million infections have occurred, predominantly among heterosexuals in the developing world, resulting in more than 30 million deaths. Despite these horrendous statistics, advances in HIV treatment and prevention have transformed the lives of those HIV-infected people who have access to health care, and have provided us with highly effective methods of preventing HIV infection.

So why does this global pandemic continue to rage? It is not that we lack the medical advances and interventions to end the pandemic. It is that our proven tools have not been implemented adequately or uniformly. ...

10 Disturbing Stories Of Interspecies Sex

Most of time, animals have sex within their own species. Sometimes, though—surprisingly often, actually—they choose a mate that is very different.

A lot of the time, interspecies sex is pretty boring. Two unrelated animals find one another by mistake, and nothing much comes of it. Sometimes, though, the story gets more disturbing. In some cases, the two sets of genitals don’t fit together, and the sex causes physical injury. In other cases, it is part of a calculated deception, where one partner stands to benefit and the other loses out. In still other cases, the sex is deliberately violent and deliberately horrible and seems to make no sense at all.

Here are 10 such stories, all documented by the journal Nature.

10. Genital-Stabbing Flies

The penis of Drosophila yakuba, a fruit fly, is equipped with two spines. During sex, the male inserts these spines into a pair of pockets present in D. yakuba females. A closely related fly species, D. santomea, lacks this spine-pocket system. When a D. yakuba male has sex with a D. santomea female, the male has nowhere to put his spines. So he just stabs the female with them. The result is two wounds, set side by side.

Without these pockets, the D. yakuba male also has trouble orienting himself properly. Often, he ends up ejaculating on the female’s outside, or on himself. This leaked semen creates a new problem. As it hardens, the semen glues the two insects together. After sex, the two partners must struggle hard to detach themselves. ...

How ‘Gun Control’ Became a Taboo Phrase

When talking about firearms, people choose their words carefully.

Here are some phrases President Barack Obama uttered in a speech at the White House last week: “gun violence,” “gun rights,” “gun possession,” “gun safety,” “gun laws.”

Here is a term he did not: “gun control.”

This isn’t surprising. Advocates for tougher gun laws have for years edged away from “gun control” as a way of referring to gun regulations. The word “control” suggests government overreach, the opposite of what they want to evoke.

“How you label things has consequences,” said Robert Spitzer, the chair of the political-science department at SUNY Cortland, and the author of five books about gun policy. “It is important. We know rhetoric matters. It’s a reinforcing effect, I think, to a great degree.” ...

Why climate change is an ethical problem

Climate change presents a severe ethical challenge, forcing us to confront difficult questions as individual moral agents, and even more so as members of larger political systems. It is genuinely global and seriously intergenerational, and crosses species boundaries. It also takes place in a setting where existing institutions and theories are weak, proving little ethical guidance.

The critical question as we seek to address climate change will be which moral framework is in play when we make decisions. In many settings, we do not even notice when this question arises, because we assume that the relevant values are so widely shared and similarly interpreted that the answer should be obvious to everyone. Nevertheless, the values question is not trivial, since our answer will shape our whole approach.

If we think something should be done about climate change, it is only because we use our moral frameworks to evaluate climate change events, our role in bringing them about, and the alternatives to our action. This evaluation gives us both an account of the problem and constraints on what would count as relevant solutions. ...

OUR FATHER, WHO ART IN LONDON

North of New Zealand, east of Australia, and west of Fiji there’s an island that’s home to one of the more unusual religious sects we’ve ever come across.

DOUBLE TROUBLE

The nation of Vanuatu is independent today, but from 1906 to 1980, this island group in the South Pacific was a colony jointly administered by England and France. Then called New Hebrides, it was perhaps the only territory in the world with two colonial masters instead of one. Relations between the two countries were often strained and remained so as New Hebrides moved toward independence in the 1970s. England backed one political party in a bid to retain their influence; France backed another.

Both countries also worked to sway public opinion in their favor. In this battle, the British had a weapon that France could not counter: the prestige of the British royal family. Portraits of Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, were distributed all over the 65 inhabited islands that made up New Hebrides. In 1974 the couple even paid a visit, steaming into the capital city of Port-Vila, on the island of Efate, aboard the royal yacht Britannia. ...

A Single Blood Test For All Cancers?

Illumina - Bill Gates And Jeff Bezos Launch Startup To Make It Happen

What if a simple blood test could detect any cancer early, when it was still easy to treat?

It sounds like science fiction. But Illumina ILMN +0.00%, the $24 billion (market cap) biotechnology company that has pioneered cheap, efficient sequencing of DNA, says it could be a reality in a few years. It is launching a new startup, GRAIL (because such a test would be a holy grail for cancer doctors), with $100 million in funding. Illumina will hold a majority share. Other backers include Sutter Hill Ventures, ARCH Ventures, Jeff Bezos’ Bezos Expeditions and Bill Gates. The startup could have vast medical, economic and societal implications–if the technology really works.

“Everything here is directed at being a pan-cancer test, something that is a universal test,” says Jay Flatley, who has been Illumina’s chief executive for sixteen years and has improved the power of DNA sequencing at a rate that exceeds improvements in microchips over the same period of time.

“It’s our largest investment ever,” says Robert Nelsen, a partner at ARCH, says of GRAIL. Nelsen helped found Illumina, and, more recently, some of the the most well-funded startups ever, including cancer company Juno Therapeutics, which raised $310 million before its IPO, and Denali Therapeutics, focused on brain diseases, which raised $217 million last year. ...

Anonymous Communications Network Called PrivaTegrity launched

David Chaum, the father of many encryption protocols announces anonymous communications network ‘PrivaTegrity’

Encryption Guru, David Chaum has released a new anonymity network concept called ‘PrivaTegrity’ that aims to fix many of Tor’s current problems, both in the legal and technical department. Chaum presented his paper, called “cMix: Anonymization by High-Performance Scalable Mixing” at the Real World Cryptography Conference in Stanford on 6th January, 2016.

His paper, called “cMix: Anonymization by High-Performance Scalable Mixing,” presents an evolution of the Mix Network concept, called cMix. The paper addresses several issues that governments and regular users had with the Mix Network. According to Chaum, now researchers plan to use this new cryptography protocol to build their own, more secure PrivaTegrity network, as an alternative to Tor. ...

5 Complex Philosophies (Secretly) Taught To You By Movies

Hollywood movies aren't always as dumb as you think they are. Sometimes they (or their source material) have a profound philosophical message you might have missed beneath all the special effects and explosions. For example ...

#5. The Avengers Franchise Is All About Nietzsche (Being Wrong)

If Friedrich Nietzsche had lived to see the age of comic books, he probably would have been a fan. After all, Nietzsche actually coined the term "superman" before Superman, although he was German, so he pronounced it "ubermensch." So it's probably a good thing that he died before Marvel Studios went ahead and took a big dump on his philosophy.

Nietzsche's most famous quote to ever be misunderstood by a Kevin Sorbo movie was "God is dead," but he wasn't really saying that God literally choked on a pretzel. What he was really trying to say was that there is no objective morality, and without that, concepts like good, evil, equality, and human rights kind of go out the window. Nietzsche wasn't a big fan of democracy for this reason, because he thought all people aren't created equal, and ideally we'd be ruled by our betters -- supermen.

Or the angry militants who killed the superman's dad.


...

Media Silent as Stunning New Poll Shows Bernie Sanders Surging in Crucial Primary States

Bernie Sanders’ rapid rise in the latest poll of likely primary voters is casting Hillary Clinton’s alleged inevitability into serious doubt.

What started as a little spark in the greater American political spectrum is now growing into a full-fledged wildfire, as indicated by the most recent poll data from NBC, The Wall Street Journal, and Marist.

With a mere three-point advantage over Sanders in Iowa, establishment favorite Hillary Clinton is sure to face a run for her money in the first primaries, with Iowa and New Hampshire voters going to the polls in three weeks.

But it is in New Hampshire, currently, where the heat behind the Sanders campaign is really starting to warm America up to a possible Sanders presidency, where the democratic socialist candidate polls at a anywhere from a four-point (50-46, NBC/WSJ/Marist) to thirteen-point advantage (50-37, Fox News) over Clinton. Sanders has also maintained a healthy lead in NH across several polls for the past two months. ...

'Making a Murderer' compelling, but is it a game-changer for Steven Avery?


Steven Avery addresses Judge Patrick L. Willis during his sentencing June 1, 2007.

About halfway into watching and live tweeting "Making a Murderer," I worried whether we who covered the Steven Avery trial in 2007 had missed something big.

The binge-watchable Netflix series (Is it all people are talking about on social media?) documents, dramatically, the theory that sheriff's deputies in Manitowoc County framed Avery in the murder of Teresa Halbach.

But was what Avery's lawyers presented in his trial as frame-up evidence — when weighed against the DNA-laden evidence against Avery — enough to create reasonable doubt?

It's clear from Internet reaction to "Making A Murderer" that perhaps millions, including hundreds of thousands who signed pardon petitions, disagree with the Avery jury's guilty verdict. There was no such outcry in 2007. ...

10 Most Audacious Cold War American Secret Operations

American intelligence operations during the Cold War were filled with embarrassing failures and botched projects. But there were also ridiculously bold, insane schemes that worked beautifully.

10. Digging Under The Berlin Wall To Spy On The East Germans

In 1951, the CIA was losing out on valuable intelligence because the Soviets were switching to landlines to send messages to the East Germans. Landline messages could not be intercepted unless they were physically tapped, unlike the radio communications previously used by the Soviets.

To fix the problem, the CIA decided to dig a tunnel under the Berlin Wall to physically tap into a cable that carried messages from Moscow to East Berlin. The project was called Operation Gold.

The plan was formulated over the course of several years and finally approved in 1954. Construction on the tunnel started that same year. With the entrance hidden in a military warehouse, the tunnel was completed and the taps were in place one year later. This was a major achievement because the tunnel was buried less than 1 meter (3 ft) below ground near a major highway, which complicated the tapping. ...

Yahoo’s Brain Drain Shows a Loss of Faith Inside the Company

Marissa Mayer, the glamorous, geeky Google executive hired to turn around Yahoo in 2012, used to inspire hope in Yahoo’s work force just by visiting the cafeteria for ice cream and mingling.

Now, morale has sunk so low that some employees refer to Ms. Mayer, Yahoo’s chief executive, as “Evita” — an allusion to Eva Peron, the former first lady of Argentina whose outsize ego and climb to power and wealth were chronicled in the musical of that name.

Ms. Mayer is about to make herself even less popular with Yahoo’s nearly 11,000 employees. Faced with the failure of her efforts to reignite growth at the 22-year-old Silicon Valley company, she is now turning to the opposite strategy: cutting. As some investors press Yahoo to fire her, Ms. Mayer is crafting a last-ditch plan to streamline the company — including significant layoffs — that is expected to be announced before month’s end.

While many Yahoo workers are keeping their heads down, just doing their jobs, others have lost faith in Ms. Mayer’s leadership, according to conversations with more than 15 current and former employees from all levels of the company, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because of continuing ties to Yahoo and its strict policy against leaks. ...

Google's head in the clouds: Cut, cut as fast as you can. You can't match us, AWS plan

Miles Ward trashes Amazon's pricing as 'unpleasant surprise'

Not to be outbid by AWS's latest price cut, Google has announced that it too is slashing the costs of its cloudy services.

"In case you’ve been reading recent announcements and were wondering, rest assured: Google continues to be the price/performance leader in public cloud," it said in a blog post seemingly responding to AWS' 51st price cut last week.

It claimed its products are anywhere between "15-41 per cent less expensive than AWS for compute resources, after their reduction."

And if that message wasn't clear enough, it added: "While price cuts sound appealing on the surface, when you unpack the specifics of Amazon’s pricing model, it can be an unpleasant surprise. ...

Cheating Means Survival: 5 Realities Of An NCAA Athlete

Let's just come out and say it: College sports are shady as hell. It starts with the NCAA and spreads down to many colleges that see their student-athletes as a lucrative source of free labor. And look, we know it's hard to feel sorry for the athletes if you're imagining them as future millionaires waiting for the NFL to call, or hard-drinking bros getting free tuition because they can run really fast. But the vast, vast majority of college athletes aren't in either category.

To get the real story on what it's like being a broke-ass cog in a multibillion-dollar industry, we spoke with an NCAA football player and a track and field athlete. They told us ...

#5. Often, The Only Way To Survive Is To Cheat The System

You already know that college athletes aren't getting paid, and that it's actually a huge scandal when they do (more on that in a moment). But really, why should they? Sports is supposed to be something you do on the side to enrich your growth as a human being, or whatever -- it's all part of the education. But the problem is schools are often asking student-athletes to do three things:

A) Put most of your time and energy into your education (the NCAA has strict requirements about maintaining good grades);

B) Pay for it yourself with a part-time job;

C) Treat athletics as the most important thing in your life, or be cut from the program.

If you don't risk paralysis at least once a season, why even bother going to school?


...

MAP SHOWS SQUIRRELS ARE WINNING THE CYBER WAR

NATURE ACCIDENTALLY FIGHTS WAR BETTER THAN HUMANS

On January 2nd, the power went out on the Lloyd Expressway, near Evansville, Indiana. The outage lasted 45 minutes, with a transformer damaged and stop lights turned off. The culprit? A squirrel.

The attack is just one of the latest tracked by the semi-satirical Cyber Squirrel 1 map. “This map”, according to its About section, “lists all unclassified Cyber Squirrel Operations that have been released to the public that we have been able to confirm. There are many more executed ops than displayed on this map however, those ops remain classified.” Based on data from a Twitter account dating back to at least March 2014, the map has been around since at least September 2015. It tracks power outages caused by squirrels, birds, raccoons, snakes, rats, beavers, and monkeys, as well as nations like China, Russia, and the United States. If there is a cyber war happening, it’s one fought between humanity and nature, not nations against each other. ...

This Stunning Single Image Blurs the Line Between Earth and Space

Set 7,900 ft above sea level, on the outskirts of the Atacama Desert, the La Silla Observatory has an amazing view of the night sky. So good, in fact, that it’s possible to capture other-worldly photos like this, where space and Earth seem to exist as one.

This image shows the Geminid meteor as it whistles through the sky above the cool vista of the European Southern Observatory’s La Silla telescope domes. It’s difficult to believe that it’s not two separate images. If you don’t believe your eyes either, just read the original caption: ...

DID GROUCHO MARX REALLY SAY IT- THE CIGAR QUIP

It is, without question, one of the most oft-quoted anecdotes in the history of comedy. It goes, pretty much, like this:

A woman with 10 (or 12 or 14 or 16 or whatever) children makes a guest appearance as a contestant on Groucho Marx’s quiz show You Bet Your Life (which started out on the radio and later found its way onto TV, running from 1947-1961)

Woman: “I have 14 children, Groucho”.

Groucho: “You have 14 children? Why do you have so many kids?”

Woman: “Because I love my husband”.

Groucho: “I love my cigar too, but I take it out of my mouth every once in a while.”

The most generally accepted version of the “Cigar Story” was that it took place on radio in 1947 during the show’s first year. A “Mrs. Story” was the supposed contestant’s name. But other sources claim it occurred on TV and the lady’s name in that case was supposedly “Mrs. House”. ...

Today's Video Goodnesses (and not-so-goodnesses)

Baby Gito and baby Asoka are introduced for the very first time! This is Gito's first meeting with another baby orangutan.

Return to BirdJanitor.com